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Savvy August 2020

Cash bar

Kres, on April 11, 2021 at 3:57 AM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 45
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Is it really lame to do this to our guests? My husband (postponed wedding celebration due to covid) and I are getting no financial help for the wedding, which is okay. But that being said, we are watching our dollar and sticking to our budget. I know a cash bar would help us on costs tremendously. But I don’t want my wedding to be “that wedding”.

45 Comments

Latest activity by Jacks, on July 2, 2021 at 3:31 AM
  • Cyndy
    Rockstar May 2019
    Cyndy ·
    • Flag
    Unfortunately it is. You shouldn’t ask your guests to pay for anything. Could you offer beer and wine only to cut down on costs?
    • Reply
  • L
    Lisa ·
    • Flag
    Heres how I look at: the reception part of any wedding is an event hosted by the couple thanking them for coming to the ceremony and supporting their union. In that respect, the host should be responsible for all aspects of that event.
    A guest should not have to help front the cost of an event they were invited to.
    Save. Budget. Invite the number you can afford.
    • Reply
  • Samantha
    Rockstar October 2022
    Samantha ·
    • Flag
    It is really lame. You don’t need a full bar. Pick a venue that allows you to provide your won alcohol and bring beer, wine and soft drinks. We looked at several venues that did not require any sort of licensed bartender, just that an adult was pouring the drinks.
    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Super June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag
    A cash bar will definitely make your wedding "that wedding." I went to a black tie optional event eith a cash bar last night and felt some type of way about being hosted and being asked to pay for something. If suggest limited bar or even dry wedding instead (though the best option is udually cutting down your guest list if you have obligation invites on there)
    • Reply
  • Katie
    VIP August 2021
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    A good host never asks guests to pay for things at any event the host has. It is in really poor taste. If you can't afford to have an open bar, then you either don't have one or have a open beer and wine bar. Your wedding will 100% be that wedding if you have a cash bar.
    • Reply
  • Ty
    Devoted July 2021
    Ty ·
    • Flag
    I agree with PP— maybe you just serve beer and wine. Our venue is allowing us to bring our own liquor— that’s saving us a ton of $$$.
    • Reply
  • Sarah
    Devoted November 2021
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    We are doing beer and wine at our wedding, but our venue is a hotel and has a full bar right next door to our reception space. If people really would prefer liquor, they can pay for it at that bar and bring it back, but otherwise beer and wine is free for them 😊
    • Reply
  • Natalie
    Devoted January 2022
    Natalie ·
    • Flag

    Agree with others to try some alternatives first...beer/wine only, or paying for at least a few hours of open bar or providing a certain amount of drink vouchers, etc. Also figure out the exact cost over budget the bar puts you, and see if there's anyway to find that money in the budget...you can lower the decor or flowers a little, or shave a bit off the dress budget, etc.

    • Reply
  • Grace
    Super February 2022
    Grace ·
    • Flag
    Cash bar is definitely putting the burden on your guests rather than thanking them for being there to celebrate with you. You could always cut the alcohol options back to just beer and wine. Hard cider is also a good option that is often almost as cheap as beer. Limiting your offerings should help keep cost down and guests really have no expectation of an open bar, just free alcohol.



    Cutting out things you don't care about is a great way to keep cost down. Don't drink champagne? Cut the champagne toast, etc. Limiting guests numbers is also huge in saving money but I know that is hard to do. Good luck planning!
    • Reply
  • Rebelle Fleur
    Rockstar July 2021
    Rebelle Fleur ·
    • Flag
    I would negotiate a beer and wine only option and Maybe 1 or 2 signature cocktails.
    • Reply
  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna ·
    • Flag

    It is not just lame, but plain rude. Guests should never have to open their wallets at a wedding. If I were you, I would serve beer and wine only to help keep costs down. It is perfectly acceptable to just serve beer and wine.

    • Reply
  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
    • Flag

    Cash bars are generally considered rude because you'd be requiring your guests to pay for a portion of your wedding. A better option would be just to serve beer and wine rather than an open bar. My brother-in-law and his wife did this and no one seemed bothered that it was just beer and wine.

    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag

    Serve what you can afford without asking guests to pay. If that means offering one beer selection, one wine choice and one mixed drink in addition to sodas then do that. But it's considered impolite to ask guests to pay for any part of an event you are hosting.

    • Reply
  • W
    Super September 2020
    Willow ·
    • Flag
    My suggestion is don't have a dress code, don't do a registry, do a cash bar with a couple of complimentary signature drinks. Or you could offer beer and wine only


    I'm sure many people would rather have cash bar then no bar, and invited to a cash bar wedding than to not be invited at all.
    I know this is an unpopular opinion on wedding etiquette boards, but most people coming to your wedding are probably not wedding afficiondos.


    • Reply
  • NewEnglandSettler
    NewEnglandSettler ·
    • Flag

    I've been to plenty of cash bar weddings and have never thought less of the couple for having one. You do you.

    • Reply
  • Ivory
    Dedicated August 2024
    Ivory ·
    • Flag

    As a guest, I would be slightly miffed that you were expecting me to pay. If you really could not afford any alcohol whatsoever and just had a dry reception, as a guest, I wouldn't mind too much.

    If you can afford some alcohol though (ex: a limited selection of beer and wine) that's definitely better than dry or cash bar!

    • Reply
  • S
    Expert November 2021
    Sara ·
    • Flag

    Extremely tacky. Only serve what you can afford. If that's just wine and beer, then so be it. There's nothing wrong with only serving wine and beer. Do NOT ask guests to open up their wallets if they want to drink at your wedding. It would certainly make it "that wedding"

    • Reply
  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Legend March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Totally agree. Beer & wine would be fine.
    If you really don’t want to/can’t provide alcohol, consider a brunch wedding. Even if you offer champagne or a mimosa bar, people won’t generally indulge a lot in booze during a brunch. Plus a brunch wedding often costs less so you’ll save there too!
    • Reply
  • Michaila
    Dedicated January 2022
    Michaila ·
    • Flag

    I don't think it's the end of the world, personally, but if you do it, let people know so they have a heads up. Another cost saving option if you wanted to try and save money but still have an open bar would be to limit to beer and wine, like others suggested, but also see about limiting the time the bar is open. We were looking at a venue today that charged per person by hour block.

    We would get our venue for maybe 4-6 hours, but could get a beer and wine open bar (and the bartender) with tip for 60 guests for about $1000 for 2 hours. That might be better than nothing, and it's a way to ensure that people are sober enough to drive by the time the party's over (a concern in my group)

    Or see if your venue will let you bring your own alcohol. You could buy it in bulk from Kroger (if you live near a Kroger) when they have their 6 bottle sale (there are probably alcohol sales everywhere) and then when it's gone it's gone.

    Just some thoughts - hope it helps!

    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Dedicated August 2021
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag
    Have the wedding you can afford to host properly. Make cuts elsewhere otherwise you will be absolutely be “that couple”. As your guests they should not have to open their wallets at your event in which you are the host.
    • Reply

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