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Food and Cakes

Cash vs. Open Bar

Title says it all. Which is best for a budget conscious couple like my fiance and I? 



 

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Re: Cash vs. Open Bar

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Cash bar should never be an option.  The reception is a thank you to your guests for coming and witnessing your ceremony.  Making them pay for anything is not a good way to thank them.

    You should always host what you can afford.  So you have several choices...
    1) no alcohol
    2) beer and wine
    3) beer and wine and a signature drink (for those who prefer liquor)
    4) full open bar

    You need to look at your budget and see how much you can spend and then figure it out from there.

    But, please don't even have the option for your guests to pay for drinks because it just isn't nice.

  • Ditto everything PP said. If you can afford just beer and wine, that is PLENTY.
  • Take maggies advice.  She is 100% correct.
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  • Host what you can afford. Ditch the cash bar idea (it's seen as tacky). 

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  • edited June 2012

    Reread Maggie's post and imagine I said it.

    ETA - for our wedding we had minimal flowers to put more money towards the open bar.  Trust me, nobody paid attention to the flowers but they remember the stocked bar.

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  • just saying....

    if we had the budget for an open bar....we would have one

    we are doing a cash bar because no, we cannot afford to buy everyone's drinks (because of the drinking habits of FI's friends and family alone, this cost would be outrageous). BUT we want our guests to be able to have a drink if they want to.  Our venue has bartenders work our reception at no cost to us, as it is just a way to bring in more money for the venue and that is just how they do it.  I do know that a lot of people think it is tacky to have a cash bar, but it is simply the best option for us and none of our friends and family will have a problem with it.  after all, it IS basically a party. =)  but this is just my personal scenario.

    Seriously, do what feels right for you.  if you can't afford an open bar, and you know your guests aren't going to mind buying themself a drink, a cash bar doesn't have to be a bad thing.


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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_cash-vs-open-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:0da46527-f837-4fcf-83ab-eb893cc53698Post:f080ab3b-b24d-415f-b21c-fdc713390fe4">Re: Cash vs. Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]just saying.... if we had the budget for an open bar....we would have one we are doing a cash bar because no, we cannot afford to buy everyone's drinks (because of the drinking habits of FI's friends and family alone, this cost would be outrageous). BUT we want our guests to be able to have a drink if they want to.  Our venue has bartenders work our reception at no cost to us, as it is just a way to bring in more money for the venue and that is just how they do it.  I do know that a lot of people think it is tacky to have a cash bar, but it is simply the best option for us and none of our friends and family will have a problem with it.  after all, it IS basically a party. =)  but this is just my personal scenario. Seriously, do what feels right for you.  if you can't afford an open bar, and you know your guests aren't going to mind buying themself a drink, a cash bar doesn't have to be a bad thing.
    Posted by shayna25[/QUOTE]

    <div>
    </div><div>I totally agree with you. I discussed it with my fiance and I think we're going to go with cash bar. It may be seen as tacky or cheap... but our guests know that I'm putting myself through a Masters program. And we do not want our guests to over drink. Yes it's a party and it is in a hotel, but that doesn't mean people can get so drunk they can't even walk. </div><div>
    </div><div>Going with cash bar. </div><div>
    </div>
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  • I don't think having a cash bar is tacky at all. I'm having a cash bar and there is nothing tacky about my wedding. Let the guests get drunk on their own dime.  Besides, who wants all those empty calories! I think the food, atmosphere, and the fact that they are even invited are "thank you" enough for the guests. 
  • I agree, a cash bar is fine. We are doing an open bar for the cocktail hour and cash bar for the reception.
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  • SuMmErKuTiESuMmErKuTiE member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited July 2012
    It seems like the only people who think having a cash bar is ok are those who are having one themselves and are trying to justify their decision.

    The reason cash bars are rude is because your guests are at a hosted event, and they shouldn't have to open their wallet for anything.

    I've only been to one cash bar wedding, and believe me everyone was upset and was whispering/complaining about it. The bride is one of my closest friends, and I have never said anything to her about it because I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings. So, keep in mind that just because your guests don't complain to you doesn't mean they're not disappointed/talking about how rude it is behind your back.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_cash-vs-open-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:0da46527-f837-4fcf-83ab-eb893cc53698Post:5bbf0111-5e08-4575-9e9a-1348f5cd497d">Re: Cash vs. Open Bar</a><div>
    [QUOTE]It seems like the only people who think having a cash bar is ok are those who are having one themselves and are trying to justify their decision. The reason cash bars are rude is because your guests are at a hosted event, and they shouldn't have to open their wallet for anything. I've only been to one cash bar wedding, and believe me everyone was upset and was whispering/complaining about it. The bride is one of my closest friends, and I have never said anything to her about it because I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings. So, keep in mind that just because your guests don't complain to you doesn't mean they're not disappointed/talking about how rude it is behind your back.
    Posted by SuMmErKuTiE[/QUOTE]</div><div>
    </div><div>Well, I think it's rude for guests to expect alcohol and then talk about you when it's not free at the wedding. Believe me, alcohol is not going to make or break a wedding. Maybe I'm just too health conscious and I don't see it as a necessity to have at a wedding or any other celebration for that matter. I think it's just a total waste of money. 

    </div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_cash-vs-open-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:23Discussion:0da46527-f837-4fcf-83ab-eb893cc53698Post:f906cff7-53f2-4833-a5f4-41a0cfc8217b">Re: Cash vs. Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Cash vs. Open Bar Well, I think it's rude for guests to expect alcohol and then talk about you when it's not free at the wedding. Believe me, alcohol is not going to make or break a wedding. Maybe I'm just too health conscious and I don't see it as a necessity to have at a wedding or any other celebration for that matter. I think it's just a total waste of money. 
    Posted by pureheart08[/QUOTE]

    If you are so health conscious that you don't see it as a necessity, then don't have alcohol at your wedding.     Anything that IS available at the wedding reception should be hosted.  It is better to host what you can afford, even if that means having a alcohol free wedding. 

    FWIW - I just bought four cases of pretty decent wine and a ordered a keg of beer (the big keg, that has 160 servings).  That is about 180-200 glasses of wine and 160 beers.  Total cost for beer and wine is around $400.00.  

    Ask your venue if you can bring in your own liquor and they can close down their bar.  Host what you can afford.  guests should never be asked to open their wallets at a party that is basically being thrown as a thank you to them.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_cash-vs-open-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:23Discussion:0da46527-f837-4fcf-83ab-eb893cc53698Post:7aa095af-bb26-41e2-88d7-fdda4a26b7eb">Re: Cash vs. Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]I agree, a cash bar is fine. We are doing an open bar for the cocktail hour and cash bar for the reception.
    Posted by sparkellyy[/QUOTE]

    I would suggest you not do this.  I'm anti-cash bar in general, but doing half and half strikes me as especially rude/confusing/awkward.  I picture guests going up to the bar, getting a drink for free, then going back a half hour later and being charged, having to give their drink back to go find their money (or just not drink anymore, if they didn't bring money - I never do to weddings).  It's just weird.  If you insist on a cash bar, I'd just stick with it the whole time, honestly.
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  • We plan on just having a set dollar limit at the bar for our guests to drink up to. FI wants a cash bar, because alcohol is pricey, but I completely disagree with him here. I think it's tacky.

    Someone gave me an idea about giving guests X-amount of tickets to redeem at the bar for drinks. If another guest doesn't want to drink, then they can give their tickets to other guests who are drinking. This way, we know exactly what we're paying for and how many drinks we will get out of our money. We may or may not use this idea. But, definitely a suggestion.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_cash-vs-open-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:23Discussion:0da46527-f837-4fcf-83ab-eb893cc53698Post:4e536764-6e9c-41a8-8430-20f072e6c78c">Re: Cash vs. Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>We plan on just having a set dollar limit at the bar for our guests to drink up to</strong>. FI wants a cash bar, because alcohol is pricey, but I completely disagree with him here. I think it's tacky. Someone gave me an idea about <strong>giving guests X-amount of tickets</strong> to redeem at the bar for drinks. If another guest doesn't want to drink, then they can give their tickets to other guests who are drinking. This way, we know exactly what we're paying for and how many drinks we will get out of our money. We may or may not use this idea. But, definitely a suggestion.
    Posted by mallorydh[/QUOTE]

    This is also extremely tacky.  Host what you can afford.  If you cannot afford an open bar then do beer and wine.  If you cannot afford that, have a dry wedding.
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  • Unfortunately, dry bar is out. Otherwise people will be pissed there's no alcohol, and I think they'd be more angry and catty if that were the case.Thought something in the middle would work. 
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_cash-vs-open-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:23Discussion:0da46527-f837-4fcf-83ab-eb893cc53698Post:3432aa5b-a4c4-4699-9f16-c2d33944e575">Re: Cash vs. Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]Unfortunately, dry bar is out. Otherwise people will be pissed there's no alcohol, and I think they'd be more angry and catty if that were the case.Thought something in the middle would work. 
    Posted by swimmy1988[/QUOTE]

    It sounds like you've already made up your mind.  Cash bars are rude.  there is no exception to that etiquette rule.  If you can't afford to host a full bar, serve beer and wine only.  Or, do what you want, since it sounds like that's what you are going to do anyway.
  • edited July 2012
    I'm open to the idea of the cash bar, if for certain drinks. I think it's reasonable to offer the main beer and wine and then offer the cash option for other drinks. I think people will be a little disappointed either way -- their fave drink isn't available period, or maybe it's available but they have to pay for it themselves.

    I think part of people's reaction to the wedding is your presentation and atmosphere, and how they know you are fiance to be - your style, budget, etc. If I were at a wedding trying to seem super fancy and it had a cash bar, I'd be pretty surprised. If it were a wedding that's more laid back, then it might fit a little better overall.

    I think we're just going to do beer kegs and wine and then pop/tea/coffee etc. A signature cocktail sounded nice, but too expensive as a per drink price, so not worth it. I really don't want people to have to worry about bringing their wallet or purse or need cash to actually buy anything while at my wedding ceremony or reception.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_cash-vs-open-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:0da46527-f837-4fcf-83ab-eb893cc53698Post:8fb521e7-4382-478d-993b-1421a8b3192a">Re: Cash vs. Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'm open to the idea of the cash bar, if for certain drinks. I think it's reasonable to offer the main beer and wine and then offer the cash option for other drinks. I think people will be a little disappointed either way -- their fave drink isn't available period, or maybe it's available but they have to pay for it themselves. I think part of people's reaction to the wedding is your presentation and atmosphere, and how they know you are fiance to be - your style, budget, etc. If I were at a wedding trying to seem super fancy and it had a cash bar, I'd be pretty surprised. If it were a wedding that's more laid back, then it might fit a little better overall. I think we're just going to do beer kegs and wine and then pop/tea/coffee etc. A signature cocktail sounded nice, but too expensive as a per drink price, so not worth it. I really don't want people to have to worry about bringing their wallet or purse or need cash to actually buy anything while at my wedding ceremony or reception.
    Posted by mabapunta[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Very understandable. </div><div>I actually brought up this subject to some of my friends who will be attending my wedding, and have been to many weddings before. Apparently cash bars are the norm around this area, and they don't seem to think it's rude either. </div><div>I guess I'll have to check with my venue to see what prices they offer for either option though and see if it fits in our budget. 

    </div>
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  • Just attended a wedding with hosted beer and wine and cash cocktails. It was totally fine! No one complained, a god time had by all.
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  • I can't believe some of the rude responses to this :) It's YOUR day, do what YOU want. A lot of places (around here, anyway) absolutely do not allow you to bring in your own alcohol, so know that the cost is probably going to be up there. We are doing something similar to having open bar at cocktail hour and cash bar at the reception. Almost every wedding I have been to in the past few years have done the same thing. It's rude to expect a couple to pay for everyone to get drunk. Also, I have never heard any complaints or whispers EXCEPT for when there was no alcohol available. Just make sure your guests know what to expect and that communication on the alcohol situation is clear. It will be fine! :)
  • I'm surprised that people are advocating a dry wedding over a cash bar. 

    As a guest, I would rather see a cash bar than a dry wedding.  Don't get me wrong -- open bar is best (FI and I are cutting back on other areas - - flowers and favors- - so we can host an open bar for our guests.)  That being said, I understand that it is not financially possible for all people to host an open bar.  They can only host what they can afford.  But if I'm at a wedding reception and there is music and dancing, I want a little wine, beer or liquor to get me dancing.  I'd rather spend $5 bucks and buy my own glass of wine than sit there sober at your wedding reception.  Just my opinion.  

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