(Closed) Why are cash bars tacky?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 212
Member
482 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Cash bars are commonplace in Ireland, noone in Ireland has the cash to save 200 odd wedding guests from sobriety and thirst till 5am!

 

There is usually 3 glasses of wine and one of champagne for everyone to drink but after that, you buy your own drinks!

You’d need a second wedding budget for that!

 

I was at ONE wedding with a free bar and they were the most wealthy family I have encountered!

 

😀

 

No not tacky in Ireland- just necessary!

Post # 213
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 use the hotels 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 do cash bars due to  budget. I know within our circle/family, an open bar is standard and its defintely a priority for us to provide this to our guests. However, I don’t look down on those who aren’t able or who simply don’t want to do the same.

Post # 214
Member
1880 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

View original reply
@starbuck:  Wow!  I really like your response.  Co-sign!

Post # 215
Member
2693 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

I have mixed feelings about cash bars.  Personally, in my experience down south, it’s usually not done.  At least not in my family/friends circle.  I wouldn’t do one, and even though I’m not paying, my mom and dad DEFINITELY wouldn’t do one.  I do feel somewhat strongly that this is an event in which you’re hosting your guests and they shouldn’t have to pay for alcohol.  In our case, our venue is really upscale and expensive, so a full open bar was a bit more costly than we would have liked, so we opted to offer two individual cocktails: a margarita (FI is famous for his made-from-scratch margaritas in my family, so it’s an homage to his mixologist skills!) and a bourbon cocktail.  Our reception package also include two bottled and two on-tap beers, and a selection of wines from our venues 1,000+ bottle wine cellar.  I think we made out pretty well.  This was a great way for us to get liquor to our guests, and not have them worry about paying for drinks.  Under no circumstances would we have not had ANY alcohol whatsoever.  If we ended up having to do just beer and wine only, we would have done that.

However, we went to a friend’s wedding at another very nice venue in the area that had an open bar.  But their definition of an ‘open bar’ was NOT what I was going for.  Yes, they had a great selection of liquor, but their mixes were really lacking: club soda, tonic water, cranberry juice, and grenadine.  Grenadine?? Who’s going to ask for a drink with ONLY grenadine?? For someone like me who doesn’t drink carbonated beverages (or cranberry juice for that matter), I wasn’t able to drink because ther was nothing for me to ask as a mixer.  It wasn’t a ‘true’ open barn IMO, because you couldn’t get real cocktails outside of a gin and tonic type deal.  In my opinion, it’s probably a better use of funds to offer beer, wine, and a widely-enjoyed actual COCKTAIL instead of lots of liquor, but nothing to mix it with.

And lastly, I think that I disagree with the “if you can’t afford open bar, no alcohol at all” camp, especially if your guests are making a bigger effort than usual to get to your wedding.  For example: in october we traveled nearly six hours away to a remote mountain town with no cell service or wireless internet (first world problems, i know), in a DRY COUNTY (meaning we couldn’t even get a drink with lunch), for a wedding in a 75 year old barn…as in, true barn, not barn converted into an event space, port a potties, and no alcohol.  This was because the bride’s desceased grandfather had been an alcoholic.  That was really rude in my opinion.  They asked a lot of their guests to travel, pay for hotels, rent tuxes (in FI’s case, who was in the wedding), etc, and they did not even offer a small beer selection.  In that instance, it came off as cheap and tacky.  I do think each scenario varies.

Post # 216
Member
224 posts
Helper bee

wow – this is insane!

 

tacky? i don’t think i would call a cash bar ‘tacky’ – every wedding i have been to has had a cash bar in some respect.

 

one wedding was when i was only invited to the reception and that was a cash bar only (the guests at the wedding breakfast had wine supplied for them) and i was totally fine with that.

the second wedding was a budget wedding and it was cash-bar only. not even soft drinks were included – but that was completely down to their own personal financial circumstances and we happily all shared bottles of wine between us.

the 3rd wedding provided champagne on arrival and another for the toast. then we had half a bottle of wine per person during the meal. everything else after that was through the bar and i thought this was by far the best way to go.

everyone enjoyed their complimentary drinks and those who wanted to continue drinking, could. and those who came on a shoestring (it cost us £300 for transport and accommodation) didn’t have to buy extra if we didn’t want.

this way no one got absolutely trashed, but everyone got a bit merry. it was absolutely perfect and i will definitely be going down this route.

 

i can’t imagine finding an open bar at a wedding in England unless it was in upper-middle-class or higher social circles. and actually – i would probably find that an open bar at a middle or working class wedding would actually turn the guests tacky themselves when absolutely wasted.

i would much rather have merry guests who appreciate that my pocket is not a million miles deep.

 

also – i would never DREAM of calling a wedding i’d been to tacky. but maybe that’s because i’m invited to weddings of my friends, and not strangers (which seems to be more usual in the States)

Post # 217
Member
13904 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

View original reply
@treacle:  i would never DREAM of calling a wedding i’d been to tacky. but maybe that’s because i’m invited to weddings of my friends, and not strangers (which seems to be more usual in the States)

I’m not sure what you mean by this.  I go to the weddings of my friends, not strangers, and I expect open bars (as I’ve explained several times previously) based on my upbringing and precedence.

Post # 218
Member
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I think it depends like some of the ladies said. As a person who has been to over 20 weddings the past few years (everyone seems to be getting married now) I hear people talk about these things.  I have not been to a cash bar but people don’t seem to mind if you just serve wine and beer. I have been to a wedding that served no alcohol at all because the bride was an ex alcoholic. Seems it was ok for this was advertised in the invitation. LOL

Okay, This is how most for the people I heard talk about it see it:

 

Look at a weeding as what you expect your guest to put out they expect in return.

If they pay to travel, get a hotel room, give you a shower/wedding gift, whatever they spend is the type service they expect.  Seriously, I am not saying I feel the same way I consider it a privilege to see people I love make one of the biggest moves of their life but this is what I hear all the time

Post # 219
Member
651 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

It depends on your circle. If it’s acceptable in your area, go ahead.

I grew up in a family where it’s important to always have more than enough food and drinks for everyone. There is NO way I would ever consider a cash bar for this reason as I always feel like if I can’t afford to host everything, I would just scale down the whole event (ie. from eg. a nice venue to say, a backyard BBQ) , decrease people or whatever. Basically, I am against my guest ever having to ask for anything or worse, spending their own money at an event I am hosting.

Here in Holland however, cash bars are not common but somewhat acceptable. However, this is also a country where if you go to your friend’s for dinner, you sometimes have to chip in for the groceries;) Weddings here are divided into 3 events: ceremony, dinner and reception (party). Yes, people have to LEAVE and find their own dinner as the couple only pays for maybe 8-15 people to eat. Ugh, I think I find that worse than a cash bar.

Post # 220
Member
2699 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I’m cash bar for the reception and I am most certainly not a bad host and resent the implication that I could be one.

Post ceremony, my guests are getting a 4 course meal with 2 glasses wine and 2 glasses champagne, one post ceremony and one for toasting the speeches. I cannot bring my own alcohol to the venue so the cost of this alone per head is alot. Later, when the reception starts, day guests and reception only guests are fed again via buffet. If i then have an open bar, i’m paying twice for alcohol. It’s a lovely idea but i’d rather spend the money on leaving nice favours for my guests, providing canapés while photos are taken and having outdoor garden games. They don’t have to pay to travel between events, my invite says no gifts, donate to charity if you want instead…..I’m asking them to turn up if they want to be there and enjoy what we have to offer. If they came and felt annoyed that along with the food and entertainment that they had to pay for drinks on the evening then I would honestly feel like I’d invited the wrong person. Weddings cost a lot!!!!

Post # 221
Member
11324 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I just didn’t think people should ever have to pull out their wallet at my wedding. it isn’t a club, it is an event that I am hosting— so I hosted it. I get budget concerns– really I do! But I think that if you go into it knowing you will host the entire thing, you make everything work around that. We specifically ONLY seriously considered venues that allowed us to bring in our own alcohol because we would not have been able to afford a venue that charged $5/glass of wine. If there were none of those available I would have either scaled back on everything else to make sure we could fully host our guests, or not had it at a traditional venue. We probably would’ve waited until summer so we could plan to do it in a park or something. Or just not had alcohol. To me, not having alcohol is preferable to asking people to pay for it. 

Post # 222
Member
651 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Huh, weird. Why can’t I read any replies after #130? Yet, I see that there ARE people replying (including myself)

Post # 223
Member
5373 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

I live in rural Ontario and the whole cash versus open bar tends to depend on how ‘fancy’ the wedding is, their family’s views/traditions, and the age of the bride and groom. In my area a lot of the couples get married young around 21 or 22 and they’re usually very casual receptions in a legion hall with an expected cash bar and usually paper plates and plastic table cloths. A lot of them have a stag and doe to raise money for the wedding. (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing or judging in any way, I’m just explaining what the ‘typical’ wedding in my town is). I won’t be having a cash bar because my parents are very against them (they feel that if you host a party, you should pay for your guests to have the ‘full experience’ and not have to pay extra) and we won’t be having the typical stag and doe to raise money either. Although the cash bar is really accepted in my area, to me it signifies a less formal wedding and the kind of less mannered people in my town.

Post # 224
Member
13904 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

View original reply
@CorgiTales:  Exactly, we did the same!  The hotels charged like $40-50pp for a full open bar, so we opted for other venues where we could provide our own alcohol, and it’s saving us thousands.  But I wouldn’t dream of not having an open bar!

Post # 225
Member
2699 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I can’t see anything that’s been posted on this thread since 10 hours ago / including my own posts….nor can I seem to flag anything! If anyone else is having this problem….could you please also try to flag??? Thank you!

Post # 226
Member
5843 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

We had an open bar and I would never have considered a cash bar. Its just not done in either of our families. We paid for valet parking for the same reason. We were hosting the most formal event of our lives and didn’t want to make my guests pay for anything. I’ve been to one wedding with a cash bar and it didn’t really bother me. Thankfully they took cards so I didn’t have to run out to an ATM. All the New Yorkers at the wedding did give eachother the side-eye though haha.

I never understand how these threads always turn into “WELL IM NOT PAYING FOR YOU TO GET DRUNK”. Ummm I’m a grown-up, I know my limits. I’m not going to have 30 beers at your wedding and piss on the floor just because theres free booze.

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