(Closed) Why are cash bars tacky?

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 48
9784 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I really think this must be a regional thing (or perhaps class as someone else said), because I don’t think I have ever been to a wedding that had a full open bar for the entire night. Usually it is free beer, soda and maybe wine, and then cash for mixed drinks. I would never show up to a wedding without at least a few bucks in my purse. Our plans aren’t set in stone yet, but I think we are having an open bar for the cocktail hour and after that it will be free beer/wine/soda and cash for anything else.

If they didn’t provide at least water and soda I would find it tacky I guess.

Post # 50
3148 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

I think you need to guage what is considered normal in your friend/family group. 

I have never been to a wedding that had a cash bar so I knew it wouldn’t be well received at my own wedding.  It was important to me to provide free drinks. so to save money, I wanted to provide beer, wine and champagne but no coctails. 

plus, since everything was in bottles, we were able to return all of the alcohol that did not get consumed. 

but I’ve read tons and tons of posts from other bees where cash bars are considered the norm and nobody complains about them among their own friend/family group. 

Post # 51
391 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I’m spending money on your gift.  You spend money on my food and beverage.  If it’s not your thing, then limit it to wine and beer or not at all.  I shouldn’t have to have money on me at a wedding.

Post # 52
2231 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I have never been to a cash bar wedding! I don’t think it would bother me, I would just choose not to drink and have juice/pop all night. 

Within my circle a cash bar is simply not done. If you host a function you are expected to provide for your guests and alcohol is part of that. I would personally feel uncomfortable asking guests to pay for their drinks. In our quote from the restaurant alcohol is a fraction compared to the cost of food so to me it wouldn’t even make sense to cut it out.

Post # 53
13905 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

View original reply
@Jamiezilla:  Well said!

A cash bar puts more of a financial burden on a guest – who you are supposed to be hosting.  Like I said before, I wouldn’t invite someone to a dinner party and charge them to drink at my house!  In my opinion, it’s the same thing.

Post # 54
3148 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

I don’t think having heavy drinkers / alcoholics at your wedding is a good excuse for a cash bar.  people like that will drink as much as they want, a cash bar is not going to stop them.

I know people who sneak flasks into weddings if they think they might not be served the drinks they want.

the only good reason for a cash bar is if the bride and groom can honestly not afford it.  

and like 

View original reply
@PinkMagnolia:  said — if your wedding is fancy and expensive but you charge for drinks, then yes, that is going to be perceived as cheap and tacky.

Post # 55
2702 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Cash bars are tacky.  You are hosting a party and guests should not have to pay for anything.  Have you ever hosted a party at your house and then charged your friends for any drinks they had?  Serving only beer and wine is completely acceptable and much cheaper than liquor.  However, I will make an excpetion for a cash bar for liquor so long as beer and wine are provided for free.  If you can’t afford any alcohol, then just don’t offer any or cut back on things like flowers and decor so you can properly host your guests.

Also, lots of people don’t carry cash – I am one of them.  I maybe have $10 in my purse and that would barely cover 2 drinks for a cash bar.  I also find it annoying when the bar switches from open to cash.  How awkward would it be for your guests to go get a refill on a drink only to find out it now costs $5 and they don’t have any cash?

FWIW, I grew up in the rural-midwest and have never been to a wedding with a cash bar.  I did go to one that had free beer and wine and cash for liquor – but as I said, I think that’s okay since at least some alcohol is provided.

Post # 57
7294 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I have no problem with cash bars. I have been to both open and cash bar weddings, so when it is open bar i just think “bonus”.   And the “cash” bars I have been always accept debit cards, so i have never even run into the problem of needing to have physical cash on me.

Post # 58
194 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@littlelucygoose:  We are doing the exact same thing, one hour open bar and then cash bar after that.  We are also providing water, tea, and lemonade all night long so its not like there wont be anything to drink thats not provided.  We are on a tight budget and he has several faternity brothers that would drink us out of every cent we have, so we are limiting it to one hour and they can pay if they wish to continue.  It is not at all rude or tacky.  You are providing it to them to enjoy themselves, not to get it-faced drunk. 

My question is are you telling your guest this?  Will it be announced at the wedding? 

And most of the time cash bars mean cash or credit cards…everyone has one or the other!

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