(Closed) open bar for a couple hours then cash bar

posted 10 years ago in Food
Post # 3
3315 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Are you serving dinner?  If so, you might consider having only wine with dinner.  You could then have open bar for an hour before dinner and two hours after, and no alcohol at all beyond that.

You are never required to have an open bar.  The etiquette issue with cash bars is requiring your guests to pay for part of your reception.  If you just serve what you can afford to host, you’re fine.

The other thing you need to consider is that switching between open bar and cash bar is often confusing and irritating to your guests.  If you announce in advance when open bar will end, many people will stock up on drinks just before it does.  If you don’t announce it, people who got a free drink at one point during the reception will be irritated if they find they have to pay when they go back.

Post # 4
447 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

Are you budgeting for a full open bar or just beer and wine?  You might be able to stretch your dollar by limiting the bar to a few options.

Post # 5
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

We kind of had this.  We had an open bar for the reception until 10pm (which was 5 hours) and then after that, we decided to keep the party going and then it was a cash bar.  I think we just had the DJ announce it…

Post # 6
769 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

I agree with MeghanV – can you look into keeping a limited open bar available all night?  Maybe just beer and wine?  That should be a lot cheaper than a full open bar and might end up costing close to what a full open bar for a few hours would cost.

Post # 7
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I think it’s better to buy what you can afford even if that means having more limited options.

Post # 8
1870 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

You can have the DJ announce the switch, but I think your guests might be bit miffed because this is the sort of thing that draws more attention to what you AREN’T providing as opposed to what you ARE.

To me, it’s almost better to just close the bar after a certain point. You can put a sign out on the bar or have the DJ do a “last call.” On the plus size, it helps ensure your guests will get home okay.

Post # 9
553 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

This is a hot topic on the boards – you need to know your area – would a cash bar be seen as tacky near you? We are doing open then cash later on, but a lot of people on the boards will tell you that is tacky. Know your guests – will they be offended?

Post # 10
2790 posts
Sugar bee

This is VERY common in the area I live in. Almost every wedding I’ve ever been to in my home town has gone like this. As PP’s have said, you need to know your area. Some people might be fine with it, some might be offended. It is all about your friends and family.

I would maybe just use word of mouth. Let certain guests know what time the open bar will be available and ask them to make sure other guests know.

Post # 11
648 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I went to a wedding like this before and no one we sat with seemed to mind. They kind of did a word of mouth beforehand and then had the DJ announce that the open bar would be ending in an hour, then he gave a last call and everyone stocked up on drinks. Our table still bought drinks afterward though, each couple at the table bought a round. They, also, limited it to certain things, but I can’t remember now what the options were.

Post # 12
3376 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

A couple people have mentioned providing a limited bar, and I think this is a great compromise.  You could provide beer, wine, and maybe a signature cocktail if you want to have something fun for your guests.  If they want anything else, they can pay for their specialty drinks.  I don’t think many people would be upset about this or think it’s tacky.

Post # 13
5117 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

In my area, cash bars are pretty common, as are a few other combinations. Sometimes there is an open bar for a set time, then cash bar. Other times there are certain drinks (such as beer/wine) that are host all night, with other drinks served as cash bar. The option I think we may go with is to host a few kegs of beer, and then having a specific number of drink tickets per guest, so you can know from the get-go how much you’ll be paying for drinks for your guest (and if less people use them, then a lower total cost for you, yay!)

Post # 14
58 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I had just heard of someone doing this for the first time a few months ago, a guy at work was going to a wedding out of town and they did it.  I had never heard of it but thought it was a great idea.  No one can afford to have the bar go all night (and it would be silly to pay for all your guests by the hour when they start leaving if that is how you are doing it). 

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