Cash Bar blues.

Another Wedding Wednesday!
So gals, today I am going to bring up a touchy subject for most.
Cash Bars.
Hundreds of years ago, when I first got engaged, I read on WeddingBee that cash bars were completely frowned upon in the States.
What made me literally sick to my stomach is that alcohol is one of the most expensive parts of the wedding and at that time, we were paying for the whole wedding ourselves.
Fast forward to 2013.
Beardy and I put the down payment on the venue, knowing fully about the alcohol situation with the venue we chose would be a little different than throwing a keg under the bar and going from there.
Our venue is beautiful. I am so happy we chose it. It is an old art gallery on the river in the downtown area of my city. But, now that we have thought about the booze and realized that we will only be allowed bottles of beer, any type of wine (by the glass) and possibly some champs, it will get pricey to have an open bar. My family isn't big drinkers, but Beardy's family can throw some back.
We decided that we were going to host a cash bar. Everyone is saying it's "tacky" and frowned upon, but I have reached the point where I can't please everyone. The drinks will be around 3-4 dollars which is cheaper than "downtown" drinking, but I have a feeling other people will still gripe about it.
Beardy and I discussed having an open bar for part of the dinner, but doing even that will put us in debt. We don't want to start our lives as Mr. and Mrs. in debt.

So am I being a crazy bride for thinking a cash bar is acceptable?
If so, how would you word that on the invite so it wasn't a surprise to our guests?
Please be thoughtful with your comments. I get that having a cash bar is a topic of controversy.
Love Always, Nancy J
Wedding Wednesday



  1. Its your wedding and I KNOW people have come to expect alcohol but don't feel pressured to do so. We didn't include it because a lot of our guest were older and neither of our parents drink so we didn't see the point in spending extra money for a reception venue plus alcohol cost just to please a few people. something you could consider doing is offering a champagne toast?? not sure what costs would look like. again, its your wedding.

  2. Eeeek, this is tough! I Not going into debt is so, so important, so good for you guys for doing what's right for you! Is there any wiggle room with your beverage provider to bring your own wine for a corkage fee or something? Or, have them pass a set amount of wine and when it's gone, move to cash bar? As far as wording, on your invite, under "Reception to Follow" I would just put "Cash Bar Available" in smaller text. At the end of the day, those who want to celebrate your wedding shouldn't care, but I totally see where you're coming from. Good luck!

  3. We are doing something similar for our rehearsal dinner. We are able to pay for between 2-3 drinks per person at our rehearsal dinner. The restaurant we are having it at only serves beer or wine, so we don't have to worry about mixed beverages. We are going to use tickets that they will receive either when they walk in or with their invitation. Not sure on that. But once their tickets are gone, it becomes a cash bar.

    There is only so much you can do to please everyone. Is that possible to do that? I do think it's a little frowned upon at a wedding just because everyone expects it to be free. I doubt if everyone that wants to drink will bring their wallets with cash, so keep that in mind. No one uses cash anymore. If you do decide to do just a cash bar, make sure to put something on the invite and your website to make sure everyone knows it's not free. That might help with the backlash?

    Thanks for linking up!

  4. I definitely don't think you should feel pressured to have an open bar! Ideally it would be lovely, of course! Nowadays people are paying for their weddings themselves, so bars become more difficult. We are attempting to do 2 signature drinks, beer and wine, but to be honest we haven't any money set aside for the bar yet. Whatever we can muster up for the wedding is what we'll get, and after that's gone it will be a cash bar! I definitely think you should just rock it - and be sure to let everyone know that it's not free so they can bring cash!

  5. At the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do! And having an open bar at your wedding is certainly not worth going into debt over! Definitely mention on invites that it is a cash bar though. My husband and I showed up to a wedding ready to party last year and it was a cash bar and we didn't know about it and had $6 on us haha. The lack of notice and then not being able to come prepared is what makes guests upset I think!

  6. Debt is a serious issue, pleasing guests on your day shouldn't be - bravo to you guys for keeping reality in check! I'm not sure I'd indicate it on the invitation unless you have a separate reception card insert, but definitely on the website! Is there an atm available at the venue? If not, maybe assign a few bridesmaids/groomsmen to remind guests of the fact that it's a cash bar. Good luck!

  7. We had a cash bar at our wedding. I don't think it's tacky because I don't think everyone can expect that all the drinks all night long are courtesy of the bride and groom - that could be so expensive! Way to keep it all in perspective.
    Just started following from the link-up! :)

  8. It is such a tough thing to decide on. One stipulation for us when choosing a venue was that we had to choose somewhere where we could bring in our own alcohol and it saved us so much money. Personally, it is your wedding!!! To be completely honest if you had an open bar people would just find something else to talk about. I think that if a cash bar is what is best for you, then a cash bar it is :)

    Thanks for linking up with us!