Wedding Etiquette Forum

Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable???


etiquette wise--- is it unacceptable to have a cash bar??

my parents are paying for the wedding, we have complimentary open bar for cocktail hour then cash bar for the reception... it would cost over $4000 extra for the lowest level (not grey goose) of alcohol and beers... that's not in our budget...

Am I a bad bride??

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Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable???

  • This all depends on who you ask.
    I'd try to budget things differently to afford the alcohol for dinner.
  • most will say cash bar is bad.  i think it depends.

    is your wedding a lavish, $100 a plate affair?  i think if you are spending $15K+ on yoru reception, then a cash bar is lame.

    if you are having a budget wedding, and have cut costs everywhere, then its ok because the thought process is consistent. 

    also, with your parents paying for the wedding, you could pay for hte bar as your contribution.

  • Yes...and no.

    Strict etiquette?  You should provide the alcohol.

    Honest answer, it's a gray area.  What is common in your "circle"?

    "You can take your etiquette and shove it!" ~misscarolb
  • twilight.rosetwilight.rose member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited August 2010
    You'll get varying answers on this.

    Personally, I think cash bars are completely unacceptable. Your guests should not have to pay for anything to attend your wedding.

    If you absolutely cannot afford alcohol, simply have a dry reception before a cash bar. Offer sodas, coffee, tea, flavored lemonades, or mocktails. There are options other than forcing your guests to pay money at your wedding.
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  • edited August 2010
    We're providing punch, coffee, water and soda, and we're buying a keg of beer that people can drink from for free.  But if they want wine or a mixed drink, they're paying.  Our dads might do an hour where they buy the drinks but for shiit's sake, there's going to be 400ish people at our wedding.  The costs are already expensive enough.

    Use your best judgment on this one - as you will be getting lots of different views on it.  Some people think it sucks on you to charge for drinks at your wedding - but it's not like you're forcing anyone to drink, either.
    panther
  • edited August 2010
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like the place you're having it is kind of fancy... in which place, a cash bar is inappropriate. i'd move the reception to a cheaper location. Or hey, even a dry location (church basement?). Then you won't have to worry about the bar. This is assuming that 1) most of your guests enjoy a drink and social events and 2) your guests are not accustomed to cash bars.

    Like Roxy said, I'd try to move the budget around (cut out limos, cut down on flowers, etc) to pay for at least some alcohol (beer and wine is fine if you need to cut out liquor).

    Edit: And yeah, I KNOW weddings are expensive. That's why you plan around the number of people you can host in the kind of venue you can afford.
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  • Personally, I would prefer cash bar to no bar at all. But it's still best to provide for your guests if at all possible. You have over a year until your wedding. See what you can do as far as hosting beer and wine, or full bar. With this much time left, you may be able to find ways of cutting costs in other areas or saving up the money to host open bar.
  • It's not a "lavish" wedding by any means... we just have a TON of guests...
     

    Cocktail hours are usually open anyways- aren't they??? even if the reception isn't... Our venue won't allow for us to buy a whole bunch of booze and have it that way...

    Ahh, i'm befuddled... FI and I can't afford to spend that extra 4,000...
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  • Is just wine and beer not an option? I'm confused as to what you mean when you say "(not grey goose) of alcohol and beers" - that to me makes it sound like you're talking hard alcohol as well, which would be more expensive.

    Also, answer the question: what is common in your circle? What percentage of weddings that you and your guests have been to have been cash bars? I've never seen one, and I would be surprised and offended by one, but I know that for other people they're the norm, so we really can't give you helpful answers until we know what your guests are likely to think.
  • msmerymac--- I'm sorry, but where did you get the idea that the place I'm having the reception in is very fancy???

    I will not change my venue... we are amazing at cutting costs already and have done everything!

    linens, centerpieces, cake, open cocktail hour, and dinner are all part of the package- there's no way to cut down anything!!

    we're DIY'ing a lot of it!!

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  • Yea, what about beer and wine only?

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_having-cash-bar-completely-unacceptable-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:2c30fee2-e285-4d18-95c0-545ffca4ace1Post:bbd58180-7506-4b72-a5ff-d111fb3fc097">Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable???</a>:
    [QUOTE]msmerymac--- <strong>I'm sorry, but where did you get the idea that the place I'm having the reception in is very fancy???</strong> I will not change my venue... we are amazing at cutting costs already and have done everything! linens, centerpieces, cake, open cocktail hour, and dinner are all part of the package- there's no way to cut down anything!! we're DIY'ing a lot of it!!
    Posted by MacFreitas7[/QUOTE]

    The fact that they HAVE a full bar, won't let you bring in your own alcohol and are charging $4,000+ for alcohol for a 4-5 reception. It sounds like a country club/restaurant/wedding hall, not a rec hall/VFW/church basement/public park. So I mean it seems to be on the higher end. Not necessarily the highest end, but not dirt cheap or an alternative venue, either.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_having-cash-bar-completely-unacceptable-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:2c30fee2-e285-4d18-95c0-545ffca4ace1Post:8ba412fc-c454-4f08-9423-4bb5e15dcf57">Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable???</a>:
    [QUOTE]If you're having "a TON" of people that you can't host properly, that is being pretty rude.  I am much more insulted by a cash bar at that type of wedding, because it appears like you wanted to have everybody you've ever talked to there and want tons of gifts, but you can't afford to provide for all of the guests.  At a wedding with a guest list made up of strictly the most important people in the couples' lives, I would be more forgiving   Talk to your venue about changing the package to strictly beer and wine. They might be willing to negotiate with you.
    Posted by Bec20[/QUOTE]

    first of all Fi's family is massive... and we've had to cut down a little bit.. (Especially to those OOT- who are across the country)...  I AM NOT LOOKING FOR GIFTS--- Quite RUDE of you to ASSUME THAT, thanks! How am I not providing for my guests by not paying for every drop of alcohol they consume? Is the dinner, entertainment, favors not ENOUGH? when did my "WEDDING" become a greedy need for gifts and attention??? --- we're not registering because we think THAT is rude to TELL people what kinds of materialistic things are wanted...

    did you not read the part when I said (no grey goose-- meaning only beer and wine)
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  • If you had a lot of people there or some realy lavish stuff and a cash bar then yes, I would be offended.
  • Jes-  no worries at all!! - i just figured I'd post here to see what i got... and NOW i feel like I'm just being bashed!!

    Thank you for the insight though, i actually never thought twice about it...

    Congrats to you and Good Luck!!! :)
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  • edited August 2010
    Many people are offended. When you throw a party at your home, you don't charge people for their drinks. Weddings are the same.

    Granted if that's not how people in your social circle view it, then okay. But it's a perfectly logical point of view to be offended. I shouldn't have to pay to attend a party. Especially if I'm bring a $100 gift. (That last bit is just me being snarky)

    EDIT: People aren't trying to bash you. They're honestly letting you know how they would feel. I think that's the insight you want. If people you know won't feel that way because they're used to it, then that's fine. This is how these people feel.

    We've all planned weddings, cut corners, had tight budgets. Believe me, we understand. Each bride just has different priorities. We are telling you what ours are.
  • Totally depends on who you ask. Our reception was not a lavish affair and we could not afford an open bar. It is common in our family & social circle to not have one. We did, however, provide wine for all of our guests. And the drinks were not that much at our venue.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_having-cash-bar-completely-unacceptable-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:2c30fee2-e285-4d18-95c0-545ffca4ace1Post:53fb7e83-aede-4a0b-ad2d-685dc94636f7">Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable???</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable??? : first of all Fi's family is massive... and we've had to cut down a little bit.. (Especially to those OOT- who are across the country)...  I AM NOT LOOKING FOR GIFTS--- Quite RUDE of you to ASSUME THAT, thanks! How am I not providing for my guests by not paying for every drop of alcohol they consume? Is the dinner, entertainment, favors not ENOUGH? when did my "WEDDING" become a greedy need for gifts and attention??? --- we're not registering because we think THAT is rude to TELL people what kinds of materialistic things are wanted... <strong>did you not read the part when I said (no grey goose-- meaning only beer and wine)</strong>
    Posted by MacFreitas7[/QUOTE]
    Um, I'm assuming she didn't since you posted that AFTER her post. Unless she has time traveling skills.

    Also, cut the favors and entertainment. Do an ipod reception. Those could save a lot of money.
  • Please don't bring up the "people will get too drunk on an open bar" argument. It's just silly - people get drunk on their own dime all the time, so if they don't know how to control themselves with alcohol they'll drink whether or not they have to pay for it. I don't know people who drink themselves silly just because it's free any more than I know people who eat themselves sick just because the wedding cake is free.

    And yes, I would be offended. Wouldn't you be offended if you went to a wedding and were told you had to pay for your dinner? To me it's the same thing because as I said, I'd never even heard of a cash bar at a wedding until this website. I would rather you feed me free pizza than make me pay for steak just as I'd rather you gave me free beer than made me pay for a vodka tonic. Like I said, I know in some circles alcohol is different, but to me it's all part of the same thing, and I would find it very rude if you expected me to pay for anything at an event that you invited me to attend. Is that so incredibly hard for you to believe?
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_having-cash-bar-completely-unacceptable-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:2c30fee2-e285-4d18-95c0-545ffca4ace1Post:81952b14-d1d9-4df7-bfac-b697445dc6e7">Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable???</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable??? : Um, I'm assuming she didn't since you posted that AFTER her post. Unless she has time traveling skills. Also, cut the favors and entertainment. Do an ipod reception. Those could save a lot of money.
    Posted by nda_roxybabe[/QUOTE]

    <div>Eh, As a guest, I'd personally miss real entertainment more than I'd miss alcohol.</div>
  • Cut favors. The reception is already a thanks to your guests for having witnessed your ceremony, so favors are unnecessary. That should free up at least a couple hundred dollars.

    Also, chill out. PP wasn't saying you specifically are looking for gifts, she said that would be the impression you got if you chose to host something half-way (in her opinion/experience) for a lot of people instead of fully hosting something for fewer people. You were the one who came and asked if a cash bar was rude, so presumably you entertained the possibility that it might be - why are you then freaking out at the people who're saying that they do in fact find it rude?
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_having-cash-bar-completely-unacceptable-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:2c30fee2-e285-4d18-95c0-545ffca4ace1Post:16dec9ec-8bd8-4bd0-8ecf-24155f817192">Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable???</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable??? : Eh, As a guest, I'd personally miss real entertainment more than I'd miss alcohol.
    Posted by Calumet[/QUOTE]

    See, I'd be just fine with an iPod over a dj. As long as there is music, I'm good.
  • Calumet, do you think an iPod reception would be much different than having a DJ? I ask because I've been to 3 iPod receptions with awesome playlists and didn't find it any different than the DJed receptions since the DJs never really did any mixing or special stuff anyway, they just played the songs.
  • How many guests are you having, and what are your venue's pricing options?
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  • Actually Emily it is completely and utterly SO hard for me to believe!!

    I really can't get over the fact why you are jumping down my throat when all I asked was a simple question!!

    I also said that people will drink a lot no matter if they have to pay for it or not.. there is ALWAYS that option.

    What planet do you live on?? Dinner is a GIVEN at a wedding (or a brunch, whatever time the wedding is) BAR is NOT a given.. it's a luxury--- it's always an option but NOT 100% necessary... taking away the option of a bar because someone has to drop a $5 on a drink because you think it's rude ... is utterly ridiculous.

    I can't give you free beer and I don't want you to pay for a voda and tonic... if there are people like that... then don't come to my wedding.. if you don't want to be a part of our special day because you'll be offended you have to pay for a drink.. it's NOT about the DRINKS.. the cost of the DRINK, it's about a WEDDING- being with family and friends.

    and i will NOT have an Ipod reception- tacky.

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  • I'm not freaking out... I just never heard of it being unacceptable before. So i was asking on this board for opinions...

    but then it turned into SO much more than just an open bar-- now I'm having a lavish affair with everybody i've ever met and i've got to cut down on entertainment and favors !

    OY VEY!

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  • I'm not expecting anything!!! If they DON'T want to drink then DON'T PAY!

    it's just an option.

    The DJ i feel is an important aspect of the reception - our families are not one to crowd the dance floor just because a song is playing... our DJ will assist in keeping everyone moving and having a good time
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_having-cash-bar-completely-unacceptable-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:2c30fee2-e285-4d18-95c0-545ffca4ace1Post:5ca4712e-5403-4c8c-8134-3c328b6d668b">Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable???</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable??? : See, I'd be just fine with an iPod over a dj. As long as there is music, I'm good.
    Posted by nda_roxybabe[/QUOTE]

    <div><div style="font-family:Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:10px;background-color:initial;background-image:none;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;color:#1f1f1f;font:normal normal normal 11px/14px Arial, sans-serif;text-align:left;line-height:normal;">Well if you had really good speakers. Every time someone suggests an I-pod, I picture your average speakers, and I can't imagine getting a good party on with the music too low.<div>
    </div><div>But like I was saying to OP it's all about priorities. I can see why DJ/Band wouldn't necessarily be a priority. OP has to decide what yours are. We didn't hire a photographer, because that felt like an extra. Hosting our guests well was most important to us. </div><div>
    </div><div>As long as, as a guest, I can see you have done your very best to make all of us comfortable and happy, honestly I can forgive any cut corners really. I think that's where everyone's comments come from. If you've invited a ton of people to a relatively nice place, but can't accommodate everyone... I'd be offended sorry.</div></div></div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_having-cash-bar-completely-unacceptable-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:2c30fee2-e285-4d18-95c0-545ffca4ace1Post:d198b7cc-0177-43fe-a19a-e988148cc4e1">Re: Is having a cash bar completely unacceptable???</a>:
    [QUOTE]Actually Emily it is completely and utterly SO hard for me to believe!! I really can't get over the fact why you are jumping down my throat when all I asked was a simple question!! I also said that people will drink a lot no matter if they have to pay for it or not.. there is ALWAYS that option. What planet do you live on?? Dinner is a GIVEN at a wedding (or a brunch, whatever time the wedding is) BAR is NOT a given.. it's a luxury--- it's always an option but NOT 100% necessary... taking away the option of a bar because someone has to drop a $5 on a drink because you think it's rude ... is utterly ridiculous. I can't give you free beer and I don't want you to pay for a voda and tonic... if there are people like that... then don't come to my wedding.. if you don't want to be a part of our special day because you'll be offended you have to pay for a drink.. it's NOT about the DRINKS.. the cost of the DRINK, it's about a WEDDING- being with family and friends. and i will NOT have an Ipod reception- tacky.
    Posted by MacFreitas7[/QUOTE]

    No one's jumping down your throat. You asked for advice, and you've gotten it. You don't seem to like the answers, but that's not our fault.

    It's polite to pay for everyone's drinks because you are hosting a party. If you were hosting a party at your home, would you charge for drinks? You wouldn't. We realize it can be hard to pay for everyone's drinks on that scale, and that's why we're trying to offer advice.

    I'm a little uncertain of why you consider an i-pod reception tacky but don't think it's polite to provide drinks. Everyone enjoyed my i-pod reception, and the free alcohol. No one was inconvenienced by the fact that there wasn't some boorish DJ controlling the playlist.
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