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Just Said Yes July 2024

Open or closed bar

Emily, on June 10, 2019 at 1:53 PM

Posted in Wedding Reception 39

What are your thoughts on open bar? Is it better to do it that way it better for everyone to pay for themselves. I have a lot of people who drink beer coming to my wedding stuck on what to do.
What are your thoughts on open bar? Is it better to do it that way it better for everyone to pay for themselves. I have a lot of people who drink beer coming to my wedding stuck on what to do.

39 Comments

  • Kelly
    VIP October 2020
    Kelly ·
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    New England Smiley smile
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  • Sarah
    VIP September 2019
    Sarah ·
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    I also live in New England and have only attended one cash bar wedding and only a couple of the weddings we’ve attended have been formal or black tie. It’s definitely a social circle thing in New England, not a regional thing.
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  • Melissa
    VIP September 2019
    Melissa ·
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    I’m not a huge drinker, like maybe once or twice a year, but I have never been to a wedding that had a cash bar. In my area (NJ) I would say 90% of weddings are open bar. They may have limited beer and wine, but never cash bar. If you are hosting, I believe you should be all or nothing with liquor. Like provide some type as open, or none at all. Maybe also think of putting a few bottles of wine at each table if that may be more affordable.
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  • Jennifer future Mrs. K-H
    Dedicated October 2019
    Jennifer future Mrs. K-H ·
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    I also read that in New York, Philly and other places in that region that couples have guests pay their own way for the rehearsal dinner.

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  • Kelly
    VIP October 2020
    Kelly ·
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    NY and Philly aren't part of NE. I saw that too. In my socail circle a lot of people just skipped the rehearsal. If my fiance's parents didn't offer to pay for it I would probably have skipped it. 🤷
    A lot depends on your budget. And at the end of the day it's one night. Everyone will survive and move on.
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  • Jennifer future Mrs. K-H
    Dedicated October 2019
    Jennifer future Mrs. K-H ·
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    Oh, I know that they're not in New England obviously, but I was referring to the northeast "region" of the US.

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  • Hannah
    VIP July 2019
    Hannah ·
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    I am from the NYC area and I has never heard of this until this forum.

    OP, it's a know your crowd kind of thing. Every wedding that I have ever been to has been open bar except for 1 wedding in the bay area. In my area, open bar is standard. As others have said an open bar for just beer and wine is a happy medium between full open bar and cash bar.
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  • Cyndy
    Rockstar May 2019
    Cyndy ·
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    Personally I prefer open bar if you can afford it. If not a beer and wine only bar would be great, especially if you have lots of beer drinkers. As a guest I wouldn’t want to have to carry around money and pay for drinks, but that’s just me. Good luck
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  • Jennifer future Mrs. K-H
    Dedicated October 2019
    Jennifer future Mrs. K-H ·
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    Interesting. thanks for sharing!

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  • Jennifer future Mrs. K-H
    Dedicated October 2019
    Jennifer future Mrs. K-H ·
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    Good to know. thanks for sharing!

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  • Anna
    Super August 2020
    Anna ·
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    Do what you can afford, but keep in mind what is "typical" in your area/social circle. I've been to 10+ weddings in the past few years and 9/10 were open bar. For the 1 that was a cash bar we were really surprised and had no warning. I've never even brought cash to a wedding before (never needed it), so I didn't have cash on me and I wish we would have had a heads up.

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  • Leslie
    Just Said Yes June 2020
    Leslie ·
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    Have you ask the venues to see if they would let you do an open tab option? Meaning, you would only pay for what you consume? I just started looking at venues and all of them offer both, open bar and open tab, and with the open tab you also pick the type of alcohol that will be available for guests to choose from, so if you don't want someone getting the most expensive stuff then you simply don't offer it. This might make sense if you only have a few heavy drinkers, we are taking a look at our guest list and make an estimate before we make a decision, but we won't be doing a cash bar.

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  • S
    Savvy September 2019
    Steph ·
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    I’m from just outside of NYC and I think the only cash bar wedding I went to was my friend in upstate NY, but weddings up there tend to be different from downstate. I’m not really a drinker, but we are having an open bar. We are trying to avoid doing things at our wedding that we didn’t really like at other people’s weddings, the bar being one of them. One thing we came across while venue hunting was consumption bars or something to that effect, so we would only pay for what was consumed. I guess it depends on your budget, venue, and what is common from where you’re from.
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  • Vicky
    Super January 2020
    Vicky ·
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    If your bar is not just fully open but also top shelf liquor, you're not having a black tie event.


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  • Laura
    Rockstar October 2019
    Laura ·
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    I'm in the MIdwest too, but they aren't the norm here in Michigan, i've never been to one that had a cash bar. I"m not coming at you I promise, just that it's not that way all over the midwest

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  • Sarah
    Devoted June 2020
    Sarah ·
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    Do you live in a bigger city? Sometimes I think that is a dynamic shift too.

    I'm a Wisconsinite and most people I know don't care. But we are a huge bar state (more bars than grocery stores), so maybe people are just used to starting a tab wherever they go. Haha. I've only gone to one fully open bar wedding as crazy as that sounds. I've gone to about 15 weddings.
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  • A
    Master October 2019
    Angelena ·
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    Open bar is my ultimate choice simply because I am not a heavy beer or wine drinker myself. But since your crowd is big into beer, having the more affordable option of open beer & wine bar sounds more your fit! You could also have like one signature alcohol drink if you'd like!

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  • Laura
    Rockstar October 2019
    Laura ·
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    I live in a normal sized city i'd say. I"m in the suburbs of Detroit, about 40 minutes out of the city, not far from Ann Arbor MI. I have no idea how many weddings i've been too lol...lost count years ago...getting oldSmiley laugh

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  • Sarah
    Devoted June 2020
    Sarah ·
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    Haha! I have to admit it took me about 5 minutes to estimate.
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