Wedding Etiquette Forum

Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??

We have a lot of young, heavy drinkers attending the wedding, so we have no intentions of having an open bar because there is no way we could fit it into our budget. We've already got a few people saying "it'll be an open bar, right?" And I just laugh and say "umm no way"... But now I'm worried people expect it? Should I somehow mention it on the invitation so that the people who want to drink will know to bring cash?? I wish I could provide them all with alcohol but it's out of the question entirely.

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Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_write-sometheing-cash-bar-invitation-word-of-mouth?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:faf17d66-25b1-4a5c-95af-e94dba74b20bPost:99654033-bd4d-42e2-82bd-a5dda8f5f2a7">Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??</a>:
    [QUOTE]We have a lot of young, heavy drinkers attending the wedding, so we have no intentions of having an open bar because there is no way we could fit it into our budget. We've already got a few people saying "it'll be an open bar, right?" And I just laugh and say "umm no way"... But now I'm worried people expect it? Should I somehow mention it on the invitation so that the people who want to drink will know to bring cash?? I wish I could provide them all with alcohol but it's out of the question entirely.
    Posted by caseyhaynes429[/QUOTE]

    <div>What kind of packages does your reception venue offer?  If they offer an open bar package, then you pay the same price whether your guests have 2 drinks each or 20 drinks each.  </div><div>
    </div><div>You really should host anything that is offered at your reception.  If you couldn't afford to feed everyone steak, would you tell them they could have it if they paid for it?  No, you wouldn't.  You either find a way to make it so you can afford it, or you just don't offer it.  </div><div>
    </div><div>Other options for saving some money on the bar are doing a limited hosted bar, like beer and wine only, or beer and wine and a signature drink.  </div>
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  • If you can host anything for any period of time, that would be nice (beer and wine for cocktail hour) but I understand the budget issue. I'd personally rather a cash bar than no bar at all...

    Don't put it on the invites. Spread the info by word of mouth. Check with your venue too....ours has an ATM and accepts credit cards but thats not the case everywhere. (We're hosting beer & wine only, liquor will have to be purchased).
  • amys325amys325 member
    500 Comments 5 Love Its

    As a guest, I would want to know.  I normally take a small purse with about $20 cash for tips and that's all....maybe an ID.  I don't know how you would put it on the invitation, but i would try to spread the word around, so people know to bring money with them to the event.

  • I am not really a fan of a cash bar because I don't think people invited to an event where they are expected to bring a gift, should have to pay for their own meals or drinks.

    I understand the bar bill can be hard to control and it's hard too because it's an unknown. But there are ways to keep it in check as mentioned above (only beer and wine or with a signature cocktail or two).

    But if you decide to go with the cash bar option for sure, you MUST ensure your guests know about it. I have been to two weddings before where I didn't know it was a cash bar and I didn't have much if any cash with me. I was really annoyed.
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  • redheadfsuredheadfsu member
    2500 Comments
    edited May 2011
    Can't you at least offer beer & wine only? *

    A cash bar is rude. It sounds like your circle of friends & family expects you to have an open bar, so you need to figure out something in your price range. But if you refuse to be a good host, at least spread by word of mouth that people should bring cash.

    * edit: spelling. Doubt anyone wants a bear at a wedding.

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  • See what you can do about your bar.  Talk to your venue- there should be something which you can host that is based upon a flat fee and not consumption.  If you're dead set on inviting your guests to a hosted event and then making them take out their wallets to pay for your party, spread that information by word of mouth.  I would never think to bring cash to a hosted event, and would be stunned to be told at the bar that my drink came with a price tag. 
  • Don't put it on the invites. 

    Like Brandiewine suggested, can you host beer/wine for cocktail hour and dinner?  You should host soda, water, coffee all evening. 
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  • I wouldn't write it on the invitation, but I'd definately want to know before I got to a wedding if I was goign to have to be spending money for a drink (i don't normally carry my usual purse/wallet/money on me).  Do you have a website?  Will your invites have extra reception cards?  I'd put it in either of those 2 spots and then also spread it through word of mouth.

    However, I would really strongly suggest hosting something.  Even if you just do beer/wine and hard alcohol is a cash bar would be better.  Especially since it sounds like in your circle that is just expected and a cash bar would not be received well.
  • We could probably host all non-alcoholic drinks, but eveything else at our venue is by compsumtion which I dont even want feel comfortable doing for an hour..
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  • Where I live, cash bars are just normal so everybody brings money to weddings. But it sounds like it isn't normal where you are? I wouldn't put it on the invitations but just let people know by word of mouth
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  • we had a cash bar for booze.  we simply could not afford a bar tab that cost more than our meal.  folks were not surprised tho, most weddings in our circle of family and friends are cash bars.  yes, its not proper etiquette, but i wasnt going to credit card thousands in booze.  we figured folks woudl rather pay money for alcohol than not be able to have alcohol at all.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_write-sometheing-cash-bar-invitation-word-of-mouth?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:faf17d66-25b1-4a5c-95af-e94dba74b20bPost:eebf651f-ea9d-434f-a9c1-94ab7865688e">Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>We could probably host all non-alcoholic drinks,</strong> but eveything else at our venue is by compsumtion which I dont even want feel comfortable doing for an hour..
    Posted by caseyhaynes429[/QUOTE]

    <div>You need to do this no matter what.  Charging people for pop and water is incredibly rude.  </div><div>
    </div><div>For the bar, you really need to look into other options, or should consider cutting back in some areas to be able to afford to host something.  Would you ask your guests to pay for your DJ, flowers, or cake?  Alcohol shouldn't be treated as something entirely different.  They are all unncessary extras for a wedding, and if they are going to there, they should be paid for by you and/or the hosts.</div>
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_write-sometheing-cash-bar-invitation-word-of-mouth?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:faf17d66-25b1-4a5c-95af-e94dba74b20bPost:eebf651f-ea9d-434f-a9c1-94ab7865688e">Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??</a>:
    [QUOTE]We could probably host all non-alcoholic drinks, but eveything else at our venue is by compsumtion which I dont even want feel comfortable doing for an hour..
    Posted by caseyhaynes429[/QUOTE]

    Then you should find a cheaper venue. Do what  you want, but everything better be cheap/ budget wedding. Because if I was a guest & you had an expensive dress or anything when I had to pay for my drinks, my gift would be going home with me.

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  • I will first say that I am with the other posters, that I think cash bars are incredibly rude to your guests.  And I would see if you can swing the wine/beer only bar (we did and no one missed the liquor).

    That being said, if you must do the cash bar, then you HAVE to let the guests know.  I wouldn't do it on the invite, but I would definitely do it via word of mouth and on your website if you have one. 

    We once went to a wedding where the cocktail hour was free, then cash bar at the reception.  We had no warning, and no one had cash, and the venue didn't have an ATM, so people double fisted drinks durning the cocktail hour, and a lot of people were in rough shape going into the reception...
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  • Definitely not on the invitation.  Word of mouth is best, but you can also include something in a FAQ section of your website.  I agree that hosting something is better than nothing, but as a guest, I'd definitely like a heads up on if I should bring cash or not. 

    Also, does your venue take credit cards?  The last wedding I went to had a cash bar, but they accepted credit cards which made it nice for people since most everyone always carries one everywhere(I know I do).
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  • amys325amys325 member
    500 Comments 5 Love Its
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_write-sometheing-cash-bar-invitation-word-of-mouth?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:faf17d66-25b1-4a5c-95af-e94dba74b20bPost:2ab26dbf-d604-409c-98e4-303b9215d464">Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth?? : Then you should find a cheaper venue. Do what  you want, but everything better be cheap/ budget wedding. Because if I was a guest & you had an expensive dress or anything when I had to pay for my drinks, my gift would be going home with me.
    Posted by redheadfsu[/QUOTE]

    Some people don't have weddings to get gifts, some people do it to celebrate their marriage.
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its
    Word of mouth is the best way to spread that information. 

    At a minimum, you need to pay for everyone's nonalcoholic beverage.  I think it's incredibly poor hosting if you ask people to spend a day at your wedding, dress up, travel, bring a gift, and then make them pay for their Diet Coke.

    If your budget is small, consider switching to a lunchtime reception.  The food costs will be lower, and guests tend to drink less during the day anyway.  If you have a daytime reception, you might be able to afford to properly host your guests.
  • OP- I am a little confused by your second post.  Were you planning a cash bar for non-alcoholic beverages as well????  You said that you could probably host non-alcoholic beverages, so I got the impression that you were not planning to.  THAT would horrible.  People should not have to pay for teas, sodas, water,lemonade, etc at your hosted reception. 

    I understand that alcoholic is very expensive, especially for large parties, so I am not going to tackle the idea of a cash bar. If you are going to do that, I would suggest having a separate reception card in with your invitations.

    Good luck
  • Good point Mica.

    OP can you do a  brunch or lunch option? That would be much better for you it sounds like.

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  • Whatever you do, do not put it on the invite...
    Our venue is letting us host beer and wine with a top out limit. So if our drinker friends and family (80% of the wedding guests) decide they all want to go insane and drink as much as they can... Once the our predetermined limit it reached the bartender will quietly take down the "Beer and Wine Hosted" sign and place a sign indicating prices. Every wedding I have been to works this way and not one wedding has reached their limit.
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  • edited May 2011
    Honestly, it's not your guests' problem that you didn't plan well enough to pay for part of your reception. Don't make it their problem.

    One of my main criteria when looking for wedding venues was a place that would let us do the bar for a flat rate rather than consumption. I think you need to shop around a bit.
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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_etiquette_write-sometheing-cash-bar-invitation-word-of-mouth?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:faf17d66-25b1-4a5c-95af-e94dba74b20bPost:54fc5aa0-42a0-438d-a7cc-b794a55c39bb">Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth?? : Some people don't have weddings to get gifts, some people do it to celebrate their marriage.
    Posted by amys325[/QUOTE]

    Yeah and they have a reception to thank people for celebrating their wedding with them, not to bleed them of money after they were gracious enough to watch you wed.
    Lizzie
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_write-sometheing-cash-bar-invitation-word-of-mouth?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:faf17d66-25b1-4a5c-95af-e94dba74b20bPost:d024bf89-1c09-4dd1-af2a-a438602b4177">Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>Honestly, it's not your guests' problem that you didn't plan well enough to pay for part of your reception. Don't make it their problem</strong>. One of my main criteria when looking for wedding venues was a place that would let us do the bar for a flat rate rather than consumption. I think you need to shop around a bit.
    Posted by msmerymac[/QUOTE]

    THIS.  I honestly do not understand why people think that not hosting part of their reception is even an option.  You would not tell your guests "we're hosting chicken, but steak is available if you'd like to pay for it."  You would not charge your guests for a slice of cake.  You would not ask them to put money in a hat for your DJ.  You need to find a way to properly host your guests, and it sounds as though finding a new venue or changing your time of day are options that you need to consider.  Your wedding is over a year away.  You have time to figure this out. 
  • We are in the same boat. FI's family are HEAVY drinkers, as are all of our friends.  We cannot afford an open bar, it's not in the budget at all.  Our compromise is this: open bar during cocktail hour, wine bottles on the tables (I negotiated out of the stupid corking fees) during dinner, and pitchers of mojitos/sangria/mimosas during the night.  That's within in our budget.  I cannot afford his brothers combined 60 gin and tonics, or my frat brothers and sorority sisters 100 vodka and cranberries.  I don't believe in open bars as a matter of course after working many events where the alcohol gets wasted or abused.  People get a drink, put it down, get another one, drop it, get another one...it's a lot of unencessary waste and expense. 
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  • amys325amys325 member
    500 Comments 5 Love Its
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_write-sometheing-cash-bar-invitation-word-of-mouth?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:faf17d66-25b1-4a5c-95af-e94dba74b20bPost:d024bf89-1c09-4dd1-af2a-a438602b4177">Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>Honestly, it's not your guests' problem that you didn't plan well enough to pay for part of your reception. Don't make it their problem.</strong> One of my main criteria when looking for wedding venues was a place that would let us do the bar for a flat rate rather than consumption. I think you need to shop around a bit.
    Posted by msmerymac[/QUOTE]

    You can't be serious, right? 
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its
    With over a year until your wedding, I suggest that you rearrange your plans so that you can properly host your guests.  Have a daytime wedding, switch venues, downgrade your flowers, cut out the chair covers, skip the favors, wear old shoes, or cut your list down.  DO NOT make guests pay for non-alcoholic beverages, and try to cover their alcoholic beverages (beer and wine only are fine) as well.
  • OP - you really should try to host something.  We can't afford the price tag of an open bar up here where liquor is stupid expensive, and wine/beer is not an option (wine and beer are really expensive up here too) so we are hosting dinner wine.  That's all we can afford for it (and that is almost $3000). 

    Beer/wine option seems to be readily available to most places in the US and look to be a fairly inexpensive way to do booze.  I would look into that before not hosting anything at all. 

    And you HAVE to host non-alcoholic beverages.  Our non-alc is consumption based.
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  • aragx6aragx6 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited May 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_write-sometheing-cash-bar-invitation-word-of-mouth?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:faf17d66-25b1-4a5c-95af-e94dba74b20bPost:734c7eab-5689-4ca3-b041-77a36f48164b">Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??</a>:
    [QUOTE]We are in the same boat. FI's family are HEAVY drinkers, as are all of our friends.  We cannot afford an open bar, it's not in the budget at all.  Our compromise is this: <strong>open bar during cocktail hour, wine bottles on the tables (I negotiated out of the stupid corking fees) during dinner, and pitchers of mojitos/sangria/mimosas during the night. </strong> That's within in our budget.  I cannot afford his brothers combined 60 gin and tonics, or my frat brothers and sorority sisters 100 vodka and cranberries.  I don't believe in open bars as a matter of course after working many events where the alcohol gets wasted or abused.  People get a drink, put it down, get another one, drop it, get another one...it's a lot of unencessary waste and expense. 
    Posted by booboo1978[/QUOTE]

    That's a seriously good compromise if you ask me.

    ETA: How much approximately is that really saving you though?
    Lizzie
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_write-sometheing-cash-bar-invitation-word-of-mouth?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:faf17d66-25b1-4a5c-95af-e94dba74b20bPost:54fc5aa0-42a0-438d-a7cc-b794a55c39bb">Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth??</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Write sometheing about "Cash Bar" on the invitation? Or make it word of mouth?? : Some people don't have weddings to get gifts, some people do it to celebrate their marriage.
    Posted by amys325[/QUOTE]

    Correct. But if I travel, get dressed up, buy a gift, & spend my time to come celebrate with you...then you should host me while I'm there. I get to buy a new dress, pay for a hotel, buy a gift, and also buy my drinks. That stinks and I would judge you if you spent money on a designer dress, pretty invites, etc.

    OP can find a cheaper venue or have the party during the day. But if she expects people to get dressed up, travel, and party all night, then she should host them. She choose to book a venue that she can't afford. So she needs to figure it out

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  • amys325amys325 member
    500 Comments 5 Love Its
    Just to make myself clear, I agree with the PPs that you should provide soda, coffee, tea, and other non-alcoholic beverages.
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