(Closed) TAB BAR……….. Please Help…….. HONEST OPINIONS NEEDED

posted 4 years ago in Reception
Post # 31
2076 posts
Buzzing bee

After reading your other post I suggest that you just nix this party.  Sounds to me like financially it is a strain on you.  So save yourself some money and just enjoy your wedding in Jamaica with those that can attend.

Post # 32
468 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

newellyweds2016:  this topic is soo popular on the Bee I will summarise for you:

UK: Yeh Cashbar Woooo! Everybody’s doing it! Besides, Queeny lives here so we’re inherently classy anyway!

US: Cash bars are soooooo tacky! Be a proper host you selfish whore! *slaps face*


Post # 33
953 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

newellyweds2016:  For what it’s worth, we had ours set up like this–a certain amount of wine and beer and then the rest was cash–and everyone had a jolly good time and I heard not one single complaint either directly to me or through the grapevine. People who want to keep drinking will pay to drink, either at your reception or elsewhere if they leave. I think many people expect too much–it is a day to celebrate with people who are important to you, and those who are there for that reason should not be disgusted with you for only providing a certain amount of alcohol. I think it’s important for sure to think of your guest demographic when deciding what to provide, but it is a party for all of you, not just for the guests (in my opinion). When we were planning ours I was told over and over again that the people who would complain are not the people whose opinions should matter to me anyway!

Post # 34
9595 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

Im sorry but to me this is in the camp of the dreaded T word.

Do just beer and wine if the budget is tight but dont throw a party and expect your guests to pay the tab. Or half the tab. Or any of the tab. Thats not hosting. 

Post # 35
381 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

Honestly, $750 might not even cover non alcoholic drinks at some of the venues I’ve looked at, not for 250 people. You need to find a venue that will let you BYOB, have a dry wedding, or a cash bar with champagne toast. 

Post # 36
1995 posts
Buzzing bee

I know I’m in the minority on here, but to me, SOME alcohol is better than none. I’d be fine with a glass to toast with and then cash bar. It seems silly if you can’t have an open bar all night long, then no alcohol whatsoever.

Post # 37
2394 posts
Buzzing bee

lamington:  HAHAHA! You win this thread. 🙂

OP, we did a tab bar and it wasn’t a problem. We set the bar up this way because we had a realistic budget and never expected to hit our max, but wanted to prepare just in case our guests drank waaaaaay more than we expected them to. Essentially, we used the tab bar as a way to plan ahead for something unexpected.  

We had about 80 adult guests, and our reception was 6pm – 10pm. These were the instructions we gave the bartender:

– If we hit our max by 8pm we would extend the max by another $500, because 8pm was way too early to close the bar.

– If we hit the (extended) max by 9pm we would have the DJ announce that the bar was becoming a cash bar in 15 minutes, so head to the bar to get another drink before the open bar closed. We didn’t want to close the bar at 9pm, but we also wanted to make sure no one would have been surprised by a sudden and unexpected drink charge, and it would only have been a cash bar for less than an hour. 

– If we hit the max anytime after 9pm we were going to just close the bar completely. Closing the bar less than an hour before the reception ended, and three hours after dinner was served, seemed like a better option to us than going further over our already extended budget, or turning it into a cash bar which we really didn’t want to do.

As expected, we never hit the max and the bar stayed open, and free, all night. Again – this is because we set a realistic budget, and only prepared the steps above in case our guests drank way more than we expected them to. The tab bar was simply a way to ensure that we didn’t unexpectedly end up owing an extra 5k at the end of the night. It wasn’t a way to save money on alcohol at the expense of our guests. 

$750 is WAY too low for 200+ people. 

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 12 months ago by  Soon2bmrs1.
Post # 38
702 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Does your venue let you purchase half barrels of beer? If so…that’s one way I could see the tab idea working. We did that for our engagement party. I just purchased one half barrel of nicer craft beer and one of a domestic light beer. That was enough for about 80 people (quite a few being heavier drinkers) from 5pm until midnight. If anyone wanted other drinks, they were on their own. The venues I’ve seen seem to charge around $250 per half barrel, so you could get 3 and depending on how much everyone drinks you might be covered for the night? I would probably spring for an extra one though if you’re having ~250 people.

If you haven’t decided on a location yet, maybe go with a place that has a BYOB option to save money.

Overall, since it’ll be a party that isn’t your actual wedding I think it’s ok to be a little more informal and just offer beer (and much less awkward than cutting people off after only half your party has a drink)…but I might be in the minority on this one.

Post # 39
1332 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

newellyweds2016:  I have been to a wedding with a tab bar!!!  And once they reached their maximum amount, pulled out my cash.  That wedding ended up costing me a lot of money.  With that said, it was our first ‘friends’ wedding post-college, and were ‘in it to win it’, so drinking pretty heavily!!  The couple admittedly stated afterwards that they did not consider how much their budget would carry them for the size of the event, and the group invited (a lot of college people), so their tab bar only lasted thru cocktail hour, and then it was a cash bar for the remainder of their wedding.  So, I guess my advice would be to take a good look at your budget, and overestimate what people will drink.  If your tab bar will only see your thru one of the 5-6 hours of your reception, then some people *could* be annoyed/upset.  If you think it will get you thru 1/2 of it, then maybe consider it, as long as people are aware to bring money, and will expect it to ‘flip’ at some point.

I do not begrudge the couple either, and had a good time at their wedding regardless!

Post # 40
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I went to a wedding with a cash bar only. It was awkward because while  FI and I do drink socially, we were not aware of the cash only rule and did not have cash on hand so we spent cocktail hour standing there with nothing to do or drink (they charged for bottled water and sodas as well).

Post # 41
10 posts
  • Wedding: June 2017

I’m from the UK. The only time I’ve ever experienced an open bar was over in the States.  In the UK its not the norm to have an open bar.  Me and my OH are planning on buying a few kegs of ales and wine but the spirits are up to the guests.  I have never begrudged my friends for having a cash bar, I do not expect them to pay for my drinks just like i wouldn’t expect them to pay for my outfit.  Do what feels right for you/ where you live.  xxx

Post # 42
602 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Having grown up between two very different places,  this is very regional. My dad is a minister so I got dragged to probably over a hundred weddings until my teens. Up north in bigger cities it’s always open bar.  Here in the small town south I’ve only seen it once and that’s because the venue required it.  Other than that it’s usually beer and wine provided if there’s alcohol at all.  I’ve seen a hand full of cash bars at hotel and country club receptions. Just go with what seems normal to you and works with your venue. 

Post # 44
815 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

newellyweds2016:  I went to a wedding like this. had one glass of wine during the cocktail hour, wanted a second one for dinner and had to pay $10. 

I’d NEVER do this for my wedding. Their tab ran out before dinner and that’s just bad! At least provide free beer and wine.

Post # 45
1305 posts
Bumble bee

Daisy_Mae:  Agreed. What is the point of an at-home wedding redo? If you want to have a small, intimate island wedding, do that. If you want to have a 250-persn blowout in your hometown, do that. But not both, especially when one is so poorly hosted.

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