(Closed) whats so wrong with having a cash bar?

posted 8 years ago in Reception
Post # 92
929 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012 - Sunset Harbour

I agree that weddings are handles differently depending on the region.

I went to a wedding on Ohio and experienced a cookie table for the first time – someone had to explain to me what it was!

On Long Island – I have never been to a wedding with a cash bar, and they generally are frowned upon. But it’s also pretty damn impossible to do a budget wedding here either. 

Post # 93
7776 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I think that any choices a couple makes for their wedding are done for personal reasons. A couple should make their guests happy but they should also make themselves happy. If that couple wants to provide an open bar for whatever reason, good for them. If a couple wants to have a cash bar or no bar at all, I’m sure they have just as legitimate reasons. In this day and age, traditional ettiquette isn’t what it used to be. Couples are free to make the choices they feel are right for themselves and their guests.

Situations like these are so subjective to culture, personal beliefs/morals, budget, etc. that making blanket statements about either side is always going to be a bad idea.

We had an open bar, but we felt that it fit the type of wedding we had and the crowd we had invited. Plus, my mom insisted on open bar and she was paying so… yeah. I didn’t really care either way.

Post # 94
6245 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 1900

Most weddings I’ve attended have been cash bars.  But only two were full price drinks (both held at restaurants).  Usually the cash bars are discounted prices.

I’m in New England, so I’m used to cash bars. 

Post # 95
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I do think what sometimes get lost in the conversation is that fact that some people can’t truly afford it. I seen several comments if you can’t afford it then don’t have a wedding type things. It seems sliightly ridiclous to me for someome not to have a wedding because they can’t afford an open bar. Most venues don’t allow outside alchohol, and even limited bar can cost several thousands dollars. I don’t go to weddings for the drinks or the food, its just a nice bonus. I don’t see what the big deal is. People sometimes get caught up in the party and forget why they are truly there to celebrate.

I love my cocktails and love my wine, however I’m not going to upset if someome can’t just doesn’t room in their budget for it. I think as long as they provide something, juice,punch, water then no one has anything to complain about. (one of the weddings I went too you had to pay for a dollar for water) Mind you I’ve only been too two weddings with cash bars, and I go to a lot of weddings. It really depends because I live in New England and I seen several people say its the norm when that hasn’t been my experience. Which leads me to beilive its has more to do with your social circle and family, not just the region where you are from.

There are lots of time where I host a dinner or something in my house and I don’t provide drinks. Not for any reason because I have a fully stock bar. Just because I don’t feel that we always need a drink to have a fun time.

I personally am not going to label someome as rude, inconsiderate,inappropriate and make them feel bad about their weddings because they can’t afford or don’t want an open bar.

Post # 97
114 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I’m getting married in Nebraska, so it’s less expensive than other areas and we’re having an open bar with top shelf liquor and micro brews, etc.  However, my parents and Fiance parents decided that was important to them and are paying for it (About $26 a person over 21 for the whole night…great deal).  

However, I think hosting an hour or two is enough, but let your guests know.  Or host keg beer and two wines, etc.  Whatever you can affort. When a bar is ALL cash, including soda, it’s annoying.  I know weddings are expensive and I know you don’t want Uncle Bob getting smashed on your dime, but save up and provide a little something (at least soft drinks, even if it’s lemonade, coke, and diet coke.  Paying for your own soda at a wedding is ridiculous). 

Post # 98
7369 posts
Busy Beekeeper

@mandypop:  I don’t think theres anything “wrong” with it necessarily,  but I figure if my friends and fam are paying to get to my wedding, get dressed up, possibly pay for a hotel, possibly pay for a flight, rental car, new dress, etc, and most likely a gift –  the LEAST I can do is buy their drinks.

Thats how I feel. To me food and drink are one and same. However, if you do cash bar, please, please, please let people know in advance.

RockStar33:  But if most people consider having a cash bar a no-no…. what do they think about having buck and does?  or stag and does?  etc.   It’s raising money for your wedding so why are people ok with that but not something like an open bar??

I’ve never in my life heard of that.

Post # 99
7369 posts
Busy Beekeeper

@bookworm88:  I think saying “they should have to pay to get wasted” is just an invalid way to defend cash bars.  It’s assuming that the guests of a full bar wedding will have less self-control than those at a cash bar, which makes no sense.  “Oh, I don’t want people wasted so I will make them pay for their drinks”–  if your guest wants to get so drunk they throw up on grandma, they will do it whether it’s your money or their own.   

ITA with you entire post. Its just silly.

Post # 100
3175 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@TwoCityBride:  I get what you’re saying, but, personally, we wouldn’t have been able to afford an open bar at most venues, so we chose a venue specifically that let us bring our own alcohol so we could afford it. I’m always confused by the “My venue charges $XYZ for an open bar, and we can’t afford that!”….why would you choose a venue where you can’t afford the amenities? That’s just my personal preference, though. It was very important for us to have an open bar, so we planned accordingly. 

ETA: I understand that this is regional, and, if it’s accepted in a specific circle, then great. However, I just don’t think the “I can’t afford my venue’s alcohol” thing is very valid. To me, that means you can’t afford the venue.

Post # 101
1245 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’ve been to a lot of weddings over the years, and only a couple have been cash bars.  Where I live (Midwest USA) it’s not the norm.  Not right or wrong – just not the norm where I live.

There are also different levels of open bar.  Some places, wine and soda are free and you pay for a mixed drink.  Some just have free soda.  Some have different tiers of mixed drink.  Our venue had top shelf and their lower shelf (It wasn’t called lower shelf but it wasn’t as much as the top shelf).

We had an open bar.  We did not have the champagne toast to cut costs and no one noticed that we didn’t have it.  The bar stopped serving liquor about 45 minutes before the reception ended, but still served soda.

I think one of the big problems is when you have a cash bar and you don’t let your guests know you’re having one.  I don’t think advertising it on your web site is enough – you have to put it on your reception cards.  The few weddings we went to where there were cash bars we didn’t know about!  It was embarressing to try to find a cash machine.

For those of you that think that the guests just have to show up to your wedding, you’re wrong.  Especially for us with kids, it’s expensive for a babysitter.  For me to attend a ceremony and a reception, you’re talking $100 alone just for the babysitter.  Then there’s obviously the cost of the wedding gift.  We always try to give the cost of the plate plus a little extra.  Then there’s gas cost and if you buy a new outfit.  I work weekends, so I need to try to switch shifts and/or days.  If you’re standing up in the wedding, obviously the costs are higher.  So for me personally, since I was asking a lot from guests (IMO), it was a no-brainer for me to have an open bar.  Even if it wasn’t the norm, I would still provide open bar.

I got married 13 years ago and most places did not allow you to bring in your own liquor.  I have heard of more venues doing that, but I think they are few and far between, and it’s usually the smaller places that allow it.

ETA – I’ve never heard of the stag+doe thing either.

ETA2 – Even though we had an open bar, we did not have anyone get drunk or wasted, and we had a younger crowd.

Post # 102
5009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@les105:  In many areas, venues which will allow you to provide your own booze are few and far between. We lucked out that our venue doesn’t charge through the nose for booze, but most wedding venues I’ve come across over here charge £10-20 per bottle for wine brought in and won’t allow spirits to be self-catered at all.

Post # 103
3175 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@SpecialSundae: Our other options (before we found our venue) were backyard wedding or wedding in a park, where you can serve alcohol if you buy a one day license for pretty cheap. These options are available to everyone. That would be preferable for me than charging my guests for alcohol. Although, as far as I know, cash bars are generally acceptable in Scotland, so a cash bar isn’t viewed the same way as it is where I’m from.

Post # 104
11231 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

This is such a frustrating topic. People don’t realize that cash bars are the norm in certain areas and get offended and judge brides who choose to have a cash bar without knowing the area/situation. In my area, cash bars are totally the norm. When friends have parties, it’s typically a 50/50 split on what they supply and BYOB, and most of the time, 90% of the people who attend bring their own for various reasons. 

To the pp who said that there’s little difference between the cost of an open bar and the cost of the bar fees for a cash bar–where are you getting that from? Our open bar (for only 4 of the 6 hours of our reception) is $4000 for well liquors, house wines, and whatever beer they offer. We are only spending $6400 on the entirety of the rest of the reception (room, staff, catering/dessert, tables/chairs/linens/dinnerware, DJ, uplighting, etc. etc.). The bar fee for a cash bar (or consumption service, which is another option for us) is $250. 

Our venue does not allow us to bring in our own alcohol (I wish they did!). We tried to get them to do only beer and wine for cheaper, but no go, same price no matter what. Disappointing, but our guests who will be drinking (another reason not to spend the money on an open bar/have consumption service–less than half of our guests will drink and definitely not $4000 worth of alcohol) would rather have alcohol available than no alcohol at all. 

Post # 105
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Another thing, even though it’s a “cash” bar, what century are these venues living in, that they don’t accept debit cards?

I also agree that the couple should host water/juice/punch. One of the weddings I attended with my ex didn’t host anything. I think I went in the car and got change to get us water after dinner. I do think if you don’t provide ample amounts of water and juice that is rude to your guest.

No matter where I’m going even if it’s just up the block to my gym I bring my id and debit card with me. I think most people bring their cards even if they don’t have cash. I do think for those having cash bars, perhaps it would be a good idea to know if the venue accepts cards or has an atm.

Post # 106
5072 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

@vorpalette:  In my area, cash bars are totally the norm

Just curious – what part of MI are you in?  I can’t remember the last time I saw a cash bar at a wedding here.

The topic ‘whats so wrong with having a cash bar?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors