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North Carolina-Raleigh-Durham

Bar at Wedding

Hey everyone.  My fiance and I are getting married in July and are on a very TIGHT budget.  Although many bride and grooms get a lot of financial support from their families to pay for their weddings, we are NOT.  Our families would love to help us pay for our wedding, they just do not have the means to do so.  That being said.. All expenses fall on us.

As it stands now we are having a buffet reception including the following:
**Dinner Menu**
Build Your Own Garden Salad
Rolls and Butter
Pasta Bar: Garlic Bread, Penne Pasta, Marinara Sauce, Alfredo Sauce, Bolognaise Sauce, Hot Marinated Grilled Vegetables, Grilled Chicken
London Broil Carving Station
Potato Bar: Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Parslied Potatoes, Victorian Potatoes
Beverages: Water, Iced Tea, Soda, Coffee, Hot Tea
 
**Cake**                                                                                             White Wedding Amaretto Cake
Buttercream Frosting
Bottom Tier- Buttercream Filling
Top Tiers- Chocolate Mousse Filling

We are finding that with all the expenses we have in regards to our wedding (Ceremony and Reception Site, Officiant, DJ, Cake, Food, Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Invitiations, Decorations, Miscellaneous things, etc), we need to cut some costs.  We have already done that in many areas by using a lot of DIY things.  For example, we will be doing all our florals on our own.. 

It seems that at this point, the only additional place we can cut cost is in regards to alcohol.  In an ideal world, we would have the money to do an open bar.. Well this isn't an ideal world!  It looks like right now, the best scenario for us and our budget would be to serve a signature cocktail (so that we can provide at least something alcoholic to our guests in addition to the non-alcoholic beverages being served) and open up the bar that is on site as a cash bar so that people at least have the option to buy other alcoholic beverages if they would like.  I really don't like this idea myself, but I can't simply pull money out of the air and don't feel like I have any other options.  Any thoughts?

Re: Bar at Wedding

  • pirategal03pirategal03 member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_north-carolina-raleighdurham_bar-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:606Discussion:3d3649cc-9aec-4b7b-a32e-92d579db5a16Post:33222818-9964-44ed-a7b0-2edae8e63411">Bar at Wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]Hey everyone.  My fiance and I are getting married in July and are on a very TIGHT budget.  Although many bride and grooms get a lot of financial support from their families to pay for their weddings, we are NOT.  Our families would love to help us pay for our wedding, they just do not have the means to do so.  That being said.. All expenses fall on us. As it stands now we are having a buffet reception including the following: **Dinner Menu** Build Your Own Garden Salad Rolls and Butter Pas ta Bar: Garlic Bread, Penne Pasta, Marinara Sauce, Alfredo Sauce, Bolognaise Sauce, Hot Marinated Grilled Vegetables, Grilled Chicken London Broil Carving Station Potato Bar: Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Parslied Potatoes, Victorian Potatoes Beverages: Water, Iced Tea, Soda, Coffee, Hot Tea   **Cake**                                                                                             White Wedding Amaretto Cake Buttercream Frosting Bottom Tier- Buttercream Filling Top Tiers- Chocolate Mousse Filling We are finding that with all the expenses we have in regards to our wedding (Ceremony and Reception Site, Officiant, DJ, Cake, Food, Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Invitiations, Decorations, Miscellaneous things, etc), we need to cut some costs.  We have already done that in many areas by using a lot of DIY things.  For example, we will be doing all our florals on our own..  It seems that at this point, the only additional place we can cut cost is in regards to alcohol.  In an ideal world, we would have the money to do an open bar.. Well this isn't an ideal world!  It looks like right now, the best scenario for us and our budget would be to serve a signature cocktail (so that we can provide at least something alcoholic to our guests in addition to the non-alcoholic beverages being served) and open up the bar that is on site as a cash bar so that people at least have the option to buy other alcoholic beverages if they would like.  I really don't like this idea myself, but I can't simply pull money out of the air and don't feel like I have any other options.  Any thoughts?
    Posted by Jbenedetto[/QUOTE]

    Sorry for the quote but TK was being stupid and cutting off the right side of your post for me. This was the only way to read the whole thing.

    IMO a cash bar is rude.  You shouldn't ask guests to pay for their own drinks any more than you should ask for them to pay for their own food. 

    Having a limited bar is a good option.  You could do just beer/wine or just beer/wine/signature cocktail.  Or just signature cocktail/champagne or lots of other combinations.  But any of these are better than asking your guests to pay for their drinks.
  • edited December 2011
    I agree with PP in that doing open beer/wine or beer/wine/signature cocktail is a better option. That's a sure way to cut costs, and still keep your guests from having to pay for anything at a party you're hosting. As a matter of fact, one of the weddings I'm a part of next month is only beer/wine. If that's what you can afford, then provide that. No one will think anything about it as long as they don't have to pay for anything. 
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  • edited December 2011
    Whatever you do, don't post this on the Snarky Brides board!  I said one thing about possibly having a cash bar (because like you, we're paying for most of the wedding) and nearly got my eyes clawed out!

    In the long run, do what you need to do.  I know people say it's rude or tacky, but IMO, people aren't there for the alcohol, they're there to celebrate you two and your day.  In my situation, we're having ours at a hotel, and even if we didn't have alcohol at the reception (which is in theory "what we can afford"), people would still go down to the bar and get a drink if they wanted to.  Only difference is, they could use their card and not cash.  I like the idea of the cash bar being there if they want it, but we don't have to pay for it, which adds to our expenses. 

    It's up to you, really.  Everyone comes from different backgrounds, where a cash bar would offend people because an open bar is expected in their social circle, where in other social circles, people wouldn't think twice about a cash bar because an open bar is a luxury.  That's just my 2 cents.  Buy yourself a drink at the wedding with it Wink
  • lesaundelesaunde member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    A cash bar is perfectly fine.  I wouldn't worry about what anyone else thinks....it's not their day.  People sometimes forget what a wedding is truly about...
  • pirategal03pirategal03 member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_north-carolina-raleighdurham_bar-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:606Discussion:3d3649cc-9aec-4b7b-a32e-92d579db5a16Post:fe2c62ee-6778-4fb7-b1a1-2010d757c893">Re: Bar at Wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]A cash bar is perfectly fine.  I wouldn't worry about what anyone else thinks....it's not their day.  People sometimes forget what a wedding is truly about...
    Posted by lesaunde[/QUOTE]

    The bar isn't at the wedding...it's at the reception.  A wedding may be about one thing, but a reception is about thanking your guests.  If you think it's "perfectly fine" to thank your guests by asking them to pay for something, you should think about it a bit more. 
  • edited December 2011
    we're doing beer & wine too - the cost was way too much if we did liqour as well, and everybody we know drinks beer or wine :)
  • edited December 2011
    We're limiting our bar to beer and frozen cocktails to save on costs.  I can't even begin to imagine the tongue lashing I would get from relatives if we had a cash bar.  It's much better to just limit the alcohol to what you can afford than have a cash bar imo.  To be honest I can't even remember the last time I went to a wedding with a full open bar anyway.  Limited bars are definitely the norm.
  • edited December 2011
    This past fall I went to 3 very different weddings.
    The first had a full top-shelf open bar (paid for by mommy and daddy) and was a very "long Island" wedding.
    The second was at a hole in the wall beach bar that had a cash bar without a signature cocktail or specials (but the couple didn't spend more than $2k on the whole wedding which was their budget).
    Finally the third was at a church retreat and therefor had no alcohol at all (not even a champagne toast).

    The amazing part is that the events were in this order and you can't make this stuff up. Where did we have the best time?.... The lavish LI wedding where we got smashed and danced all night, of course. But we also had a blast at the bar reception. We knew what to expect, it was a good ol' party and we pre-gamed accordingly. It was appropriate for the couple and the guests knew what to expect, it worked out just fine.

    The point I'm trying to make is that if it feels right for you, do what you want. Guests don't usually expect a bride and groom to go above and beyond their means, especially in this economy (unless mom and dad are offering).  Just remember the reception is a party and most people need some form of alcohol to loosen up to properly party. Everyone's situation is different but unless you have a very good reason not to have alcohol then you should offer something to your guests. Because if you don't have any then chances are good that people will sit at their tables all night, be bored, not dance, and leave early. Even at a lowly cash bar people can have fun! Don't want to foot the whole bill, limit to beer and wine, or how about some punch bowls? It is your day, and your money, but you do want to show your guests a good time to the best of your abilities.
  • edited December 2011
    I have to agree with the majority.  Don't do a cash bar.  Think of it this way, how many weddings have you gone to that you had money?  If you can't afford it don't do it.  I'd much rather have beer/wine or one or the other then trying to find cash and paying. :)
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