(Closed) Partial Open Bar – Option to buy liquor?

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: What would you host?
    Open bar for wine and beer only : (30 votes)
    43 %
    Open bar for wine and beer. Cash bar for hard liquor : (39 votes)
    57 %
  • Post # 16
    Member
    109 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: November 2015

    While I would have no problem paying for a particular drink if it was what I wanted, I would have a major problem with someone telling me that for whatever reason I can’t. You should give your guests the option.

    Post # 17
    Member
    1112 posts
    Bumble bee

    sochic:  Is there really that big of cost difference between wine/beer and hard liquor? Chances are people will drink more beer than they would liquor if beer is all that is offered. More beer = more bottles open and more $$. I know I can drink 7 or 8 bottles of beer over 8 hours, but maybe only 3 or 4 vodka sevens. 

    At our venue, drinks are included, so I may be nieve to the costs of beer & wine vs. alcohol.

    Post # 18
    Member
    3474 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    sochic:  I’m on your side. I believe that hosts should be gracious enough to provide free refreshments and I think guests should be gracious enough to accept what they are offered. I went through this with my rehearsal dinner. I had planned a limited open bar and the Bees jumped down my throat about “how dare you limit people’s options like that? If someone wants whiskey, they should be able to buy it!” by which I was quite surprised given the Bees’ usual “host only what you can afford, don’t make guests open their wallets for any reason” rhetoric. It was very confusing.

    Post # 19
    Member
    1141 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    In my area this is extremely common. People like being able to get shots and whatnot as the night progresses. If you’re offering beer and wine for free no one can complain that it’s a dry wedding, but they’d probably like to decide for themselves if paying for liquor is worth it.

    Post # 20
    Member
    8629 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    I just don’t get why hard liquor needs to be an option. If you go to dinner at someone’s house do you expect a full bar? I don’t see the difference. In both scenarios you are attending a hosted social event not a nightclub. 

    That said booze is one of the most marked up parts of a wedding – negotiate hard and you can get it down. I too am in Boston and I managed to get it down to $12/head for full open bar for 5 hours my wedding last fall. 

    Post # 21
    Member
    4891 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    We had a keg, and then had open bar for a couple hours during social hour, dinner, and a little bit before the dance started. It seemed to go over well with everyone!

    We are used to having cash bars, so paying for drinks isn’t uncommon.

    Post # 22
    Member
    2890 posts
    Sugar bee

    sochic:  where I live it’s expected that the host provides beverages for the guests, but the host isn’t required to provide EVERYTHING on the bar menu. Typically, guests will be provided with many options of water/juice, wine (white and red) and/or beers and hot beverages after dinner (coffee, teas). Guests who want to drink fancy cockails or shooters pay for it themselves. I believe it’s not the host’s responsibility to fund the whole bar. When I’m invited somewhere, I accept what’s served to me graciously. Guests whining that there is not enough beverage options when they’re provided with all I mentioned above, to me are just rude and ungrateful. 

    Post # 23
    Member
    935 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    julies1949:  Eh – I kind of disagree.   I don’t like beer or wine and if that’s all that’s available then that means I can’t have a drink at a wedding.   I’d at least appreciate the option of buying a jack and coke or something along those lines.

    Post # 24
    Member
    935 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    Overjoyed:  But you’re not “making your guests open their wallets”  They can keep their wallets closed if they want beer or wine and they can choose if they want to pay for hard liquor.

    Post # 25
    Member
    2961 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas

    I know everyone screams bad etiquette when people have cash bars, but I would much rather have the option of having liquor if I wanted it. Personally, I would be good with beer and wine, but I know loads of my friends would shell out a few bucks for the mixed drinks. Just make a sign for the bar that says which drinks are complementary.

    Post # 26
    Member
    929 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2015

    would you charge your guests for liquor at your home? No. then please dont do it at your wedding. you are 100% right. It’s horribly tacky. At least where i’m from. Everyone always has an open bar. But if i was at your wedding i would prefer to just have beer and wine available to me instead of paying for my own liquor.

    Post # 28
    Member
    1228 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    I don’t want to discuss etiquette rules, I want to say what I think is right for the situation.  

    If you’re having a big 250 guest, 40k wedding at a super fancy Northeast venue and everyone is getting filet mignon and lobster and especially if everybody is going to gift you an envelope full of cash (more of a Northeast thing than a South thing, I assume), then offer liquor.  At 2.75$ extra, even 250 upgrades is only an extra 700$ (I don’t think everyone and their grandma is going to ditch the white wine for scotch).  

    If your wedding skews more mature and your aunts are going to cluck at the liquor option, then just serve beer and wine, maybe a signature cocktail.  

    If your wedding skews young and your guests are going to leave early to hit the bar, then offer liquor but put out a clear price list- no surprises and no cute signs.

    Etiquette is about making your guests comfortable.  I wouldn’t stick by a set rule, I’d decide how best to do that with your own guests.    

    Post # 29
    Member
    6290 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2014

    sochic:  Etqiuette is not universal; I think a lot of people on here struggle with that concept. It varies place to place, culture to culture, and, yes, it does change over time.

    I personally cannot wrap my head around the idea that fewer drink options are preferable to more. Beer and wine will be included regardless; so offering liquor at a cost to guests is simply expanding the options. It isn’t forcing guests to open their wallets. All it means is that those who prefer liquor and are happy to pay for it, can do so, and aren’t forced to stick to soft drinks. I just can’t fathom where the issue lies with this.

    BUT I appreciate that etiquette differs place to place; therefore, if you happen to live somewhere where people WILL be offended by you offering additional options at a cost to them, I would suggest you stick to beer and wine only. I don’t think a poll will help you in that sense; it will only demonstrate what the norms are elsewhere.

    For example, on here the general consensus is that cash bars are rude. In the UK, open bars are almost unheard of for various reasons. So, if a UK bee did a poll on here the results would be meaningless: it would show that Americans and Australians find it rude, but wouldn’t reflect UK norms and opinions. If I go to a wedding I expect alcohol, and I expect a wide choice of alcohol; but I expect to pay for my drinks with the exception of those provided during the meal.

    Post # 30
    Member
    6290 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2014

    canadajane:  “Etiquette is about making your guests comfortable. I wouldn’t stick by a set rule, I’d decide how best to do that with your own guests.” +10000

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