(Closed) Why are cash bars tacky?

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 256
1270 posts
Bumble bee

I take issue with anyone who says cash bars are tacky and that the host should be expected to foot the bill for your alcohol. First off, a reception is a party, not a free bar. You’re there to celebrate a marriage. People may not have the money, but still want their guests to have the option. If anything, a cash bar is more acceptable than having no option because it means they’re thinking of their guests. The only way I would say it was tacky was if the host was rich and they were just being cheap (it happens). Anyone middle or lower class, I certainly wouldn’t mind. I do drink and I prefer open bars, but I’m not so high and mighty as to demand free alcohol at someone else’s wedding. Rude.

For those who say “well, I paid for a gift, so I should get XYZ”, WOW. Thanks for being oh-so-generous to the couple who invited you to share in this special time. A gift is just that, it is not an exchange or a transaction. Maybe you should charge taxes, too, while you’re thinking of it.

Third off, practicality. If you want the groom and bride to go into debt so you can get buzzed… I’m pretty I wouldn’t want you at my wedding. What a horrible way to have them start their lives together. So much for their friends and family being there to support them.

I think some of y’all need to brush up on Miss Manners.

Post # 257
187 posts
Blushing bee

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If the bride and groom do not want to go into debt, then they should invite an amount of people and choose a venue that they can afford. The whole huge reception is not mandatory.

I don’t moan and complain when I attend a wedding with  a cash bar, I just would personally prefer to have 50 people that I can afford to treat than 150 that I can’t.

People won’t remember save the date cards, or your bouquets, or that you got to the ceremony in a limo or what DJ was hired, what little gifts you left on the table, but they will remeber what you gave them to eat or drink. I’d rather scrimp from other things.


This is all just personal opinion, I don’t critique weddings I have been to so I am speaking for just myself.

Post # 258
578 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

View original reply
plantains:  This! I feel that hosting a wedding means hosting all the way through. That includes drinks. Now it doesn’t need to be a FULL bar but I feel that beer, wine, and maybe some booze should be provided. And I have NEVER been to a wedding that didn’t have an open bar.

Post # 259
1270 posts
Bumble bee

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jbella:  I would remember all those little things because I am detail oriented, though I get people caring more about food and drink. I care an awful lot about those things when I’m hungry/thirsty (lol).

My complaint is that I just don’t see where alcohol is ever strictly a “necessity” at a wedding. Though I probably will have adult beverages at my wedding, there are brides and grooms who don’t drink for various reasons (history of alcoholism, alcoholic relatives, health reasons, religious beliefs, etc.) so I don’t think it is fair to expect that every wedding should have alcohol. Good food and beverages, yes, but not alcohol.

And a big YES to people only inviting/purchasing who/what they can afford. Financial responsibility FTW.

Post # 260
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

In the UK it’s just normal to have a cash bar. I would never expect free drinks all night at a wedding!

A couple of bottles of wine on the table so everyone has a drink with the meal, yes, but other than that it’s just normal practise to take cash and get any other drinks you might like. Spirits are expensive!

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