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Cash bar at a wedding?

(32 Posts)
SisterA Thu 06-Apr-17 08:58:19

What are people's opinions on a cash bar at a wedding?

Do you think it's rude/like you've been invited to a party the hosts couldn't afford to invite you to?

Planning my wedding and I think we COULD do it but it would be quite a stretch but it's also not a weekend so I'm really wary of putting people out after some might have had to take time off work.

Also not sure if I'm keen on the idea of inviting people to a party and essentially making them pay for their drinks. I haven't been to a wedding recently when there HASN'T been a cash bar in the last few years and I really don't mind it but I just don't know what the general consensus is. And would just like the opinions of some strangers please gin

lorelairoryemily Thu 06-Apr-17 09:00:08

I'm getting married in September and there's absolutely no way I'm paying for all the drinks! I don't know anyone who does that, it's usually one free drink at the bar and wine with the meal but you buy your own drink. Save your money, people take the piss when it's free

ohmygodyouguys Thu 06-Apr-17 09:00:45

It's the norm. I had a cash bar at my wedding and no one complained. My dad did put £200 behind the bar to buy everyone a drink though.

MrsEricBana Thu 06-Apr-17 09:03:24

Ah, we had a cash bar and have wondered about this myself BUT now 100% sure it's fine. We went to a wedding at the weekend - we were given a drink before meal, beautiful meal and wine, tea and coffee and toasting champagne. After that it was cash bar and that was more than fine, they'd already spent so much.

Itaintme Thu 06-Apr-17 09:03:29

I've never been to a wedding that didn't have a cash bar.

Scribblegirl Thu 06-Apr-17 09:06:11

The only time I've ever been to a wedding without a cash bar was
1) rustic Pinterest wedding where it was BYOB instead of wedding presents - groomsmen were meant to run the bar but pissed off so it was a bit of a free for all!
2) friends wedding where they held it in the grounds of her parents house, so no venue cost and they'd have had to have acquired a license to sell, more hassle than it's worth.

We looked at having our reception in a village hall and would have had an open bar there as we couldn't be faffed with getting the license (and it would have cost barely anything for the hire). As it is we are going with a slightly less DIY venue and having a cash bar.

It's horses for courses but personally in my late 20s/early 30s MC London social circle, it would be very unusual without a factor such as the above.

apotheke Thu 06-Apr-17 09:07:06

Most weddings I've been to had a cash bar (my own included) .Providing drinks for the meal (and arrival/toasts) is normal and probably more what people expect.

I may be strange but I much prefer a (reasonably priced) cash bar over a free bar as I like a good drink but also am someone who feels guilty taking the piss so would much rather pay for my own and drink what I like.

Some venues' bar prices are outrageous these days for weddings though.

Scribblegirl Thu 06-Apr-17 09:10:08

Very true - I'm a pretty capable drinker wink and I don't think it's fair that those who choose not to drink or don't like it or whatever don't get the 'benefit' of something we've paid for. Why should Auntie Sheila (teetotal) have a cheap meal so that I can provide Uncle Dave (pisshead) with as much booze as he pleases?

<names have been changed grin>

IJustWantABrew Thu 06-Apr-17 09:11:13

I used to work for a hotel which did a lot of weddings and cash bars were a bit 50/50. As a guest it wouldn't be great if you didn't supply at least one glass of wine with the meal, but I certainly wouldn't expect anyone to pay for drinks for an entire night.
I suppose it depends on your budget, the number of guests and your friends, if I did a cash bar my friends would take the piss. Maybe put some money behind the bar or pay for a certain number of a type of drink, so x bottles of wine and x amount of beer, but I wouldn't be funding peoples double vodkas all night.

KoolKoala07 Thu 06-Apr-17 09:14:09

My wedding last year, guests had around 3/4 free drinks as part of the food package. One after ceremony, one at the table and top up and one to toast. Then they bought their own at the bar.

Stiddleficks Thu 06-Apr-17 09:14:27

My cousin had a free bar at a christening and t was a disaster, one group had a table full of drinks, some of which didn't get touched, they really took the piss, cost her a fortune.
I've never been to a wedding that hasn't had a cash bar.
I did welcome drinks and a champagne toast, put 3 bottles of wine and water on each table for the meal. Everyone seemed happy with that.

SisterA Thu 06-Apr-17 09:18:13

Thanks everyone. I have heard the cash bar at my venue is reasonably priced from other people who have been to weddings there before. Which I have relied on because my gauge of what's reasonable or not is broken as I don't drink.

I'm maybe just over thinking it because of the whole mid week aspect & trying to make it as hassle free as possible for people to come. Equally I don't want to overspend on a bar people might not use if they're working the next day.

Sounds like 50/50 is the way to go and I thank you all for your input. Also because it makes my life muuuuch easier in the run up to the wedding woohoo! smile

CMOTDibbler Thu 06-Apr-17 09:25:41

I think that if you don't supply drinks on arrival and at least one drink with the meal it is a bit off tbh. I then expect to buy my own drinks. The one wedding I've been to where there wasn't wine with the meal caused a lot of grief to the guests as no one expected it, and logistical problems around sharing bottles etc.

Scribblegirl Thu 06-Apr-17 09:33:30

Oh yes - definitely to drinks on arrival and wine for the table. Bit mean otherwise imo

dylsmimi Thu 06-Apr-17 09:36:59

Drinks on arrival, wine on the table then if you did have any left over you could always put it behind the bar for the guests first drink and once it's gone it's gone and bar staff can explain that. Or just don't put behind the bar and keep it towards your honeymoon
I've only been to one hotel wedding with a free bar and me and friends kept taking our money up with us as it was so unexpected! smile

CalonGoch Thu 06-Apr-17 12:48:47

Bucking the trend, I've never been to a wedding with a cash bar, although most of the receptions I've been to have been either in church halls/marquees at home/places where there wasn't an existing bar arrangement, and a license to sell would have been needed, rather than in a hotel with the bar already there. The trade off was that the drink on offer was quite simple - red/white wine, beer, gin/vodka/whisky, and soft drinks - rather than pina coladas and craft ales, and the hosts usually did a sale or return deal on what was left.

TheFlis12345 Thu 06-Apr-17 12:52:43

We're having a free bar but only because it is a hall hire type venue where we stock it ourselves and have hired bar stuff to run it for us. If we were paying by the drink I probably would go the cash bar route with some cash behind it.

WanderingNotLost Thu 06-Apr-17 15:49:46

We're having a cash bar at my wedding, otherwise the guests would drink us into bankruptcy!

SisterA Thu 06-Apr-17 17:01:24

All this wedding chat (prompted by myself) is getting me sooooo excited!!! Woohoooooo

AgentProvocateur Thu 06-Apr-17 17:05:59

I've been to very few weddings with a cash bar, and TBH I wouldn't expect to have to pay. However, if I knew in advance, I'd make sure I took money/card. Have a lovely day.

maisyanddaisy Thu 06-Apr-17 17:12:27

It depends how rich you and your social circle are I suppose!
I've only been to one wedding with a free bar and I felt very guilty about getting 'free' drinks (and the bar staff were encouraging people to have doubles which was a bit off). Every other wedding I've been to has had a cash bar, sometimes with a free drink at the start, and with bottles of wine and/or beer on the tables.

Alyosha Fri 07-Apr-17 17:18:57

I would always expect to pay for drinks after the meal, I've only been to one wedding with an open bar, and that was in the USA.

Cash bars at every UK wedding. Totally normal - we're doing the same.

bruffin Fri 07-Apr-17 17:21:31

We did soft drinks and wine and beer free and spirits you pay for

Bitchycocktailwaitress Mon 10-Apr-17 21:54:58

We had a full open bar and it honestly didn't cost that much. We preordered lots of wine and prosecco and the bar tab for 64? people only came to another £900 for all softs, beers, spirit mixers, liquors and malt whiskeys for the whole event. People told me it would cost thousands just for the evening bar alone but they were talking bullshit. People don't 'take the piss' in our circles. Our total alcohol spend was less than £3K for the whole day from 4pm till midnight and would have been even less if we had purchased direct from a supermarket in a DIY style venue.

I think as well if you are having an open bar you can shop around for venues with decent bar prices and who let you bring corkage or even DIY venues as mentioned above.

However, as an ex wedding coordinator, putting a set amount behind the bar tends to encourage (some) guests to drink as much as possible before the money runs out. I've seen assholes order their group four! drinks at a time to stash at their table when the brides dad said he was putting £1K behind the bar. It was gone in 45 minutes with 120 guests.

MadisonAvenue Mon 10-Apr-17 22:06:06

I've never been to one with a free bar. I think it'd be a nice gesture if everyone - evening guests included - was allowed one free drink, obviously not everything included as people would take the piss ordering doubles but maybe a choice of a soft drink, beer, cider or wine.

A cash bar really can be expensive for guests. We went to a wedding last year where we'd had to travel a distance, needed new outfits, gave a generous cash gift and then paid over £7 for half a lager and a small Coke.

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