Post # 1
(Just to add a bit in here – this is not a question about whether or not cash bars are rude or ok, so lets not fall into that madness again.)
To cut a long story short, my FI and I are serving and providing as many free soft drinks as people want to drink throughout the day of our wedding. People will not go without a drink, and there is no reason for them to bring cash.
The place we are having our reception at has a bar in the front of the venue – but outside of the room that we are hiring.
We are not having a strictly ‘dry’ wedding by any means, we just aren’t providing alcohol as we can’t afford to pay for enough for everyone.
The bar area is open to anyone who wants to use it – including our guests – but as it’s not strictly part of our wedding, we don’t feel we should have to pay for drinks that guests want to purchase from it – especially as we are providing them with unlimited free soft drinks.
I mentioned this to a friend, who is AGHAST that we wouldn’t be having an open alcoholic bar (even though open bars at weddings are completely unheard of on The Isle of Man – and who had a cash bar (all soft and hard drinks) at her wedding, as is expected where I am from.) She went into a big rant about how cash bars are really rude, and how – if she’d known when she got married – she would never have had one and blah blah blah…
The point is that anyone using the rest of the restaurant can use the bar – and I will not be paying for a stranger’s whiskey needs!
I feel that, etiquette wise, I’m stuck in a bit of a grey area, and just wondered what people’s thoughts were?
Post # 3
I’m a little surprised the restaurant doesn’t have some sort of system in place so that weddings/events with open bars aren’t paying for the entire restaurants drinks. Is there space within your room to set up your own private bar?
Post # 4
I think some (okay, a lot) of your guests will be turned off by this. But at least the alcoholic drinks are available if they want them (and want to pay for them).
If you want to meet everyone halfway, you could call the venue and ask if you can open a tab and then close the tab when the guests have met X amount. That way, you aren’t shelling out money for an entirely open bar, and allowing your guests to have some kind of drink.
This is an age-old debate and there is no wrong or right. I personally would never think of NOT having an open bar, but I don’t look down on anyone who chooses not to.
Post # 5
I think you’re fine, especially since it’s uncommon in your area to have an open bar :). That’s usually the best way to judge if it’s okay or not. I would just ignore the friend (well, politely, of course), she probably just read something online and got a little too over-zealous about it.
Post # 6
@anghp: “This is an age-old debate and there is no wrong or right. I personally would never think of NOT having an open bar, but I don’t look down on anyone who chooses not to. “
Post # 7
If that’s normal, just go with it. Your friend is just a lush looking for a free drink! 🙂
Post # 8
They must have some sort of system-tokens or tickets they give the guests? If your only issue is that you don’t want to pay for non-guests, that is obviously reasonable, but they have to have a way around it…
If your issue is that you can’t afford an open bar (or just don’t want to have one), then that’s ok too. I think you’ll find a big split on here in regards to opinions on cash bars vs open bars, but I think it’s regional, and if it’s uncommon in your area I can’t imagine your guests being offended.
Post # 9
If it’s common in your area to do cash bar, I wouldn’t worry about it. But if you choose to, or just have a bit of extra budget, I know some brides in a similar situation have mailed drink coupons with the invitations. Mail 100 beer coupons 100 wine coupons, and 100 cocktail coupons. Pay the bartender for the number of coupons redeemed, and there you go.
Post # 10
I’m not sure what the question is if it is not a discussion about whether cash bars are rude or not? I don’t mean that to be snarky, I’m just confused… is it that you can’t provide booze for just your guests, meaning if you had an open bar you would have to pay for everyone who went to the bar, wedding guest or not?
Post # 11
I’m confused as to what your actual question is.
If you are considering providing alcohol for your guests, I’m sure the bar could keep a tab for your guests which you could settle at the end of the night to ensure that you wouldn’t be paying for the drinks of other people in the restaurant. But you say that you can’t afford to pay for alcohol for your guests and won’t be having an open bar. So…what exactly are you asking?
Post # 12
If your friend hasn’t gotten over what she claims to be her own “faux pas” tell her she can pay for your guests’ alcohol to redeem herself. If you didn’t plan on it I wouldn’t. ESPECIALLY since it is not the norm/etiquette in your area to have one anyway.
Post # 13
FI and I don’t drink alcohol, and we’re providing free soft drinks – we can’t afford to up the budget to include X amount of alcoholic drinks for eveyone who wants one.
There just happens to be a separate bar on the premises, that people are welcome to use.
There will be a ‘bar area’ in our room, which will be ‘open’ – but will only provide non-alcoholic drinks.
I think some (okay, a lot) of your guests will be turned off by this.
All of our guests are from the same area – where an open bar is pretty much unheard of (except at bank/finance sector work do’s) so we should be ok on that front.
Post # 14
i wouldnt think that was rude at all. i would be annoyed if the only thing i could drink was soda though. i am not a nig soda drinker. hopefully water and ice tea/juice are other options?
i am surprised too that they cant differentiate your guests from other restaurant patrons. i too would NOT pay for open bar for an entire restaurant of strangers.
its not rude to not have open bar, but is there a way to get a smaller cash bar in the room you are renting? it might be kind of disruptive to have guests coming and going all throughout the reception.
edit: just saw your post. they cant run a cash bar out of the soft drink bar?
Post # 15
Would the restaurant be willing to provide carafes or bottles of house wine on the tables for your guests (that you pay for)? That’s one way to provide some alcohol while controlling costs.
You are not obligated to provide any alcohol, but as a guest, I’d be bummed if I couldn’t have so much as a glass of wine with my dinner without paying for it. I wouldn’t think you’re cheap or tacky or a terrible hostess, but yeah I’d be a bit disappointed.
Post # 16
Give her a flask of rum and tell her she can have all the rum & coke she can drink on you 🙂
But seriously I agree with Sailor, it would be nice if you could find a way to provide wine with dinner.