Wedding Reception Forum

Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar

we honestly just cannot afford an open bar for our reception and did not want to have one anyways. we both have several over-indulgers in the family and didn't want the option of getting sloppy drunk so easily out there.

 our venue is allowing us to place 2 bottles of wine (red and white) for every 2 couples on the table and have an open bar for water, juice, soda but not alcohol.

 is there anyway at the reception to have a little (business card sized) sign that says it's cash bar for alcohol but everything else is on the house? I don't want to be tacky but i also don't want people to go up there thinking they can get bombed for free. and before you ask; No, these are not people we can just not invite...
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Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar

  • Don't have a cash bar. You said you didn't want one anyway so don't do it! The wine on the tables is enough. It's better to have no bar than a cash one. Guests should not have to pay for anything at your reception.
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  • kaos16kaos16 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    The wine on the tables is plenty, and much more appropriate than a cash bar.  Stick with them and nonalcoholic drinks.  Perhaps the serviers will pour or distribute the nonalcoholic drinks so there is no confusion by having a bar set up.
  • Ditto PPs. And also, if there are people prone to overindulging, they are going to do so whether it's cash or open bar. Wine on the tables is perfectly fine.
  • I'm not having alcohol at my wedding, so if it's not important to you, then I wouldn't do it! It's your day! You make the decisions!
  • Um, the tacky thing about cash bars is not that someone has a neon sign screaming "CASH BAR" but that guests have to open their wallets.  Signage, no matter how discreet, does not change that. 

    I would consider any other option before asking guests to open their wallets.  That is something people will always remember about your wedding -promise.  
  • Wine is a great option I also maybe would look into a beer only because not everyone drinks wine
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Classy and cash bar do not go together.  Stick with the bottles of wine on the table and the non-alcoholic beverages and you'll be fine.
  • alithebridealithebride member
    Ninth Anniversary 2500 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited June 2012
    what makes you think the over-indulgers will not drink all of the wine?
    here's the thing abotu over-indulgers: unless you have no alcohol available (cash or otherwise)t hey'll still overindulge.
    dont penalize the majority of your guests because of a few.
    and 1 bottle per couple? that's only 2 maybe 2.5  glasses each. if your reception is longer than 90 minutes you should provide more. and i hope i'm not the one that gets either merlot or white becuase i cant stand either. sorry-there's just not enough here. can you not have the venue put a variety of bottles on the tables? a few reds and a few whites and replace as they're emptied?

    there's nothing subtle or classy way to say 'pay for your drink at my reception' so dont do it. just increase the types and volume of wine and you'l be fine. there are TONS of great wines out there that are inexpensive so you'll absolutely be able to find a bunch of good ones.

     

  • PeavyPeavy member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    I've got to agree with alithebride -- those who want to over-indulge will do so.  When they finish the two bottles of wine at their table,they'll start visiting other tables looking for wine.  You just can't control other people's behavior.
  • I to agree with the brides about overindulging, it will just happen. I personally don't see a problem with guests paying for there alcohol, I went to a few weddings like that and never heard anyone complain about it. Weddings are expensive, people do have limitations and I think most people are understanding of the fact that an open bar is pricey. For my wedding if you want alcohol then BYOB... But if you and your fiancé don't want all the "extra" alcohol then don't worry about it, the 2 bottles should be fine. I would get different selections of red and white wines for couples to choose from. That way there is more then one red wine and one white wine.
    He stole my heart... So I'm stealing his last name.
  • am2326am2326 member
    10 Comments
    edited June 2012
    Agree with PP..where I'm from, everyone has cash bars. It is not common here to have an open bar. Ive never heard anybody complain about this, but then again, it can be because everyone here is used to that...
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  • I think wine on the tables are fine, but like PP said, I would maybe try to have more variety than just two types. We provided beer and wine, and within "wine," there were like 7 or 8 types that guests could choose from at no additional cost to us. If possible (don't know your budget), maybe have open wine (and beer if you can afford that) so that people have more to choose from.

     I feel like you're not doing alcohol mainly because of over-indulgers. They will over-indulge anyway. In fact, I'd feel crappy if I was at a table with one of them and hardly got any of the two bottles of wine because they drank it all. This is why I'm suggesting having at least more wine available because I'd hate for some guests who get to their table last to have hardly any wine left for them.


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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:9eb07f7a-1019-47d5-8a77-be75e02af81d">Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]Agree with PP..where I'm from, everyone has cash bars. It is not common here to have an open bar. Ive never heard anybody complain about this, but then again, it can be because everyone here is used to that...
    Posted by am2326[/QUOTE]

    Ditto...I think for the most part people are more accepting of the idea due to the financial situation of most people right now, but at the same time I agree with not serving any alcohol if you cant afford it or dont want to come off rude...just depends on the crowd I think..
    Anniversary
  • Just skip the cash bar.  Wine will be fine.
     
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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I am shocked that so many people feel a cash bar is acceptable.  I don't care how common it is, a reception is a thank you to your guests.  In thanking them, you provide them with food and drink (alochol or non-alcoholic) courtesy of you and at no cost to them.  Your guests should not have to open up their wallet.  If you can't afford to host an open bar, that's fine.....then just do wine and beer.  And if you can't afford wine and beer, have a dry wedding.  Just host what you can afford.
  • Just stick to the wine. Having your guests pay for drinks is a little rude.

  • Every wedding I have been to has had a cash bar. I have not been to a single wedding with open bar...some have had 1 bottle of champagne at the tables for toasting, but anything more than that has been at a cash bar.
    I think this could be a regional thing...not everyone in every area of the country has the same expectations. I don't expect someone to pay for alcohol for me...if I want to drink, I'm happy to pay for it myself. If I don't, or money is an issue, there is generally water, punch, or coffee available. In my experience, this has been a very similar point of view for guests at weddings I've attended.
    Just because someone does something different, does not mean it is wrong. People's perception of what is polite/impolite is often influenced on their experience. My experience has been to pay for booze at a wedding...therefore it does not feel impolite to me.
    Miss Amanda
  • edited June 2012
    <div align="left">In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:7a85822e-e0fc-4859-921d-bfb58b8381cb">Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]Every wedding I have been to has had a cash bar. I have not been to a single wedding with open bar...some have had 1 bottle of champagne at the tables for toasting, but anything more than that has been at a cash bar. I think this could be a regional thing...not everyone in every area of the country has the same expectations. I don't expect someone to pay for alcohol for me...if I want to drink, I'm happy to pay for it myself. If I don't, or money is an issue, there is generally water, punch, or coffee available. In my experience, this has been a very similar point of view for guests at weddings I've attended. <strong>Just because someone does something different, does not mean it is wrong</strong>. People's perception of what is polite/impolite is often influenced on their experience. My experience has been to pay for booze at a wedding...therefore it does not feel impolite to me.
    Posted by amandaburrell08[/QUOTE]

    Just because a lot of people do it does not make it right.  Cash bars are also common where I was raised.  Even when I still lived there, and that is all I had seen, I always felt it was wrong.  Etiquette is the same across the country.  The only thing that is different is the levels of acceptance of the lack of it.

    OP - the bottles on the table are fine.  Host what you can afford.</div>
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:9443c1e7-9334-4293-b6c7-d7fa77dfed09">Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar : Ditto...I think for the most part people are more accepting of the idea due to the financial situation of most people right now, but at the same time I agree with not serving any alcohol if you cant afford it or dont want to come off rude...just depends on the crowd I think..
    Posted by rsaleh84[/QUOTE]

    i see where you're going with this but honestly-if the financial situation is so bad they have no business throwing a big reception in the first place imo. if i show up to a big weddign with a ton of food and they have limos and photographer and flowers btu then play the 'oh it's the ecomony' for a cash bar i give a HUGE side eye.

     

  • No need for a cash bar. Wine is just fine. At our venue I would prefer to have alcohol, unfortunately,  it is not allowed - only wine and beer. Although you want to entain and provide for your guests, you still need to do so within the perameters that you can or are given. I am sure that it will not end someones night if they can't have a Jack and coke.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:8f7af37e-9398-479f-9412-c4cd37f4cdcc">Re:Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]Ditto PPs. And also, if there are people prone to overindulging, they are going to do so whether it's cash or open bar. Wine on the tables is perfectly fine.
    Posted by ZeroOrchestra[/QUOTE]

    I love your sig for so many reasons!  :)

     

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:481b8225-c4d1-4ffe-b6fc-3c57aef4cf01">Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am shocked that so many people feel a cash bar is acceptable.  I don't care how common it is, a reception is a thank you to your guests.  In thanking them, you provide them with food and drink (alochol or non-alcoholic) courtesy of you and at no cost to them.  Your guests should not have to open up their wallet.  If you can't afford to host an open bar, that's fine.....then just do wine and beer.  And if you can't afford wine and beer, have a dry wedding.  Just host what you can afford.
    Posted by JoanE2012[/QUOTE]

    THIS

     

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:239cf7c1-fc46-4317-80e9-9f52508df395">Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]Just because cash bars are common doesn't mean it is correct. <strong>Chewing with your mouth open is common, and some people don't mind, but it still isn't polite.
    </strong>Posted by Liatris2010[/QUOTE]

    Great example of something that is super common yet incredibly inpolite (and immensly disgusting)!

  • annie912annie912 member
    100 Comments
    edited June 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:34c154ff-ec51-4ac0-b004-41af35476074">Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar : THIS
    Posted by OBX2011[/QUOTE]

    Other things that are common (or so I am finding out...) -
    Having shower guests address the envelopes for their own thank you cards
    Making guests cook for the reception
    Not providing chairs for guests to sit in during a ceremony
    Thinking that if you hand out flip flops to women in heels, that makes up for not having chairs
    Putting ANYTHING saying, hinting or in any way implying anything about gifts on an invitation

    Seriously. I never knew this stuff existed.

    Although I did know about cash bars because they are common at a lot of the weddings I have been to. My ex-FIL wanted us to hand out "drink tickets" for my first wedding. I told EX that we were going to have an open bar or no bar. I totally understood if his father didn't want to pay because it was our wedding but I was not going to have a cash bar or hand out tickets. If that was the case, we would be paying for beer and wine ourselves and if his buddies wanted to drink more, they were more than welcome to hit the bars afterward. In the end, his dad did pay for the full bar, which was very generous of him. I think it was more because he was afraid that his family (EX's and Ex-FIL's family) would be ticked if they couldn't get mixed drinks, but he knew I wasn't going to back down. I was fully prepared to do beer and wine and leave it at that. In retrospect, I really wish we had anyway and not taken the contributions from his father, but that's a whole different story (and part of the whole ex-thing....).

    Anyway, just because something is common doesn't mean it's right. No, some people won't be offended, but some will. I always try to stay on the side of offending as few people as possible.
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  • And I have NO clue why my posts are now centering.
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  • aragx6aragx6 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:6405c4d6-64d5-4283-b0e6-b1e098c13094">Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]And I have NO clue why my posts are now centering.
    Posted by annie912[/QUOTE]

    No one else can see it. It's one of those bizarre Knot things that happens for seemingly no reason whatsoever.
    Lizzie
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:2eb17948-8957-4146-80e0-e1b18e6c703b">Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar : Other things that are common (or so I am finding out...) - <strong>Having shower guests address the envelopes for their own thank you cards </strong>Making guests cook for the reception Not providing chairs for guests to sit in during a ceremony Thinking that if you hand out flip flops to women in heels, that makes up for not having chairs Putting ANYTHING saying, hinting or in any way implying anything about gifts on an invitation Posted by annie912[/QUOTE]

    Yeah.  That one right there?  I refuse to do.  I took the time to go buy you a gift, wrap it up and sign a card.  You can take 90 second to write out the damn envelope.

    Serious side eye to the weddings that do not have chairs (I was at a wedding where I was one of the privileged to have a chair and really did not like that)

    Potluck receptions? Won't go.  If it were a really good friend, I'd probably pay for platters a subway sandwiches just to keep him or her from looking like a cheap ass.

    Flip flops?  Not wearing them with a  dress.  Sorry, too much a a fashionista to do that.

    Registry info?  SIL put it on an insert for the invitation to the second reception FIL was hosting.  DH nearly died when he saw that.  He even called her saying "You're married!! You had a wedding!! What the hell were you thinking???"
    Proud to be an old married hag!! image
  • am2326am2326 member
    10 Comments
    I can see both viewpoints make sense on this one. Although a cash bar is very acceptable in this area, my FI and I opted for open bar because this is something he wanted to do. Im sure our guests are going to be surprised with the open bar just because this is something practically unheard of in weddings in this area. On the same note, i also think it is selfish and rude to opt out of serving alcohol because you cant afford it when there are guests who are more than willing to front some cash for drinks.
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  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    " is there anyway at the reception to have a little (business card sized) sign that says it's cash bar for alcohol but everything else is on the house? I don't want to be tacky but i also don't want people to go up there thinking they can get bombed for free. and before you ask; No, these are not people we can just not invite..."

    Broomstick...........keeping my personal opinion out of it, I will attempt to answer your question.  Signage that reads something along the lines of, "Please enjoy complimentary beverages of soda, juice, and water"  will inform guests of the beverages that are cost free, while implying that anything else would require payment. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_classy-way-to-do-a-subtle-cash-bar?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:0e4a242b-59c6-4454-b73b-e9556d41179dPost:c3e6a92c-5e30-4b57-af53-a1601bfe187a">Re: Classy? way to do a subtle cash bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]I can see both viewpoints make sense on this one. Although a cash bar is very acceptable in this area, my FI and I opted for open bar because this is something he wanted to do. Im sure our guests are going to be surprised with the open bar just because this is something practically unheard of in weddings in this area. On the same note, i also think it is selfish and rude to opt out of serving alcohol because you cant afford it when there are guests who are more than willing to front some cash for drinks.
    Posted by am2326[/QUOTE]

    <div>If the guests are paying for it, then you are not serving it. The reception is hosted by the couple. That means that what is "served" is what they can afford. Not having a cash bar is no more rude than me not serving lobster the next time I have friends over because I can't afford to feed everyone lobster. Rude would be saying, "I'm serving chicken to everyone, but if you give me an extra $20 I'll serve you lobster instead." </div>
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