(Closed) The Great Bar Debate!

posted 10 years ago in Food
  • poll: Pick Your Poison
    Open Bar : (123 votes)
    45 %
    Cash Bar : (23 votes)
    8 %
    Cocktail Hour Open Bar : (18 votes)
    7 %
    Beer/Wine/Signature Drink : (96 votes)
    35 %
    Dry : (5 votes)
    2 %
    Other : (7 votes)
    3 %
  • Post # 62
    1046 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2010

    We’re doing hosted (we pay) beer, hard cider, wine and champagne (champagne only for the toasts). An open bar would have been nice but we can’t afford it. However, there will be plenty of quality drinks in the above categories.

    Post # 63
    1315 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    Cash bar here. Everyone does it here.(Ireland)

    Wine with dinner is included, that’s all. I don’t even know anyone who has been to an open bar wedding… I think they’ve become a bit of an urban myth!

    And with the price of drink here, it would put us into a mortgage. Equivalent $5 beer, $5.50 wine, say $8.75 for a hard drink + mixer – I’d def be running an extra $7k or so to go open bar. And ours is not a rough crowd: they  just like to drink. A good bit.

    I’m just thankful I don’t have to make decisions like this!!

    Post # 64
    1315 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    Although I do like the idea of providing some kind of pretty signature cocktail, and if the bidget stretches, will def try to wheedle a discount out of hotel to make it happen.

    Post # 65
    88 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    We’re doing an open bar but our wedding is also in a barn on my parents property. I hired friends of friends with bartending experience and I’m buying all the beer, wine, liquor, and champagne. So far with what I want the cost will be somewhere from 700-1000 bucks.

    We had originally decided to do only beer, wine, and a signature cocktail, but I love champagne and the cost to add in the liquors and mixers was minimal enough that we decided to just do the open bar.

    Post # 66
    126 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    Like MerryMary, I’m from NB, where cash bars are the norm. We’re serving wine with dinner, which is more than is usually provided around here. We’re also having a toonie bar, so all drinks will be $2 (compared to the typical $5-$7).

    Some of my favourite memories of weddings are sneaking out to the parking lot with a bunch of family and friends (and usually the bride or groom) to shotgun beer or chug sourpuss! Always a nice break from the crowd and a moment to have a bit of time with great friends.

    Post # 67
    5151 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: June 2010

    We are having an open bar.

    The way it will work for our venue is open bar during cocktail hour and then during dinner it will be closed (you can take your drinks to your table and wine, beer and champagne will be offered) and then it will re-open for dancing/etc after toasts. I like this set up because people will not be hanging out in line at the bar during toasts/dinnet/etc. Another factor was that my wedding is on Mackinac Island (somewhat of a destination) and everyone will be on the island (not driving, no cars!) so that isn’t a concern while normally it would be.

    I am planning to only drink a drink (mmmm memosa!) before the ceremony (jitters! if they are bad enough hehe) and then champagne during the toasts but nothing else ๐Ÿ™‚

    Post # 68
    2344 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    @camrie: I think with a Sunday afternoon wedding, many of your guests will not miss alcohol. It’s all about context, which is why always suggest brunch or afternoon receptions to brides who can’t afford or who are opposed to alcohol. Dinner or late night receptions do often feel weird without any alcohol at all, but then again in some families and cultures, its okay.

    @aunt pol: I hear you on how expensive an open bar is! Many brides are lucky to have a venue with a package that makes it more affordable, or they can bring in their own. We are bringing our own wine to our after party venue but at $4/beer and $6/cocktail and no package options, there was just no way we could swing it. 

    @orangie: I would love to have “toonie” beer & mixed drinks in addition to our hosted wine, but I don’t think we can afford it. ๐Ÿ™

    If I were having a dinner reception, rather than dry brunch plus “wet’ after party, and my family was not opposed to alcohol, we probably would have had an open bar for the cocktail hour, a champagne toast and wine served with dinner. I think that is plenty!

    Post # 69
    2865 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    @ Daniellemybelle: I agree. Even I would think it was a bit odd to have a Saturday evening wedding without alcohol (since I think most people are used to the idea of going out to the bars on weekend nights).

    Obviously we are in the minority! ๐Ÿ™‚ I imagine we’ll do a small dinner with close friends and family after the wedding and they can have a drink then if they’d like.

    Post # 70
    2856 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2009

    It is very traditional to have an open bar for weddings and parties in my family so that is what we had. This was one of the things my parents provided. By the end of the night, out of all the wine, liquor and beer, the only drinks left was the soda and beer. Lucky for us, an unopened keg was able to be returned for a refund and my parents took the open keg and used it in their kegorator.

    Post # 71
    27 posts
    • Wedding: June 2011

    ugh….i hate cash bar! its so not right to make your guests bring $! If you’re on a tight budget, just cut somewhere else…luckily, an open bar is doable with our large budget…many people will be unhappy to shell out $ for a drink

    Post # 72
    1426 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 1969

    We’re doing an open bar, but limiting it in a couple ways.  The only option our venue offers is to pay for each drink that someone orders.  The first limit we’re putting on is to just use rail alcohol (i.e. they’re getting Absolut, not Grey Goose).  Then we’re closing the bar about an hour before the end of the reception, because it doesn’t seem necessary for anyone to have a drink 10 minutes before they have to leave.  We’re doing drinks only, no shots because shots add up the bill quickly and lead to more drunkenness.  Then we’re also putting a cap on the amount we spend, so the bar tender knows that if the bill gets to a certian dollar amount, to shut it down (even if it’s still half way through the reception) unless we authorize more.

    Wow, writing it out makes it look like a lot, lol.  But basically we’re trying to control both the cost of the bar and the ability of people to get drunk.  We want people to have a good time, but we also want to keep it classy ๐Ÿ˜‰


    edit to say: I don’t really mind any type of bar a couple does.  The only thing I would hate would be if you charged for non-alcoholic drink.  But I’ve been to beer and wine weddings, dry weddings, weddings with drink tickets, etc.  I guess I don’t really expect that people will have a full unlimited free bar, as long as something is provided…

    Post # 73
    186 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    We are on a very tight budget. Just about everyone that is coming is a beer drinker. We’ve already paid for a keg but have 1 on reserve just in case. If we only drink one then that’s cool. If we need the 2nd that is cool too. We will have everything else cash, with the exception of the toasting drink. There will be plenty of non alcoholic drinks available for our guests too. 90% of our guests are right down the road and will not be traveling. The other 10% well we’re not even sure if they’ll be coming yet.

    Post # 74
    1049 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 1998

    We are able to provide our own liquor which will cut costs, and my FI’s mother and step-dad VERY generously offered to handle the stocking the bar. We are having basically a full open bar (beer, a red and a white wine, vodka, gin, rum, whisky, & Jack) and signature drinks for the cocktail hour (vodka spiked lemonade & mojitos). We both come from families of big drinkers, and in our region an open bar is generally expected. 

    It really depends on where you come from though, so maybe certain people should think twice before calling others tacky or cheap. A wedding isn’t about getting your guests drunk. It’s about getting yourself married. If you can afford to do both, then that’s great, but it won’t make your marriage any better.

    Money don’t buy class.

    Post # 75
    577 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 1969

    Open bar all the way!  Our friends are hard-partying, and our families and older guests are pretty liberal and non-judgemental about alcohol.  We also don’t have any guests that have a “reputation” for getting so inappropriately drunk that it would impact our wedding festivities.

    Post # 76
    2788 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: January 2011

    We are having an open bar, our venue includes it in the price.  Although we would have had one anyway, both of our families enjoy imbibing!

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