(Closed) Why are cash bars tacky?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 197
Member
803 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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@MissBananaBread:  “If you and your Fiance don’t like drinking, or don’t like chairs, then there’s no reason to have it/them at your wedding.”  

I’m sorry, I had to comment on this, I giggled so much at the thought of a couple becoming aghast when they find out that the reception venue they paid for included chairs, and them going, “No!  We don’t like chairs!  We’re entirely anti-chair!” and someone scowling at them and saying, “It’s the 21st century, chairs are here to stay and you just have to get used to it!” 

I entirely agree with your comment though, and the garden wedding where the guests stood sounded beautiful (especially since chairs were provided for the people who really needed them).  It’s true that you can omit something expected and still host a fabulous, classy affair for your guests.

Post # 198
Member
63 posts
Worker bee

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@hisgoosiegirl:  I agree, must be a regional thing. I actually have only attended ONE wedding WITH an open bar – nearly all weddings I have attended had cash bars!

Post # 199
Member
63 posts
Worker bee

Definitelty do not think it is tacky to have a cash bar. I have only been to one wedding with an open bar and I was suprised.

Post # 200
Member
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I thought I posted this earlier, but maybe it didn’t show up… so it confuses me that a lot of people liken a wedding to hosting a party at your house.  Whenever I go to a party at someone’s house, I bring wine with me (and people always bring wine when they come over here).  So why would you expect the host to provide the alcohol when the polite thing to do as a guest would be to bring alcohol?  I’m curious why people think the logic of wedding = hosting a party at your home.

Post # 201
Member
803 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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@MadameTussaud:  I think it depends on the kind of thing that is normal for your own group of friends.  Among my family and friends, it’s normal to bring a bottle of wine but also normal for the host to provide liquor.  Or for people to not bring wine and for the host to still provide wine.  My family is one that will not accept a cash bar for this reason.  Most of them are from a generation that grew up in the slums, too, so it’s not that they don’t understand needing to save money or not being able to afford a lavish wedding, it’s just that even at that time it was considered important to provide alcohol to your guests so they tend to be even more condescending about it because “we shared a three bedroom house with two other families and our parents were still able to afford it!”  Of course, some of them got married during prohibition so they didn’t have the same problem.

Nowadays, my generation has been taught the same “either pay for it yourself or don’t have it available” lesson, but we’re all lucky enough to have been raised in a slightly better economic situation.  I think my generation also tends to be more lenient; while we wouldn’t want to have cash bars, it’s not because we think it’s tacky.  It just goes against what we feel our responsibilities are (I know that sounds contradictory but it’s sort of like how I’d say tattoos are awesome and people who get them are not being stupid but I feel like it wouldn’t be right for me and if I did it it would be a stupid choice on my part).

Post # 202
Member
1773 posts
Buzzing bee

I don’t think most people were comparing weddings to a house party, but rather a dinner party at your house. TOTALLY different. I think most weddings are certainly more akin to a dinner party than some sort of drunken romp.

 

I think there are some gray areas.

Scenario: You have a small wedding in a backyard with your family. I think BYOB is appropriate here, as everyone is fairly close. Ive known people who did a potluck wedding. It was groovy.

 

Here’ the thing though. If you want me to get out there and boogie, without a couple glasses of wine it isn’t likely. I’m very poor, and weddings are a tad expensive. I wouldn’t be shelling out money for wine. I just don’t feel comfortable doing that. I really don’t do it when I go out either. I think it would feel awkward to have some of your guests drinking and having a great time and others self-conciously not drinking, not because they have something against it, but because they can’t afford it or because they don’t want to spend more money.

 

Another thing is, I’m going to be a lot happier sitting at a table full of your relatives that I don’t know if you give me a couple glasses.

 

Someone else compared it to ‘upgrading’ to a steak dinner from chicken. That’s exactly it.

 

That being said, if beer and wine are free, I feel a lot better about other stuff costing. I don’t love it, but it is somewhat more understandable.

 

I think that beer/wine is a great option. I don’t like the idea of doing something that is considered fun costing money at an event I’ve been invited to, nor do I like the idea of having some people more able to afford as much liquoring as they’d like.

 

Also, if it’s a big wedding and you’re not super close to everyone (I know this happens. The wedding I’m in has an extra 40 people that the bride/groom didn’t care about inviting. At my parents’ wedding there were a ton of random businessmen as well as a second, SECRET reception for the fancy people. HA. That’s a faux pas.) I think you’re more likely to get scoffed at in that situation. If I ended up at a wedding for semi-political reasons, and I don’t really love the bride/groom that much I’d be bummed out if I couldn’t at least loosen up and have fun.

 

All that being said, I’m not a big drinker. I drink maybe 4 times a year.

 

Someone else said they’re from CA wine country. I am too. I’m in Sonoma County. It’s pretty normal here to pay for a full bar (at LEAST wine!) If someone is getting married at a vineyard, I’d be pretty bothered if there wasn’t wine available. It just wouldn’t make sense.

 

I don’t get drink tickets. How do you distribute them? 

 

Post # 203
Member
999 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I did attend wedding a year ago that had open bar and then it turned into cash bar. Out of nowhere we were told it’s cash bar, buzz kill. Half of the guests left shorlty after. I guess they didn’t want to pay. I stayed until the end dancing, didnt ‘matter to me.

Post # 204
Member
2699 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

In the UK, cash bars are the norm because the order of events is different from in the States. For example, our sit down meal for our ceremony guests (mid afternoon) has drinks included – about 4 glasses wine per guest…we can’t bring our own alcohol to the event so the venue cost of this alone is huge.

When reception guests turn up in the evening, everyone is fed again…so to add an open bar to that would be like paying for alcohol twice over. I would never deny someone the opportunity to have an alcoholic drink just because I’m not providing that for them as well, so a car bar allows the to pay for themselves or not. I honestly think 99% of people in the UK would never go to a wedding with no cash because of this…….cue a Brit telling me i’m wrong!

Post # 205
Member
7368 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I wouldnt say tacky persay. I’ve only been to one wedding that had a cash bar. I was taken aback only because we didn’t know of this before hand. And I had to go pull money from an ATM. So yeah in that case I was kinda pissed especially since the hotel charged $3 for a withdrawl. Ideally, IMO a limited bar is best, however I’m fully aware that many couples end up doing a cash bar due to  budget. I know within our circle/family, an open bar is standard and its defintely a priority for us to do this for our guests. However, I don’t look down on those who aren’t able to do the same. But just some advance notice please.

Post # 206
Member
1773 posts
Buzzing bee

Also, no. I don’t need copious amounts of booze to enjoy the wedding. I just think it’s tacky to make people shell out more money to drink if they do want to. I’d rather go to a dry wedding that accounted for nobody drinking (a totallydifferent vibe! LAWN GAMES AND HIGH TEA YEAH) than one that was all about dancing and partying the night away with a cash bar. Why? I wouldn’t be drinking.

 

Either throw a dance party with a beer/wine bar or an afternoon luncheon with soft drinks. I think it’s innapropriate to expect a guest to let loose and party based on them paying for drinks.

 

I wouldn’t be angry if I were at a wedding without alcohol, but depending on the circumstances I might bail out early. Who wants to hang around until 11 pm if people are dancing and I don’t feel like it because I can’t afford the alcohol to inspire me to do so? I’d probably bail early, depending whose wedding it was.

Post # 207
Member
2152 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

One problems I have with an open bar:

People will waste more when they aren’t paying for it. Ex: Someone sets there half-finished drink down somewhere and doesn’t quite remember where. Instead of searching, they can just get a new one for free.

As to the argument “do you make guests pay when they come over to your house for a party”. All my house “parties” (few friends getting together) are BYOB – I really can’t afford to supply beer anyways, so no one expects us to for our wedding.

But that is just my personal thoughts and I don’t really want to get into a big discussion about it.

Post # 208
Member
2699 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

What’s happened to the numbering here! Half the comments are gone :/

Post # 209
Member
13904 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Let’s just all agree to disagree.  Some people view cash bars as inappropriate/tacky, while others just have no option to do a full open bar.  There are personal and religious convictions in the works, and obviously none of us know what finances look like for other people.

As I said before, my circle expects open bars, and I expect no less from them.  It’s how I was raised, and it’s how the vast majority of weddings I’ve been to handle the alcohol situation.  That being said, I grew up in a fairly affluent white-collar area, where maybe this wasn’t even an issue that people considered.  Planning my own wedding, I certainly see the benefit of having a cash bar, or partially cash bar, or limited bar, or beer/wine options only.  I don’t agree with it, but that’s my own personal belief.

The phrase “tacky” has been overused in terms of this.  Tacky is wearing stripes and plaid, or plaid and polka dots.  Tacky is a whole lot of things, but as long as you’re providing options for your guest (not, hey Grandma, I know you need to take those pills with dinner, so bring your crackers and water!), you are hosting them.  People take “hosting” to an extreme with weddings, sometimes (I know I do).  My opinion is that when you host, you provide food and drink (to include alcohol), entertainment, favors, and a good atmosphere.  But, that’s just ME!  We all have different values and have different ideas of how our weddings will go.  Let’s all agree to disagree, and stop using the word tacky so willy-nilly! 

*I know I’m guilty of using this word, so I’m now going to try to stop using it in general.  I didn’t realize how cutting it was until reading through the end of this post.

Post # 210
Member
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

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@SamanthaLovesJames:  

Wow, they just left?

I would be gutted if half of my guests left because they were no longer provided with free alcohol. That’ just awful!

Post # 211
Member
1880 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

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@hisgoosiegirl:  Hey I’m sincerely sorry if I offended you or anyone else, but as you yourself said, it’s in the title of the dang thread.  LOL!  That being said, I’ll try and be more careful of my wording so as not to offend.  Foot in Mouth  But my feelings are my feelings and they are pretty firm on this issue.  A host should not ask a guest to pay for anything, ever (I’m sure there are exceptions to this that people will counter with but whatever).  JMHO.  Now, I’m totally fine with hosts just not serving alcohol at all if that is their wish or if they cannot afford it, I just think it’s poor form to invite people to an party your hosting and then give them the “option” to pay for any portion of said party.

And you can totally call my open bar ‘rich, snobby elitism’ – LMAO!!  I don’t offend easily. Wink

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