(Closed) Why are cash bars tacky?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 152
Member
1327 posts
Bumble bee

I find it interesting that people are comparing a wedding to a house party. I don’t know what partys other people have been too, but every party I have gone too everyone brings their own drinks.

It is standard here to have a cash bar, I have never heard of an open bar wedding as too many people get smashed on the brides tab. A really nice wedding will offer a tooney bar ($2.00 drinks) but that is rare.

Post # 153
Member
671 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

We are having a cash bar, but by cash bar I mean we are putting a plate out, and asking our guest to leave a dollar or two per drink. We are just trying to get the cost of the alcohol and nothing more. If they leave a dollar, great, if they leave two, great!

Post # 154
Member
98 posts
Worker bee

@baletrina:  Where are you really from?

 

Really?? Im sure she’s not lying about where she’s from. Just because you’ve never been to a cash bar in Chicago doesn’t mean she hasn’t.


Post # 155
Member
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I’m having a cash bar at my wedding. Fiance and I talked about it for a long time and we both decided we’re fine with that. Neither of us are big drinkers so having an open bar wasn’t something we wanted. I have a few people in my family that can’t handle their liquor at all and I didn’t want them to get smashed. My one cousin can really embarrass herself, as in falling flat on her face, and I didn’t want that to happen. Fiance and I also decided it was just better because we didn’t want anyone getting drunk on our dime.

Soda, water, milk, juice, and coffee will definitely be free. And we are having a free champagne toast as well. I don’t think cash bars tacky. I feel as though it’s whatever you want. 

Post # 156
Member
1327 posts
Bumble bee

I think it would be way worse to have no drinks at a wedding rather than to have to options to buy their drinks. At least they have the option to drink, if they want. Neither Fiance nor I are big drinkers (one or two is plenty for me), so we are not going to spend our life savings for people to get wasted.

Post # 157
Member
52 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I didn’t read every single comment here but it seems like this is a bit of a controversial topic! While open bar is awesome, I am really surprised that people feel SO strongly that a cash bar is tacky and rude. The way I see it, weddings are incredibly expensive; and if you think about the cost per head, even without the alcohol, that is a lot of money to be spending on me as a guest!

Personally, at the weddings I’ve been to, I am so grateful to have had the honor of celebrating with the couple on the most important day of their lives. I also know, now that I’m planning my own wedding, the couple has spent countless, painstaking hours saving and stressing over every detail their guests will experience at the wedding. Cash bar is an option that allows your guests to enjoy whatever drink they like, while not having to sacrifice something incredibly important to you on your wedding day!

Personally, we are saving any extra cash to put towards the bar, but we will probably not be able to host all night long. We would LOVE to have open bar all night, but it’s just not possible for us. Honestly, if someone were upset about that, I would either think they had no idea what we had gone through to even put this wedding together, or I would be so hurt that they would consider me tacky or rude when I had already spent SO much of my time and money trying to make their experience as enjoyable as possible! It is so important to us for our guests to have a great time celebrating with us!

The people who are attending your wedding care about you so much I hardly think you need to worry about the cash bar if that is what is financially responsible for you! Do what you need to do, and enjoy your day!

Post # 158
Member
630 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’ve never been to an open bar wedding except for one and that was where the bride and groom supplied the alcohol. That being said, I still don’t like cash bars and I don’t think that they’re in good taste. I booked a venue who’s bar prices I could afford, otherwise I wouldn’t have signed with them. To me, supplying drinks just seems like it should be a part of the budget, not an after thought or a cost that should be passed on to the people who are supposed to be your family and friends. Using a low budget as an excuse isn’t a reason to me, I don’t have a lot to spend but made sure that I would be properly hosting my party guests even if it is just a limited bar. If you have a $300 VFW hall, and family and friends cooking your meal then sure, maybe just offer a couple kegs along with sodas, tea and water or something and that’s absolutely fine. But if you’re having a banquet hall wedding, limos, a designer dress, big floral centerpieces, and I have to pay $5 for a beer, then something isn’t right.

Post # 159
Member
803 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

My family believes that if you host an event, you provide alcohol because alcohol is essential to any celebration (we’re Italian.  My grandfather lived to be 106 and maintained that the worst period in American history was Prohibition).  Just as you provide food, water, sodas, etc. you provide alcohol and if you can’t afford to then you should either have fewer guests or have no alcohol at all because you just don’t charge people for something at your celebration.

I’m not on board with that entirely, especially in this economy.  I wouldn’t want anyone I love to put off a wedding for another year or invite fewer people just to be able to afford to provide alcohol, that’s ridiculous.  But I never carry cash at weddings (I just bring a decorative clutch so I don’t carry any money) and wouldn’t drink alcohol if I had to pay for it. I would enjoy it, but if I figured alcohol into my “getting to the wedding” cost I would have to cut into the gift that I gave to the couple out of necessity and I wouldn’t want to do that.

ETA: I wouldn’t do a cash bar at my own wedding, though.  If my mom wasn’t generously offering to pay for the open bar, we would offer a signature drink (we’re doing a brunch so it would be a bellini of some sort) and that’s it.  It certainly helps that we’re doing a brunch and drinking heavily in the morning isn’t entirely done XD

Post # 160
Member
319 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

So I’m going to be repeating a lot of what other smart posters have said, but here’s my thoughts.

1) It’s not *tacky* but it’s also not good hostessing. A thoughtful host does not require her guests to pay for the event she is having and she plans an event with her guests needs and comfort first and hers second.

2) That doesn’t mean you have to pay for your family/friends to get rip-roaring drunk… does anyone over the age of 22 do that at weddings anyway? If you can’t afford to pay for a full bar all night, don’t have one. Provide beer or wine. Or if you have alcoholic family members or simply don’t care for parties with alcohol, have a dry wedding. It’s okay.

For the record, we had a brunch reception with champagne/mimosas hosted. There is a bar in the restaurant portion of our venue where a few gentlemen went and got a scotch, but that was clearly *not* part of the event we were hosting so it didn’t qualify as a “cash bar” to me.

In conclusion: A “cash bar” is not very gracious to your guests. but that doesn’t mean you have to have an open bar free for all.

Post # 161
Member
250 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

For those of you who feel that the wedding hosts should pay for people’s drinks, do you see the following two options as similar, or is the latter one tacky?

A) Open bar for X hours, then no bar at all

B) Open bar for X hours, then cash bar for the rest of the night

(Provided guests are notified in advance of cash bar situation and that basic water, coffee, soft drinks, etc., are provided by ost throughout the evening.)

Post # 162
Member
567 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@MapleMoose:  Can I tell you how much I LOVE finding other people’s from Mass. talking about this topic. I am pretty sure we all have the same opinion that we know how expensive any type of open bar can be. For 100 people to have an open bar at my venue for only ONE hour, it would have been $1700. REALLY?!

 

To PP: I do not think that they are tacky.  You do what you can afford.  If people are going to be at your wedding and be upset you are not paying for all their alcohol, maybe they should not be there! I don’t understand how a wedding should be associated with drinks. It should be about celebrating with friends and family and having a great time with people that mean the most to you.  Yes, if I could afford it I would probably do an open bar, but I would also be doing a lot of other things.  We are not even having a videographer because of how expensive they are!! I have had people tell me I should cut out other things from my wedding to do an open bar.  LIke what, having a dress. Flowers, my centerpieces, food? I don’t have much I could cut, so we will have a cash bar! Do what you can do, end of story.  Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind!

Post # 163
Member
2657 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

No big deal to have a cash bar. We are offering free soda and beer, but if u want something stronger, u need to pay for it. 

Besides Ive never been to a wedding that had free alcohol. Free soda yes, but free beer no.

Post # 164
Member
408 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@hisgoosiegirl:  That’s how we feel! It’s fine for us, our families and friends. Honestly, other than that, I don’t really care if someone else feels its tacky lol.

Post # 165
Member
5295 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1993

@andilene:  me neither! You know your guests best and what they’ll like.

Frankly, I would never cut out people I want to have at my wedding just so the remainder can drink for free. .

I’ve flagged this thread multiple times as  it’s obviously attacking others’ wedding choices. Considering the ‘what’s the tackiest thing you’ve seen at a wedding’ thread got closed down pretty fast last week, I’m kind of sad to see this one go on so long. 

Hosting beer and wine was more than some weddings have done in my area, and I always view free alcohol as a bonus and not a necessity – nor a representation of ‘good  hosting’. 

 

Post # 166
Member
319 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

Hmmm… I just realized that I should have been more clear when I said I don’t consider it tacky but I also don’t consider it good hostessing.

I mean, I don’t give two hoots what the hostess of a wedding I’m a guest at does vis-a-vis alcohol. I’ve been to full open bar, beer & wine only, cash bar, dry weddings, every combination. All were lovely and I never once thought that the hosts were being rude or tacky by not providing me with Grey Goose martinis for 6 hours.

When I say I don’t think it’s good hostessing I mean that *I* wouldn’t feel like *I* am being a good hostess if I has anything that required my guests to put out their own cash at my wedding. I realize the distinction is subtle but I can honestly tell you I don’t judge other brides decisions on this… the question is “why are they tacky?” and while I don’t feel they are taciky I responded with why I wouldn’t have one. There should be no inference of a valuative statement about OTHER weddings because of what I did.

Weddings are different, yay.

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