(Closed) Open Bar vs. Cash Bar- What are you doing?

posted 9 years ago in Reception
  • poll: Open Bar or Cash Bar- What are you doing?
    Full open bar for the whole reception : (194 votes)
    78 %
    Open bar for cocktail hour- then cash bar : (18 votes)
    7 %
    Cash Bar only : (28 votes)
    11 %
    We are setting a cash limit and once that is surpassed it goes to a cash bar : (9 votes)
    4 %
  • Post # 17
    147 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    We’re doing an open bar for the whole reception – our friend owns one of the best restaurants in town known for their wines, drinks, and food.  We’re not asking anyone to pay for their food and we’d certainly not ask them to pay for the drinks  My thoughts generally are: if you’re going to have an open bar then keep it that way, especially if you are having guest pay for their plates.

    I’d agree with @lezler’s though: Beer and wine should be kept open, but hard liquor can be put on a cash bar later on in the night if you really want to.  OR, alternatively, you can select a few “free” hard liquor drinks, like margaritas or something else, and anything other than that is paid for by the guest.

    Post # 18
    5282 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2009

    We did open bar: beer & wine only. We’ve never been to a wedding with a cash bar, so we didn’t give it a second thought.

    But if its a case of a cash bar vs. no bar at all, go for the cash bar. I’d rather have the option to booze at a wedding vs. no option at all 🙂

    Post # 19
    6659 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: May 2010

    I had a full open bar but if Darling Husband and I had payed for the wedding ourselves (which we obviously didn’t) and wanted to have a big wedding I would have considered cash bar or a cap on the bar expenses.

    Post # 20
    750 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    @lezlers: that was us too. We sprung for three types of wine and two kegs (guiness and Pyramid Hef) and anything else was on the attendees. I’ve been to plenty of beer and wine weddings, but it was nice that our venue could offer nicer stuff too. We also had a champagne toast.

    Post # 21
    379 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    I am doing a beer and wine open bar.  For cocktail hour they get juice bc my family has a lot of alchol problems and I dont want a bunch of drunks running around befor the first dance, speeches, ect.

    At dinner i will serve one glass of  beer or wine and one glass of champagne.   Then after that open bar.

    Post # 22
    207 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2011 - Calgary Opera Centre

    A caterer I talked to suggested an open bar, but putting out a nice jar with a sign saying something like ‘honeymoon fund’ or ‘bar by donation’. Then, people can pay nothing if they want, they can throw in a $20 and not think about it the rest of the night, they can throw in $2 for every drink they have, really it is up to them. But the option of having the jar there does earn you back some (I don’t think it would ever be all!) of the cost of the open bar.

    I’m still not sure what we’ll do. 🙂 My parents are all for open beer and wine, but don’t want spirits. As a girl who hates beer, and never orders wine in bars, just mixed drinks, I don’t like that idea, but it is their money.

    Post # 23
    411 posts
    Helper bee

    We’ll be having a Cash Bar.  It would be nice to have an open bar but it simply isn’t in the budget.  Our caterer will serve tea/water/lemonade.  Just make sure you note it on your website, your invites and by word of mouth.  Our friends and family have all been very supportive.

    You can always give everyone 1-2 drink tickets and have them pay for anything additional.

    Post # 24
    8 posts

    Just a question- for all the people who are saying open bar is “Just how its done around here,” what are you referring to?  A certain city, suburbs vs. metropolitan area?   Please advise.

    Post # 25
    5385 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: December 2010

    Neither because he aren’t having any. The only bar that we are having is a candy bar. lol

    FH and I don’t drink, our parents don’t drink, and we don’t believe people need alcohol to have a good time. Plus, my Daddy is a minister and since he is paying for it we def. aren’t going to have any. I would think that it would be arkward for a minister to be paying for everyone to get drunk. lol


    Post # 26
    151 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    We did beer, wine, and a signature cocktail.  It was much cheaper than a full open bar and guests still seemed to enjoy themselves.   

    Post # 27
    8736 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2011

    @WB2011: I’m not 100% sure what I’m referring to. I’ve been to weddings in So Cal, MD, and NC. All with open bars. Everything from a catholic mass to a 15 min outdoor non-religious ceremony. Maybe it’s a “coastal” thing?

    Post # 28
    2829 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    I voted full open bar for the entire wedding even though that is not precisely what we are doing & even though cash bars or toonie bars are the norm locally.

    We’re just going to do beer & wine & a limited amount, since it’s going to be a shorter* afternoon function and not a whole night of drinking and dancing.

    if we were going to do the typical st down dinner/dancing wedding we’d be having a cash bar, no question. It’s just too expensive otherwise.

    Post # 29
    70 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    @WB2011 – My Fiance is from the NJ/NYC/Long Island area, where open bars are “just how its done”. I am from MA, where I have never seen a full open bar all night.

    Post # 31
    655 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    I see you’re from MA– in my personal experience, weddings in MA are generally open bar for cocktail hour and cash bar after. Where I’m from down in CT (near NYC) it’s always full open bar again “it’s just the way it’s done” here– also it was built in to our per head price automatically so you can see how common it is.

    I think you’ll be fine! My Fiance is from MA and I went to school there so we’ve been to a couple weddings that way. My sis who got married in Sturbridge, MA had a hard time getting the venue to agree to a full open bar so my guess it isn’t as common in MA.

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