(Closed) Open Bar Vs. Plus Ones

posted 8 years ago in Money
  • poll: If you had to choose between having an open bar but not allowing guests who are unmarried plus ones

    Allow plus ones, but have a cash bar

    Have an open bar, but not allowed unmarried people and single people to have a plus one

  • Post # 92
    597 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    Open bars are pretty much unheard of in UK weddings so the cash bar is the obvious choice. I don’t think that having to pay for drinks at a wedding is an issue, but I would be upset if I was invited to a wedding without my SO (unless it was evening reception only and I knew a lot of people, like a colleague’s wedding or something).

    Post # 93
    803 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - Greenbrier Country Club


    “If you hosted a dinner party, would you tell your guests, ‘Can I get you a water or a soda? If you’d like a beer, that will be seven dollars, please.'”

    If I hosted a dinner party, I might say something like: “I’ll have soda and water available, but you can bring something else to drink if you prefer.”
    You don’t have to agree that a cash bar is a nice gesture for a guest, I still think it is. It gives them options.

    Also, you didn’t say anything that offends me.


    Post # 94
    803 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - Greenbrier Country Club


    “Eating red meat is not a necessity, but I prefer steak to chicken. Is it also ‘nice’ if you offer me to upgrade my meal for 8 bucks?“
    I don’t think it would be worth it to give my guests that option. I think most people would opt to just have the chicken. Plus 8 bucks per person is a lot easier to pay for then $2,000+. I also don’t think it would cost 8 dollars to upgrade from chicken to beef. It is also common for people to pick up dinner tabs, but not the alcohol.
    I think people would spend 8 bucks per drink at a cash bar, but not for a food upgrade.

    Ok. So would you decline if it were a dry wedding?
    You think it is rude to have a cash bar; I don’t. And I wouldn’t think anyone much of a friend to decline because there was a cash bar.
    Also, the couple isn’t asking you to take out your wallet. They are saying, IF you would like alcohol, we have provided a way for you to get some.
    You certainly don’t have to have alcohol, but the couple is nice enough to give that option to their guests instead of just having a dry wedding.

    I understand that you do not think it is rude to decline an invite. I don’t either. However, if you decline because there is a cash bar, or because it is a dry wedding, then I do find that rude. 


    Post # 95
    7555 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    @nattiejeanne:  I would serve wine and beer only and invite as many plus ones as possible. The only options for a wedding aren’t open bar or cash bar. There are a million different options between those two.

    And if I couldn’t afford beer and wine or plus ones then I would elope.

    Post # 96
    945 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    @nattiejeanne:  We have a tab then cash bar, as well as no singles plus ones. *shock horror – clutch your pearls ladies!*

    Thank christ my family and friends aren’t like most of the women on here, all high and mighty. Why would you want the hosts to offer you no drinks, rather than give you the option of buying them? What? Etiquette my ass, that’s just stupid (and I would say quite rude!)

    So I went with an open bar and less people. I honestly don’t want people who may not be involved in my or my family/friends’ lives in a few years to be privvy to the most important day of our lives and the joining of us and our families. I have always felt weddings are something intimate, though many do not feel so.


    People, its a game, just get off your high horses all you ettiquette queens and play the game or leave!!

    Why reply if you’re just going to bitch and moan about the premise of a GAME. Gaaaaaaame!

    Post # 98
    803 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - Greenbrier Country Club

    “Why would you want the hosts to offer you no drinks, rather than give you the option of buying them? What? Etiquette my ass, that’s just stupid (and I would say quite rude!)”

    Glad I am not alone in thinking this!

    Post # 99
    5521 posts
    Bee Keeper

    @nattiejeanne:  Both your scenarios would be fine with me lol, so, I didn’t vote.

    Where we are, plus ones are not considered mandatory, unless someone doesn’t know anyone else (highly unlikely). So, for example, we are not extending plus ones to my co-workers as a) it is just not expected b) they would prefer to attend without their partners c) we have never met their partners and d) they will be attending as a group and know at least half a dozen other people.

    Similarly, cash bars are the norm, and not considered rude. In our case we’re putting $4k behind the bar, but this is considered very generous and is really not expected.

    So, it’s hard for me to answer, as I’d have to put msyelf in a mind-set were both were considered rude. As a guest, and assuming I was single, I would probably prefer the open bar, provided I knew other people who were attending. If I didn’t know anyone else who was attending on the other hand, I would definitely prefer a plus one.

    As a host, working on a ‘worst case scenario’ basis (ie assuming that at least some of the people I was considering not giving a plus one to didn’t know anyone else there), I would probably go with plus ones over an open bar, as I think that that would impact guest comfort more than not having free alcohol.

    Post # 101
    655 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2014

    I’d rather be able to have a +1. I can always stick a flask of booze in my purse if necessary. My Fiance, on the other hand, is a little tough to sneak in

    Post # 102
    21 posts
    • Wedding: February 2014

    We had 400 guests on our list, half of which were my family alone (aunts, uncles, cousins & their kids), so we had to make this decision.  We chose to have an open bar & no +1 unless a couple had been dating for at least a year.  We were unaware of a few long-term relationships, but those guests wouldn’t have come even if their SO had been invited.  We turned down a few guests who requested a +1, and in the end, 20-30 people didn’t come to the reception who had RSVPed yes, which kinda pissed me off, but everyone had a great time.  Everyone we’ve spoken to have said that our wedding was the best one they’ve ever been to!

    Post # 103
    54 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: June 2014 - Catholic Church Ceremony & Restaurant/Bed & Breakfast Reception

    Allow the plus one and opt for the cash bar (says the girl who was quite single for a good 10 years). 

    In My Humble Opinion I have rarely seen an open bar that someone didn’t abuse the privilege and act like an adult. This said, it’s happened before at cash bars, but far less frequently. And it seems like the guests are happier when they’re around people they like at a wedding than trying to uncomfortably make small talk with partially inebriated folks. 

    Post # 104
    202 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2015

    Ooo….ok….I think I would or could do either!

    Lots of friends and people that know each other….open bar…evening wedding.

    More unmarried couples and I like them….brunch wedding cash mamosa bar! Keeps the drinks cheap for guests and a fun element. Some restaurants even do bottomless mamosas for 10 bucks at brunch here in Portland…I would have them as my caterers. Hehe 

    Post # 105
    2769 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2016

    I would do the cash bar out of that choice, but I suspect my SO would choose open bar and fewer people mainly because it would be fewer people. I would probably also put a drink ticket or two at everyone’s plate.

    My brother’s wedding was a cash bar to deter one or two of his friends from being idiots because they are the types who would drink 10 of the most expensive stuff in the place if they were paying. There was plenty of wine on the tables and a champagne toast, and no one was snarky about having to pay for extra beyond that. At least booze was an option!  

    Post # 105
    346 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    I  guess a lot depends on where you are from. In my country open bars do not exist, so people wouldn’t care about that.* However, they would be very upset to not have a plus one, which is fair enough I think. After all, ppl without plus ones may not know many people at your wedding.

    *We had an open bar, and ppl were ecstatic, but in my country the plus one is much more important. I also think it is good for shy ppl to have a plus one.

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