(Closed) Open vs Cash Bar Debate-bit long

posted 11 years ago in Reception
  • poll: Is the open bar obsolete?

    Yep, it's ridiculously expensive

    Yes, it doesn't happen in my area/ culture

    No, it's a must

    Other - comment below

  • Post # 17
    Member
    3572 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    I went to a wedding this past weekend that was a cash bar. I understand that it can be expensive but I was still annoyed. The waiters kept reminding everyone that they had to pay for their own drinks and at the ended they handed out bills to everyone. The way the restaurant handled it was just so tacky.

    Post # 18
    Member
    2767 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    I’m jealous! Prices are definitely a bit higher for alcohol here unless you shop around like we did, and find a venue that lets you bring in your own alcohol from a retailer. When I was looking at bar packages at different venues, they were anywhere from $6,000-$11,000+. We ended up finding a great price where you can buy alcohol from a store, and we’re doing open beer, 2 kinds of wine & champagne, and 2-3 signature cocktails.

    One caveat I will put on this, though: people are fairly understanding, and so if you put ANY effort to “make up” for not having an open bar, they tend to be understanding. Like if you have open beer and wine, or an open cocktail hour, or a certain number of signature drinks, they don’t tend to get judgy. 

    And I’ve noticed that while it rubs people the wrong way if you ask, no one minds too terribly much in real life. My cousin’s wedding was brunch with a cash bar besides one glass of champagne. I paid for just one glass of wine, since it was mid-day and the drinks were expensive. Do I prefer weddings where there’s a little more alcohol? Certainly, but I understood that they were on a tight budget, so it didn’t really factor in for me. 

    I think that there’s way too much expectation surrounding weddings. They’re supposed to cater to expectations that people have – and while I understand some of them, like feeding guests and making an effort to be sure that all guests can eat that food, since people often travel and spend 6+ hours at weddings, I think that the “preferable” expectations get a bit out of hand. At some point, I wish people would just be happy for the bride and groom, and cherish the way they saw fit to celebrate their marriage. 

    Post # 19
    Member
    807 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 1969

    I’ve only ever been to one fully cash bar, the rest have been open or at least partially hosted (beer and wine).  But I get what you’re saying about culture.  Unfortunately, I think cultural reasons sometimes get a bad rap because people abuse them (I once saw a girl on here saying her culture insisted that she do something that everyone on the board and everyone I have ever know in real life would have said was terribly rude.  The thing was, her wedding location was only about 100 miles from where I live and there was no indication that her family were immigrants from another culture, etc.  She was just saying that to try to justify her behavior.)  But when it comes to stuff like this, it’s obvious that there are real cultural reasons behind not doing an open bar and I wish that people would recognize that.  What good hospitality means is defined differently in every culture, and as long as each couple tries to live up to what their culture says good hospitality is, then that’s all that you can hope for.

    Post # 20
    Member
    361 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    @LGenz: How else were they suppose to do it? Just hand out bills at the end or demand cash before giving you your drink? I’m confused…

    Post # 23
    Member
    3572 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    Thats the problem with cash bars in areas that expect them, I don’t think theres a graceful way to tell people they have to pay, but for a start #1 Do not announce to the table loudly and repeatedly that they have to pay for drinks #2 Have people go up to the bar and close their tabs before they leave

    Post # 24
    Member
    361 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    @Aunt Pol: Oh they will have to get up to go get their drinks and then carry them back to the table, but at bars/weddings it is pretty common to just “start a tab” and pay for all your drinks at the end of the night whether you pay cash or credit card. Either way, the bar usually asks for your driver’s license, holds it, and then gives it back when you pay. Some bars will charge a fee if you don’t pay by the end of the night ($5-25 depending) and come in the next day to pay. I just don’t want to have to pick up those tabs/fees when I’m already paying $850 for a partially open bar.

    Post # 25
    Member
    643 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2010

    I’ve been to 30 weddings and only one had fully open bar.  Every other one had beer, wine, soda, and a champagne toast.  That’s what we did for ours.

    If you can afford open bar, great.  I just think fully open bar with liquor is unnecessary.

    Post # 26
    Member
    1511 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2011 - Bartram's Garden

    I think it’s a cultural thing too. Every wedding I’ve been to except one had a fully open bar. The exception was one that hosted beer, wine and a signature cocktail but was a cash bar for everything else. And that was a couple that had a teeny tiny budget for the whole shebang.

     

     

    Post # 27
    Member
    6980 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2011

    re: culture– i think that honestly some things are more family tradition than ethnic/locational culture or whatever. I mean if you’re the last in a long line of cousins to get married and everyone in your fam has always done a certain thing… then that is your family’s way 🙂

    Post # 29
    Member
    1098 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    I have never been to a wedding with a cash bar…and I’ve been to a lot of weddings. 

    I voted “OTHER” above.  I don’t think an open bar is a “must.”  I also don’t think it is obsolete.  What I do think is that you serve what you can afford.  If you want a full open bar and can afford one, then do so.  If you can’t, then I think (and this is just my opinion) that you compromise somewhere.  Either have just beer and wine or have the  bar “open” for a short time or find a venue that will allow  you to supply the alcohol, cut your guest list, or just don’t serve alcohol.  I’ve been to several very lovely “dry” wedding receptions. 

    What I am just not comfortable with is inviting guests to any sort of gathering, wedding or not, and then expecting them to pay for anything.  I would do anything I could to avoid that.  But again, that is just me….you are all free to totally disagree with me.

    Post # 30
    Member
    361 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    I only went to one fully open “bar” last year….and it was just beer and canned soda. The couple bought 4 kegs and then soda/water from Costco. It was great!

    Honestly, I am going to support the couple. If they don’t have a full dinner, open bar, a DJ, or don’t do the “traditional” things I am not going to get all bent out of shape about it. All I ask for is something to nibble on (Appetizers are fine), notice that I need to bring cash, and music of some kind to dance to (or something fun to do, I’m not a stand around talking type of girl). I think judging other people’s weddings/receptions is pretty rude since you have no idea financially where they are coming from. Of course there are things people do in which I think “Huh?”, but I’m not going to look down on their wedding because of it.

    Post # 31
    Member
    643 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2010

    Feel free to call me judgemental, but I assume a lot of the people who get all up in arms about others not having open bar are not paying for their own weddings.  I mean, I probably would have had open bar too if my parents were paying for it.  But they weren’t, and it doubled the cost of the bar bill, so I couldn’t justify it.  We still had tons of free drinks available (3 different bottled beers, 4 wines, champagne).

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