(Closed) The Cash Bar Issue

posted 8 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
862 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

This is a hot topic during our wedding planning.  I feel strongly about having a cash bar (at my wedding) due to the following reasons:

Fiance and I are still in college and paying for the entire thing ourselves.  We have already mentioned this to some of the family and they totally understand and are perfectly OK with this decision.

The *primary* reason for having a cash bar is my family and FI’s family are *HEAVY* drinkers.  Did I mention HEAVY drinkers???  Our wedding budget would easily double even with a beer and wine only option.  We have done the math.  

Also, at my cousin’s wedding, a very drunk guest climbed a tree and couldn’t get down, so the fire dept had to be called.  Another family member woke up in someone else’s room (not related to the wedding) and was banned from the hotel.  Not too classy… I don’t want my wedding to turn into a zoo.

So, due to the above reasons (lol), and quite frankly after typing it out and seeing it in black and white, I will probably be having a cash bar.

 

ETA: To the OP, I do agree with treating your guests to a couple of drinks especially after all of the effort to get to the wedding.  However, our families would take advantage and law enforcement would be called at some point or another (which also happened at another family function…)

Post # 4
Member
1843 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We’re doing beer/wine only.  I think we’ve determined from other posts that this is somewhat of a location issue.  It’s the norm where I live, weddings I’ve attended to provide beer and wine or to have a cash bar.  I’m almost 40 years old and have attended ONE open bar reception (and I’ve attended a lot of weddings).

I don’t know about your friends, but my friends drink A LOT.  If we were to pay for unlimited drinks, we would be looking at $5,000-$10,000 in alcohol alone.  Our budget is $10,000 so that’s just not an option.

Post # 5
Member
4162 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Personally, I don’t see an issue with cash bars/open bars/subsidized, etc.  I’m not a big drinker myself, neither is Fiance, so even if free drinks are offered to us, we might only have one or two.  Same thing with a cash bar, we’d only have one or two.  With our wedding, we haven’t quite decided yet, but we’re more than likely going to have a red and a white on the tables, baileys and caesers, plus a siggy available at our expense.  We’re having an afternoon reception and don’t see the point of having a full open bar.  Plus neither of us drink wine or beer.  Anyone who comes to our wedding should know this about us, and should accept it as our decision.

Post # 6
Member
780 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Nope Jrzygrl, I totally get it.  I, too, do not agree with a cash bar and wouldn’t know what to think of it as a guest (no offense, for the love of GAWD NO OFFENSE!!!).  I know alcohol is expensive, I am like the Queen of Budget and “cheap” but I just couldn’t do a cash bar.  What Fiance and I did as a middle grown is looked ONLY for venues that allowed outside alcohol.  For a FRACTION of the cost of bar service thru the venue, we will have a HIS signature drink that Fiance picks (which he is very excited about picking his drink, LOL) and a HERS drink that I will pick as my signature.  We’ll have a margarita machine and our favorite white wine instead of champagne (cheap champagne is yuck to me and makes my head hurt!!).  We also have an agreement that for a set fee we pay upfront, our bartenders are not to accept tips (even with that creative addition, it still is no where NEAR what their bar service would have cost).  We literally DID not want to ask our guests to pay for ANYTHING at our wedding. 

Post # 8
Member
780 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

By The Way: my HEROIC Fiance is paying for the entire wedding on his own, in cash, no debt.  I’ve said this 100 times on as many posts but I think he’s amazing for doing it and never let an opportunity go by without mentioning it.  Tee hee…

Post # 10
Member
493 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I agree with you that people should host the wedding they can afford.  DH and I had a brunch wedding because I did not think we could pull off a Saturday night wedding on our budget.  Saturday night + dinner & dancing, people want a cocktail or three. 

Post # 11
Member
4824 posts
Honey bee

@katieebee: we did similary. I chose my venue so it would be only what was consumed at the retail price at a liquor store (So say we only used 1 bottle of vodka, and we choose what is stocked, that is all we pay for)  We are coordinating all our vendors which is much cheaper anyway!

It is estimated that it will end up being 13-18 per head plus the bartenders at 25 per hour.  No need to tip the bartenders per the liquor store we are going through since they make a good hourly rate.

I totally get that in some areas cash bar is expected, but people have to know their area and guests (not just the close family that is coming and will tell you everything is OK).  I would be taken our and shot if I tried to have a cash bar.

In my area I have been to two cash bars. One where everyone bitched and moaned because they also spend a ton of money on ice sculptures which really is an unnecessary expense.

And the second was acceptable because it was at the Moose Hall and the drinks were $1 a piece and everyone had helped by decorating and cooking food. It was a community affair. But even still we all had to run to the ATM because no one thought to bring cash. Even though we new this was uber low budget (like literally they spend a few hundred dollars) we still didnt think to bring money for a cash bar. (P.S- this was the best wedding I ever went to.)

Post # 12
Member
780 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

We also thought of having a host bar for 2 hours through the venues that wouldn’t allow outside alcohol.  That way, it’s not breaking the bank and no one is drinking alllllll night long.  Too many options to not host a bar.  That’s just me…

Post # 13
Member
615 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

For me, personally, I would never consider inviting guests to my wedding and then tell them, Oh hey you have to pay for your drinks. 

As the bride & hostess of my wedding – essentially a large party I am throwing together with my future husband – I realize it is my duty to ensure that my guests are treated well. No matter I how I look at it, I cannot deny that they are my guests, and free food and drinks are how I will show them my appreciation and gratitude for sharing my special day with me.  My fiance and I are a fairly young couple (25 and 26) and paying for our entire wedding ourselves with an incredibly modest budget, but I don’t mind shifting some money toward beverages, and saving money elsewhere in order to accommodate my guests.

I see it this way: If you were invited to a formal dinner party (whether it be at a house or fancy lounge), you’d be a bit offended when you arrived and your host & hostess announced that you had to pay them in cash for your meal and beverages, right? So why would it be any different at a wedding?

This is really just my personal opinion, but like I underestand that this differs from couple to couple, from culture to culture, so it’s not etiquette that is set in stone.  I realize there are a lot of couples who wouldn’t want drinking at their wedding, period, and that is fine too.  I think that what it truly boils down to and what the factors you should consider for your friends and family are:

– your estimation of your guests’ beverage consumption

– your budget and whether you can afford it (no one will expect you to pay for drinks with money you do not have)

– how important “free” drinks are to your guests and what they may be expecting

Post # 14
Member
1668 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

My question is:  if the couple simply CAN NOT afford open or subsidized bar, would those that insist on a couple sponsored bar prefer no bar?  I’ve been to a wedding where there was NO BAR and I would rather pay for a drink than not have the option at all to avoid the rude/tacky bar issue.

Post # 15
Member
4824 posts
Honey bee

@NJmeetsBX: For me, I would change the food I was serving or the venue or forgo something to make it work somehow.  It doesnt have to be a full bar.  I would even have something in a backyard or a Moose Lodge and provide a vodka lemonade made real cheap and some wine. Its often the most expensive when its being held at a formal location and it ends up being $50 per head etc. 

Basically, I would change my plan to make it fit the alcohol for me and my family/friends/regions expectations. Of course in reality that may not be possible for everyone IE if its a 400 person wedding or something and that is already what they are doing to make it work. 

Post # 16
Member
615 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

@NJmeetsBX:  This is a good and very valid question.  Personally, if the couple could not afford to pay for alcoholic beverages, I would rather attend a wedding with no bar at all.  I think it would be a sincere message from the couple saying, “Hey, we are sorry we can’t afford to give free drinks, but as you are our guests we still would not expect you to pay for anything – so no point in worrying about it at all.”  It is just more straightforward, and then there is no dealing with the inevitable muttering and grumbling about a cash bar.

To be honest, I never even think to bring my wallet to a wedding.  Ever.  At most I bring lipgloss, my driver’s license, and a camera.  So even if I did show up to a cash bar at a wedding, I’d be out of luck.

The topic ‘The Cash Bar Issue’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors