Cash Bar at 40th

(21 Posts)
FairyFuckDailyMail Sun 03-Feb-19 22:48:20

I'm celebrating my 40th this summer and found a venue. Due to the date of my birthday most venues are booked already. I am not a drinker but all my friends are. We regularly socialise. Mostly school mums and I am the youngest from our group but I have friends. I am looking at 60/70 people. The venue is however very restricted in our own catering or alcohol or even desserts. They finally agreed that I could get the food I wanted and allowed me to have a dessert table on top of the birthday cake but my guests must pay for their drinks.

I was searching Mumsnet for etiquettes on invites/Facebook etc when I found a few threads on cash bars being complete no no's. I am hoping some friends will be joining me who is not near. Can I go ahead and invite and mention "Cash Bar".
Also can I do all of this on Facebook only. I was thinking a Facebook group with edited invite with all details as it is a smart event.
Please help me not mess this up as each and every one of my friends know I do not drink but I am always invited to Gin Nights out so its never been an issue with my mocktails.

OP’s posts: |
StealthPolarBear Sun 03-Feb-19 22:49:36

It's fine.

CushieButterfield Sun 03-Feb-19 22:53:13

Agree it’s fine. I’ve seen those threads too - but at all the weddings and ‘significant birthday’ parties I’ve been to, there’s only been a free bar once.

7salmonswimming Sun 03-Feb-19 22:57:05

If I were invited to this I’d see it as a suggestion to go out together (very easy for me not to make an effort and go), not you inviting me to something special (is make an effort to turn up). The fact you don’t drink is neither here nor there, really. You’re providing hospitality; you give people what they’d enjoy (not suggesting lines of coke, although some would!). Alcohol is, like it or not, fundamental to having a good time for most people.

Add on that the invitation comes via Facebook....honestly, I’d think you’re either throwing the party reluctantly or hoping to have as few people come as possible.


justabigdisco Sun 03-Feb-19 22:59:04

I would never expect a free bar at a 40th party. In fact I’d never expect a free bar anywhere!

Gwenhwyfar Sun 03-Feb-19 23:01:33

Had my fortieth not so long age. A few parties based around dinner and drinks. Everyone paid for themselves as usual.

treaclesoda Sun 03-Feb-19 23:03:06

I have never been to an event of any sort where the alcohol was free. I think it's fine.


YippeeKayakOtherBuckets Sun 03-Feb-19 23:06:04

MN really isn’t representative of real life with the cash bar issue. Same as inviting people for a meal and being expected to foot the bill.

Normal people expect to pay for their own drinks, even <shock horror> at weddings.

FairyFuckDailyMail Sun 03-Feb-19 23:13:38

Thanks everyone.

@7salmonswimming I am not sure I completely follow you.
Are you saying if I do a private facebook group to friends most people wouldn't come as they'd think its not a serious event. Just for perspective. Its at a local golf course. The mentioning of me not drinking is more to try and explain that I personally might not know what the correct etiquette it for a cash bar etc. because I do not drink but all my friends do drink and I want them to enjoy themselves. They all love a good party. We were at one last night at a house party and we left at 4am. We all have kids but any birthday is an excuse for a night out.
So I have no problem sending out birthday invites but I didn't want it to sound like it is over the top as I am known to throw over the top parties for my children. That is why I am on here asking for guidance.

OP’s posts: |
chipsandpeas Sun 03-Feb-19 23:14:30

its only on here that people would expect a free bar, in real life its normal

mustdrinkwaternotwine Sun 03-Feb-19 23:15:26

We've had a few parties over the years and always make sure we can pay for at least one drink for each guest and chose our venue/number of guests accordingly.
What I think is more important is that you make it clear what the invitation is for & what is being provided. For one thing, it influences how much I'd spend on your present.

Bigonesmallone3 Sun 03-Feb-19 23:17:24

I was at a 30th last night, not a free bar

I think a cash bar is very normal

fanomoninon Sun 03-Feb-19 23:19:09

I live in an affluent area of the SE. In all the weddings & landmark birthdays I've been invited to over the years, only one wedding and a couple of birthdays (in an external venue) have had unlimited free booze. I honestly wonder what circles MN-ers move in for it to be so normal on here. In RL, everyone expects a paid bar at this sort of event. Free welcome drink is a nice touch if you've got the cash, but otherwise, don't worry.

FairyFuckDailyMail Sun 03-Feb-19 23:26:29

For my wedding to my ex in 2006 we had a free bar that my ex-FIL provided and it was really abused but we never said anything as it was a something he wanted to do and we knew that it might be abused.

OP’s posts: |
MrsEricBana Sun 03-Feb-19 23:30:55

I really think it's fine and good idea to mention it on the invitation so no one's in any doubt.

GemmeFatale Sun 03-Feb-19 23:38:16

Totally normal at every birthday and wedding I’ve ever been to.

7salmonswimming Mon 04-Feb-19 00:25:37

On the Facebook invitation, the point I was making is that I personally wouldn’t even check Facebook. It’s been years since I’ve used messenger (or whatever it’s called), so I’d assume you weren’t bothered to use a medium everyone knows to use. Hardly anyone I know uses Facebook to communicate (at least not with me) 🤷🏼‍♀️

However, clearly I’m not “normal”. I’ve honestly never been to a party (or wedding, for that matter) in my life where I’ve had to pay for my food or drink. I have many friends from many walks of life. I’ve been to huge weddings, tiny weddings, huge parties, tiny parties, dry weddings and parties. It’s just not “normal” for me to be invited to something and have to pay for the privilege. It’s not really an invitation, then, is it. You’re not inviting people; you’re asking them to come to something that you will also be at and at which you are the focal point. I’d read it as a nice idea for something to do, rather than an invitation to something.

Actually, I should exclude some work drinks from that. I’ve been to non-annual events (eg not Christmas party or summer party) where I’ve paid for myself. That’s more just a bunch of work people going out together, nothing formal.

wishingforalotterywin Mon 04-Feb-19 00:54:24

A Facebook group invite will be fine

A cash bar will be fine

These are your friends you're inviting not some random judgy strangers.

It's nice to mention the cash bar in advance so people know to bring money. You can mention it somewhere on the invitation along with rsvp contact info, dress code, parking or taxi tips etc you can say "there will be a buffet and a cash bar" for example. No big deal

If there are some people not on Facebook, PaperlessPost is quite good for e-invitations (there's an app)

Parky04 Mon 04-Feb-19 01:31:12

Been to many weddings and birthday parties and there has never been a free bar!

Uncooperativefingers Mon 11-Feb-19 14:39:22

Have you looked at using Paperless Post? It's a proper emailed invite, so more formal than Facebook (I find getting people to commit to a fb invite is a nightmare), but not as formal as proper invites.

I'm using it for my big birthday this year and it's great because it also tracks guest numbrrs, dietary requirements, who's replied and you can also send out additional emails to certain groups (ie more detailed timings closer to the event to those who are coming, or a reminder to those who haven't replied yet).

You can design your invites from scratch, some are free, some can be silly money if you want something super fancy.

Oh and imo cash bar is fine!

Sparkletastic Mon 11-Feb-19 17:08:45

Cash bar totally fine. Maybe put money behind it to buy everyone's first drink? Do let people know on the invite though.

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