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Open Bar vs. Cash Bar- Is this a Maine/North East thing?

In all the weddings I've been to, only two have had an open bar (beer and wine, only). I've only attended weddings in the North East. I see this topic pop up frequently on the boards here, and most responses are passionately in favor of hosted open bars. I did not feel nervous about our choice to provide a hosted open bar at cocktail hour, and cash for the rest of reception(excluding a complementary champagne toast) until joining this site. I'm interested in what other Maine couples think about this...and if you feel comfortable sharing, I'm interested to learn:
1)Are you offering a hosted open bar for the whole thing/ hosted bar for part of the wedding w cash rest/ fully cash or dry?
2) If you are offering a hosted open bar, what estimates did your venue/caterer give you for this?


Re: Open Bar vs. Cash Bar- Is this a Maine/North East thing?

  • we are doing just beer and wine at our wedding next month and we made up drink tickets 2pp
    (which will be at each persons place setting)- in which they can have 2 drinks on us and then they will have to pay cash for the rest of the night if they would like to drink. our caterer thought this was a good idea- as did i.
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  • It's definitely a regional thing.  I never knew it was something that was "against etiquette" until I joined TK, and yes, go over to the E board and the conversations about it can get very heated.

    I've been to a lot of weddings.  Two have had a hosted bar.  One had a bottle of red and a bottle of white on each table (after a hosted cocktail hour) that they supplied for people if they wanted more free drinks.  Most have had open bar during the cocktail hour.  Our venue allowed us to give a set dollar amount that we wanted to host (we did $500) and we had beer, wine, and margaritas available.  If people wanted something stronger, they had to pay for it.  I was afraid that would run out during the cocktail hour, but it lasted for most of the 5 hour reception!  

    I think your original plan is absolutely fine.  
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  • We are having a open bar with beer, wine and a couple mixed drink options. We put a $500 limit to our venue, but may up it to $800. Since everyone that is coming to our wedding is out of state or live hours away, we didn't think it was "right" to make them pay any more money. I've gone to a lot of weddings when they did a cash bar and I didn't have a issue with it, I came to celebrate the day with the couple. Good luck with the rest of your planning :)
  • We're doing a cash bar because that is what comes with our venue. If there was a fee for the cash bar, we wouldn't even have that. Honestly, I just do not see the need to pay for it. That being said, to each their own. If you can't afford it, go for the cash bar. If you can afford it, do an open bar with a limit on it.
  • I don't think there are a lot of people who expect an open bar.  I'm always happy with free drinks during the cocktail hour and then it's cash.  You could also offer a signature drink all night that would go on your tab.  That would definitely cut down on the bar bill for you and still be a nice gesture. Good luck.
  • Yes its a Maine thing.. we are from Maine living in MA. We have a number of people coming from MA so we will be having an open bar. We actually chose to make it beer and wine only because we know how a complete open bar can cause you to order drinks you wouldn't normally order... and too much hard liquor is never a good thing. Especially if your not used to it. Most beer and wine hosted were estimated at $25 p/p
  • We're doing our own bar with signature drinks in big jugs, then also doing tubs filled with beer, water, soda and juice for the kids.
    No need to hire a bartender since its serve yourself, however, we did mention it on our invites so all adults were aware :)
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