Post # 1
So our situation is this. Our wedding is at a music/theater venue. We’re having a fairly typical 4-hour wedding for about 120 people; ceremony 5-5:20, cocktails 5:20-6:15 in the theater’s bar/lounge space; sit-down dinner reception 6:15-10 in the main theater space. This will all be full open bar.
Then after that, we are going to transition back to the bar/lounge for a karaoke after party. The venue staff will clean up and go home, with the exception of 1-2 bartenders, and we will hang out in the lounge and sing karaoke (we’re hiring an awesome karaoke MC lady) with whoever’s decided to stick around (which, knowing our friends, will be a pretty robust number). My fiance has figured we should do the after-party as cash bar, because typically that’s how it is; everybody leaves the hosted reception and goes to an unrelated venue and keeps partying, but they’re on their own to pay for drinks. But I’m having trouble with this, because although it will be after the formal reception ends, it’s still in the same venue that we have rented for our event (albeit in a different room), and it’s NOT a public bar, so to me it still feels like it will fall under our host umbrella. Especially since we are doing the karaoke MC, and are planning to have the venue’s on-site catering bring in some pizzas at midnight… it’s really more of an extension of the reception, as opposed to a separate after-party someplace else. So given all this, I feel like it would be kind of awkward to switch to cash bar for this segment of the evening.
What do you guys think? If you were a guest in this scenario, would you be confused/put off at the switch to cash bar?
Or would you feel like it made sense for an after-party to be cash bar, since a fully hosted after-party is above and beyond what’s typically done?
And if you think it makes sense to switch to cash bar, how should we let people know?
Post # 3
I would expect to pay for an after party! Not sure how to spread the word though, maybe only put open bar reception somewhere?
Post # 4
Our after party was a cash bar, as were all that I’ve ever attended. I think it’s to be expected. If you’re able to make it clear that this is an after party, I’d assume that most that have ever attended one would understand that they’d be on their own for drinks.
I printed up our after party information and gave it to the front desk of the resort to give to guests when they checked in since we figured most of the guests who would attend would be those staying over night. I don’t remember exactly what I put but I did mention that a “Cash bar would be availble.”. If you’re having programs, maybe you could do something similar and include a little blurb about the after party in there.
Post # 5
I would include a separate card inviting those who want to party on after the reception to join a no-host karaoke bar in the ______ room.
No- host means that people pay for their own drinks so the expectation should be clear.
Post # 6
Yeah, I’d say that’s ok after a long open-bar reception!
Post # 7
@UpstateCait: that’s a great idea… I was thinking I could put it on our website, but having a hand-out at the front desk or with the welcome bags is a great way to physically put the information into people’s hands (not just about the after-party, but all the directions, times, etc., since people might have forgotten or misplaced their invitation enclosures). Thanks for the suggestion!
Post # 8
I wouldn’t be offended. Around here that is pretty typical. We are doing a similar reception timeline and the last couple hours will be cash bar. I am thinking about making a cute bar sign, with maybe a few special drinks on it and at the bottom putting the time when it will switch to cash bar or even putting the same little sign on each table.
Post # 9
I think cash bar at the after party is fine, but with it being in the same venue that is kinda tricky. Maybe have the bar post a nice sign saying what is included (if anything…like soda or whatever) and that alcohol is available for purchase. If you have a website I would put it on there too, or send out an informal email blast to your guests. ONLY because I know that I hardly ever have more than tip money on me for cash at weddings so that is something I would want to know ahead of time. Good luck!