• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Canada-Alberta

Cash Bar Vs Open Bar

What is the ettique in Canada in this regard?  I am looking at saving costs where I can, as my FI has a huge family and we do not want to cut anyone out.  My FI and I do not drink and neither does a lot of our guests, however FI wants alcohol at our reception because he says it is tradition and 2 because most of our family does drink.  So I am like well then we are having a cash bar.  My mom is against that, so I am willing to compromise and either offer 2 free drink ticket per person over 18 or have open bar for the cocktail hour, then cash bar after that.  People in my family I have talked to seem okay with it, however when reading on the ettiquette chat board it seems it is a taboo thing to have cash bar.  Any thoughts here?

Re: Cash Bar Vs Open Bar

  • kittieikittiei member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I know that some people on here are against cash bars but I really think it depends on your area.  All weddings I have been to have been cash bars.  Most of them have been toonie bars so the couple usually breaks even on the cost (we're planning to have a toonie bar).  At one wedding, the bridal party got two free drink tickets each and at another, the bride and groom gave 4 free drink tickets to each guest to go along with their favours.  If you purchase the alcohol yourself for the bar, you can usually return any unopened bottles. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker Follow Me on Pinterest
  • edited December 2011
    The hall we are renting, provides the alcohol and the bar tenders, so that we do not have any of those hedaches.  Drinks are $5.00 per drink.  I have been to many a weddings where people get hammered when drinks are free and with me not being a drinker, I do not want that for my wedding.  I want to try and have a happy medium, I do not want to not have alcohol for those who do drink, however I do not want to pay for people to get drunk.  If that makes any sense.  Even a toonie bar, I see the potential for too many people to go crazy.  Trying to find a happy medium.
  • cjkostiukcjkostiuk member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    After reading many posts regarding the cash bar I beileve open bar is more common in the states, I even read a post that stated if you cant afford an open bar then you shouldnt be getting married. I dont believe in that statement. Cash bars are very common in canada, but its usually a twoonie bar, not full price. Ive been to many weddings in the last couple years...atleast 15! And I've never seen a full price cash bar. Twoonie bars will keep people from wasting drinks and maybe over doing it. I honestly would not be happy if I went to a wedding and was expected to pay $5 a drink, you have to remember that your reception is to thank your guests. 
    We are having an open bar for cocktail hour, but only offering 2 signature drinks at that time. Then the full bar is open at $2 a drink. We are also providing wine on the tables, but that is something you could cut if the family isnt big into drinking. Wedding party shouldnt pay for drinks either. 
  • kipnuskipnus member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    The last wedding I attended had two drink tickets per adult guest, with wine on the tables during dinner, and then a cash bar after that. I thought that was pretty reasonable. We're having our reception in a non-licensed restaurant, but we are allowed to get our own liquor license for the event. I just want wine on the tables, though. Keeping things classy!
  • edited December 2011
    The venue that we are using (in Banff) is about $3.50-$4.00 per drink.  Since we simply cannot afford to pay for drinks for everyone, we will have a cash bar.  It was a no brainer for us.  If we had to pay for the drinks, we could not afford to get married.  I did read some of those ettiquette posts- some of which got really rude.  Saying that you either shouldn't get married or else just have no alcohol if you can't afford to pay for it.  That's nonsense.  Guests are there to celebrate with you, and if they choose to do that with alcohol, then they can go on up to the bar and buy a drink.   I am already buying them their supper, and paying for the party.  If I could pay for more I would, but I can't.  I think that 90% of my guest will understand that, or I hope so at least haha!
  • edited December 2011

    We are doing a toonie bar. It will offset some costs and it will make sure that people are responsible with their consumption. They won't be just leaving drinks around or anything. So in the in the end we will be paying about 3-5 dollars a drink. But it's your choice on what you do. It's your wedding, do not worry about what the girls on the ettiquite board say, they will always have an issue with one thing or another. If you do have a cash bar, be prepared to have some people smuggling in liquor. But it is absolutely your choice. I've been to toonie bars, cash bars and open bars. I'd had a blast at all of them!!!

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • edited December 2011
    I really loved reading everyone's responses.  Since the hall we are rentin supplies the alcohol the bartenders ect, they charge $5.00 a drink.  We were planning on paying for $2.00 a drink per adult and since some of our guest list doesn't drink, it will work out to they will probably get 3 or 4 drinks.  I agree with our wedding party drinking for free and our parents.  I am debating about whether or not to have wine on the table during dinner, as my FI and I are both in recovery and so are many of our guests and I am not sure it would be proper to have wine on the tables....unless I can seat those in recovery together and have a sparkling cider or something there instead. 
  • cjkostiukcjkostiuk member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Given the situation I would skip the wine on the tables. You dont want to pay for it and it doesnt get drank. I love the idea of sparkling cider! I would put that on all the tables. Its something different and everyone can enjoy it, weather they drink or not. 
  • achiduckachiduck member
    5000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I'm very much pro-open bar because I think it's the best way to host your guests.

    Since most of your guets don't drink, could you set a limit with your venue that you're comfortable with. For example, the event manager could let you or your parents (whoever is paying) know when the bar tab reaches $2000. Then you can deicde whether it stays open depending on how late it is, or if it becomes cash bar.
    image
    Anniversary
  • edited December 2011
    I've never been to a wedding with an open bar, except our own.  There are lots of options when it comes to serving alcohol at your wedding.  Making your guests pay full price ($5-6 per drink) is not being a good host.  At the very least, drinks should be at reduced cost (ie. toonie bar) for your guests.  I also like the idea of having wine served with dinner, but additional drinks offered through a cash bar.  A good option as was mentioned above is to set yourself a price point at which the bar closes, or switches to a cash bar.  This is ultimately what we did, and it allowed us to make sure people didn't get too drunk close to the end of the reception.
    image
  • edited December 2011
    We plan to give 2 free tickets to each adult when they come in, then have a cash bar with tickets ($20 for 7 drinks, and $10 for 3), there will be wine on the tables, and the wedding party are drinking for free.
    I've only been to an open bar once and noticied that people waste a lot, there was lots of half empty drinks left on tables, etc.
  • edited December 2011
    Wasted drinks is something I want to avoid, as well as, those who do drink, getting overly intoxicated and becoming a nuiciance for everyone else.  I think giving drink tickets works, as those who don't drink can give their tickets away, so it would work out to those who do drink will get more than 2 free drinks.  As well as, my wedding party will drink for free, as well as, both sets of parents.  I do like the idea of caping it at a manageable dollar amount for the booze and then making it a cash bar after. 
  • edited December 2011
    Don't put wine on the tables, it gets wasted and this will save you money. Have it served during dinner.

    We are having a $3/bar since drinks are $6 at our venue and giving each person a drink ticket at their seat. We are also having a champagne toast during speeches. I have never been to an open bar wedding and I don't think it's inappropriate to have a $2-3 bar. However, I do get pissy when it's FULL priced drinks.

    image
  • Sydney91Sydney91 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    On the invitation, I'm including that we are having a toonie bar (all drinks containing alcohol are $2 and non-alcoholic drinks are free). Our wedding is very far away from "civilization" in east central alberta and we want to limit how much people drink so no one will drive anywhere drunk. There is no hotel in the ghost town we picked, just a campground.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • edited December 2011
    It seems pretty standard in Canada (well Alberta at least) that a toonie bar is completely acceptable. All the weddings I have been to have been this way, family and friends. Some did the 2 free drink tickets, which worked good, some didn't. I don't care what the etiquette board and books say, do what works for you. 
  • In Response to Re: Cash Bar Vs Open Bar:
    Given the situation I would skip the wine on the tables. You dont want to pay for it and it doesnt get drank. I love the idea of sparkling cider! I would put that on all the tables. Its something different and everyone can enjoy it, weather they drink or not. 
    Posted by cjkostiuk
    Took the words right out of my mouth.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker



  • All weddings I have been to in Canada have been cash bar, $1 to $3 per drink usually with loonies/toonies and sometimes with tickets. I have never been to an open bar wedding.
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards