Wedding Etiquette Forum

No Cash Bars- Your Family will NOT be Ok with It

PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
Just went to a family wedding.  Bride and Groom paid for the wedding themselves, I believe.  It was a very small reception, maybe 50 people.

They had a bait and switch cash bar- 1st hour free, then changed to cash bar during rest of reception. . .including pop and iced tea, etc.   We had to pay for non alcoholic drinks too ><

Everyone was bitching about the cash bar, and since it was such a small reception everyone basically meant all family.  The father of the groom was really pissed and really embarrassed.

Moral of he story- CASH BARS ARE NEVER OK!

"Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


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Re: No Cash Bars- Your Family will NOT be Ok with It

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Rude, rude, rude.  If you (generic) don't want to pay for alcohol service at your wedding, then Don't. Serve. Alcohol.
    momofbride530novella1186Fosmoh
  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Ugh, the only thing worse than a cash bar is a "bait and switch" cash bar. Oh, you thought you were going to get properly hosted all night? Well guess what? NOPE. That'll be $9. Thank you, come again.
    Last wedding I went to was a bait and switch. They hosted the first $600 and then switched to cash. H and I got to the reception first and got as many drinks as we could before they reached the limit. Sorrynotsorry but if you're not going to host the whole thing, I'm just going to drink more until you make me pay for it.
    PrettyGirlLostkimmiinthemitten
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Ugh, the only thing worse than a cash bar is a "bait and switch" cash bar. Oh, you thought you were going to get properly hosted all night? Well guess what? NOPE. That'll be $9. Thank you, come again.
    Last wedding I went to was a bait and switch. They hosted the first $600 and then switched to cash. H and I got to the reception first and got as many drinks as we could before they reached the limit. Sorrynotsorry but if you're not going to host the whole thing, I'm just going to drink more until you make me pay for it.
    I went to my first cash bar 2 weekends ago.  It was bait and switch too.

    I'm not sure there is a gif for my face when the bartender told me my 2nd glass of wine (1.5 hours into the event, so I wasn't pounding) was $7 






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I grew up going to weddings that had cash bars, as a kid didn't know any better..thought that was how things were. My first adult wedding I was a B-listed bridesmaid (thank you TK for introducing me to that term) where there was a partially hosted bar and the rest was cash option. My friend's thinking was they could either spend the money on a full bar or use it for their honeymoon...they choose honeymoon....but still wanted guests to have the option to buy what they couldn't host. 

    That leads me to what my hubby used to think....If I can't afford to give them everything...they should have the option to at least buy it mentality. It comes from a good place, he just didn't realize the full ramifications of that thought. Our wedding started out beer/wine/soda because that is what we could afford...he wanted the cash bar option for the rest....it would be rude he said if people (like me he said) couldn't get the alcohol of their choice because we couldn't provide it, they should at least be able to buy it themselves. I had to give him the examples provided here, the fact that the more our guests paid...the less we would pay for him to catch on that doing what he wanted would be RUDE! I know he wanted to be accommodating to all guests, just went about it the wrong way in his head. 

    My mom had a cash bar at her anniversary party because, like I said, that is how we always did things....it took a grandkid asking for money for a soda to show her the error of cash bars. I don't think a parent put my niece/nephew up to it, the kid just did it on their own....but go grandkid!
    SP29
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    lnixon8 said:
    I like it when people use the "well alcohol isn't a necessity like food is so I shouldn't have to pay for it" defense.

    Just because it isn't a necessity doesn't mean that you can hand that cost off to your guests. You aren't doing your guests a favor by having alcohol available for purchase.  Instead you just look like a cheap ass who wants to have alcohol at the wedding but doesn't want to pay for it. And I wonder how many brides and grooms are paying for their drinks at their own weddings.  I mean is the bride yanking $20's out of her bust or does she have them rolled up under her garter belt? 

    Serving steak is not a necessity but if you want it you pay for it
    Serving cake is not a necessity but if you want it you pay for it.
    Having a mariachi band is not a necessity but if you want it you pay for it.

    So boys and girls, the lesson today is, if you are hosting a party and you want something at that party then you open up your wallet and pay for it yourself.



    BOXES?

    It really grinds my gears when you they have all those little extras (like the mariachi band etc). Not my business how you spend your money. But when the pictures come back and I see you spent $ on hideous robes for your bridesmaids, professional hair and makeup, on top of gorgeous centerpieces, cheesy favor, photo booth etc but you're guests have to pay for dirnks?... Im going to talk shit.
    Exactly.  It becomes very obvious where the comfort of your guests ended up on your importance list...at the bottom.

  • My Fi and I are having an open bar. He does not like this due to outside opinions... but I won this one :) Both our families disagree with it also. My parents respect my decision though.

    Apparently because we're "young" (26 and 27 and paying for the majority of the wedding ourselves) people will understand. NOT. Also, we've been told so-and-so's cousin had a cash bar so we should too. Or people will get sloppy drunk. Or we should nix the cash bar, do one hour and invite more people.

    Nopeeeee. Tacky. Fi and I made our own invitations, I'm doing my own place cards, made my own centerpieces all to save money in other areas so we could afford an open bar.

    FWIW, DH and I were 27 when we were married although we had help from our parents and a cash bar was NEVER part of the equation.

    The people who got drunk were at least ten years older than us.   And at least one was a raging alcoholic.   Amazingly our peers knew how to behave. 
    SP29
  • I swear it depends on circles because a lot of our extended family is pro-cash bar and I think it's incredibly tacky. I am not a cash bar fan and Fi and were always on the same page on this until his parents said we should nix the open bar and invite more people. People I really didn't want to add as Fi and I don't know them :) regardless of the bar situation.

    Thankfully for my sanity and the comfort of our guests I won this one.

    image

    image

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  • FI also brought up the partial bar, we are hosting wine and beer (among other non alcoholic beverages) and he said people should have the option to buy a mixed drink if they want. I explained to him that we are hosting everything that will be available at the reception, and there are two bars in the lodge, if someone feels that strongly about getting a mixed drink they can go to the bar that is not the wedding reception. 

    The only exceptions to proper etiquette we are making is having a case of Budweiser cans behind the bar for one uncle (we will buy it) because that is all he will drink and WILL bring his own if we don't have it. We are doing kegs of micro brews and light beer, I just don't feel that Budweiser cans are so popular that we need a lot.

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  • Yikes before coming here I knew cash bars were tacky but our venue somehow managed to convince us that it was totally normal for us to host sodas wine and beer but let guests buy anything else. Now I'm stuck trying to convince my fiance it's a bad idea. Unfortunately he's currently at the mindset of well if I want a whiskey I'm going to get a whiskey it's my tab. ugh. I wish I hadn't have been so stupid when we were talking to the venue people... they sure do talk smooth though to get a few extra bucks... Maybe it'll be easier to convince him to open well drinks and just not serve top shelf but I hope I can change his mind! 


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  • auriannaaurianna member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited July 2015
    Yikes before coming here I knew cash bars were tacky but our venue somehow managed to convince us that it was totally normal for us to host sodas wine and beer but let guests buy anything else. Now I'm stuck trying to convince my fiance it's a bad idea. Unfortunately he's currently at the mindset of well if I want a whiskey I'm going to get a whiskey it's my tab. ugh. I wish I hadn't have been so stupid when we were talking to the venue people... they sure do talk smooth though to get a few extra bucks... Maybe it'll be easier to convince him to open well drinks and just not serve top shelf but I hope I can change his mind! 


    You weren't stupid. You're right; the venue was smooth because they want to make more money. They probably posed it as a whole "have your cake and eat it too" situation and sometimes when we hear what we want to hear it's easy to not come up with objections at the time.

    Definitely see if you can convince FI (and venue) to either offer well drinks, (or maybe just add a signature drink with whiskey?), or try to get the liquor pulled completely.

    Worst case, if you can't change because of contract issues (or fiance issues), make sure to add signs at the bar the day of that say something like:
    "Soda, beer [types] and wine [types], compliments of the bride and groom!"
    so that your guests at least aren't surprised by the cost of liquor.
    [Deleted User]Fosmoh
  • I went to a wedding this past weekend that was a cash bar, and I was only annoyed because:

    A/ I had spent hours the day before (at the *rehearsal dinner* that never happened), and that day (and, later that night, and the next morning) on set up/table clearing/wine serving/tear down/cleanup (in a sweltering, no AC building), even though I wasn't in the bridal party.

    I just couldn't handle the hall not being decorated; would have broken my heart for the bride.  Besides, her kid was being out of control jerk as usual, and I couldn't handle the histrionics.  

    B/ Damnit, they charged the same for a double as 2 singles! WHAT!? If a single is $5, I expect a double to be... $7.50/$8.00, with the toonie ($2 coin) in your tip jar.  I paid $10 for a double G + T, and STILL left the guy a tip. 

    I'm a push over, obviously....

    I'm not really consistent in my judging of cash bars, but I understand why etiquette dictates they are a no-no.
    image


  • B/ Damnit, they charged the same for a double as 2 singles! WHAT!? If a single is $5, I expect a double to be... $7.50/$8.00, with the toonie ($2 coin) in your tip jar.  I paid $10 for a double G + T, and STILL left the guy a tip. 


    I worked at a few bars, and that's actually pretty normal. You're not paying for the coke, your paying for the rum, and each shot is $3.50. So a double is $7.00, regardless of what mixer you add. We actually would give most customers soda or juice for free if they were the designated driver, or were being good enough to cut themselves off before we had to.  

    Doesn't excuse the cash bar. But it the pricing isn't abnormal. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    marie2785 said:

    B/ Damnit, they charged the same for a double as 2 singles! WHAT!? If a single is $5, I expect a double to be... $7.50/$8.00, with the toonie ($2 coin) in your tip jar.  I paid $10 for a double G + T, and STILL left the guy a tip. 


    I worked at a few bars, and that's actually pretty normal. You're not paying for the coke, your paying for the rum, and each shot is $3.50. So a double is $7.00, regardless of what mixer you add. We actually would give most customers soda or juice for free if they were the designated driver, or were being good enough to cut themselves off before we had to.  

    Doesn't excuse the cash bar. But it the pricing isn't abnormal. 
    I've always seen a double the same cost as 2 singles.   You are paying for the liquor not the mixer.

    A shot of vodka is $3.50.  A vodka and club soda is also $3.50.   Pretty standard actually.







    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    lc07
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    lyndausvi said:
    marie2785 said:

    B/ Damnit, they charged the same for a double as 2 singles! WHAT!? If a single is $5, I expect a double to be... $7.50/$8.00, with the toonie ($2 coin) in your tip jar.  I paid $10 for a double G + T, and STILL left the guy a tip. 


    I worked at a few bars, and that's actually pretty normal. You're not paying for the coke, your paying for the rum, and each shot is $3.50. So a double is $7.00, regardless of what mixer you add. We actually would give most customers soda or juice for free if they were the designated driver, or were being good enough to cut themselves off before we had to.  

    Doesn't excuse the cash bar. But it the pricing isn't abnormal. 
    I've always seen a double the same cost as 2 singles.   You are paying for the liquor not the mixer.

    A shot of vodka is $3.50.  A vodka and club soda is also $3.50.   Pretty standard actually.

    Add in the fact that it is called a double.  In my mind that would mean the price would be doubled too.  Basically you are getting two drinks, but in one glass.  So why would there be a discount in price?

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    lyndausvi said:
    marie2785 said:

    B/ Damnit, they charged the same for a double as 2 singles! WHAT!? If a single is $5, I expect a double to be... $7.50/$8.00, with the toonie ($2 coin) in your tip jar.  I paid $10 for a double G + T, and STILL left the guy a tip. 


    I worked at a few bars, and that's actually pretty normal. You're not paying for the coke, your paying for the rum, and each shot is $3.50. So a double is $7.00, regardless of what mixer you add. We actually would give most customers soda or juice for free if they were the designated driver, or were being good enough to cut themselves off before we had to.  

    Doesn't excuse the cash bar. But it the pricing isn't abnormal. 
    I've always seen a double the same cost as 2 singles.   You are paying for the liquor not the mixer.

    A shot of vodka is $3.50.  A vodka and club soda is also $3.50.   Pretty standard actually.

    Add in the fact that it is called a double.  In my mind that would mean the price would be doubled too.  Basically you are getting two drinks, but in one glass.  So why would there be a discount in price?
    There are some places I've been to have tried to upsell doubles for extra "x" which is not quite double the amount of a single.   So there are some places out there do not charge double.

      At least in my own experience, most places price doubles as the price of 2 singles, no discounts.







    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • aliwis000 said:
    I will just never understand why people somehow think this is acceptable for weddings when there is not one other time inviting someone to your party and expecting them to pay is acceptable.

    I would love to ask people who do this the following types of questions..

    If you are invited to your best friends for a dinner party at their home and then are asked to pay for each glass of wine how would you feel?

    If your child is invited to a birthday party and you are then asked to pay for each juice box they consume how would you feel?

    And the kicker....if you went to a wake after a death in the family would you expect to have to pay?

    I would imagine they would be appalled by these questions. Why are weddings the social event that it magically becomes ok?
    Growing up, every party anyone ever threw (and still, everyone who lives down there now, including my brother and others in my generation...both friends and family) meant you brought your own drinks. Literally, if you wanted to consume a liquid at a party you brought it yourself. Beer, wine, soda, water, etc. Yes, even non-alcoholic options. There was usually some small amount of communal stuff from the host, but we're talking very minor amounts. Like one jug of kool-aide for the kids, and a 12-pack of beer and a bottle of wine--when they invited 50 people. Most people bring a cooler, even if it's winter (since you can assume there will be no room in the fridge). I'm not just talking backyard barbecues, I'm also talking Christmas Eve. Every. Single. Party.

    I can at least understand how these people think a cash bar is acceptable--they don't provide drinks for any other party, why would they provide them for a wedding? Not that it makes it alright, just makes sense how they're thinking. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    MandyMost said:
    aliwis000 said:
    I will just never understand why people somehow think this is acceptable for weddings when there is not one other time inviting someone to your party and expecting them to pay is acceptable.

    I would love to ask people who do this the following types of questions..

    If you are invited to your best friends for a dinner party at their home and then are asked to pay for each glass of wine how would you feel?

    If your child is invited to a birthday party and you are then asked to pay for each juice box they consume how would you feel?

    And the kicker....if you went to a wake after a death in the family would you expect to have to pay?

    I would imagine they would be appalled by these questions. Why are weddings the social event that it magically becomes ok?
    Growing up, every party anyone ever threw (and still, everyone who lives down there now, including my brother and others in my generation...both friends and family) meant you brought your own drinks. Literally, if you wanted to consume a liquid at a party you brought it yourself. Beer, wine, soda, water, etc. Yes, even non-alcoholic options. There was usually some small amount of communal stuff from the host, but we're talking very minor amounts. Like one jug of kool-aide for the kids, and a 12-pack of beer and a bottle of wine--when they invited 50 people. Most people bring a cooler, even if it's winter (since you can assume there will be no room in the fridge). I'm not just talking backyard barbecues, I'm also talking Christmas Eve. Every. Single. Party.

    I can at least understand how these people think a cash bar is acceptable--they don't provide drinks for any other party, why would they provide them for a wedding? Not that it makes it alright, just makes sense how they're thinking. 
    Funny, my experience was completely different.   The hosts of our parties provide everything, including all beverages (alcoholic or not).

    People may offer and/or bring an bottle of wine as a hostess gift, but people do not generally bring their own stuff.  Unless it's one of those last minute, "hey why don't we all just come to our house for dinner".  Then everyone pitches in for food and drinks since it was a last minute thing. 

     The next week the same guy might formally invite us for a dinner party and he would be upset if we brought our own stuff.  It's a sign we do not think he is a good host. When in fact, he always has our preferences available. 






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    lc07
  • I totally agree cash bars are wrong and I judge them for sure. Our wedding was fully hosted with top shelf liquor and craft beers all night. That being said, and this is totally an UO, I'd prefer a cash bar over having no alcohol available. Especially at family weddings, I love getting to see people I don't see much and in a party atmosphere I love having a drink. I'm not a huge drinker, I'll never drink more than 3 drinks in a night, but if I'm kicking back and having a night out I'd rather pay for a few beers than have none at all. I just hate dry weddings. 
    kimmiinthemittenBubblegum5586Knottie20899821
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    MandyMost said:
    aliwis000 said:
    I will just never understand why people somehow think this is acceptable for weddings when there is not one other time inviting someone to your party and expecting them to pay is acceptable.

    I would love to ask people who do this the following types of questions..

    If you are invited to your best friends for a dinner party at their home and then are asked to pay for each glass of wine how would you feel?

    If your child is invited to a birthday party and you are then asked to pay for each juice box they consume how would you feel?

    And the kicker....if you went to a wake after a death in the family would you expect to have to pay?

    I would imagine they would be appalled by these questions. Why are weddings the social event that it magically becomes ok?
    Growing up, every party anyone ever threw (and still, everyone who lives down there now, including my brother and others in my generation...both friends and family) meant you brought your own drinks. Literally, if you wanted to consume a liquid at a party you brought it yourself. Beer, wine, soda, water, etc. Yes, even non-alcoholic options. There was usually some small amount of communal stuff from the host, but we're talking very minor amounts. Like one jug of kool-aide for the kids, and a 12-pack of beer and a bottle of wine--when they invited 50 people. Most people bring a cooler, even if it's winter (since you can assume there will be no room in the fridge). I'm not just talking backyard barbecues, I'm also talking Christmas Eve. Every. Single. Party.

    I can at least understand how these people think a cash bar is acceptable--they don't provide drinks for any other party, why would they provide them for a wedding? Not that it makes it alright, just makes sense how they're thinking. 
    This is how parties in my mom's family usually end up, even on Christmas. Except you don't bring your own beer, you bring beer to share. Sort of a pot luck bar situation. 

    Even still, no one does cash bars or BYOB for weddings. I get your point, but there is just an understanding or mental place that a wedding is something different than our casual gatherings. 
    cookiecutterrebel
  • MandyMost said:
    aliwis000 said:
    I will just never understand why people somehow think this is acceptable for weddings when there is not one other time inviting someone to your party and expecting them to pay is acceptable.

    I would love to ask people who do this the following types of questions..

    If you are invited to your best friends for a dinner party at their home and then are asked to pay for each glass of wine how would you feel?

    If your child is invited to a birthday party and you are then asked to pay for each juice box they consume how would you feel?

    And the kicker....if you went to a wake after a death in the family would you expect to have to pay?

    I would imagine they would be appalled by these questions. Why are weddings the social event that it magically becomes ok?
    Growing up, every party anyone ever threw (and still, everyone who lives down there now, including my brother and others in my generation...both friends and family) meant you brought your own drinks. Literally, if you wanted to consume a liquid at a party you brought it yourself. Beer, wine, soda, water, etc. Yes, even non-alcoholic options. There was usually some small amount of communal stuff from the host, but we're talking very minor amounts. Like one jug of kool-aide for the kids, and a 12-pack of beer and a bottle of wine--when they invited 50 people. Most people bring a cooler, even if it's winter (since you can assume there will be no room in the fridge). I'm not just talking backyard barbecues, I'm also talking Christmas Eve. Every. Single. Party.

    I can at least understand how these people think a cash bar is acceptable--they don't provide drinks for any other party, why would they provide them for a wedding? Not that it makes it alright, just makes sense how they're thinking. 

    Parties I went to were often like this... but usually they were more informal get-togethers. An email blast "Does anyone want to come over and play board games this weekend?" Then invitees tended to ask the host "what can I bring?"

    But there are some major differences here:

    1. I don't feel the random casual potluck party is on the same level as a host formally inviting people to an event. Maybe I'm splitting hairs here, but it just doesn't seem the same. Now, a formal dinner party, if the host expected people to bring their own stuff, that's sketchy. It just means people are hosting their wedding incorrectly AND hosting their parties incorrectly.

    2. I assume the "host" of these parties still let you drink his water?

    3. I assume the "host" of these parties didn't say "I have this brand of beer and this type of liquor but you have to pay me $3 a glass for it."

    4. Unless the wedding invite is tacky enough to say BYOB, guests know that this is an event where they can't bring their own booze, so it's not a stretch to assume the host is providing the drinks.



    The separation between the two events seem pretty common sense to me.
  • some states open bar is included in all packages i know in connecticut it is. in rhode island and ma is a separate charge so most people i have known only did beer and wine soda . which is fine but cash bar is a no no 

    if they could not properly host it they should have done just beer wine and soda

    never ask your guest to open pockets
    your there to thank them for coming to your wedding no cash should be spent 
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    some states open bar is included in all packages i know in connecticut it is. in rhode island and ma is a separate charge so most people i have known only did beer and wine soda . which is fine but cash bar is a no no 

    if they could not properly host it they should have done just beer wine and soda

    never ask your guest to open pockets
    your there to thank them for coming to your wedding no cash should be spent 
    That's a load of crap, @hyechica81.  Also, do you EVER come back to a thread?  Like, ever?



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