Wedding Etiquette Forum
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s/o Drink Etiquette Poll

edited June 2013 in Wedding Etiquette Forum
So I know I'm always dumbfounded when people AREN'T used to cash bars, hosted cocktail hour (only), hosted signature drinks (only), drink tickets.... or hadn't even heard of them. I hear it's "regional" from a million people. Have you ever experienced these? How did they make you feel? Just unheard of? And -- where are you from???

ETA: Well this just sucks. I hit save too fast and now I can't edit my poll?????? I'd delete and redo but I have no control over my posts anymore. 

Anyway:

1) It's a scary bedtime story. I've never seen it in person. It would horrify me.
2) Never seen it in person but...eh whatever...
3) I've seen it and WTF?
4) I'm used to it....doesn't bother me (unless  I have to pay for a soft drink)

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You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.

s/o Drink Etiquette Poll 46 votes

I think it's just a scary bedtime story. I'
65% 30 votes
I'm used to them
10% 5 votes
I'v
23% 11 votes
«13

Re: s/o Drink Etiquette Poll

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    Neither of my weddings, or those of my daughters have had cash bars, but they are fairly common around here.  I still seethe about the one where I had to pay for a Diet Coke.....but I digress.

    Since I am used to them they don't really offend me, but  I would never ever host any event where my guests weren't properly cared for.  I'm from Michigan and grew up in Ohio too.
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    Muppet and I are neighbors! I'm from Vermont and have lived here my whole life.  Cash bars are the ONLY thing done around here.  I never thought anything of it until I came to TK.  

    As a guest, I wouldn't side-eye anyone who has one, unless I had to pay for a soft drink.  My wedding will be dry, but if it wasn't, I wouldn't feel comfortable having a cash bar.  I'd find a way to fund an open bar.

    #4 for me
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    I will say that I didn't understand that cash bars were rude until (I think Liatris?) explained the "host as you do in your home" thought process and I truly agree with that.

    I would never have hosted a cash bar before, but before, my thought process for that was because we can afford it at this point in our lives and I felt it would be more comfortable.
    imageimageimage

    You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.
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    I've never seen one in person.  I was born in the midwest, went to high school in California and currently live in NYC.  I've attended weddings all over the country and have never been to a wedding with a cash bar.  I honestly had never heard of a cash bar at a wedding until I saw Wedding Crashers, and I thought it was only mentioned as a joke.  Then I came to TK and was shocked to learn that it's something people actually do.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
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    This is just a guess, but are cash bars maybe more common in rural areas? I'm not sure - but this is the trend I've noticed, based on the three states I've lived in. Which isn't a whole lot to go off of.

    My extended family has always had cash bars (and they live in rural areas) except for one cousin who loves a good party and is, to date, one of the best wedding hosts I've ever seen. She is fabulous.

    I tend not to get too upset about cash bars unless, like you said, I have to pay for soda. I grew up thinking they were normal and always found open bars to be a pleasant surprise rather than what was expected. I don't find cash bars rude but rather the fruit of poor planning and/or prioritization. So rather than annoyance or anger, I feel disappointment.
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    CarolinaHeartCarolinaHeart member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment Name Dropper
    edited June 2013
    #2

    I'm from the south (obviously) and neither FI or I have ever been to a wedding with a cash bar.  Just beer and wine? Yes. Cash bar. No.

    To be honest I didn't even know people did this until started lurking here.

    But, since I was pretty etiquette-stupid before TK I don't think I would necessarily side-eye it. Or at least I would try not to. 

    ETA: I'm from NC. Not SC. I can't speak for all of SC but I have seen previews for Myrtle Manor and that makes me feel the need to clarify.

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    kipnuskipnus member
    First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    I live in Alberta and most of the weddings I've been to have been dry, for religious reasons. I have been to one with an open bar all night, one with drink tickets for cocktails and wine on the tables, and one where the bar was open for cocktails, and then there was wine on the tables.
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    I grew up in MA, have lived all my adult life in CT. I have been to weddings with cash bars in MA. Sometimes the cocktail hour is hosted, but not the whole reception. I don't know why this changes as soon as you cross the state line, but I have never been to a wedding in CT that was not a fully hosted open bar. A cash bar, here, would definitely get a 'WTF' reaction.

                       
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    Cash bars are extremely common where I live. I have never been to a wedding that didn't have one. I've never been to a wedding with drink tickets, although I'm dreading that day if it should ever come.
    We couldn't afford to do a full open bar for our reception, so we compromised with hosted wine and beer, soft drinks and a signature drink all night. We were able to negotiate with our venue to close the bar for everything else so that our guests would not have to pull out their wallets for anything. We actually got a few comments from our family after the wedding that they would have preferred having a cash bar available.. which we found strange. I guess they wanted more of a selection? Whatever, what's done is done, and we're happy that we were able to host appropriately.
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    Zoe, I don't think it's a rural thing. I mean I live in a rural area now, but I grew up within an hour of Boston and have been to a ton of weddings close to Boston and always had a cash bar involved. It's common to see a cocktail hour hosted.

    Mairie, I work for a company in CT and I think the general consensus is that it's unheard of there too. I have never been to one myself but I was telling my best man stories and cash bar came up and a few people were horrified from my office.

    image   imageimage
    You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.

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    Born and raised in Oklahoma, and I've never been to a wedding with a cash bar, and I do not know anyone who would throw a wedding with a cash bar. Limited bar, yes. But what's offered is always hosted. Always.  Although, I will say that I've been to more dry weddings than I have wet ones.
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    Have you ever experienced these?

    The only specific one I remember was at a Sweet Sixteen. The sodas and juices were hosted, but not the alcohol. The alcohol was not displayed, you had to ask for it and it was kept in a separate room. I didn't know it was a cash bar until I ordered a drink and the bartender told me it was five bucks. I had to awkwardly find my boyfriend to see if he had any cash on him.
    Considering it was a Sweet 16, I was surprised they even had alcohol at all.

    The only other times I've seen a cash bar have been at work parties and functions.

    How did they make you feel? Just unheard of?
    I expect them at work related stuff, so what ever. I have heard of them being at weddings, but I've also heard of them being poor etiquette. I was taught that you just don't charge guests for anything, regardless of what that thing is. It's like charging for a larger slice of wedding cake.

     And -- where are you from???

    I'm from Long Island, NY.
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    hordolhordol member
    First Answer 5 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2013
    I grew up in Western Wisconsin and now live in the Minneapolis area. Cash bars are fairly common in my circle so they don't offend me. That said, we are hosting our alcohol so this opinion isn't based on my personal decisions. I would only be offended if soda wasn't free. Although, if the wedding was this extravagant affair but the alcohol wasn't hosted I would think that was putting priorities in the wrong order. Not wrong to want a fancy venue, but if it is at the expense of not hosting all of the drinks for your guests, then I will think that is a bit weird. I had a friend that had a beautiful venue and fun little details for her wedding, but she had a cash bar for religious reasons (her family doesn't drink. I think at the wedding there were probably only a total of 2 or 3 people that utilized the cash bar--literally.) That I understand as well.

    ETA clarity and typos
    image



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    I've never attended a wedding with a cash bar. In NOLA it's, like, a sin not to provide an open bar.  

    I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis and even though I haven't been to as many weddings there, they've all been open bar too. 

    I would be offended to attend a wedding with a cash bar.  Dry weddings? Not a problem.  But a cash bar? I would instantly start looking around mentally picking the things they should have scrapped to have a hosted bar instead. 
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    Count me as a neighbor too :-) I'm in Western MA. I haven't attended any weddings since I was about 10 years old so I honestly couldn't tell you if there was a cash or open bar. But when speaking to my family about the issue I was met with tons of resistance when I talked about wanting an open bar. It wasn't the money thing, it was the "omg people will get sloshed! how dare you offer an open bar!" type of mentality. I find that mentality extremely rude. If someone is going to get that wasted, they'll do it with or without an open bar.

    We were originally planning on the 1 hour open bar for cocktail hour and then cash after that. Had we not mentioned it sodas would have been cash to but that was one of our first questions so they gave us a good price on soft drinks being free all night. After learning that the bad feeling in my gut about cash bars was right when I came here we're doing what we can to host properly now.

    That said, I don't think I'd be offended if someone had a cash bar. If sodas or other non-alcoholic drinks weren't free I'd be livid. I also don't quite understand when people say they don't bring cash to weddings. I bring money wherever I go, just in case. I don't know if I'd prefer a cash bar to a dry wedding as I've never been to either in my adulthood so don't know how I'd feel.

    After 6 years and 2 boys, finally tying the knot on October 27th, 2013!

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    I'm from Maine. Other than DWs on the coast, cash bars have been at every wedding I have attending and the venues don't have pricing for open bars. We're just leaving the tab open (especially since beer and mixed drinks are only .50 difference). 
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    Grew up in SE WI, now live in the Twin Cities and have seen a range of bar options at weddings (not drink tickets though), most common has probably been to host wine and beer and then have a cash bar for hard liquor.  I am not bothered by cash bars at all and would honestly much rather have that than attend a dry wedding.  The only one that irked me a bit was the wedding that only covered beer (which I won't touch) and that was just weird since the bride loves wine and isn't much of a beer drinker... although I was already not happy about that wedding for a variety of reasons so having to pay for wine was sort of the last straw.

    I know among my guests people would be far more pissed off if I chose to have a dry wedding vs a cash bar.  Luckily we found a venue that lets us stock our own bar, so we will end up hosting beer and wine.
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    I'm from DC...I've never seen a cash bar at a wedding, though I have been to several that have had limited bars (usually beer and wine only, though I went to one with beer/wine/signature drink). I prefer beer or wine to mixed drinks anyway, so I've never given it much thought.  I would probably be offended if I had to pay for something at a wedding though. 
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    I'm from rural Ontario and I've never been to wedding with an open bar. I've only ever seen cash, drink tickets, or toonie bar (where it's partially hosted, so the guests only pay $2 for a drink). It does irk me when soft drinks aren't hosted. But as a guest, I'd prefer a cash bar over a dry wedding. 
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    jarednmeganjarednmegan member
    5 Love Its First Comment Name Dropper
    edited June 2013
    I'm assuming this thread resulted from some discussion on an SB thread that started when I said FI and I are having a cash bar. I can see how it is considered to be in poor taste...I'll revisit the issue with my parents, who are paying for the wedding. Maybe they'll agree to just stick with wine and beer for an open bar. I guess I hadn't given it a second thought because cash bars are common in the Midwest. Thanks for all the brutally-honest input, ladies. Seriously. :)
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    "I know among my guests people would be far more pissed off if I chose to have a dry wedding vs a cash bar.  "

     

    This is the problem.  As a bride, I would not have a cash bar.  As a guest, I would prefer a cash bar over a dry wedding.

    While on one level I agree that as a guest I'd probably rather have the option to purchase a glass of wine than not be able to drink, but the problem is this is a false dichotomy.  Cash bar and dry wedding are never the only two options.  Aside from options like a limited bar (beer, wine, signature drink or any combination of those), there are always other not directly alcohol related expenses that could be cut.  

    If a couple decides that they want alcohol at their wedding, they need to budget for it.  Just like anything else you choose to have at your wedding, if you want it, you need to find a way to pay for it.  We wanted to have a party vibe at our wedding.  To us that meant we wanted to have an evening reception with a sit down dinner and open bar.  We are having a longer engagement so we can save up more money and are cutting back on other elements of the wedding so that we can make this happen.  We could have chosen to have our reception at a different time or host less alcohol, but pushing the cost of our wishes for a party vibe onto our guest was never an option.

    Someone else mentioned this already (I forget who), but if I went to a wedding with a cash bar I wouldn't be able to resist guessing how much the couple spent on other things.  IMO cash sends the message that you care more about flowers, your dress, linens, venue than your guests comfort.  And that's what makes it so rude. 

    Most of the weddings I attend our out of town.  That means to attend I have to spend money on a flight and hotel room and often have to take at least a day off of work.  I also probably spent a decent amount of money on a gift.  At the point where I've already spent several hundred dollars to attend your wedding, asking me to spend $7 on a glass of wine just seems like a total slap in the face.  
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
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    I've been to a wedding with a cash bar. I wasn't terribly offended by the presence of the cash bar (it was better than a dry wedding!) but in other areas of the wedding, the B + G obviously spared no expense; the site fee for the venue alone was the price of a decent hybrid car. I'm not sure if the cash bar was done because the budget had been blown elsewhere or if the couple wanted to control the amount their guests drank. Either way, there was a champagne toast and cash bar all night, and it wasn't the worst thing ever, but it's also uncommon.

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    jarednmeganjarednmegan member
    5 Love Its First Comment Name Dropper
    edited June 2013

    I've been to a wedding with a cash bar. I wasn't terribly offended by the presence of the cash bar (it was better than a dry wedding!) but in other areas of the wedding, the B + G obviously spared no expense; the site fee for the venue alone was the price of a decent hybrid car. I'm not sure if the cash bar was done because the budget had been blown elsewhere or if the couple wanted to control the amount their guests drank. Either way, there was a champagne toast and cash bar all night, and it wasn't the worst thing ever, but it's also uncommon.


    Part of the reason we opted for a cash bar is that my cousin's open bar wedding reception got a bit out of hand, but at least it was at a hotel and people who'd had too much could just go to their rooms and sleep it off. We don't have that luxury. I'm concerned that some people might try to get themselves home without a DD and the venue is somewhat remote...there'll be a bit of travel involved in getting to the nearest hotels.

    That being said, I can see pros and cons to cash bar vs open bar.
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    I've been to a wedding with a cash bar. I wasn't terribly offended by the presence of the cash bar (it was better than a dry wedding!) but in other areas of the wedding, the B + G obviously spared no expense; the site fee for the venue alone was the price of a decent hybrid car. I'm not sure if the cash bar was done because the budget had been blown elsewhere or if the couple wanted to control the amount their guests drank. Either way, there was a champagne toast and cash bar all night, and it wasn't the worst thing ever, but it's also uncommon.

    Part of the reason we opted for a cash bar is that my cousin's open bar wedding reception got a bit out of hand, but at least it was at a hotel and people who'd had too much could just go to their rooms and sleep it off. We don't have that luxury. I'm concerned that some people might try to get themselves home without a DD and the venue is somewhat remote...there'll be a bit of travel involved in getting to the nearest hotels. That being said, I can see pros and cons to cash bar vs open bar.
    I'm sorry, but I find this line of thinking really offensive.  For one thing, people manage to get really drunk at bars all the time, where drinks aren't free.  If people want to get sloshed, they are going to get sloshed.  If it's a concern you can remind your bartenders to cut off drunk people. You could also make sure there are numbers of cab companies available at the bar.  If you are THAT concerned about people drinking and driving, then you could always have a dry wedding.

    For another thing, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I imagine the reason people got really drunk at that wedding was b/c people knew they would be staying the night not because there was an open bar.  I personally never have more than a glass of wine if I know I'm driving regardless of whether I had to pay for it or not.  I find the idea that adults somehow automatically lose the ability to drink responsibly when someone else is paying the tab really absurd.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
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    Harry87 said:



    I've been to a wedding with a cash bar. I wasn't terribly offended by the presence of the cash bar (it was better than a dry wedding!) but in other areas of the wedding, the B + G obviously spared no expense; the site fee for the venue alone was the price of a decent hybrid car. I'm not sure if the cash bar was done because the budget had been blown elsewhere or if the couple wanted to control the amount their guests drank. Either way, there was a champagne toast and cash bar all night, and it wasn't the worst thing ever, but it's also uncommon.


    Part of the reason we opted for a cash bar is that my cousin's open bar wedding reception got a bit out of hand, but at least it was at a hotel and people who'd had too much could just go to their rooms and sleep it off. We don't have that luxury. I'm concerned that some people might try to get themselves home without a DD and the venue is somewhat remote...there'll be a bit of travel involved in getting to the nearest hotels.

    That being said, I can see pros and cons to cash bar vs open bar.

    Well two points to that:

    1. People might have gotten rowdier because they didn't have to drive. My guests were also pretty drunk at the end of the night, but a huge part of that was that they only had to ride up the elevator/ get on the drunk bus shuttle to the other hotel. I know many of them would have drank less if they had needed to be responsible that night, but they didn't so weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    2. If you think that could even be a problem, I would suggest having a sign at the bar and the reception hall entrance that has a list of taxi services and nearby hotels.


    1. Very good point. Plus, a good majority of our guests will be friends from church. While many of them drink, they don't drink to excess. I think my parents were just traumatized by open bar and I have yet to object. :p

    2. I thought about doing that. And maybe the DOC, who is an employee at the venue can offer some insight on how other open bar receptions there have gone over.
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    I have never been to a wedding with anything but full open bar.  Ever. 

     My parents went to a cousin's wedding about 20 years ago that had a cash bar and they were horrified and spoke of it often (mom never drank at all). 

     My cousin and her husband are recovering alcoholics and met at AA and still had a full open bar at their wedding. 

     My brother's wife is from New Mexico and cash bars are the norm in her circle.  When they were planning their wedding, my brother told her there was absolutely NO WAY they would have a cash bar.

    We have friends who are known for having BYOB parties at their house and asking people to bring food as well.  They had a full open bar at their wedding.  The bar closed during dinner, though, which really threw us off.  

    I live in Pennsylvania.
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    loca4pookloca4pook member
    First Comment Name Dropper 5 Love Its First Anniversary
    edited June 2013
    NYCBruin said:
    I've been to a wedding with a cash bar. I wasn't terribly offended by the presence of the cash bar (it was better than a dry wedding!) but in other areas of the wedding, the B + G obviously spared no expense; the site fee for the venue alone was the price of a decent hybrid car. I'm not sure if the cash bar was done because the budget had been blown elsewhere or if the couple wanted to control the amount their guests drank. Either way, there was a champagne toast and cash bar all night, and it wasn't the worst thing ever, but it's also uncommon.

    Part of the reason we opted for a cash bar is that my cousin's open bar wedding reception got a bit out of hand, but at least it was at a hotel and people who'd had too much could just go to their rooms and sleep it off. We don't have that luxury. I'm concerned that some people might try to get themselves home without a DD and the venue is somewhat remote...there'll be a bit of travel involved in getting to the nearest hotels. That being said, I can see pros and cons to cash bar vs open bar.
    I'm sorry, but I find this line of thinking really offensive.  For one thing, people manage to get really drunk at bars all the time, where drinks aren't free.  If people want to get sloshed, they are going to get sloshed.  If it's a concern you can remind your bartenders to cut off drunk people. You could also make sure there are numbers of cab companies available at the bar.  If you are THAT concerned about people drinking and driving, then you could always have a dry wedding.

    For another thing, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I imagine the reason people got really drunk at that wedding was b/c people knew they would be staying the night not because there was an open bar.  I personally never have more than a glass of wine if I know I'm driving regardless of whether I had to pay for it or not.  I find the idea that adults somehow automatically lose the ability to drink responsibly when someone else is paying the tab really absurd.


    I agree. My wedding was open bar and I believe the reason SOME drank more than others had more to do with the availability of a SHUTTLE bus, rathen than it being free. Those who drove, drank responsibly. Those who were staying in hotel and took shuttle, drank away.

    Heavy drinkers are going to drink the way they want, regardless of the cost

     

    With that said, I can't tell you one way or the other whether I have gone to one...I suspect I have...The fact that i cannot remember suggests it wasn't necessarily a huge deal for me either way and suggests it's not offense so grand that people will remember it for years to come..

     

    .I DO remember pitching in for another keg half way through the night at a wedding I attended while in college, though....Is that tacky? Absolutely, but we had fun anyhow and that is how I remembber the wedding more than anything

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    jarednmeganjarednmegan member
    5 Love Its First Comment Name Dropper
    edited June 2013
    Like I said, there's pros and cons to both options. I see this as one of those issues where you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    But trust me, a dry wedding is out of the question. I was a BM in a dry wedding last fall, although I knew as soon as the engagement was announced that they wouldn't have a drop of alcohol at their reception (B+G and their families are major teetotalers). And get this: When we did the toast, the head table at least had sparkling grape juice. NOTHING was provided for the guests to toast with, so they awkwardly raised their glasses of water or iced tea or whatever.

    The fact that I was celebrating the marriage of a very dear friend made it no big deal in the end, but I have to admit I was a tad bit bored without at least one drink in my system. :p
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    edited June 2013
    @happyfor25 I have been to weddings where the bar is closed during dinner to cut down on traffic while the wait staff is serving dinner. Usually wine is poured at the tables during that hour.
                       
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