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Dawn
Just Said Yes December 2020

Cash bars vs open bar or no alcohol at all?

Dawn, on February 17, 2020 at 9:04 AM Posted in Planning 0 38
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We are at a standstill. My fiancé and I both drink sociably but we do not have to have it to have a good time. We live in Texas and almost every wedding has alcohol so we are wondering would it be OK to not have alcohol at our wedding or should we do a cash bar with the bartender would be responsible?

38 Comments

Latest activity by Tanyia, on February 22, 2020 at 9:54 PM
  • Cyndy
    Rockstar May 2019
    Cyndy ·
    • Flag
    You’re going to get lots of feedback on this topic for sure. I’m in the camp of no alcohol if you can’t afford it. I wouldn’t ask guests to pay once they get to a wedding. You could always go with just beer and wine instead of an open bar with liquor to save money and give options. Good luck.
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  • Neeva
    Rockstar September 2020
    Neeva ·
    • Flag

    It's completely up to you and what level of hosting you would like to provide! If you are doing cash bar- please let people know in advance.

    If you are interested, you could also compromise and cover the first 2 drinks for guests or do beer and wine only if you want to save money.

    • Reply
  • Kristen
    Rockstar November 2020
    Kristen ·
    • Flag
    It's funny I didn't realize that different cities have different mindsets. For example in some cities in Massachusetts cash bars are common but then it's something like New York it is kind of shunned upon. Like the first poster said you're going to get different opinions and I think it is comes down to how people choose to enjoy their evenings. I'm like you where I like to drink socially but I can also get through the evening without liquor. I would say that if you cannot afford it then I wouldn't do it but to me I don't think that a cash bar is bad. You are already paying for your guests to eat so if they want Libations I don't see why they can I pay for it because if you think about it they are doing the same thing when they go out on a regular date night or out with friends. I like what the second poster said in that maybe give them one drink or maybe check your Venue and see if you can afford just beer and wine and make liquor a cash option. Whatever you decide I would just suggest that you let the guest know in advance because I think even if you do a cash bar as long as they know in advance and can bring cash for it it'll be less bothersome the day of.
    • Reply
  • Sarah
    VIP September 2019
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    A lot of this is going to be a know your crowd thing. With our crowd, a dry wedding would never have been an option. We have alcohol at all events- holidays, weddings, kids birthday parties. As far as a cash bar, this I guess (from these forums) is also a know your crowd thing. Cash bars aren’t common in our social circle- 2 of the dozens of weddings we’ve attended in the last 5 years have had them. If they’re common with your family, I’d say I guess it’s fine.
    • Reply
  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
    • Flag

    I think a cash bar is better than a dry wedding, but an open bar is better than a cash bar. It really depends on your crowd. For my family & our friends, it would be super odd to not have alcohol at a wedding (an open bar is expected). But if your friends and family don't drink, alcohol isn't needed. We've only been to one dry wedding and pretty much everyone left after dinner/speeches/cake cutting since there wasn't any dancing.

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  • Nicole
    Rockstar September 2020
    Nicole ·
    • Flag
    I don’t drink at all (not ever; I’d rather eat my calories 🤣) but I was adamant about an open bar at my wedding. When I invite people to my house for parties/dinner, I always make sure to have an assortment of alcohol according to my guests’ preferences, so my wedding will be no different. I’ve actually never attended a wedding WITHOUT an open bar, so the idea of not hosting guests in that way is completely foreign to me. If anything, provide an open beer/wine bar for your guests.
    • Reply
  • Hanna
    Super June 2019
    Hanna ·
    • Flag

    You will get a lot of different opinions on this one! I have never been to a wedding without an open bar before, but if I had to choose, I'd 100% prefer a cash bar to a dry wedding. But I would need to be informed that it was a cash bar ahead of time so that I could be prepared and bring money. I never bring a full wallet if I'm attending a wedding because it doesn't fit in my clutch

    • Reply
  • Samantha
    Rockstar October 2020
    Samantha ·
    • Flag

    I've never been to a wedding with a cash bar. I've been to a couple dry weddings, which didn't bother me since I do think that people are at the reception to celebrate with the couple, not to drink. I've also been to lots of weddings with beer/wine only, or beer/wine/signature drink to cut down on costs. The idea does seem a little bizarre to me and I think there's a false comparison saying it's like a night out with friends where everyone pays their way. Because you're not asking them to pay their own way. You're not asking them to pay for their meals. The point of the reception is to thank your guests for coming to celebrate you and I don't think it's right to ask them to open their wallets when they're already taking their time to celebrate with you and likely giving you gifts and emotional support throughout your marriage.

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  • A
    Super August 2020
    Alex ·
    • Flag

    Do you and your husband drink? If so, I think you should probably offer some sort of alcohol even it it is a cash bar. If you want to pay for something, you can do a specialty drink and then cash bar for everything else.

    If you guys don't drink, I think it would be fine to have it without alcohol.


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  • Renay
    Devoted April 2020
    Renay ·
    • Flag

    We drink occasionally socially as well. Most weddings around here seem to be open bar, with a few cash. We discussed it and decided we would rather have a dry wedding. We have plenty of drinkers, and plenty of non-drinkers. I know we will have a few people mad that we aren't serving alcohol, but I don't mind. I'd rather not have to deal with drunk people, worry about a minor finding a way to get a hold of a glass, people drunk driving after, one of our multiple recovering addict family/friends being tempted, or someone over doing their limits and embarrassing themselves (and ultimately us).

    We can have a perfectly good time without alcohol, and I don't think anyone should be forced to offer it just because people have decided getting drunk at weddings is normal.

    • Reply
  • Dj Tanner
    June 2021
    Dj Tanner ·
    • Flag
    For us personally it had to be open bar or no wedding lol! But that’s just us and our people. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a dry bar, however have you considered just doing wine? It’s entirely up to you. I personally hate cash bars because I feel like they look like a concession stand at a carnival where people are waiting with their money and I personally just don’t like the feel that is just me and not everyone feels that way. Sometimes it’s best to just have wine that way no one gets too smashed to drive home. Hope this helped
    • Reply
  • Caila
    Devoted August 2020
    Caila ·
    • Flag

    I would say cash bar over a dry wedding... but I have also never been to a dry wedding! Every wedding I have been to has had at least beer.

    However, alcohol is by no means necessary, but a lot people like to have a few drinks at a wedding reception. At the end of the day though, it is whatever you guys want to do for your day. Don't let anyone tell you what is right or wrong. Smiley smile Your guests will have a good time regardless.

    • Reply
  • anne
    Just Said Yes March 2014
    anne ·
    • Flag
    I think it is so tacky to ask guests to pay for drinks at your wedding reception. How about a limited selection of wine and beer? Signature drinks, his and hers are popular and can be “virgin” if you like. Just make sure that they are refreshing and not too sweet. If budget is an issue, have the bar open for a limited amount of time.


    • Reply
  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Legend March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    It’s not good hosting to invite guests to a party and then ask them to pay for any part of it. If you want a dry wedding, a brunch or cake & punch afternoon reception would be better than an evening wedding. Or, offer wine & beer to your guests.
    • Reply
  • Jess
    Expert October 2019
    Jess ·
    • Flag
    Neither of us drink at all. We did a dry wedding and everyone had a great time and no one left early either. i don’t think alcohol is a wedding or social event necessity 🤷🏻‍♀️
    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Dedicated July 2021
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    This! You are hosting the event so everything you offer should be free to your guests. If you can’t afford a full bar, do a limited one or none at all. If I’m charged for things at a wedding, I end up using the cash I’d otherwise gift to the couple.
    • Reply
  • Alisha
    Super April 2021
    Alisha ·
    • Flag

    It's up to you. You have to go with your budget and what you prefer. You have to do what is best you for your wedding. there is nothing wrong with having a dry wedding at all. A cash bar/ or a small selection of drinks gives you guest an option to have a drink at your wedding. For me, I did an open bar bc i didn't want my guest to pay for their drinks and I wanted them to have a good time. At the end of day, you have to do what is best for you.

    • Reply
  • Bridgette
    Dedicated October 2020
    Bridgette ·
    • Flag

    I'm still debating on alcohol at all. I really want to have hard liquor but, you have to take in consideration what if someone drinks too much and get into a accident. I will have heavy drinkers coming. I will be liable for that. I'm still up in the air with this topic.

    • Reply
  • Chauntel
    Beginner September 2020
    Chauntel ·
    • Flag
    I'm looking at doing one free drink ticket then they are on their own. I don't drink much so my guest know I'm not worried about their drinking as well. They are coming to celebrate the bride and groom and can drink themselves under the table anywhere else they choose. I may do a cash bar if the ticket idea doesn't pan out. The bar is really the least of my worries.
    • Reply
  • R
    Just Said Yes May 2024
    Rachel ·
    • Flag

    I wouldn't do a cash bar. People already spend a fair amount of money to come to a wedding (not to mention a gift) so cash bars tend to leave a bad taste in guests' mouths. If you can't afford alcohol, no worries, just make sure to provide "virgin" drinks.

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