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Etiquette

Cash Bars - Everything you need to know in one place

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Re: Cash Bars - Everything you need to know in one place

  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I don't know why everyone is ganging up on Amanda. She said she is closing the bar the last hour, which is not wrong etiquette wise.  If she was having a cash bar the last hour, all of you would say, why don't you just close it.  Plenty of venues only allow 4 of the 5 hours to have the bar open. 

    Now, it's definitely not the MA law, because there are plenty of venues that have an open bar the whole time - I'm having an open bar the whole time as well (central MA). But even @Hisgirlfriday13 said she talked with a venue that insisted they had to have a cash bar the whole time- that is weird. 
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    clueclaw.defunct635777689035314155grumbledoreleelabearMs2MrsViney
  • DH and I did. The venue was a winery, and it had a bunch of restrictive rules: no beer (at all, we couldn't bring in kegs); no hard alcohol; no champagne; all wine had to be their wine (this one at least I understood!); and it had to be a cash bar only. We couldn't do a consumption bar and pay for just what our guests drank, and we couldn't buy a specific number of bottles/cases and just serve until they were gone (and take home any that was unopened and leftover). 

    The owner told me that they insisted on a cash bar because, and I quote, "People don't get as drunk when they're paying for it as they do if it's an open bar and someone else is paying for it."

    ORLY?? Pretty sure any bar in any city on any given Saturday night would belie that point, dude. 

    But, those were his rules, so it was either book the venue (which had other, major, problems and flaws) or find another venue. Guess which we chose?
    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • I do think cash bars are rude, but dry weddings are boring.

    I probably would decline invites to both.
    sexy, harry styles, best song ever, cute, beautiful, asdjglñlñ, marcel
    leelabear
  • I do think cash bars are rude, but dry weddings are boring.

    I probably would decline invites to both.

    Eh, I go to family parties all the time and don't drink and don't get bored. Pretty sure I could do the same at a wedding.

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    Sabinus15
  • I do think cash bars are rude, but dry weddings are boring.

    I probably would decline invites to both.

    Eh, I go to family parties all the time and don't drink and don't get bored. Pretty sure I could do the same at a wedding.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I do think cash bars are rude, but dry weddings are boring.

    I probably would decline invites to both.

    Eh, I go to family parties all the time and don't drink and don't get bored. Pretty sure I could do the same at a wedding.
    My family is much different than yours.  

    My younger cousin had a dry wedding and I can't tell you how quickly people left after dinner to head to the closest bar.  I felt really bad actually.  
    sexy, harry styles, best song ever, cute, beautiful, asdjglñlñ, marcel
  • I do think cash bars are rude, but dry weddings are boring.

    I probably would decline invites to both.

    Eh, I go to family parties all the time and don't drink and don't get bored. Pretty sure I could do the same at a wedding.
    My family is much different than yours.  

    My younger cousin had a dry wedding and I can't tell you how quickly people left after dinner to head to the closest bar.  I felt really bad actually.  

    That sucks. Poor thing. I mean, I wouldn't stay as long at a dry wedding, but I wouldn't be a dick about it either. I can drink any time.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    Sabinus15
  • I do think cash bars are rude, but dry weddings are boring.

    I probably would decline invites to both.

    Eh, I go to family parties all the time and don't drink and don't get bored. Pretty sure I could do the same at a wedding.
    My family is much different than yours.  

    My younger cousin had a dry wedding and I can't tell you how quickly people left after dinner to head to the closest bar.  I felt really bad actually.  

    That sucks. Poor thing. I mean, I wouldn't stay as long at a dry wedding, but I wouldn't be a dick about it either. I can drink any time.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • delujm0 said:

    Personally, if i found a venue that told me "your only option is to have a cash bar at the guests' expense" I would either:

     

    1. Accept the limitations of that venue and book it for a dry wedding

    or

    2. Find another venue

     

    I wouldn't use that as an excuse for not properly hosting my guests.  I find it hard to believe that it is impossible to have a host-funded bar at any venue in Cape Cod.  I do find it odd that the venues are pushing this policy though, especially since they'd make so much more money off of an open-bar scenario.  This must be very strictly enforced for the venues to feel like it's worthwhile to deal with it.

     

    A friend of mine got married in Cape Cod 10 years ago...I wasn't invited because I didn't know her at the time...all of a sudden I feel like I need to ask her about this!  I do know her parents; they are the people who paid for the wedding, and there is no way on god's green earth that they allowed guests to buy their own drinks.  Very interesting.

    Not all the venues have this policy.  I don't believe it is the law to close the bar but I believe it is the law that who ever bough the last drink is liable.  I am looking at smaller venues and that could explain it. Obviously, if the reception is at Ocean Edge or Chatham Bars Inn they do not have this policy. The venues I looked at are significantly smaller and less expensive which could explain why they close the bar early.  Honestly, I do not think I am improperly hosting my guests if the bar closes for the last hour at the reception and I provide them with more alcohol at the after party.  

    geez, I went weeks without jumping on this bandwagon.

    STOP spreading the word that Massachusetts is pro cash bar!  I was born and grew up there and have NEVER attended a wedding with a cash bar there. 

    The wedding was at WillowBend Country Club and there was no open bar allowed.  Ever.

    grumbledore
  • I obviously prefer an open bar, and wanted to have one at my wedding but was worried about cost. Luckily my venue makes us stock our own bar and does not allow cash bars- so now we are having open bar at a fraction of the cost. However, I have been to a couple of weddings here in MA with cash bars and I didn't do the hardcore judging that others on here seem to do. I would rather be able to buy myself a drink at a wedding than not be able to have a drink at a dry wedding. It wouldn't feel like as much of a celebration with no drinks at all, for me and my crowd.
    Ms2MrsVineyMrsAitchjenniferurs
  •  
    Mitch617 said:
    I obviously prefer an open bar, and wanted to have one at my wedding but was worried about cost. Luckily my venue makes us stock our own bar and does not allow cash bars- so now we are having open bar at a fraction of the cost. However, I have been to a couple of weddings here in MA with cash bars and I didn't do the hardcore judging that others on here seem to do. I would rather be able to buy myself a drink at a wedding than not be able to have a drink at a dry wedding. It wouldn't feel like as much of a celebration with no drinks at all, for me and my crowd.
    But your want to drink does not give the bride and groom a free pass to be rude to everyone else. Alcohol is not necessary for celebrating. It's fine to be disappointed but you not being able to celebrate "properly" for one night doesn't make cash bars a viable option.

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

    Maggie0829
  • ashleyepashleyep member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited January 2014
    @Mitch617 - I'm from MA and cash bars don't bother me either. But that doesn't mean that, objectively, they're not poor etiquette. It's not the right way to host an event. 

    You can be okay with attending a cash bar wedding (I'd totally prefer a cash bar to dry wedding personally) but I can tell you that it's not worth the effort or energy of arguing why it's okay on the etiquette board here.
    Anniversary
    PrettyGirlLostAroundTheBlockSuperSweet2014MrsAitch
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Recently, on another wedding website, a girl posted a poll on the forums. She asked people as a GUEST (not THE HOST) at a wedding would you prefer to attend a dry wedding or a wedding you at least had the option to purchase your own drink. I'd say the answers were 96% for the cash option AS A GUEST. 

    I'm not in favor of cash bars at weddings personally. But as a guest, yea, give me the option!! I'm not sitting through hours of cake cutting, garter tosses, speeches and dances with a bottle of water in  my hand if I have any choice not to.

    If etiquette is about presuming you know best about your guests' comfort (and I say presuming because how can we ever be really know such a thing) - using the percentage above (assuming it covers all sorts of regions, ages, races, socioeconomic demographics for argument's sake), if one couldn't afford to host alcohol, wouldn't knowing 96% of your guests would prefer a cash bar, wouldn't that actually be looking out for their comfort?

    Just wondering.....  
    Because people can be made "comfortable" without having alcohol at a wedding.  They are entitled to something to drink-but not to expect anything in particular, let alone to offer to pay for it.

    Offering to pay for something the hosts aren't providing, regardless of whether it is alcohol or something else, suggests that their hospitality isn't good enough for you, and that's a rude and ungracious message to send to people who didn't have to invite you.
    lovesclimbinggrumbledore
  • Recently, on another wedding website, a girl posted a poll on the forums. She asked people as a GUEST (not THE HOST) at a wedding would you prefer to attend a dry wedding or a wedding you at least had the option to purchase your own drink. I'd say the answers were 96% for the cash option AS A GUEST. 

    I'm not in favor of cash bars at weddings personally. But as a guest, yea, give me the option!! I'm not sitting through hours of cake cutting, garter tosses, speeches and dances with a bottle of water in  my hand if I have any choice not to.

    If etiquette is about presuming you know best about your guests' comfort (and I say presuming because how can we ever be really know such a thing) - using the percentage above (assuming it covers all sorts of regions, ages, races, socioeconomic demographics for argument's sake), if one couldn't afford to host alcohol, wouldn't knowing 96% of your guests would prefer a cash bar, wouldn't that actually be looking out for their comfort?

    Just wondering.....  
    To the bolded, if you can't afford alcohol and you think your guests feel this way, then the appropriate thing to do is to alter the reception so that this doesn't happen.  And the way you do this is not by having guests pay for their drinks.  You can:
    -change your wedding to a daytime event.  Guests are less likely to "miss" alcohol at a morning, lunch or afternoon reception and they tend to be cheaper, too.  You might even save enough money to afford alcohol!
    -you should never make your guests sit through long speeches.  Even with lots of booze in them, your guests will still be bored.
    -Ditto for garter tosses
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    aurorajanette
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I do think cash bars are rude, but dry weddings are boring.

    I probably would decline invites to both.

    Eh, I go to family parties all the time and don't drink and don't get bored. Pretty sure I could do the same at a wedding.
    My family is much different than yours.  

    My younger cousin had a dry wedding and I can't tell you how quickly people left after dinner to head to the closest bar.  I felt really bad actually.  
    HA, I've never attend a family even that DID NOT have alcohol.   Not one.   Weddings, 1st birthdays party, showers (bridal and baby), funerals, Sunday dinner at grandma's, every event has alcohol.  We are planning a 70th surprise party for my dad and alcohol was 2nd to only food on the list of things to do.  

    Which is kind-of funny because my dad doesn't really drink, but boy does he have a stocked bar for when he has guests.  He would be humiliated if we had a party that has a cash bar.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    grumbledore
  • If you cannot afford to host your guests and opt for a dry wedding, I recommend making it a day wedding. People are less likely to be disappointed if there is no alcohol at lunch than a night time event.
  • I don't have a conflict with my bar for the reception, because an open bar is included in the venue package, and it was deemed "non-negotiable" by my FI. 

    However, I'm discovering, for my RD, that consumption bars are much more affordable, and depending on what FFIL wants to do, we might have a wine & beer consumption bar. He, however, is Cuban and LOVES his rum & cokes, as does FI. There are other guests who might want a mixed drink as well, which we may or may not host. The RD is being held at a restaurant with a public bar where our guests can order their drinks directly at the bar. Is it really necessary to prevent guests from purchasing their drink at the bar if they choose to do so, and if that drink is not on our menu of drinks that we are hosting?
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  • Gizmo813 said:
    I don't have a conflict with my bar for the reception, because an open bar is included in the venue package, and it was deemed "non-negotiable" by my FI. 

    However, I'm discovering, for my RD, that consumption bars are much more affordable, and depending on what FFIL wants to do, we might have a wine & beer consumption bar. He, however, is Cuban and LOVES his rum & cokes, as does FI. There are other guests who might want a mixed drink as well, which we may or may not host. The RD is being held at a restaurant with a public bar where our guests can order their drinks directly at the bar. Is it really necessary to prevent guests from purchasing their drink at the bar if they choose to do so, and if that drink is not on our menu of drinks that we are hosting?
    If the bar is set up in a separate area of the restaurant it's fine to host just wine & beer.  Your servers will just inform your guests what's being hosted and if they choose to leave the RD area to go to the bar for something else then that is their choice.
    Formerly known as flutterbride2b
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  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    edited February 2014

    Gizmo813 said:
    I don't have a conflict with my bar for the reception, because an open bar is included in the venue package, and it was deemed "non-negotiable" by my FI. 

    However, I'm discovering, for my RD, that consumption bars are much more affordable, and depending on what FFIL wants to do, we might have a wine & beer consumption bar. He, however, is Cuban and LOVES his rum & cokes, as does FI. There are other guests who might want a mixed drink as well, which we may or may not host. The RD is being held at a restaurant with a public bar where our guests can order their drinks directly at the bar. Is it really necessary to prevent guests from purchasing their drink at the bar if they choose to do so, and if that drink is not on our menu of drinks that we are hosting?
    If the bar is set up in a separate area of the restaurant it's fine to host just wine & beer.  Your servers will just inform your guests what's being hosted and if they choose to leave the RD area to go to the bar for something else then that is their choice.
    I had to click through a lot of arguments to find this answer, lol! Considering a dry RD in the "gazebo" area of a restaurant, hosting soft drinks/coffee/tea, but if guests ask for something stronger, server will say they can go to the bar in the main area of the restaurant... Is this the general consensus that this is OK for RD? It's not "welcome to my party, everybody step up to the bar! BTW that'll be $6." Note: FI and many WP, guests and family members don't drink, so most of the parties we normally host are dry. I don't think it will surprise anyone to have a dry RD where drinks happen to be available nearby should they choose to seek them out.

    (ETA: Wedding reception will be full open bar. And quote box is being wonky.)

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  • Lolo8383 said:

    Gizmo813 said:
    I don't have a conflict with my bar for the reception, because an open bar is included in the venue package, and it was deemed "non-negotiable" by my FI. 

    However, I'm discovering, for my RD, that consumption bars are much more affordable, and depending on what FFIL wants to do, we might have a wine & beer consumption bar. He, however, is Cuban and LOVES his rum & cokes, as does FI. There are other guests who might want a mixed drink as well, which we may or may not host. The RD is being held at a restaurant with a public bar where our guests can order their drinks directly at the bar. Is it really necessary to prevent guests from purchasing their drink at the bar if they choose to do so, and if that drink is not on our menu of drinks that we are hosting?
    If the bar is set up in a separate area of the restaurant it's fine to host just wine & beer.  Your servers will just inform your guests what's being hosted and if they choose to leave the RD area to go to the bar for something else then that is their choice.
    I had to click through a lot of arguments to find this answer, lol! Considering a dry RD in the "gazebo" area of a restaurant, hosting soft drinks/coffee/tea, but if guests ask for something stronger, server will say they can go to the bar in the main area of the restaurant... Is this the general consensus that this is OK for RD? It's not "welcome to my party, everybody step up to the bar! BTW that'll be $6." Note: FI and many WP, guests and family members don't drink, so most of the parties we normally host are dry. I don't think it will surprise anyone to have a dry RD where drinks happen to be available nearby should they choose to seek them out.

    (ETA: Wedding reception will be full open bar. And quote box is being wonky.)
    If a guest tries to order something else, the waitress should say (at your request) something like "the following beverages are being hosted..." and then list the appropriate hosted selections.  If the guest gets up, leaves the gazebo, and goes to the bar to get a drink then that is on them.
    Formerly known as flutterbride2b
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • I was fortunate to not have to worry about this with our Jamaica wedding. The open hemp bar was truly amazing and we all had a great time, much better than standard stuff.
    grumbledore
  • I totally agree with the OP and all PP that back it up.  My problem though is that my FI doesn't in the least bit.  He does not think it's rude and doesn't agree at all.  I had him read the OP and his view just hasn't changed at all.  So my question is, any advice on how to convince him or change his view so he can see where we're coming from.

     

    ashleyepHeatherKat
  • I totally agree with the OP and all PP that back it up.  My problem though is that my FI doesn't in the least bit.  He does not think it's rude and doesn't agree at all.  I had him read the OP and his view just hasn't changed at all.  So my question is, any advice on how to convince him or change his view so he can see where we're coming from.

    It took some time for me to get my own FI to come around on this.  He's always been to cash bar weddings and saw nothing wrong with it.  Ultimately I told him this was a non-negotiable for me and then we worked out a way that we could reasonably afford it and he's on board.  If it was going to cost thousands (as it often does to have an open bar all night) I don't think he ever would have gotten on my side.  That's why I hunted and hunted for a venue where we could make our budget work instead of tacking on the cost later.

    I'd try telling your FI - this is the biggest party you will likely ever throw - do you want to be remembered, even if just by a couple of people, as bad hosts who didn't make a good impression?  I certainly don't.  Also, keep in mind that you often have various options for a hosted bar - full open, beer/wine with signature drinks, beer/wine only, dry.  He may not realize this.  Once I explained to my FI that we can stock our own bar at our venue and we can provide a limited selection, he realized it was doable.

    Good luck!

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    Blue_BirdPrettyGirlLost
  • Having a regular bar, thankyouverymuch. Cash bars are beyond tacky. I went to one wedding that had a cash bar and we were also nagged to tip! Yuck! I'll stick with water thanx.
    My colors are "blood of my enemies" and "rage".

    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3h1kr8sYk1qzve89.gif
    grumbledorePrettyGirlLost
  • I totally agree with the OP and all PP that back it up.  My problem though is that my FI doesn't in the least bit.  He does not think it's rude and doesn't agree at all.  I had him read the OP and his view just hasn't changed at all.  So my question is, any advice on how to convince him or change his view so he can see where we're coming from.


    I had the same issue. My dh simply didn't want to shell out the money. I first got him to add an extra hour (so 2 hours of open bar the rest cash). I kept bringing it up periodically and once I saw that we weren't going to have as many guests as anticipated I saw my in. I said "let's see how much a 3rd hour would be when we go to our final meeting. If it's under $X lets just add it. The price will most likely even out anyway." And he agreed. So in our final meeting I asked how much 1 extra hour was and then 2 extra hours (making our reception a full open bar all night except when the bar was closed during dinner). The price we were given was really good so before dh could object I said add it on! And I got my way lol

    Now I know my dh well enough to know doing that wouldn't be a huge deal and he'd laugh it off, which he did. Worst case scenario, if you haven't combined finances yet, I'd offer to pay for the bar yourself. I don't think anyone has regretted having an open/limited bar, but I'm sure there are plenty that feel shitty after realizing how rude they were and plenty of unhappy guests.

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

  • Our venue keeps insisting we put a limit on our bar-by-consumption so once it is reached we can switch to cash bar. I keep insisting at no point in the night will we switch to a cash bar. If the lady insists one more time, I'll lose it. 

    My dad is really indifferent to cash bar/open bar - as a guest he said he doesn't really think much of having to pay for drinks - but after explaining to him the importance of being a great HOST, not a compliant guest, he understood and is now on board with open bar. If only everyone else was so easy to convince..
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