cash bar

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Jream Posts : 157 Registered: 7/29/08
cash bar
Posted: Sep 17, 2009 6:07 PM

Some of you may remember that I had an issue a while back about whether or not to serve alcohol at my wedding. I've had enough bad experiences with alcoholics in my life (generally half of my immediate family, even my stepmother) and I don't want anyone drunk at my wedding. However, my fiance and I are really into wine and we want that as a part of our wedding.

I was thinking that making people pay for their own drinks would make them drink less, but still have the option to if they wanted. The bar would only serve beer and wine, so it would take a lot of trips to the bar to actually get drunk. But is this in bad taste? Would you be insulted to have to pay for your own drinks? We'd pay for a champagne toast, but nothing else.


When is my wedding

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BenjaminsWife Posts : 1,069 Registered: 1/11/07
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 17, 2009 6:53 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

I personally think it's lame.

I think you'd be better off offering champagne, wine and soda and paying for it yourself

Married 9.20.08

 

 

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April2010Bride Posts : 134 Registered: 4/26/09
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 17, 2009 7:14 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

I fought with this issue and contemplated a cash bar, too. In the end, I decided that we're going to remain sober for the ceremony and reception. :) I'm not all about starting our lives out in debt, and serving alcohol would really push us over the budget. We're having a church ceremony followed by a reception in the fellowship hall. It's going to be a 2pm wedding, and a finger-food reception, so the entire ordeal won't last more than 3 - 3.5 hours. Later, that evening, the younger crowd is going downtown to the bar scene, just so everyone can hang out. On top of getting to hang out with our besties, without spending all the cash, they will have access to cabs and hotel rooms, so the drunk driving won't be such an issue.

Your friends and family should be coming to witness and support your marriage - not get sloshed. If you don't want to pay for everyone's drinks, just don't have any.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 17, 2009 8:30 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

Dear Jream,

This topic has been debated over and over on this message board. I'll repeat what I've said before.

If a person hosts a party, they HOST the party. They pay for the food and drink of their guests. Inviting a person to a party, then saying "Bring your own cash for your own entertainment" is in my opinion poor manners.

If you are doing this solely to limit the alcohol consumption of "problem" guests, then you can ask the bartender to not serve anyone who looks like they've had enough. Professional bartenders at alcohol-serving venues are expert in saying "You've had enough, Buddy.".

If total cost control is an issue, then that is addressed by scaling down the plans so you can properly provide for the people you do invite. This could mean eliminating all alcohol, serving only beer and wine or only a champagne toast. (Add sparkling cider for those of us who never drink any alcohol, please.)

I have participated in about a gazillion company parties. I have seen many bartenders deal with tipsy guests. If the guest gets rowdy, they quietly call the company manager (ie VP or whoever) in charge so that person can deal with their own employee. It's either that, or call the hotel or banquet room security service and let the guy get hauled out. Reception venues are very conscious of the requirements of their liquor license.

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 17, 2009 11:05 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

I was thinking that making people pay for their own drinks would make
them drink less, but still have the option to if they wanted.

Not in my experience. Moderate social drinkers will probably drink less than they would if there was an open bar, but the problem drinkers will drink as much as they want no matter who pays. Think about it logically: these people regularly pay to get themselves plastered. If you don't offer them free drinks, is having to shell out the cash really going to stop them at your wedding if it doesn't stop them on a random Friday night? If you're worried about certain people - or worried about people in general getting drunk - the only way you can prevent it is by limiting the amount of alcohol served. Don't count on people to be cheap. If they want to drink, they're going to drink whether you or they are paying for it.

The bar
would only serve beer and wine, so it would take a lot of trips to the
bar to actually get drunk.

Huh? Last time I checked, beer and wine have the same amount of alcohol in them as liquor does. 1 glass of wine = 1 beer = 1 shot or drink = same amount of alcohol. You can get just as drunk drinking beer or wine as you can drinking hard alcohol. In fact, depending on what you're used to drinking, you might get MORE drunk drinking beer or wine. I can drink vodka tonics all night and you'd barely notice a difference in my behavior, but give me two beers and I'm a sloppy drunk. Two glasses of wine and I'm giggling. See what I mean? Anyway, I don't know where you got the idea that it'll take longer or more trips to the bar to get drunk on beer and wine, but it's 100% WRONG!

But is this in bad taste?

Oh, yeah. Personally, I think cash bars at weddings are pretty tacky, though they're acceptable in some parts of the country. In New England, where I grew up, I see a cash bar at about 25% (probably less) of weddings I go to. In other parts of the country, no one would be caught dead making their guests pay for their own drinks. I wouldn't say that I'm insulted when I see a cash bar at a wedding, but it annoys me. I know that weddings are expensive, but they're also expensive to attend. After paying for travel, hotel, sometimes a rental car, new clothing sometimes, a gift, meals while traveling, perhaps taking time off from work, etc, so that I can celebrate with the happy couple, complimentary beverages at the reception doesn't seem like much to expect.

DaisypathWedding Ticker

Vice President and Guardian of the Toilet Brush of POOP: People Offended by Offended People

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FutureMrsDJLeo Posts : 615 Registered: 2/26/09
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 1:40 AM Go to message in response to: Jream

I personally don't like cash bars, but I understand in some places it's acceptable. I'm with AOTB on this, if your hosting the party you need to provide, especially if it's formal. For a BBQ that's one thing to bring your own, usually people pitch in and bring something anyways, but not for a wedding.

I know you mentioned your worried about people getting drunk, but like a PP said, the bartenders can always cut people off. If you don't serve any alcohol though, people will still find a way to get drunk, when people want to drink, they find a way! Maybe even tell the bartenders who to watch out for, and maybe to make those people's drinks kind of weak.

I'm also not crazy about only serving a couple options of alcohol either. I do like champaigne, and some wines, but I hate beer. I've been to many parties where they only have beer, and I hate it because if I want to drink I have to stop at the liqour store on my way there and get my own drinks. I know some people are very picky about what they drink, so I can feel there pain on if they were going to a wedding and only a couple options were available and they didn't like them. I'm not saying you have to do a top-shelf open bar, but I would suggest a few different options so people will have a bit more of a variety to choose from. And as Artbride said, people get just as drunk from beer and wine as they do with mixed drinks. I think wine might get people even more drunk! I could be wrong, I have a low tolerance, so pretty much 2 glasses of anything I'm buzzed, but I've heard a lot of people talk about how bad they got off of wine, and the hangovers!


Also, for your expenses, see if your venue could do a flat rate per person. That way you could budget the alcohol your providing, and you don't have to worry about going over that budget because it's already locked in.




Edited by: FutureMrsDJLeo on Sep 18, 2009 1:41 AM

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BBGF Posts : 66 Registered: 5/5/09
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 3:03 AM Go to message in response to: Jream

In some locations a some people are not offend by a cash bar, in other places people are. Here are several suggestions that you can do if you are torn between whether to ser alcohol or not:

1. Try having a non alcohol reception (this will cut your cost tremendously)
2. If you do decide to serve alcohol pay for the first 2 round of drinks and then have the bartenders only serve nonalcoholic drinks. We did this for one client where the bride was totally against alcohol being served at her wedding but the groom and parents wanted to serve at least two drinks to the guest. It turned out wonderfully and they were not out that much money.
3. Have the bar shut down at a certain time. Remember you have the control of what time they start and what time they close down.
4. Some couples do a cocktail hour while pictures are being taken and then for the rest of the night soft dinks.
5. Remember if you don't serve alcohol but you have your reception at a place like a hotel that may have a public bar in it they can still go a get liquor from there and get drunk.

There are a lot of reasons to serve alcohol or not to serve it, just as there are a lot of ways to save money while doing it. In the end its your decision we can only give you are opinion and experiences.

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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 1:36 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

The others have said it all, so I'll just add my "AMEN!" to all that AOTB has said.
IMO, cash bars are tacky. And problem drinkers (I'm talking your hard-core alcoholics here) will be problem drinkers, no matter what you do about it. Some of them will bring their own (!), just in case. Short of not inviting them, you cannot control their behavior. But, you can choose not to enable them, by not serving alcohol at all or by limiting the types and amounts that you serve. And, definitely, have a professional bartender to limit the intake. If someone is really a problem, assign a minder (like one of your FH's big, strong friends) whose job it is to gently dissuade someone from drinking any more and, if necessary, to remove said drinker from the premises.
myra at www.classysassyweddings.com

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 3:35 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

A couple of things:

1) I agree with Artbride that you can get just as drunk on wine and beer as you can on mixed drinks. Trust me. Seriously, trust me.

2) If people want to drink, they will drink. Take it from someone who once brought a flask to a Mormon-run amusement park.

3) I'm not fond of cash bars, and I honestly don't see why you want one if you're going to serve beer and wine. I've been to plenty of beer and wine-only weddings, and never once thought "I can't believe they're serving me cabernet instead of vodka and tonic." If you're that concerned about alcohol, don't have it at all. That's perfectly fine.

Good luck.


__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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Jream Posts : 157 Registered: 7/29/08
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 5:42 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

See, I'm glad I asked you guys, because my parents were saying, "Oh, it's totally fine!!" This coming from my stepmom who wants to wear black to my 3:00 wedding and thinking it's perfectly okay. (IMO, it's okay if you're a guest, sometimes, but definitely not the S-MOB).

So I'm thinking a no-go on the alcohol. Champagne toast and that's it (sparkling cider too, definitely). But let me add a different element.

I'm socially extremely nervous. I don't like parties, I don't like hosting them, I don't like a lot of people around me at all times. A glass of wine would help me enjoy myself. The venue is within a restaurant-type thing with a bar, so do I just stop by the bar on the way there? That sounds so terrible to me! Maybe I'll just hide a flask in my bra and look like a real alcoholic =)

(joking)


When is my wedding

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HappyGirl13 Posts : 1,298 Registered: 4/21/08
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 6:38 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

Will there be a bridal room at your venue? Or another place you could get privacy with your DH right after the ceremony and before the reception? That's what I would recommend, and coordinate your plan with the wedding coordinator or banquet manager or whomever you need to coordinate with. Then you could ask the venue to provide you with a glass of wine at that time, and no guests would be the wiser, plus you'd have the added bonus of having a few minutes of alone time as a new couple before you have to put on your party face and join the crowd.

A friend of mine did this at her wedding and so did my DH & I at ours--not for the purpose of having some wine, but it was a great way to wind down together post-ceremony and gear up for the party. We only took about 10 or 15 minues, so it wasn't a big deal.

EDIT: I should add that our few minutes alone didn't stop the party in either case. Guests were free to mingle and the venues started serving drinks and hors d'oeuvres, so nobody was deprived of anything during our absence.

preview image






Edited by: HappyGirl13 on Sep 18, 2009 3:47 PM

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Jream Posts : 157 Registered: 7/29/08
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 6:57 PM Go to message in response to: HappyGirl13

I would love that idea, but, alas, I'm getting married in a castle and I'm not even going to have much privacy to get ready! Really there's just a wall sectioning off the "bridal room" upstairs, which is open to the whole room. I'll probably figure something out, or get a valium or something =)

BTW, I have one drink about once a month, at the most, including social events. I don't need something everytime I have to socialize, but the wedding's a big day with lots of potential stressors. Just had to defend myself against the potential "you're an addict!" comments that my mind is telling me I'll get.


When is my wedding

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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 8:09 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

My idea exactly--I'm married to a doctor. Get your MD to prescribe a little Ativan or Xanax, which is specifically used for "stage fright." Try it out a few times ahead of time--in too high a dose, it can make you tired or sleepy, but in the right dose, it just makes you calm. It's great stuff, but you don't want to try it for the first time on your actual wedding day. Oh, and don't mix in alcohol!
myra at www.classysassyweddings.com

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FrancieElaine Posts : 654 Registered: 6/26/09
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 9:59 PM Go to message in response to: Jream

You have received some very good advice from some very wise women. I didn't want to serve alcohol at my reception either... and so I didn't. But, if you feel that some alcohol would be nice, I like the idea of having the bar open for the cocktail hour and then shut it down completely. Nobody needs more than two drinks and if they don't like it... they will get over it. Drunk people ruin weddings. I would not even want to have to worry about that. And Myra has a good suggestion to ask your physician to prescribe you some medication for anxiety. Make sure you take a dose or two a few days before the wedding so you can see how your body will react. I took Ativan before my wedding (I get terribly nervous too) and it was just enough to take the edge off. It doesn't make you loopy or anything.. just calms you a tiny bit. Good luck sweetie!

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: cash bar
Posted: Sep 18, 2009 10:29 PM Go to message in response to: MsDenuninani

MsD, it doesn't surprise me that we're 110% in agreement when it comes to alcohol. We seriously need to hang out more often. My fault - I've been super-busy over the past year or so and have seriously neglected everyone I know. I apologize -please kick me in the ass and get me to hang out, as we REALLY need to catch up. Nothing major has changed in my life, but I have many random new hobbies that you might be interested in hearing about. Apparently 2009 is the year of Random Hobbies for ArtBride. And I've been wondering what you're up to, so we're really overdue for some drinkies.

OP, I think it's fine to serve no alcohol (or limited alcohol) at a wedding reception. If you feel like you need something to loosen your nerves, I'm sure you can find a place to have a glass of wine with your DH or your WP between the ceremony and reception. We didn't even plan on having 'private time' once we arrived at our reception location, but we ended up with a private area (handy, since my dress needed to be bustled) and we all enjoyed a drink or three before joining the reception. I'll admit that I'm NOT a lightweight...but I think the same concept can be applied whether you need one drink or six to relax. Enjoy one in private before the reception and you'll feel much better. I wish I had more advice, but I'm not a nervous person, so I was actually looking forward to hanging out with everyone and being the center of attention. All I can say is that you'll probably notice it less on your wedding day than you think you will now.


DaisypathWedding Ticker

Vice President and Guardian of the Toilet Brush of POOP: People Offended by Offended People

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