(Closed) Why are cash bars tacky?

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 32
Member
13905 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@Angelz_love:  You make a good point about your friends and family not being offended.  Each bride knows their guests and can make the call.  Personally, my family would be appalled if I even suggested a cash bar, but other families may feel differently.

Post # 34
Member
2583 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I don’t see it as tacky. I’m having a lower budget wedding but have 150 guests invited- all family that we see, talk to, are close to. We just have a big family (aunt, uncles, 1st cousins- no great-anything or distant relatives). So are people implying that I should invite fewer people- meaning some of my close family would get left out- so that I can provide alcohol for the people who are invited? Do I invite half my aunts and uncles and not invite the other half, just so the select few can drink? There’s nothing else I can cut back on- everything else is at a minimum. Sometimes it’s just not an option.

And my guests won’t have to pay for soda or water… so it’s not like they’ll go thirsty. I live in WI- most of my relatives can down 10+ beers easily and not even have a buzz. That’s a LOT of money.

Post # 35
Member
13905 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@aliavenue:  It’s all how you budget your money and proportion it.  I’m not “the richest of the rich” and we’re having a full open bar for our entire reception for 170 adults (no kids). 

Post # 36
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2063 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@abbie017:  Fair enough. I’m not saying you are in the wrong for having a full open bar, in fact, that’s awesome! I’m just saying that if I showed up and I saw 170 people I wouldn’t expect it. If I showed up and there were 50 people, I would.

Post # 37
Member
13905 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@aliavenue:  Fair enough 🙂  I’d expect it for a backyard BBQ of 50 people too..  But I’d expect it in a 500 person reception too, just because that’s how all the weddings I grew up with were!  It wasn’t until I moved south that I found out open bars weren’t always the norm!  That being said, I still hate cash bars!

Post # 38
Member
1733 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

To me, it almost strikes me that it’s a less a regional thing and more of a CLASS thing (which, to be fair, could be regional too). I would call myself middle-class in a semi-rural area, and the majority of the weddings that I’ve been to were cash bars, or the sort of thing where you got two drink tickets and then paid. The couples were more or less right out of college (or grad students), and their parents were comfortable but not rich. Alcohol can cost a TON of money, and people shouldn’t be getting blitzed at a wedding ANYWAY. (Speaking of tacky.)

This “OMG booze must be included or you are tackyyyyyy” thing seems to pair with a class/culture in which people give hundreds of dollars in cash and gifts to the new couple. I suppose that I have no idea what to expect in June, but I know that my family has never given anything like that for a wedding. We buy something nice off the registry, but more in the $50-$70 range. The first time that I read on here that guests were expected to “cover their plate,” I was frankly appalled.

ANYWAY — rant over. As long as you’re covering sodas and water, and you let folks know in advance that they’ll need money if they want booze, I honestly don’t see it as a thing. You know your friends and family, and they know you and what your own financial limitations are, and that’s really the most important thing. They can bring flasks if it’s that crucial.

 

Post # 39
Member
5667 posts
Bee Keeper

If you’re hosting an event you should be able to host your guests properly. You wouldn’t go to dinner at someone’s house expecting to pay for your glass of wine.

Post # 41
Member
2701 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

It’s tacky. I live in the Northeast and I have never been to a cash bar wedding. Why should I have to cough up money to drink at YOUR event? And no, not everyone gets drunk. I like to have a few glasses of wine at a wedding. I don’t do it to get drunk.

We had 270 people at our wedding and we spent $3000 on booze and mixers. We saved so much money going with a venue that allowed you to bring outside liquor. If we didn’t, the cheapest we could find would have cost us $1500 more.

 

Post # 42
Member
2063 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@village_skeptic:  I think you have kind of missed the mark. If it is, indeed, a “class” thing, then why not just not offer alcohol if you can’t afford a full open bar? Alcohol is not a necessity and, like you said, if its that important why not just BYOB? Offering a cash bar, then, becomes about etiquette and can be a bit “tacky” regardless of the couple’s financial ability.

Post # 43
Member
13905 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@MlleBrielle:  Exactly!!  (I’m also originally from the Northeast, if we’re actually looking at this from a regional perspective). 

Post # 44
Member
1733 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Just to add — we’re actually having an open bar, because our venue rolled it in with the catering. It’s not that I’m not willing to provide booze, but I’m also not going to lie — I hope that the more, er, impulsive of our friends and family won’t abuse the privilege. I can understand that some people might see the reduced cost and the financial limiter as a way to not have to worry about guests overindulging, driving drunk, etc.

I guess another difference in experience I would say is that “hosting properly” differs from social circle to social circle. Fiance and I aren’t big drinkers, and we don’t really keep beer and wine in the house on a regular basis. (We don’t NOT drink, but it’s not a priority for us on how we spend our money.) When we have friends over, sometimes they will bring a bottle of wine to share as a host gift (which is super nice, and we sometimes do this too) — but on the occasions where we don’t have it and they don’t bring it, I don’t think that we’ve ever shocked personal friends who come over for dinner by simply not having it on hand. For some people, alcohol is just WAY more central to their eating and celebrating. I don’t mean that in a nasty alcoholic way, just in the sense that some folks wouldn’t even NOTICE a cash bar. 🙂

 

Post # 45
Member
1327 posts
Bumble bee

There is no way I would have anything but a cash bar at my wedding, I have one Brother-In-Law that is an alcholic, though he can handle himself pretty well, and a nephew in law that turns into a typical drunk young adult. My other Brother-In-Law gets to the point of having to be thrown in the drunk tank after only 2 or 3 beers as he becomes aggressive and very distructive both verbally and physically at that point. Yeah not going to happen at my wedding.

I would never consider it tacky to have a cash bar, but I think it is appropriate to at least give the first drink or two free.

Post # 46
Member
3373 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I think if you have a very simple wedding, a cash bar can be okay.

But if I see the bride in a 3k dress, a fancy get away car, huge flower decorations, there should be an open bar!

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