(Closed) Open bar?? Opinions?

posted 6 years ago in Reception
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  • Post # 2
    412 posts
    Helper bee

    Wow that’s really rude of them to say. And you’re dad really won’t come if there’s an open bar? My father (if he was still alive) would have sold his right arm if he needed to for me. What about having a few bottles of wine at each table? 

    Post # 4
    412 posts
    Helper bee

    Flat out saying they won’t come? Wow. Special group if people you got there. Just have a dry wedding and be done with it. If they don’t come, you’ll save a ton of money. I wouldn’t do the ticket thing. This is not the state fair. You could also simply tell your bartender to do his job and watch out for Moe, Larry, and Curly’s alcohol consumption.  

    Post # 5
    11535 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: May 2009

    Would you consider having an alcohol-free wedding? There is nothing rude at all about providing your guests with an “open bar” (i.e. unlimited) beverages such as iced teas, sodas, juices, lemonade, and other specialty non-alcoholic beverages.

    Although my DH and I are not universally opposed to all alcohol in every situation, we did not want to take on the moral (to us), ethical, or legal  responsibilities that come with serving alcoholic beverages to others. Once it is available, there is no polite or effective manner in which for hosts to control the alcohol consumption of their guests or the potential negative outcomes that may follow. The only alcohol that was present at our wedding was a choice of champagne (or non-alcoholic sparkling cider) for our toast, which followed the serving of many heavy hors d’oeuvres and preceded the serving of our full meal.

    To me, there are just too many negative outcomes that can occur when hosts serve alcoholic beverages to others. In other, non-hosted settings, such as when groups of people meet for dinner, order their own food and beverages, and pay for their own checks, people clearly have the right (within applical laws and regulations) to make their own choices. Even in those settings, friends and family should intervene in terms of not permitting another friend or family member to drive while under the influence or while in an intoxicated state. However, a host indeed should be concerned about the potential negative outcomes that may result from serving alcoholic beverages to their guests. There is nothing at all wrong with (and, in fact, there is wisdom in) choosing to avoid those potential liabilities and outcomes by opting instead to serve alternative, non-alcoholic beverages.) It certainly would not be a popular decision in most social circles; However, there is nothing at all rude about it from an etiquette perspective.

    Post # 6
    488 posts
    Helper bee

    I was discussing this the other day with Fiance, as it seems to be the culture that weddings are all about free alcohol and getting drunk, and my opinion is that I do not want to pay for people to get drunk at my wedding.  Ok, our wedding, but he said we can’t not have a bar, at least a tab.

    Anyway, my thoughts to compromise (in my own mind, since wedding is not even planned yet).  Some might be options for you.

    a) tokens – but as you said, it is a bit like policing people<br />b) “First drink’s on us” – but how to actually do this<br />c) Wine on the table<br />d) Restrict the tab, so set a $500, $1000, whatever, limit (I feel this is unfair though as a few could run up the tab early on leaving the more paced drinkers pay for their own)<br />e) only beer, wine and soft-drinks on the tab (i.e. no spirits) – people can still get drunk off wine and beer though

    I am getting annoyed just thinking about it!!  Sorry, not offering much help, but I can 110% relate to your sentiments!  People with the “must have alcohol” mentality you can’t really reason with. I actually just went to a wedding where there was a bar but someone at our table had a flask of something.

    I hope it all works out for you, and if you do come up with a solution that leaves everyone somewhat happy, please share!! 🙂

    Post # 7
    2238 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    So my Fiance and I are of the “must have” (or would really, really like to have) alcohol crowd at weddings. We’re NOT dancers, and the only way to get us out on the dance floor is with a few drinks. We’d be entirely too self-conscious without any booze. So, if you’re hoping for a big dance party, but you’re not providing (free) alcohol, that might stand in your way.

    On the other hand, I see absolutely nothing wrong with limiting the open bar to just beer and wine. Yes, people can still get drunk and rowdy off beer and wine, but it’s harder and it takes a lot more than it would with liquor. Honestly, I find the ticket system a little tacky/cheap, but if it’s the norm in your circle, then I think it’s fine.

    Whatever you come up with, the people who love and support you will be there and will have fun. And in the end, that’s really what matters.

    Post # 8
    584 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2016

    I really like alcohol at weddings, but my friends and I were all drinkers in college. Now I’m kind of out of that stage, but I will still be having unlimited beer and wine at our wedding. Fiance shouldn’t drink liquor, and I really don’t see the need for shit-facedness to occur. I think people can still have a good time with wine and beer. We are also paying for a venue where we can bring in all of our own alcohol. We’re thinking it will probably end up costing around $5 a person considering we know not everyone will drink and those who will are of the age where it won’t get too crazy. We will also be arranging some sort of transportation for the bridal party and our friends as they would be the ones who are the most likely to get behind the wheel after a night of partying. We want everyone to stay safe and have a good time.


    That being said, I would be fine with a ticketed bar, but if you have people that you know are big drinkers at weddings, make sure they know in advance so that they can pay for extra drinks if they want. 

    Post # 9
    4232 posts
    Honey bee


    No open bars. In fact, no bars. I’ve found that the alcohol “sweet spot” would be a choice of 2-3 wines and a champagne, and that’s it. jmho



    Post # 10
    9565 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2015

    People hell bent on getting drunk will do it anyway. If you have beer/wine or a dry wedding they’ll bring a flask (you can garauntee this is if word gets out about just beer/wine). If you do tickets (which I agree, is not elegant) they’ll just buy more drinks. People get plently hammered on cash bars. Including your dad- he’s responsible for his own behavior. If he wants to get drunk, he will. 

    I think if you accept their money for the wedding and this is something they insist on, youre obligated to do it. Otherwise turn down their help, host a dry wedding and accept that people might not come or might bring their own booze. My crowd would be offended without an open bar too- in their mind it’s the highest standard of hosting (and I agree) so we’re providing it, top shelf at that, and providing a bus to/from the event. I think beer/wine is perfectly fine too, but like I said, people hell bent on booze will just BYOB.

    Post # 11
    81 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    hugs! There is a lot that you are dealing with here.

    In my family, region and culture an open bar is standard at an evening reception and I would be confused by a dry reception and think the hosts cheap if there was a cash bar. If you share a background where an open bar is standard then I would suggest having an afternoon cake and punch reception because a bar isn’t expected then. 

    As for the family drama, you and your fiancé need to be on the same page about what is non-negotiable. If a dry wedding is an absolute must then you might need to give your inlays back their money and accept that the relationship won’t be a close one. 

    Good luck!

    Post # 12
    210 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2015


    We are having an open bar at our wedding. My family is a big party family and we cannot see a party without alcohol. The Fiance and I just went to a friend’s wedding that had a cash bar and from what we heard from the guests and saw in our bank statement, we are so glad we chose to splurge on an open bar. I think it’s extremely tacky to make guests pay $7-8 for a beer/cocktail drink. They are already coming to your wedding, with a gift in hand and you’re making them pay for their own drinks? No matter how many flasks you bring in or mini bottles of liquor, it will not be enough. It gets passed around and with a 4-5 hour reception, you probably won’t even feel a good buzz by the end of the night. In my opinion, the reception is about the guests. I was pissed I had to spend $4 for a glass of water! We ended up spending $120 just on alcohol that night and we weren’t even buzzed.

    In your situation, if your father is an alcoholic and his family has a drinking problem, you should limit the alcohol provided at your venue. Maybe just provide the champagne for the night and then let them pay for their own drinks. It differs in every situation. Good luck!

    Post # 13
    9251 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    View original reply
    Buttercup014:  If they are paying and hosting the event then yes it is up to the hosts.

    Part of being in recovery is resisting temptation and if he isn’t in recovery then the chances are pretty good that your dad is going to drink whether you serve alcohol or not.

    Post # 14
    22 posts
    • Wedding: August 2015

    View original reply
    Buttercup014:  I have the same problem with my fiance’s family and my dad. I’m not allowing any alcohol. I want my dad to be sober when he gives me away. I understand it’s an emotional time but he needs to be there, enjoy it and remember it the next day. He has a problem and I am not going to encourage it. Instead there with sparkling juice and soda. 

    Post # 15
    349 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2016 - White Oak Plantation

    I don’t like the idea of cash bars. I’ve never been to a wedding with one but I can’t imagine walking up to order a drink and being charged $7+. I think an alcohol free wedding seems like a good choice for your reception because of some of the violent, over-indulging issues you mentioned. It’s TOTALLY possible to have a great reception without serving alcohol.

    Brielle’s idea of having an open bar without alcohol is a good idea. You could meet with your caterer and come up with some really unique drink options.

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