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Lindsay
Curious June 2019 Ontario

Alcohol

Lindsay, on February 9, 2018 at 14:02 Posted in Wedding reception 0 30
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Opinion on open bar vs making guest pay.

If we chose a wedding venue where we could supply our own alcohol we would have a open bar. If we chose a venue that is licensed we would have to make our guests pay for there alcohol because we can not afford it.

I am afraid people will think this is tacky?

30 Comments

Latest activity by Lindsay, on February 3, 2019 at 10:50
  • Lindsay
    Curious June 2019 Ontario
    Lindsay ·
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    On my invitation i put toonie bar reception to follow.
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  • T
    Curious April 2019 Ontario
    Trish ·
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    I agree with this. I grew up in a small town and cash bar was the norm. Only the rich did open bar. My first wedding I did a toonie bar and it wasn't well received....This time around we are doing open bar as its included with our venue price per head.

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  • Julia
    Newbie September 2022 Alberta
    Julia ·
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    What is the best way to let guests know that you are planning to have a twoonie bar? The venue we have chosen has an ATM, but I still think it would be best to let them know ahead of time - perhaps in the invitation?


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  • Candace
    VIP May 2019 Ontario
    Candace ·
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    Could you do a combination of the two? Like something like Mandi said where you give a certain amount of tickets out and those that don't drink can give their tickets to someone who will and that gives the guests a bit of a cost break without breaking your bank. Plus that way if people want to drink like crazy then they can run up their bill. Ultimately you are paying for their dinner and for everything that goes into the wedding. If people think it is tacky that you ask them to pay for their drinks then they do not need to drink lol

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  • Becky
    VIP September 2019 Ontario
    Becky ·
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    I have went to multiple weddings and have paid, I don't see an issue with it as you supply dinner and either way you have invited them to celebrate your big day. Its there choice if they drink or not

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  • Mandi
    Curious April 2020 Alberta
    Mandi ·
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    We are still undecided how we are going to do the alcohol part yet. We are considering a toonie bar, but they did have a wedding that hit over $11k in alcohol costs. Our other idea is providing guests with 4 drink tickets each and then cash bar afterwards. Those who do not drink can pass their tickets to anyone else, and we will have an extra 100-200 on us that we can pass out throughout the night too. Wine will be fully covered by us too. We only pay for the drink tickets turned in.

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  • Alexandra
    VIP November 2019 British Columbia
    Alexandra ·
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    I personally would rather have the option to pay for my own drinks than none at all, especially at an evening wedding. I think most people understand the costs of an open bar and won’t be offended if they have to pay. If they don’t want to, they won’t but most people will buy their own drinks.
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  • Sabrina
    Newbie July 2018 Ontario
    Sabrina ·
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    Unless I don't understand the situation, having alcohol at a wedding doesn't mean "open bar" or nothing at all. If possible, consider buying a couple bottles per table (1 bottle per 2 people usually). If you don't like that option and its either open bar or nothing at all and you are also not looking at a venue that includes that in a package, I personally would not consider a guest pay as you drink bar. If alcohol is not in your budget, don't pass the bill to your guests. Yes, it is technically an option they can turn down as well, but most people don't plan on going to a wedding and having to take out their wallet. You kind of have to feel out your guests to assume if they would think its tacky or not for them to have the option or if they would maybe be offended by it (I wouldn't be offended, but I would find it strange to the point I would question why the couple didn't just opt out for dry wedding). As an example, I was looking at a venue that had no package, you just rent the location that comes with tables and chair but everything from set up to coordinating food is up to whoever rents the place. My option two was a convention center that within their package included an open bar, everything under one price per head. My fiancé and I went with the convention center. It ended up being cheaper to do the convention center at the end of the day. To buy a alcohol license (needed for the place we were going to rent which is over $500) and pay for a minimum of 1 bottle of wine per 2 people (50 minimum wine bottles), it would have been over $1200 for the cheapest wine bottles. To simplify things for myself, I try to go with the rule, if I can't afford it or not wanting to make room in my budget, its either because I truly can't afford it or its not important enough to lower the budget somewhere else to fit it in. Rule: You don't buy, just don't have. That's my advice Smiley smile

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  • Breanne
    Expert August 2018 Ontario
    Breanne ·
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    I think a big part of it depends where you are from to be honest. Growing up in a small town weddings were always a cash bar - I didn't go to a wedding with an open bar until I moved to the city, now 80% of the weddings I go to are open bar. Because of this I always go to a wedding expecting a cash bar but will be pleasantly surprised if it's open

    We honestly weren't planning on a full open bar and thought maybe we would just do wine/beer or cocktail hour but found out our preferred venue requires an open bar. Luckily they charge by the bottle at their vendor prices and not by the drink so we will (hopefully) only be looking at a bill between $****. We have just made a few little tweeks to fit this in the budget Smiley smile

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  • Erin
    Master September 2017 Ontario
    Erin ·
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    It's not tacky at all. Most venues charge for bar purchases and that is just how it is. It is nice to have an open bar at a wedding or event but it is not necessary and people don't think any less of you for it.

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  • Vinod
    Featured August 2017 Ontario
    Vinod ·
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    You can jave the open bar buying the liquor. The cost would work out the same as the venue paying for the bottles and your guests just paying for their drinks instead.

    Its just knowing its an added cost to the wedding. If choose not to add the cost, saving more and putting it towards your honeymoon.
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  • Rachel
    Beginner June 2019 Ontario
    Rachel ·
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    Your friends and family will understand either way! We are doing wine with dinner and cash bar other than that.
    I once went to a completely dry wedding, no alcohol at all and all i wanted was to be able to buy a drink. Its not about spending a ton of money and going in debt its about celebrating your new life together!
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  • Michelle
    Super September 2018 Alberta
    Michelle ·
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    Exactly. Pop will be free of course for those that don't drink alcohol. ppl buying their own drinks isn't such a big deal it's fairly popular now a days I find.

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  • Valérie
    VIP September 2019 Quebec
    Valérie ·
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    I agree with you on this one. Also, people are more likely to finish their drinks if they paid for it.

    I've only ever been to cash bar receptions, so I don't find it rude or anything - the bride/groom has already paid for your meal, you can buy your drinks!

    The owner of our venue told us horror stories about open bars they've seen: people wasted super early on in the evening, the bride/groom having to pay for unfinished and wasted drinks and the surprised faces of the parents when they see the bill.

    We're paying for wine at dinner and offering 1 drink ticket to kick off the cocktail hour. The rest of the evening will be a cash bar.

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  • J
    Beginner July 2018 Ontario
    Jaln ·
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    As a heads up, per etiquette, it is considered extremely rude to invite guests to a party that you're hosting and then have them pay for drinks. The wedding ceremony is for the couple getting married. The reception is a thank-you to the guests for attending.

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  • Rosalyn
    Devoted August 2018 Alberta
    Rosalyn ·
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    We are doing a split. We have arranged with our venue that we cap the food an alcohol at $x. Anything above that will be regular price. But we have planned to pretty much cover drinks throughout dinner and speeches!
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  • Candace
    VIP May 2019 Ontario
    Candace ·
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    We went to a wedding this past year where the couple paid for 5 drinks per person and then any drinks after that we paid for. They just gave us 5 tickets to take to the bar, if someone was DD or didn’t want to drink their 5 drinks they could give their tickets to someone else, maybe this is an option?
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  • Joyann
    Curious July 2018 Ontario
    Joyann ·
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    To be honest, I’m not a fan of cash bar. Can’t imagine inviting people to my wedding and then expecting them to pay for their drinks. It’s not a bar or a club...it’s a celebration that I invited them to. That said, to each their own and you can only do what you can afford.
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  • Jessica
    Super March 2018 Ontario
    Jessica ·
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    I have only ever been to weddings with a cash bar, it seems to be a thing where I am from. With that said, my fiance has only ever been to open bars, so they are both still great options. We managed to squeeze in an open bar into the budget, so we're going for that, but if you can't afford it, I'd say do the cash bar, and just let people know on the invite.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    Good call! Or ensure that there is an ATM nearby and/or ensure that the bar takes credit and debit cards.
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  • Michelle
    Super September 2018 Alberta
    Michelle ·
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    Not at all, most ppl know liquor is expensive. Also I find having a cash bar, makes ppl a little more responsible when it comes to drinking. They will have fun but NOT drink too much. Open bar is a little more risky for the drinks.

    We are having a cash bar. Drinks are average $7/drink but we will be doing a toonie bar so it off sets the cost. We are doing free wine on the table for drinks (1 white and 1 red) during dinner.

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  • Jamie
    Frequent user September 2018 Alberta
    Jamie ·
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    We had this same dilemma when looking at venues! The one venue would have been the same as yours - could only afford a couple drinks per person, and they were wanting to charge $7.00/drink..... My fiance didn't want our guests paying this much, so we opted not to go with that venue!

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  • Lindsay
    Curious June 2019 Ontario
    Lindsay ·
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    We would do a toonie bar, if we supplied the alcohol. Not to make any money off of it just make money back. And we estimate max $2000.00 on alcohol if we buy it ourselves.


    But if we chose a venue where they are licensed, we could only afford to buy 2 drinks per guest (and wine on table) rest they would have to buy themselves.

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  • Maegan
    Super July 2018 British Columbia
    Maegan ·
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    We are doing an open bar with wine/beer only!

    I dont think it is tacky to have a cash bar as long as you let guests know in advance Smiley smile
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  • Jamie
    Frequent user September 2018 Alberta
    Jamie ·
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    We are doing the same!

    We are doing a toonie bar which will re-coup our costs for liquor and mix from what we have calculated. I honestly haven't been to many weddings where it is an open bar!

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  • Taylor
    Frequent user June 2018 Ontario
    Taylor ·
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    We are doing a cash bar, but serving wine at dinner. We cannot afford an open bar unfortunately and I am sure my guests understand that.

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  • Lindsay
    Curious June 2019 Ontario
    Lindsay ·
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    Thank you!!


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  • Stephanie
    Master July 2018 Alberta
    Stephanie ·
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    I think if you let people know it's a cash bar on the invitation, it's okay; that way they can bring cash.

    Another option is to have one or two "free drink" coupons for everyone and after that they would have to pay.

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  • Christina
    Frequent user August 2023 Ontario
    Christina ·
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    Hi Lindsay seen your from bobcaygeon, the future husband is from there. I'm not to sure where your planning on getting married but maybe try to find a venue that has it within the package. We are living In Guelph and I can only find places that have mostly everything included. Its your wedding and what you and your fh can afford don't stress on what people think its your day
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  • Ashleigh
    Devoted August 2018 Ontario
    Ashleigh ·
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    Not an easy decision. We kept our reception short (3.5 hours) and we are offering only wine and beer for open bar. Personally, I find mixed drinks just go down like water 😉 I think we will also set a bar tab limit so that there aren't any surprises at the end of the night. My FH and I both had to compromise to come to this decision, they aren't perfect solutions but open bar was important to my FH.
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