To all UK brides, I know cash bars are a big no-no in the USA and some continental European countries but are they actually considered rude in the UK? I have been to very few weddings that didn't one. Even quite well off/rich couples I know had one.
It seems that most UK venues make it almost impossible to fund your own bar because either the cost of the drinks or the corkage charge is prohibitively high. One venue I contacted charges £20 ($24 US dollars) per bottle as corkage or the drinks were between £5- £9 ($6- $11 US) per glass.
People drink on average 2 glasses an hour so if you have an open bar for 4 hours with 50 guests that is about £2000/$2,455 if each drink costs £5. Statistically speaking British people are the heaviest drinkers in Europe so you are probably looking at spending more. I read that Americans get charged per person as opposed to by each glass which is why they can afford open bars.
I spoke to my wedding planner about it and she has done hundreds of weddings. She said there is a cultural divide on this issue and that in white British culture it is much more normal to have cash bars. However most ethnic cultures, e.g. black, indian, turkisb etc frown on it and it is considered rude. For this reason I am having an open bar.
Also venues that cater to ethnic crowds often charge no corkage, so it's easy for me to do all the alcohol myself. However there are not many venues like this. Most charge a wedding package where guests get a toasting drink, drink with a meal and a cocktail drink and that's it.
Due to the constraints placed on British brides are cash bar still considered rude?