Post # 1
My Fiance and I have been discussing how to serve the alcohol at our wedding.
His family is FAR more conversative when it comes to alcohol. Wine and beer is…okay to an extent although they don’t see the point of having it at all. Hard liquer is down right scandalous though.
My family is FAR less conservative when it comes to alcohol. They love to party and drink.
Regardless of the views of our family alcohol is a must. We like to casually drink and we want to offer people the option to drink if that’s what they want to do.
However an open bar is not an option because we just don’t have the money for that.
The manager/coordinator of our venue suggested offering up beer, win, and champagne but having a cash bar for specialty drinks/cocktails.
I kind of like the idea but I kind of feel like I’m saying “Hey come to our wedding, buy us gifts, but you have to pay for any good drinks because we don’t want to spend that money on you.”
As a guest at a wedding what would you think if you were given some free alcohol but asked to pay for other forms of alcohol?
Post # 3
I put it sounds fair, and I’ve been to one wedding with cash bar, a couple with limited bar like yours. Some people are really againist this, but I feel like I don’t go to peoples weddings for drinks although its nice. You are provided several options for your guest and I feel this is more then fair. Another thing that can be done, is maybe scraping one drink option like champange, and perhaps having a signature drink, or just serving a signature drink for cocktail hour.
I also been to weddings where they were cleaver about which times the bar was open so that way they had an open bar for limited hours. If you do this don’t warn guest ahead so those who like to take advantage don’t over order because of the time limit.One way to to do that option, is have the bar closed during dinner, have a bottle of wine on the table, water, and maybe punch. Then have an open bar for the dancing portion of the reception which may be 2-3hours. Your Venue seems wiling to work with you so perhaps you can ask them about that option. Rather then having an open bar all night.
Post # 4
In my circle, this is not uncommon. We are planning to do 2-3 types of beer and a red and white wine. I would like to do a signature cocktail as we provide the alcohol at our venue and stocking a full bar is a logistical nightmare but we can’t seem to agree on a signature cocktail. I want cute and colorful and he wants boring and strong lol.I think we will ultimately serve beer and wine only.
Have you considered sponsoring a cocktail hour where the bar is open for that hour and after that it becomes a cash bar for cocktails? I have been to a couple of weddings that did this and think it is a nice middle ground.
Post # 5
The only bad thing about cash bars is not being told about the fact that there will be one.
Post # 6
I think this is totally fair, and is what we plan to do – open beer and wine bar, liquor available on a cash basis.
Some people say you should only offer the drinks that you can host – just the beer and wine, without liquor available at all if you can’t provide it for free. But in my opinion, even if you can’t host the cocktails, you ought to at least make them available on a cash basis for those who might want them. Nobody is forced to buy them but they at least have the option. If the host can’t afford the cost of providing liquor to all the guests, and the choice is between making the liquor available on a cash basis and just not offering liquor at all, I think not offering liquor at all is the worse deal for the guests.
(I’ve heard people argue against any form of cash bar by saying that if you invited people to a party at your home it wouldn’t be acceptable to offer beer and wine free but charge for cocktails – but I really don’t buy this. The two situations are not comparable. When was the last time you invited 100 people over to your home? It also doesn’t take into account the markup on alcohol charged by a venue/caterer – as opposed to buying it from a grocery store for a house party.)
Post # 7
It’s totally standard in my area that beer/wine/softdrinks etc are on the tab, but spirits etc you pay for. IMO if there are free options but they choose to go for something pricier – that’s their choice. You’ve given them the free option.
Post # 8
I feel its important to host what you can afford to supply for your guests, My vote is beer/wine only. That being said, if it’s acceptable in your circle then go for it.
Post # 9
If that’s what you can afford than go for it. Personally I would of looked at other areas in our wedding that I could trim the budget, so that i could have an open bar. Most people in my circle don’t carry cash or a lot of it. And I would hate for people to have to leave just to get cash.
Post # 10
I think it is acceptable. As the host of the event, you’re still providing a pretty wide variety of beverages to your guests. They have everything they can expect at a standard wedding. I’ve been to plenty of events that didn’t even have hard liquor as an option.
I don’t think you have to communicate it on the invitations or other places since you are technically providing alcohol to your guests. However, if you wanted to make up a cute sign to display at the bar to explain, that might go over well. It would almost certainly be better than the typical signs they put up with prices, especially since they likely wouldn’t highlight the free alcohol choices on their sign.
Post # 11
I was actually going to do this because we did not have money for a full open bar either. I was planning on just putting a certain amount of money at the bar and having a full bar. When the money ran out it would be a cash bar. The venue we picked was actually very cheap with open bar ($10pp) for all night so we decided to go with that!
Post # 12
We’re doing it. The owner of the restaurant where we’re having our reception recommended it. She said she’s seen way too many wedding guests take advantage of an open bar and run the tab up for the bride and groom way past what anyone might consider reasonable.
But it’s not like we’re bringing in a full bar and then charging for the liquor – a full bar is in place at the restaurant, and we’re providing a selection of wines and beers (which we’ll list for our guests) gratis. However, IF anyone wishes to drink something other than what we’re providing, it’s there and can be purchased.
If your venue doesn’t have a full bar in place, don’t have them bring in anything you’re not providing free for your guests.
Post # 13
I don’t think I would mind as a guest, but I wonder – will it really save that much money? Won’t people just drink the free stuff instead? I know that personally, I would switch from my regular drink of rum and diet coke to red wine if it meant not having to keep track of my wallet.
Post # 14
I’d look into doing open bar at certain hours and being clever with that before introducing any kind of cash bar.
Post # 15
Having a limited open bar and offering a cash bar for hard liquor is actually very common (at least in my area). Every wedding that I’ve attended in the last few years has done exactly this. As did we. We offered hosted beer, wine & soda (with a champagne toast) and then had an cash bar for liquor based drinks. If we could have had a full open we would have but that would have run us $75 p/person JUST for the bar. That wasn’t going to happen. In my opinion, as long as the hosts are providing some kind of alcoholic options that’s really all that’s necessary. If your guests want something stronger then they can pay for it.
@Juliepants: We had A LOT of guests utilize the cash bar option at our wedding. Way more than I thought would, actually. Most of the men who attended had their whiskey based drinks and some women were walking around with girly looking cocktails.
Post # 16
We are having beer and wine only. Our wedding is at a winery and they do not have a license to serve liqour. To me as a guest, as long as something is being offered, I am happy. We are going to have 3 different kinds of wine and 3 different kinds of beer, and I’m positive everyone will be satisfied!