(Closed) Why are cash bars tacky?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 167
Member
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m super confused because a lot of people liken it to hosting people over to your house.  When I invite people over, they usually bring a bottle of wine with them.  Wouldn’t that mean that the guests should bring some alcohol instead of the host providing all of it?

Post # 168
Member
9816 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

When I host dinner or a party, I provide wine, beer, bottled water, soda, coffee, tea. If people want to bring their own booze to make something like martinis, they can do that too. I don’t really compare a dinner party with a wedding, because when I host dinner, it doesn’t cost me $4,000 for people to drink!

Post # 169
Member
361 posts
Helper bee

I don’t believe a cash bar is tacky. But I’m from California where everything goes. At my reception (on a Sunday afternoon) we’re only offering champagne for toasting, and other than that will be juice/water/coffee/tea/soda to wash down the plethora of desserts we’ll have on hand (no, I’m not serving a meal either). All of this will be made clear on the invitations/website, and the event time isn’t one that you would generally expect a meal at. Maybe I’m just tacky, but I won’t even offer a cash bar since my future father in law is a struggling alcoholic and at my fiance’s request, we’re not having a bar (much to my mother’s dismay). But as I said to her – I think if my family can’t go without drinking for a couple of hours to celebrate with me, then they need to get their priorities in check.

Post # 170
Member
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m super confused because a lot of people liken it to hosting people over to your house.  When I invite people over, they usually bring a bottle of wine with them.  Wouldn’t that mean that the guests should bring some alcohol instead of the host providing all of it?

Post # 171
Member
9816 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

View original reply
@MadameTussaud:  A lot of places won’t allow outside food and drink, so it’s not an option for most people.

Post # 172
Member
5667 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
@MadameTussaud:  Wine is a convenient gift to bring. Guests customarily gift the host (it can be wine, a trinket, a side dish…) and chances are they already brought you something else as wine is usually not on your wedding registry.

Post # 173
Member
100 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I don’t consider either option tacky. I think it all depends on the couple, their circle of guests, and yes is probably based on region. We are having a beer and wine bar for a few reasons. A. It’s affordable. B. Its not abnormal in our area. C. Too much free hard liquor could create a bad scene as most of our friends are in their mid 20s. 

I haven’t gotten any complaints from family or friends. I’m curious though. Am I the only one who thinks its tacky for guests to be so concerned about what THEY can get at an event that it NOT about them? I love to drink don’t get me wrong. I also appreciate a couple doing what they can as a host to make their guests comfortable. However I would NEVER accuse a friend or family member of being tacky if it wasn’t in their budget.

Yes it’s a party. Its a celebration about a marriage. I’d be happier to attend a small, dry, backyard wedding for a couple who will obviously make it to their 20th anniversary, then party it up for a flashy couple who will split before their 5th. And yeah I’ve been to both. Maybe I’m just weird…

Post # 174
Member
337 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I really hesitate to jump in here…..I don’t understand why everyone is jumping down people’s throats. I think this is a personal decision that should be made by the bride and groom. They know their friends and family the best .

FWIW, I live just north of Boston and have been to countless weddings and not a single one was open bar. NOT ONE. My venue charges $35 per person for open bar plus 27% tax. That’s over $44 a person. For 185 guests, you’re looking at….$8223.

So should I cut 109 people from my guest list to be able to afford an open bar?? Yeah, that makes sense.

I’m not worried about offending my friends or family. They are coming to my wedding because they love Fiance and I and they want to celebrate our relationship. They aren’t coming for free booze.

Post # 175
Member
408 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

View original reply
@hisgoosiegirl:  For some reason, the first time I posted this it didn’t post! But yes, our family & friends expect a cash bar. No one at my wedding will be surprised or offended…and frankly anyone else I don’t really care if they think it’s tacky! They won’t be there!

Post # 176
Member
2657 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Cash bars are common. I have never been to a wedding where the alcohol was free. Soda was free, maybe even beer, but anything stronger u had to pay for it. Which I saw didnt effect anyone. No one bought any strong drinks and if they wanted them so bad they would have paid for it. But they didnt. Evrybody was fine with free soda and beer.

And no one was offended.

So I see no big deal in it. We will have free soda and beer up to a point in the night, but if anyone wants something stronger they will need to pay for it. If they want it, they will buy it. And our family and friends know this. Besides I know alot of people coming who arent even drinkers, so that was a huge factor in our decision too.

Either way, do whats right for YOU, with your budget, etc. 🙂

Post # 177
Member
37 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I would just add it onto your invited as a small print * on the bottom or something.  I have been to a few cash bars and the only reason I minded is that I didn’t know and didn’t bring money.  At my cousins wedding my dad caught me after I had been in line for a while at the bar, and handed me cash, I was like umm ok thanks for the cash???? lol, ends up it was a cash bar, I had no idea.  If I had known I would have made sure I had money on me.  I was tempted to go grab my gift card andd take some money out.

Post # 178
Member
12 posts
Newbee

TACKY TACKY TACKY AND CLASSLESS!!!!  IF YOU INVITE PEOPLE TO YOUR WEDDING THEN YOU SHOULD TREAT THEM TO EVERYTHING.  If you can’t afford to pay for their drinks then invite fewer people.  I am saying this as a non-drinker. Your guests are your guests and they should be treated accordingly.  I can’t believe you would make people pay for drinks.  It’s like inviting people over for dinner and asking them to pay cash for their drinks! 

Post # 179
Member
114 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

It’s what you can afford, but make sure people are aware so they have cash.  Also, I think it’s rude to make guests pay for water/lemonade/soda. That should be hosted.  If soda is too much for your budget, make sure you have something besides water for guests to drink. 

Post # 180
Member
258 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I don’t think cash bars are tacky they are very common in our circle of friends.My reason for not having open bar is because I can barely afford this wedding at my dream venue and me and Fiance don’t drink at all and all our friends know that..I never go to a wedding expecting free alcohol .I go to weddings to enjoy my time and seeing the couples love for one another is good enough for me.I was opting for no alchohol at all but my sister and some friends said they wouldnt mind paying for there drinks, I am having all the unlimited soda,water ,coffee,juice…can I also state that a recent friend of mine got married and we had to pay for our waters and sodas and that didn’t bother me either ,I know the economy is tough and a meal is enough for me:)

Post # 181
Member
7605 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Oh hey, old friend!  I was hoping you could come to celebrate with us.  You know, take a full day out of your weekend, travel to a location of our choosing, wear your best clothes, and most likely give us a generous gift?  That would be super.

Oh, and bring your wallet.  Food’s on us but the buck stops there, buddy!

 

I don’t know, ladies, I personally feel like food and alcohol go hand in hand at a wedding.  Believe me, I “get” that it’s a massive expense.  Trrrrrrrrust me.  But I do feel that a wedding reception is about hosting your guests and making them feel welcome and comfortable.  I do not believe guests should feel like paying customers.

I agree, however, that it’s obviously a regional thing.  I’ve lived in Toronto my whole life and have yet to attend a wedding that didn’t have an open bar!

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