Wedding Reception Forum
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Open Bar

My fiance and I went to check out a local venue today for our wedding reception. The venue has a 22% service charge so we are trying to figure out ways to bring the total cost per person down since we are paying for the wedding.
My thoughts are this:  
     - have cockatil hour + 3hrs be open bar and the last hour be a cash bar for alochol (while soda and water are still free)
     -have cocktail hour be total open bar then for the reception have it be beer/wine/signature drinks
     -have an open tab and pay at the end of the night, considering that not everyone at the reception will be drinking and everyone that does drink won't be drinking hard for a full 5 hours

Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions? I'm open to anything!

Re: Open Bar

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    Don't do the first one.  Cash bars just ain't okay.  It's never a good idea to pass on any part of the costs of the wedding on to guests.

    Either of the second or third options should be okay.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_open-bar-8?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:37049420-7684-4a25-aca9-4a303f6e064aPost:8d296dcf-0495-4c75-bdd2-aef0bcb4a4cb">Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]My fiance and I went to check out a local venue today for our wedding reception. The venue has a 22% service charge so we are trying to figure out ways to bring the total cost per person down since we are paying for the wedding. My thoughts are this:        - have cockatil hour + 3hrs be open bar and the last hour be a cash bar for alochol (while soda and water are still free)      -have cocktail hour be total open bar then for the reception have it be beer/wine/signature drinks      -have an open tab and pay at the end of the night, considering that not everyone at the reception will be drinking and everyone that does drink won't be drinking hard for a full 5 hours Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions? I'm open to anything!
    Posted by jstratton655[/QUOTE]

    <div>I am not a fan of cash bars.  I also don't like the idea of switching through the reception--either someone will be disappointed that they have to pay for their last drink, or someone will be disappointed that they can't try the mixed drink that their friend was drinking during cocktail hour.  </div><div>
    </div><div>I would just go with beer/wine/sig drink for the entire wedding.  That sounds like a good solution.  </div><div>
    </div><div>The last option you listed is a consumption bar.  It is hard to budget for that, because you really have no idea how much people will drink.  Also, it's not just a matter of how much they drink--they could try something new and not like it or set a drink down and forget about it--there's also going to be waste.  You could end up with a very large tab at the end of the event.  I think it's better to budget however much you can for the bar and work within that budget rather than leaving it open.</div>
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    What ever you do don't so the bait and switch to a cash bar. It's rude and tacky.
     
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    I would stick with a limited bar menu that fits into your budget. Beer, wine and a signature drink or two should do it. Cash bars are rude and tacky and people who have been drinking all night for free are going to get pretty upset that they waited 5 extra minutes for a drink cause they were out dancing and having a good time and now they have to buy their own drinks.
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    Cash bars are inappropriate.  If you want to do a full bar for 4 hours, just close the bar after that.  

    I recommend just doing beer/wine/signature the whole night over changing to that after cocktail hour.  Either is ok, but it's confusing to guests when they can get a jack and coke at 6:30 but aren't allowed to get another one at 7:30.  Guests don't think about things like bar packages and budgetting while they are at the wedding.  They see that the jack is there, and don't understand why it's denied.  

    Your last option is a consumption bar.  Unless you are in a situation where more than half of your guests won't be drinking, it isn't likely to come out cheaper.  But logistically, the biggest issue for me is that you can't predict it.  Even if it does turn out to be cheaper or the same, you still won't know until the end of the night.  The last thing you want to be worrying about at your wedding is whether you'll be able to afford the bar tab at the end.  
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    See if you can find a venue that lets you bring in your own alcohol.   We had about 80 people at our wedding.  It was at a vineyard, so we used their wine.  But we brought in all of the beer and alcohol ourselves, and it cost maybe $600?  And we had a LOT left over.   
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    I will go against the grain here and say if the only way to have a bar is a cash bar, budget wise, do it. people would rather pay for booze than be at a dry wedding.

    been to one of those brides family was religous. had a bar next door.

    bride included, we snuck next door for drinks, till we got busted by her grandpa. the preacher who married her.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_open-bar-8?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:37049420-7684-4a25-aca9-4a303f6e064aPost:ed69f2a8-e3e7-4836-a367-7d7e4f8ae004">Re: Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]I will go against the grain here and say if the only way to have a bar is a cash bar, budget wise, do it. people would rather pay for booze than be at a dry wedding. been to one of those brides family was religous. had a bar next door. bride included, we snuck next door for drinks, till we got busted by her grandpa. the preacher who married her.
    Posted by metalotaku[/QUOTE]

    Nope.  Cash bars are rude because guests should not be expected to pay for any cost, including alcohol.  No one is entitled to alcohol at a wedding. If the wedding in question doesn't have it, you suck it up.
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    There is nothing wrong with beer/wine/signature drink for the entire evening. If I'm going to a wedding that isn't dry, anything above beer and wine is bonus for me.
    Typical weddings in our area are just beer and wine, which is fine by almost everyone.
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    I've been to a bar with hosted beer/win and and a cash option for hard liquor and it was clearly stated with signs on the bar. I wasn't offended, but we all knew going into it that it was a very small, intimate budget wedding with a cocktail reception. "Advertise" your wedding as it is- EX. don't pretend it's black tie if your going to do a cash bar at any point in the night.

    Have you thought about closing the bar during dinner? I've seen that done before and it was usually fine, as waiters served wine at the tables.

    BUT, ultimately go with what you can afford.
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    it's totally fine to just do a limited bar for the whole night. a few different beers, a red and a white wine, a few basic liquors iwth mixers. something for everyone :)

    having the last hour be a cash bar is awful imo.

     

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    I would have a limited selection for the entire event (beer, wine and signature drink).

    Cash bars are rude.  Period.  No exceptions.

    And I think it is kind of rude for the bride and groom to offer a full open bar for half the night and then surprise all of their guests by switching over to just beer and wine for the rest of the night.  The best thing to do is to pick one option and then stick with it.

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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_open-bar-8?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:37049420-7684-4a25-aca9-4a303f6e064aPost:ed69f2a8-e3e7-4836-a367-7d7e4f8ae004">Re: Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]I will go against the grain here and say if the only way to have a bar is a cash bar, budget wise, do it. people would rather pay for booze than be at a dry wedding. been to one of those brides family was religous. had a bar next door. bride included, we snuck next door for drinks, till we got busted by her grandpa. the preacher who married her.
    Posted by metalotaku[/QUOTE]

    <div>Outside of being quite rude, this bride sounds really immature.  </div><div>
    </div><div>Sneaking alcohol at her wedding?  Did she get married at 17?  </div>
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    Select the option that you can afford. Guests will enjoy what is hosted, as long as there are a few different options (e.g. beer, wine, champagne and one or two signature cocktails -maybe a vodka based selection and also a whiskey based selection). 

    The basic rule is not have your guests pay for anything at your reception. As it is a party you are hosting to thank your guests for attending your ceremony and celebrate your new marriage. 



    Anniversary
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_open-bar-8?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:37049420-7684-4a25-aca9-4a303f6e064aPost:c7586fcd-0028-4aae-8e70-1a1a9ac95a8b">Re: Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Open Bar : Outside of being quite rude, this bride sounds really immature.   Sneaking alcohol at her wedding?  Did she get married at 17?  
    Posted by MyNameIsNot[/QUOTE]
    let's think about this, if she was 17 how would she get served at a bar...

    her family doesn't like drinking or liquer. because of their religion. she on the other hand, enjoys drinking and isn't religious. we had a big party with the whole wedding party the night before staying up and drinking and parting. she got married at 25.

    and i stand by what i said. no one wants to be at a dry wedding. and alot of people are willing to pay to not have it that way if it's the only option. i've been to another wedding that had a cash bar, and no one complained, or thought it was rude. they knew the bride was being cohorced into having a formal wedding and reception when all she wanted was to elope. and they weren't getting help from those who demanded a real wedding.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_open-bar-8?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:37049420-7684-4a25-aca9-4a303f6e064aPost:7606506e-62c5-4f01-9858-7c5dc9ae3da9">Re: Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Open Bar : let's think about this, if she was 17 how would she get served at a bar... her family doesn't like drinking or liquer. because of their religion. she on the other hand, enjoys drinking and isn't religious. we had a big party with the whole wedding party the night before staying up and drinking and parting. she got married at 25. and i stand by what i said. <strong>no one wants to be at a dry wedding. and alot of people are willing to pay to not have it that way if it's the only option.</strong> i've been to another wedding that had a cash bar, and no one complained, or thought it was rude. they knew the bride was being cohorced into having a formal wedding and reception when all she wanted was to elope. and they weren't getting help from those who demanded a real wedding.
    Posted by metalotaku[/QUOTE]

    This is an untrue generalization.  Many people <strong>prefer</strong> dry weddings to wet ones, especially if they belong to a religion that doesn't allow drinking, are alcoholics, or have medical reasons for not drinking.

    And regardless of what "people" want, <strong>nobody</strong> is entitled to alcohol at a wedding.  Even if they're willing to pay, if it's not offered by the hosts, they are being rude to leave the wedding to get it whether they have to pay for it or not.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_open-bar-8?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:37049420-7684-4a25-aca9-4a303f6e064aPost:8d296dcf-0495-4c75-bdd2-aef0bcb4a4cb">Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]My fiance and I went to check out a local venue today for our wedding reception. The venue has a 22% service charge so we are trying to figure out ways to bring the total cost per person down since we are paying for the wedding. My thoughts are this:        - have cockatil hour + 3hrs be open bar and the last hour be a cash bar for alochol (while soda and water are still free)      -have cocktail hour be total open bar then for the reception have it be beer/wine/signature drinks      -have an open tab and pay at the end of the night, considering that not everyone at the reception will be drinking and everyone that does drink won't be drinking hard for a full 5 hours Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions? I'm open to anything!
    Posted by jstratton655[/QUOTE]

    <div>I know you probably want to find a middle ground, but it really is bad form to do a cash bar at any event like a wedding. Just close the bar after a few hours; everyone will understand, and you'll also cut off anyone who is getting a little too far into their cups.</div>
    Bronson Tyler Marketing Assistant www.thanksgivingpoint.org Be weird. Be different. Be something.
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    edited November 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_open-bar-8?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:37049420-7684-4a25-aca9-4a303f6e064aPost:9670175c-205f-4b49-b937-4828ed67c442">Re: Open Bar</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Open Bar : Nope.  Cash bars are rude because guests should not be expected to pay for any cost, including alcohol.  No one is entitled to alcohol at a wedding. I<strong>f the wedding in question doesn't have it, you suck it up.
    </strong>Posted by Jen4948[/QUOTE]

    While I do agree, I think it is right to notify guests a ahead of time if there wont be alcohol. Otherwise people will think there is and will be very disappointed when they arrive and found out it is not being served.
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