(Closed) Why are cash bars tacky?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
1326 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I don’t think it’s tacky at all. Maybe it’s a regional thing? I’ve been to many open and cash bars an noone ever says anything about having to pay for drinks. Your guests are there to support you on your big day. If a full bar isn’t in the budget family and friends understand. Nobody wants the bride and groom to go in debt for a wedding.

Post # 4
Member
3375 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I’m not super duper offended (I’d be offended if there was NO bar). My main problem with cash bars is that I don’t carry cash normally.

Post # 5
Member
3375 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I’ve never been to a cash bar wedding though. It’s normally either full open bar or wine/beer.

Post # 6
Member
1880 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I don’t think it’s necessarily tacky, but I do know that it is not the norm in my circle or geographic area (I’m in NY).  I feel as a host, you need to know your crowd and what makes them comfortable.  In my crowd, a cash bar would be seen as rude or tacky (I’ve even heard of friends reducing the amount of the gift to Bride & Groom upon finding out it was a cash bar).  I’m not saying either or is right or wrong, just that you have to know what your crowd expects.  If your guests expect open bar and you do cash bar, be prepared for negative comments.

all that being said, you do what you want and can afford.  Good luck!

Post # 7
Member
899 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think this is a big regional thing and varies from town to town, so you know your circle best and if it is common/accepted in your area then go for it. 

Many people think of it this way: If you invite your friends over for a party, usually you provide the drinks. The guests may bring you a gift, but for the most party you supply everything. A wedding can be considered a larger scale of this. Guest bring you presents, you provide everything for them to enjoy themselves.

 

Post # 8
Member
962 posts
Busy bee

@littlelucygoose:  First off, I understand your perspective and I respect your opinion. I am not a huge fan of cash bars and here is why: I feel like if you are hosting people you should cover the entire night for them. This includes their drinks. I personally think it is better to not serve alcohol at all then it is to have a cash bar. That said, I would never be upset with a friend if I had to pay for a drink at her wedding. It’s just not how i would handle it. Everyone is different

Post # 9
Member
5984 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

not tacky at all IMO! I had one 😀 Cash bars are the norm where we were married.. and I made sure that by word of mouth everyone knew so that they would come prepared.

I recently went to a wedding that was open bar and I was super surprised.

Post # 10
Member
7173 posts
Busy Beekeeper

My thoughts are:  you are throwing a party; you shouldn’t make guests pay for anything.  Is it expensive to throw a party for a lot of people? yes.  You still shouldn’t make guests pay, IMO.

…just an aside, if you are doing an open bar for the first few hours, my guess is the amount you spend will be sliding scale down after that (meaning, fewer drinks bought per hour as the night wears on)

 

Post # 11
Member
5296 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1993

I didn’t feel like paying for people to get drunk. But his side insisted (and paid for it then). We had beer and some wine. All other alcohol was cash. I don’t think it’s rude or tacky. You pay for what you can afford or want – free alcohol is a bonus, not a necessity. As long as you make it clear to guests beforehand what will be going on, then I think it’s fine. It’s when you’re under the impression that it’s free and show up with no cash that people get annoyed with.

Post # 12
Member
3943 posts
Honey bee

I think it depends what is the norm in your area/social circles. My friends and family have done it all-cash bars, open bar, beer & wine only, etc.

I honestly don’t think it’s tacky. Of course I love open bars, but when I go to a wedding I usually expect to pay for drinks. So if I don’t have to, it’s just a nice surprise 🙂

We are having open bar, but it’s required at our venue. All of our guests are from out of town and spending money on travel and hotel, so we would have done it regardless since they’re spending so much to be with us.

EDIT: Just want to add that we are purchasing the alcohol ourselves rather than through the caterer. This is saving us $$$$$. Also, if you are having cash bar and there isn’t an ATM nearby then I think it’s polite to inform your guests through word of mouth. Nothing worse than having to drive 15 minutes away to get cash for drinks (this happened to us at our friends wedding).

Post # 13
Member
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I agree with nwhoever said it’s regional. I wouldn’t sit around thinking it was tacky if I went to a wedding with one, but it would be nice to have a heads up. We went to one where no one told us it was cash bar, and everyone had to find an ATM at a nearby gas station to get cash, which kind of put a sour note on the evening.

But yeah, it’s EXPENSIVE. We only offered beer/wine/champagne and it was $25/person, nearly $4K just to provide alcohol! No one complained about the lack of liquor, so just offer what you feel comfortable with.

Post # 14
Member
2410 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I think it is tacky because as hosts you shouldn’t make your guests pay for their beverages at your party.

Post # 15
Member
418 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I can say I’ve only been to 1 wedding that had a cash bar. I don’t carry cash and we had no way to get any.

My issue is, you’re budgeting and planning for a wedding, this should be included. If that means a smaller wedding or cutting back on other things…it’s part of putting on a wedding in my eyes. I’m asking people to travel to see me, take up a whole Saturday or weekend to attend, possibly take off from work, maybe have to buy a new outfit, pay a babysitter and then to top it off they’ll be bringing a gift…and then when they get there they’re going to have to pay to drink? I could never do that to my guests.

To each their own. But I don’t like cash bars and saw paying for people to drink as just one of those expenses you accomodate.

Post # 16
Member
9824 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

It doesn’t bother me as long as I know what to expect ahead of time. Let me know on the invite that I’m going to need cash if I want cocktails, and I’ll be fine.

I do think it’s nice to provide beer and wine, but if you can’t that’s cool too. Just make sure there’s soda, water and juice on hand for those who can’t be buying drinks all night.

 My family is very anti cash bar, so they will shell out the money for it (seriously there was a cash bar at our daughter’s christening AND the after-funeral luncheon when my grandparents passed away). It’s not realistic for everyone though and I get that.

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