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No free bar

(101 Posts)
DollyLlama Fri 09-Feb-18 12:05:04

I’m planning my wedding reception for June and have found a lovely venue in a football ground. Really nice, plenty of room and it’s 1 month after the wedding as were eloping to Gretna Green.

Here lies the problem. They won’t let us provide any alcohol for the tables and I’m really reluctant to have a free bar (or put money behind it) because we’re trying to keep costs really low (plus I work for their drinks supplier so I know their eye watering mark up on the drinks).

Would it be frowned upon to have a pay bar? I’ve only ever been to one wedding that had a free bar and people just went mad getting drink after drink and barely finishing it before they got the next and we just can’t afford that.

Pittcuecothecookbook Fri 09-Feb-18 12:06:25

Loads of people do it but I do judge and think the bar shoukd be free at a wedding. Sorry, perhaps unfair, but that's the honest opinion!

Chattette1 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:08:08

Why can't you put an amount you can afford behind the bar, or pay in advance for say 2 drinks per guest and leave them "tokens"? A pay bar is OK if you have provided table wine and champagne but no drink provided at all is a bit miserly and tight.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:08:11

Why can’t you put the money you were going to spend on table wine behind the bar? At least everyone could have one or two free drinks.

Willswife Fri 09-Feb-18 12:08:35

I haven't been to a wedding with a free bar for years, it's pretty much the norm to buy your own drinks other than a welcome drink and a drink for the toast.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:08:51

I do think it’s tight not to give your guests anything.

DollyLlama Fri 09-Feb-18 12:09:48

I suppose a good compromise would be drinks tokens so it’s fair and people don’t buy too many drinks and use up the money before there get a chance, would that be ok do you think?

ReinettePompadour Fri 09-Feb-18 12:09:58

I provided all the drinks at my wedding but it was small with only 60 guests so possibly more affordable.

If you cant afford it to be free then I would give everyone a voucher each for a free drink paid for by you then have the bar as a paying bar for the rest of the reception or find a better venue not charging a fortune for drinks .

DollyLlama Fri 09-Feb-18 12:10:54

Maybe for either a soft, 1 beer or 1 single spirit?

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:11:19

I think your voucher solution is fine OP. How does that work. Do they get given some when they arrive?

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:11:48

I drink wine, so wouldn’t like your options.

Unihorn Fri 09-Feb-18 12:11:52

I've never been to a wedding with a free bar?! Most people have provided 2-3 bottles of wine per table but then guests pay for drinks. I wouldn't expect anything different.

Matilda1981 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:12:45

A lot of people do have pay bars and I wouldn’t expect to go to a wedding and have a free bar; however, I do think you should have a fair amount of free alcohol throughout the evening (drinks on arrival, wine on tables, fizz for the toast etc. The only weddings I’ve been to with a free bar are ones that are in a marquee on someone’s farm so it works out pretty cheap to have a free bar, every wedding I’ve been to in a hotel/hired venue has been a pay bar with the exception of the drinks listed above - I wouldn’t expect a bride and groom to pay for everyone’s alcohol at extortionate prices in a hotel!

Bitchywaitress Fri 09-Feb-18 12:12:57

I would agree with the poster above, find a better venue!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:13:37

OP can’t supplu wine for the table Unihorn, so talking about nothing included at all.

PsychoPumpkin Fri 09-Feb-18 12:14:09

As part of the wedding package we had wine on the table and fizz for the toast as well as Buck’s Fizz after the ceremony so each guest was guaranteed at least 4 free drinks. Our bar was not free though.

If there was no wine in the table I would have put money behind the bar though.

You don’t have to do both but I went to a wedding that did neither and it wasn’t good, there were a lot of raised eyebrows!

ReinettePompadour Fri 09-Feb-18 12:14:16

Could you pay for the soft drinks so theyre free for drivers/children and get your guests to pay for alcohol?

MrsCaecilius Fri 09-Feb-18 12:15:00

The most important thing is to let people know. I don't mind a pay bar if I have notice and can bring cash with me. I've been to a few that haven't informed guests leaving people pretty much high and very definitely dry! Not good planning.

DollyLlama Fri 09-Feb-18 12:15:05

I could send them with the invite couldn’t I? That way it’s known before people arrive that it won’t be a totally free bar.

I wish I had money to have a ‘dream wedding’ but that’s just never going to happen for us blush

I might add, there are lots of children coming so we’re actually forking our for a wedding crèche so we’re not being too miserable! Kids entertainers included etc so the parents can be a bit more relaxed

DrRanjsRightEyebrow Fri 09-Feb-18 12:15:23

I had a pay bar but I did provide welcome cocktails (bloody strong gin cocktail in a large vat) and bottles of red and white on the tables for the meal. And champagne for the toast. After that it was a paid bar. Will they not let you even provide wine? We did pay corkage, which is fair enough as we used their glassware and service, but I got the wine very cheaply through a contact so it was worth it.

lovelystar Fri 09-Feb-18 12:17:51

I wouldn't think anything of it!? I've never been to a wedding with an open bar before and to be honest think it's a bit cheeky that that is what people just expect, and if not your 'tight' at the end of the day you're there to celebrate the love between 2 people not just eat and drink? Maybe it's just me though hmm

DollyLlama Fri 09-Feb-18 12:19:33

I do agree with supplying something, I’m certainly not tight. Just worried people expect the ‘all or nothing’ approach

I would change the venue but it’s hundreds more expensive elsewhere and this looks so nice for the price.

babybobobear Fri 09-Feb-18 12:20:40

I've never been to a wedding with a free bar!! My own wedding we didn't provide any alcohol and everyone just bought drinks, nobody complained, I just thought this was normal tbh? They don't have to drink if they don't want to confused

DollyLlama Fri 09-Feb-18 12:21:34

Plus the cost of what the wine for the tables would have cost me wouldn’t equate to much behind the bar

Oly5 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:21:38

You do need to supply some free drinks but not all night long

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