(Closed) When is cash bar acceptable?

posted 11 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
1830 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

Every wedding I have ever been to has been a cash bar, so to me it is always acceptable 🙂 Gotta love the good ol’ midwest, full of cash bars and dollar dances. That being said, I am not doing either since we are throwing a bbq in our backyard.

Post # 4
35 posts
  • Wedding: September 2011

I live in the midwest as well, and cash bars are very common. In some regions, a cash bar is unheard of and a GHASTLY  ettiquitte error, but it’s common where I live. Fiance and I are offering soda and a variety of local microbrews–all other drinks are cash bar. Call us tacky if you want…but this is common where we are from.

Post # 5
3952 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I have been to a wedding where there was a cash bar, but the bride provided wine and champagne to the guests.  She wanted to not see honestly, the beer bottles that some guests like to drink, on her elegant tables or beer in glasses at all.

So it was her idea to make it more difficult for those to either get hard liquor or beer.  She also served a signature cocktail too.

Imho, what I would do if it were me, and what I did at my wedding was have a pre-printed wedding menu and have the drinks listed on it too.  Tell then what IS offered rather than have a cash bar and imho, that reminds people more of WHAT IS NOT OFFERED.

At our wedding, we offered our guests:  different types of wine, certain designer beers, and homemade sangria (signature drink). 

Like my friend, I also didn’t want people stumbling down drunk doing shots or things getting out of hand, so imho, I nicely and eloquently showed the guests what we would be offering them!  One person out of our entire group, went to the bar outside of our event space (we had personal bar attendants always pouring and bringing more sangria or wine or bringing the designer beers when needed), went and got a scotch and soda.  But that’s the only person who even ventured out to the bar.

Post # 6
6377 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

Actually, the only time that I do think a cash bar is acceptable is if the couple are non-drinkers. Even then, I think its a nice gesture to provide some kind of a bar to your guests but atleast allowing them the option of purchasing their own drinks is necessary (imo).

Cash bars are just not done where I’m from. I’ve only ever been to one wedding that was a cash bar and the guests were not pleased. Every other wedding I’ve ever attended (and I’ve been to a lot of weddings) all had some form of an open bar, whether it be beer & wine (which is the most common), a full open, or the drinks were provided by the b&g (kegs and bottles of wine on the tables). 

ETA: I forgot to mention, I feel that cash bars for liquor are totally acceptable. As long as the couple is providing atleast beer and wine, I see no problem with asking the guests to purchase mixed drinks. 

Post # 7
123 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I don’t see anything wrong with a cash bar. If the couple doesn’t drink, why should they pay for everyone else’s drinks? Plus, it could be this way for financial reasons.

Post # 8
1073 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I don’t think that “a cash bar is never okay;” I think it depends entirely on the couple and their families and their individual situations. I completely understand the logic behind having a cash bar if the bride and groom don’t drink; why would they pay for something they don’t condone? And why would they offer an open bar to alcoholics? I totally get that.

I don’t think I would ever have a cash bar, myself, but Fiance and I have families who like to party and parents who are willing to foot the alcohol bill. But that’s not to say that open bars are the only way to go!

I think it all depends on the circumstance.

Post # 9
3993 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I’m not going to lie, dry weddings disappoint me a tad. Especially when I know the couple does drink (hello I was at your 21st bday a few years ago). But when they don’t drink then I expect no alcohol, so there is no let down. I do think you should take your guests into account. I’m not saying full open bar, but beer and wine? A signature drink?

I’d have appreciated a cash bar at either – if I’m spending Saturday night at your wedding, can I at least have a mojito? I’ll pay……… lol.

Post # 10
3952 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I just think that, and I am one who has attended a wedding w/a cash bar, there should be either alcoholic drinks or have a wedding reception without.

If there are religious considerations, I have seen the receptions totally without alcohol and that’s fine too.

Personally, am not a fan of the cash bar, and it was our choice to keep several things in line at our reception, and show our guests on our menus we designed, what we were offering them as beverages, rather than reminding them of what we are not offering them and having a cash bar. 

Our decision of doing so was based on fact we did not want our guests becoming too intoxicated and did not want to see anybody do a shot of liquor at our wedding reception.  By having glasses of wine, champagne, sangria, or the nicer beers either poured or brought to our guests, we could make sure nobody was drinking too much, getting out of hand, etc.  Worked perfectly!   

Post # 11
7086 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@MissTatas, I live in the midwest and have never seen a cash bar and only one dollar dance even in our smallest towns.

@MissTattoo- I think that it is fine not to serve alcohol if the couple is uncomfortable with it for any reason. I have been to a few afternoon luncheons that didn’t have any alcohol and they were just as nice as the one with.

Post # 12
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I don’t seen anything wrong with a cash bar.  To be honest with you, I think it’s ridiculous that people think it’s tacky and unheard of to NOT have an open bar.  The wedding is supposed to be about celebrating the union of a couple.  I would like to think that the people that are coming will be happy with whatever we have to eat or drink.  The wedding is FREE for the guests.  There isn’t a cover charge or anything like that.  So why in the world is it MANDATORY to make sure the guest have unlimited FREE alcohol all night.  I mean the bride and groom already has to spend thousands of dollars to make the day happen.  So for people to come to my wedding and then think I should treat them to a night filled with drunkness on my wallet is obscene.  We are having a cash bar at our wedding for the people that maybe would like to have a drink or several.  We will be providing some wine and champagne for toasts, but that is it.  The meal is free as well as the hours of entertainment and dancing.  So, I think is absolutely FINE to have cash bars at weddings Smile

Post # 13
936 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I’m no fan of the cash bar–it’s just not done in my neck of the woods.  If the couple doesn’t drink and has a dry wedding, I don’t think they should be expected to provide alchohol in any way, shape or form.  If alcoholism is a family issue, then I definitely wouldn’t even expect it.  I like my liquor as much as anyone, but I can make it 5-6 hours without a drink.

Post # 14
1935 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I’ve only been to one wedding that had a cash bar (not including where it’s just hard liquor that’s cash only with hosted beer and wine).  I think it’s understandable if it’s for financial reasons, but I’d probably be a little annoyed if it’s really obvious the couple spent a ton of money on centerpieces or other not as critical parts of the wedding but then made their guests pay for alcoholic beverages if they wanted one. 

Post # 15
632 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

@sheebsw: I completly agree with you. I think people see their gift as a cover charge and expect certain things, like alcohol to be provided. 

Either way people gripe about cash bars and they gripe about no alcohol. I don’t think it makes or breaks the enjoyment of a wedding. If you choose to provide some form of alcohol to your guests, that’s great. I don’t go to weddings expecting anything and I’m there to be a supportive guest for the happy couple. I can see why some would be disappointed but I don’t have a problem with dry weddings or cash bars. 


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