Bar: Cash or open?

My friends and relatives don't drink much. Should we even bother having a bar? Should it be a cash bar or open bar?
Posted on March 12, 2007 at 11:38 am
margaret
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(47) Comments

jeanie
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I've been to weddings without a bar - it's not the end of the world. If you feel that's right for your family, by all means, don't have a bar. Or maybe have a nice assortment of virgin drinks.
Posted on March 12, 2007 at 1:02 pm
srini
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Think of all the single guys out there, forced to attend yet another wedding...

...an open bar makes a wedding bearable.
Posted on March 12, 2007 at 8:43 pm
Kristen
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Open!! I loved it at the weddings I went to. You could do a limited one...like have the open bar for the first couple of hours and then change it to a cash bar. Who knows, maybe a drunk relative will pay for the bar to be open for the remainder of the evening!
Posted on March 14, 2007 at 4:20 pm
jeanie
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Do you think that switching from open to closed in the middle would lead to confusion?
Posted on March 14, 2007 at 11:00 pm
JadeGirl
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03/07/2007
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Hi Jeanie, switching from open to closed happens at a lot of weddings. Guests may or may not like it though.

I think if you can afford an open bar, then an open bar is great and the guests will love you for it! If you are concerned about price though, maybe you can just have an open wine and beer bar, or coordinate with the venue and buy like $1000 worth of alcohol and have them tell you when the $1000 has run out to ask you to approve more.
Posted on March 15, 2007 at 11:14 am
kellyk
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03/07/2007
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It depends on you and your guests. If most of your guests don't drink much, then an open bar sounds like a nice thing to have for not so much money.

On the other hand if all your guests drink a bunch then it's up to you to weigh the pros and cons. Pro: guests might enjoy themselves more and you'll have a rockin party. Con: open bar can get expensive and sometimes drunk guests are not good for the party.

My friend had a cash bar at her wedding specifically because all her high school friends and relatives loved to drink and she didn't want them going nuts or throwing up at her wedding.
Posted on March 17, 2007 at 9:16 am
johnandjanet
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03/07/2007
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Open is best if you can afford it.
Posted on March 18, 2007 at 2:10 pm
thundercloud
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i'm going with the funding option, since that should last all cocktail hour and perhaps then some. we'll have wine at dinner, so only those who absolutely love to drink, will need something more than wine. most of my friends aren't big drinkers anyways.

also, call me paranoid, but i'm worried about people driving home drunk, especially since my wedding is up in the hills where there are no street lights. eeks!
Posted on July 18, 2007 at 1:23 pm
deeinthenola
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04/06/2007
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We were not planning to have an open bar and instead have wine only. But the day before the wedding, DH decided that he wanted an open bar. I called my caterer in a panic and we worked it out. We bought ALL the hard alcohol at Costco and the caterer provided the necessary juices, etc. We also bought all the wine and champagne. In the end, it was almost the same as getting an open bar, which I was quoted about $16/per person. I, too, did not anticipate a lot of drinkers, but surprisingly, they all came out that night. I think it really relaxed the mood and people who I did not expect to dance, came out dancing and had a great time. I AM FOR THE OPEN BAR.
Posted on July 18, 2007 at 3:51 pm
lukduck
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My fiance and I are planning on having a $2000 open bar and then once we reach that amount we can decide if we want to do more...and the venue has said they will just charge on the card, or wait for us to bring them a check. Its easy most venues leave this option open because either way they see dollar signs.
Posted on July 18, 2007 at 5:19 pm
MrsBabySalute
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One of DH's cousins got married at the Hilton by LAX and she had a cash bar. Everyone thought it was sooo tacky that we had to pay for our own drinks. It's either you don't have a bar at all or if you do, host it. You should never have your guest pay at your wedding.

For our DW, we had open bar for the first hour, and we told the bartender that if the bar tab started hitting the $3,000 mark, he should come and let us know and we would switch to beer and wine only. Those tropical drinks were super-duper expensive - $7 each! Yikes!
Posted on July 18, 2007 at 5:52 pm
BeachBubbles
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i have to say that i am really an open bar proponent. my feeling is that you should not ask guests to pay for drinks. for my wedding i have opted for wine, a champagne toast and 2 specialty drinks created by my caterer-perhaps you can limit the choices at your bar. hope that helps
Posted on July 19, 2007 at 1:11 pm
tahoegirl
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09/02/2007
tahoegirl

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Unless you or your family has specific moral objections to alcohol, then I think weddings should always have a bar. Even those who don't drink often like to have a drink on a special occasion, and your wedding definitely counts for them as a special occasion!

Between open and cash, obviously open is preferrable to the guests ;)... but honestly, i think people generally understand how expensive weddings are these days. it was a budget priority for us to have an open bar, but i wouldn't be offended by a cash bar as a few said.
Posted on July 19, 2007 at 1:19 pm
moemarsita
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moemarsita

We originally wanted to do wine only, but we were told a great argument for an open bar: the venue can control how much alcohol someone has. If you do wine only, there's no control. And a cash bar would most likely put a damper on things, especially since guests had to pay for gifts, travel and maybe even holiday time.
Posted on July 24, 2007 at 11:22 am
sailormoon86
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sailormoon86

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Open! But that's really my preference. Now that I'm planning my own, it's getting tough to try to fit in all the things I want to do.
Posted on July 24, 2007 at 1:07 pm
kareenq
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09/01/2007
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Wine only receptions typically cost more than full open bars......you can pour a lot more drinks from a $20 bottle of liquor than a $20 bottle of wine (or 2 - $10 bottles for that matter). When I lived in Canada, our dollar coins were called loonies, and wedding would typically host "Loonie bars" where all the drinks would cost a dollar. That helped subsidize the cost of the drinks somewhat, but more importantly it kept people from setting their drinks down thoughtlessly, then just grabbing a new one and leaving their old one only half drank.

If you can think of a fun way to do something like that it can help with the costs
Posted on July 25, 2007 at 11:33 am
She1
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Open bar, to me that?s a must at a wedding. If your family doesn't drink to much fine, but at least they have the option. It's a celebration and should be treated as such. You can save a lot of money buy buying good liquer at Sams Club or Costco....stock the bar yourself. Best of all; you can return what you don't use.
Posted on July 30, 2007 at 7:42 am
SFAug07
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We had an open bar and it worked out perfectly. I have been to weddings where you had to pay or where they only have wine and champagne and I found it annoying. I don't drink much but don't like wine or champagne, I am more of a cosmo girl. We bought our drinks ourselves and gave them to the caterer - a lot cheaper and you can select your wine etc. We also got to keep all the leftover drink.
Posted on September 8, 2007 at 11:07 am
SFAug07
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Oh, cost for the drinks was around $1000 for 80 guests, for the reception and a rehearsal BBQ the night before...and we still have a lot of wine and liquor left over.
Posted on September 8, 2007 at 11:08 am
married2mrwright
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Yeah, we decided to do an open bar once our RSVPs came back and our heavy drinking guests aren't coming! Before that, we were planning on a open bar for the cocktail hour only. I also didn't want drunken guests at our reception, and those folks who tend to go overboard aren't coming to the wedding now, so we'll have an open bar for the cocktail hour AND dinner. That said, we only have 23 total (including us), of that, 6 are under 21, and 6 more are teetotalers, so the rest of us will drink, but I cannot imagine that our tab will be more than $500 including tax and tip.
Posted on September 8, 2007 at 5:49 pm
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