Post # 1
So we met with the owner of the restaurant where we’re having our ceremony and reception. We had discussed things loosely before but now we were meeting to get a better idea of some details so I don’t panic.
Anyway, at our initial meeting we discussed doing a limited open bar, which both my fiance and I agreed with. At the meeting last night, the owner said we could have two signature drinks and a red and white wine. I think we’ll end up making one of the drinks a beer, but so far so good. That’s the limited bar we discussed. Then he says any additional alcohol the guests want can be cash bar for them.
Now, it freaked me out. But the more I think about it, the more I think I’m being crazy. I mean, we are providing an open bar with limited choices. That’s what we can afford. So is it tacky that they can still order other drinks for cash? Is there a way we can explain the open bar to limit the tacky factor? So far all I can think is to print up the free bar offerings and place them strategically around the bar area.
Disclaimer: I know there are some areas where cash bars are the norm. I don’t judge them or think that it’s tacky to do it if it’s the norm in your area. Here, it is practically unheard of so it is a different situation.
Post # 3
You can put a sign (chalkboard, pretty somehow) on the bar that says something like:
Sodas, Juice, and Water
Other libations are available on request, but are not hosted.
Post # 4
Honestly I’d just not provide an option other than the hosted stuff. Beer, wine, and a signature drink are enough. People can make it through a night without liquor.
Post # 5
I have seen it done that way before and it worked and no one thought it was horribly tacky. They put a printed list on either end of the bar and in the middle that was very similar to what chicagobride posted and at the bottom they had something very small written like Other spirits are available upon request for a small fee.
Post # 6
I agree with corgie-just skip the cash bar. As long as there is beer and wine I think people will be fine.
Post # 7
You all are making me feel better. I’m not doing anything bad then, right?
I guess my main concern is that the restaurant obviously has a full bar so people will be able to see many things they can’t have if I don’t explain somehow.
My fiance suggested putting a menu sign on each table which will show the entrees and have a wine and beer pairing for each plus the two mixed drinks and the non-alcoholic drinks available. He’s willing to spring for the beer pairings since we know we have guests who don’t really drink wine. Then I think I would put a sign at the bar as well listing the drink selections, and maybe (or maybe not depending on the feedback I get!) mention other drinks available for a fee.
Post # 8
I don’t think it’s a big deal either way. I’m not a big fan of declaring things tacky in any event, but as long as you’re providing wine and beer for free, anyone who complains that it’s not a full bar (whether or not liquor is available for a charge) just looks whiny. I like the idea of putting a sign up – you don’t even have to mention what you’re not hosting… just what is available.
Post # 9
We kind of ran into this as well, where the venue has a bar in place that would be visible despite the fact that we were only only providing wine and beer. It wasn’t an option to put it out of sight, so we did the cash bar option. I think it probably was confusing to some of our guests despite attempts to make it as straight forward as possible, but people got over it.
Post # 10
Our venue REQUIRED us to have a cash bar in addition to the beer, wine, champagne, and signature cocktail we were providing. I didn’t hear grumbling from any guests.
Post # 11
how many guest that are invited and how big on drinkers they are play a factor into an open bar.
example I had approx 57 guest. I had an open bar for 6 hours. It only costs us $305.00 plus we tipped $20.00. Any drink they wanted including soda pop.
You could have an open bar any drink until your money runs out! then they start paying for their own! thats what we did and it worked out great. we put $400 behind the bar and told them that when its gone its gone. we didnt even go through it.
I think limited options is sort of rude but thats my opionion and it is your wedding so you have to do what you think is best.
Hope that helps
Post # 12
We’re doing beer/wine/champagne. We plan to have some kind of menu card. And our guests are welcome to enjoy themselves on what’s hosted. 🙂
Post # 13
I’ve been to plenty of events with just beer and wine ad not thought anything of it…and adding signature cocktail is a nice “bonus.” I would think it would be clear if you put out a drink menu listing choices under a heading of “Hosted Bar” or something. Then if people walk up to the bartender and ask for a different liquor drink, the bartender can inform them that it would be $5 (or whatever). I think most people would realize the menu meant they should pick from that! But if you have someone who INSISTS on drinking only scotch, they can have their way as well.
Post # 15
I’ll be honest – if I had the option of free alcohol at any event I would be so grateful! If it was limited I would appreciate my option to splurge a little on a martini if I wanted one. I think the combo is best. I think to offer to pay for guests drinks at all is very generous.
Post # 16
Honestly, my husband and I like cocktail culture and we enjoy a fine drink to sip on. I would rather have the option of paying for the drink I would most enjoy than get as many freebies of drinks I don’t even like. That’s also because we drink responsibly and won’t need to have a whole bunch of them though. People who like to drink all night will probably just drink the free stuff and be grateful!