North Dakota

Have to ask local ND ladies - cash bar?

I know this board is pretty inactive, but, I had to ask -

What do people around here think about a cash bar at a wedding?  I have never been to a reception that was totally open bar, it's always been free kegs provided by the couple and cash for everything else, open bar up to X amount and pay for drinks after that, or some combination.  However I've noticed that anyone who even suggests some form of a cash bar on The Knot gets a ton of grief on how that's such poor etiquette.

What's the deal?

Re: Have to ask local ND ladies - cash bar?

  • First of all I know that we are spending a lot on our wedding to even consider a open bar.  We figure if the guest want to drink then they could pay for it.  Also, I don't even think we are going to have a key (the fiance's idea).
  • A key to what?

    I honestly don't think it's the end of the world if I have to buy my own drinks.  I know it costs a lot of money to supply alcohol.  FI and I will have 2 kegs and a couple cases of wine, and sangria will be our "signature" drink.  I wanted to keep it at that, but he said we should have a bartender there to do it all, and if they are there and someone wants a different drink, they can buy it.  For insurance purposes we're going with a bartender.
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  • I think up here we have a different set of rules.

    I have never been to a completely open bar reception either, nor do I expect it. Wait, my grandparents had a completely open bar at their 50th wedding anniversary, but let's face it, they had the money and wanted to spoil everyone.

    We are not having a open bar, however do plan on having a few kegs, wine, and water bottles available.
  • edited January 2012
    We just got married in November and it was a cash bar. It was still an amazing wedding and reception and no-one questioned the cash bar. Iced Tea, Coffee, Water or Milk was provided with supper and then we provided a Champaign toast and those bottles were left around the room for people to drink. Other than that everyone bought their own drinks through out the night.
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  • I've been to both and they were both totally ok. We have providing wine at each table and a couple kegs for free. In addition, we are having a local bar set up for a cash bar. The reason why we are having a local bar come in is because then they are responsible to controlling the flow of booze. I don't think it would be a surprise to anyone up here if a cash bar is there. I think of it as expected rather than out of the ordinary.
  • edited February 2012

    I've been wondering about this, too! In ND, it's difficult to do open. Many people are from small towns, and you get a lot of "not-inviteds". I've seen many people go to a reception because they "kinda know them". They eat, drink, and don't gift. Some people just don't know, or think about wedding costs. My out of towners should be treated, and I don't want crashers to ruin it for them. In big cities or wealthier areas, it's not unusual to give hundreds, but in ND, it is understandably lower. It is places like that in which open bars are common.
    I thought of some ideas, tacky or not?: cute drink tickets in a dish on the table, free drinks for anyone with a boutenierre, having a time/amount limit on the bar (9pm/$2000), and having the groomsmen sell open bar wristbands for an amount ($10-$20?)....
    Horror story: my friend was married last summer invited a couple that RSVP'd 7 people (kid's friends included) and gifted a $12 potpourri set. They ate at $18/head, and drank free champagne/beer. WOW.

  • I have grown up in Grand Forks and lived here my whole life and I cannot think of a single wedding that had an entirely open bar. Usually it's a few kegs and wine that are free and anything else is paid for by guests. One option I have heard of many people doing is getting their booze at a huge sale (think Happy Harry's penny sale for wine) and then getting some people you know who can run the bar all night. That way you don't pay for a bar to cater, and you can get the alcohol (and bartenders) way cheaper, and then an open bar could be affordable. Just make sure you read up on how to stock the bar appropriately for the number of guests you're expecting. Also, depending on location, there may be legal issues to check on (needing to have someone check IDs or getting a liquor Incense). I agree with the above though- cash bar is totally acceptable around here. Especially since many times wedding crashers show up for the party in smaller towns.
  • sonjaruthsonjaruth
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    edited July 2012
    I had a formal wedding in Fargo three weeks ago. My parents hosted beverages for the cocktail hour (wine, champagne, beer) and there were two bottles of wine at each table for the dinner; people could still get a hosted beer during this hour, too. Basically, there was still plenty of wine for the whole evening through the dance as all of the bottles had been opened at each table. However, the people drinking beer did get stuck buying their drinks after dinner, but they could have switched to wine and had that taken care of ;)

    I was really worried about this appearing tacky, as my wedding had many guests flying from both coasts and the Twin Cities to attend. I have been to many weddings in the Cities where it's been true open bar, so for these guests in particular, I thought our version would seem class-less. It didn't, and people remarked so.

    That being said, things are different in North Dakota! I've been to two weddings that had cash bar, and I was not surprised or offended by this as I knew it was a matter of budget. If you're able to put wine on the table or have a keg (we couldn't do kegs at our venue, sadly!) I say go for it! Otherwise, as Angie says above, if you can stock your own bar, that is a great option, too! I wish we could have done this, but our reception venue couldn't even sell mixed drinks.
  • I was wondering the same thing!!  I know this is a non-active thread, but I had to add my thoughts.  My fiance and I are paying for our wedding and we are at our limits paying for all our guests, and he has put his foot down about alcohol.  I am going to get champagne for the wedding party, and we will supply all non-alcoholic beverages and have a lemonade stand (a classy one).  I wanted to buy a few kegs and some wine but my fiance says no, that's it, cash bar.  ...  I have guests coming from the south where I lived for 6 years (originally a ND girl) where cash bar is TACKY.  but we literally are strapped.  I'm hoping $ will magically appear and we can at least supply some wine and a keg or 2. :)

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