(Closed) Open bar?? Opinions?

posted 5 years ago in Reception
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  • Post # 17
    Member
    1362 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2015

    Wow.  Thats a lot to think about.  We opted out on an open bar.  We are having a coctail reception with free alcohol and then doing bottles of wine for dinner but after that it is up to the guests to pay for their own desire to get drunk.  I would love to have an open bar but my fiance and his party would drink a thousand dollars just for themselves.  Depending on our budget we were thinking of maybe doing a signature drink for free as well or having a cash bar up until a certain budget. 

     

    best of luck!

    Post # 18
    Member
    81 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    View original reply
    Buttercup014:  That’s frustrating that your in laws don’t seem to respect your emotions and experiences – even though I agree that a cash bar often gives a bad impression your dad adds a complicating layer that should make them more empathetic to you.

    What does your fiancé think? I think that as long as you two agree on a way forward then I wouldn’t worry about what anyone else thinks. 

    Post # 19
    Member
    446 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    IF they are paying, it still doesn’t give them free reign to force decisions like this. And I can guarantee you that those people will still come. Be firm and then have a cash bar if they need it. or you can squash this issue and tell them thAt it’ll be their way, and then book it the way you really want. if they start any crap on your day because it’s not a full bar like you said, then have your coordinator or a venue staff member, or a chosen friend/family member field that drama. 

    My ex’s family used to refuse to come to baby showers and our kids birthdays because I did not allow alcohol at those events. They would say things like this and I would tell them that it’s fine. I refused to fight and this was how my event would be and we would miss them but understood. They never missed a single event. They always showed And respected my wishes. 

     

    Post # 20
    Member
    2968 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    I would provide wine and beer- which has a lower alcohol content and forego the liquor.

     

    Post # 21
    Member
    736 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 2025

    You could potentially offer the open bar to please them, but you’d ultimately have control over the hours said open bar is available.

    At most weddings here, the bar opens for cocktail hour (literally one hour, not a minute more) and stays closed through dinner. At most weddings, the bar then reopens after dessert is done and is open for the rest of the night. But you could ask your venue to only keep the open bar open for maybe 2 hours and then it closes. 

    I kind of agree with the other PP’s who have said have a dry wedding. If they won’t come because there’s no alcohol then its their loss, not yours. You’ll save a bundle, won’t have to worry about people being stupid and drunk and you can enjoy your day. 

     

    Post # 22
    Member
    604 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2015

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    Buttercup014:  Like you, we also have family members (though overwhelmingly my family, not his) who see weddings as the opportunity to get obliterated and act like fools 😛 It’s important to my Fiance to not have a cash bar and I was adamant about not making it totally easy for my family to get wasted.

    We’re doing a few things to remedy this:

    1) Open bar but ONLY serving beer, wine, and sangria (no liquor at all)

    2) Due to our caterer, we are allowed to bring our own alcohol and they serve it so their bartender will be responsible for IDing and serving folks. It’s in our contract they can cut people off if needed.

    3) Our ceremony and reception is in the same location and there will not be a long gap between the ceremony and reception. We’ll have a short cocktail hour w/ apps and go straight into dinner. My family is notorious for finding the nearest place to pre-game before the reception so they won’t really have the opportunity to that.

    While you can get quite drunk on craft beer (which we’ll be giving away mostly), you will likely get full first 😛 Plus we’re trying to feed the guests a lot which hopefully will help.

     

    But to address your dad, is he newly recovering or long time sober? Folks who have been sober a long while are usually just fine in a social situation where there is alcohol, they just won’t partake (I have friends in the program). Your FI’s family sounds super disrespectful though, what does your Fiance say??

    On a side note, if I’d had to do an open bar at a place where we were paying the bar tab though, it probably would have been a free cocktail hour and cash bar for the wedding. Hotel/venue prices are ridiculously expensive and we are not paying $8/drink for my heavily drinking family members. We got lucky in that we can bring our own which will save a lot of $$.

    Post # 23
    Member
    282 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2015

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    Buttercup014:  I didn’t read the entire thread, so I don’t know if this has been mentioned but is your fiance’s family paying for the wedding or giving you and your Fiance a significant amount of money towards the wedding? If not, don’t let them tell you what you can and cannot do at your own event. If your dad has an alcohol problem and you are concerned that having an open bar may be too much temptation for him, then by all means have a cash bar or perhaps consider having a dry wedding? I don’t like cash bars, but in this case it isn’t about being cheap, it’s about the well being of your dad and that should be very important. I’m really surprised that your fiance’s family has that sort of attitude towards your dad and his problems. I’ve known many people with alcohol or substance abuse problems and for some people it can be a lifelong struggle. I hope it all works out for you.

    Post # 24
    Member
    100 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    We are doing an open bar in regards to tea, sodas, beer, and wine. We are also doing a cash bar for any liquor & mixed drinks. Guests can get any drink they want free of charge but if they want a mixed drink or shots, they will have to pay for those. Not sure what are you’re from but my family is in NY and NC and I’ve seen this done at both northern and southern weddings. We are in NC and it’s perfectly acceptable here.

    Post # 25
    Member
    581 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: Rocky Mountains-May 2017

    I’m personally not gonna have ANY alcohol at my wedding. We don’t drink anways. My family tends the be the kind that thinks they NEED drinks to have fun anywhere and a few are underaged and some may have the tendency to become alocoholics, so I’m trying to avoid all that. If people want to leave early because they’re bored, then please leave. 

    I’m trying to keep my wedding as small and short as possible so the earlier everyone leaves, the better.

    Post # 26
    Member
    919 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    That’s pretty rude that they’ve said those things! I feel for you. One of my good friends was actually in the same position, and what they did was open bar (beer & wine only) during cocktail hour only – which was kept strictly to 60 minutes – and then after that it was a cash bar. It helped them save $$, and it also kept the drinking down quite a bit.

    Another poster said (and I agree) – someone that wants to get drunk will find a way for it to happen, but I find it hard to believe that someone would just chug as much wine and beer as possibel in a 60 minute timeframe just to get drunk…are you doing an earlier wedding? That might help too…

    Post # 27
    Member
    347 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    We did three drink tickets and wine on the tables…. i think that was plenty, people gave the tickets the didn’t want to others that did and I think it was great, I haven’t been to to many weddings that are open bar in my area, people tend to waste drinks when they are free, and people that drink alot will drink as much as they want if they are paying for it or not 

    Post # 28
    Member
    690 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    I feel,  that most likely the guest has already spent a great deal to attend the wedding. (Gifts,  travel,  accommodations, etc).   I don’t feel that is fair to make them pay more while in attendance.  

    Post # 29
    Member
    6518 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: September 2013

    View original reply
    Buttercup014:  its your wedding. If you dont want an open bar, then dont have one. It doesnt make you look cheap. That was a rude comment. And if anyone doesnt come bc its nkt an open bar, than you know their true colors. Thats outrageous

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