I'm getting married in another country, where it is pretty much unheard of to have an open bar. Venues do not offer open bar packages, and while we could potentially cover our guests on a consumption basis, the reception is also very long (I'm talking almost 12 hours from cocktail hour until the DJ stops! So different!) and venues offer standard bar-like drink prices so that honestly would not be affordable for us for 12 hours at like $7/drink. My fiance's guests, who are mainly from the area and who make up the vast majority of our expected guests, will not be expecting anything other than a cash bar. However, my guests, all of whom will be traveling overseas at great expense, also will be surprised by having to lay out further money to drink at the wedding. I'm looking for creative ideas to help balance my concern at not requiring my guests to spend much more than they already are to attend the wedding while also not breaking the bank when most of our guests wouldn't expect an open bar anyway. Things that have crossed my mind:
1 - hosting an expanded rehearsal dinner where we cover all drinks that would include all guests traveling from abroad along with both of our close family members and bridal party. This would also include some of his family who live here in the US, but would probably exclude a number of his family members who are local and most of his friends. This seems like an option that wouldn't insult anyway since his local guests would probably not choose to come to the hotel the night before the wedding so wouldn't be present while the rehearsal was going on.
2 - drink tickets or something like that for all guests. It wouldn't be an open bar, but it would be something. The standard reception package includes a drink per person during cocktail hour and a half bottle of wine per person during dinner. This would provide a few more drinks for everyone, an added bonus for those who won't be expecting it and something to offer those who are used to an open bar
3- I dont really think this can work, but is there some way to cover the American guests' costs (including my fiance's who come from here!) and not everyones??
Would also love suggestions as to the best way to communicate to guests that it will be at the very least a partial cash bar. Any and all ideas are appreciated!