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Megan
Curious April 2022 Ontario

Open bar vs cash bar

Megan, on March 2, 2021 at 09:39 Posted in Wedding reception 0 28
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Hi all!


So my fiancé and I have postponed our wedding to April 2022 now and although we don’t plan on changing any aspect of our wedding since it was already planned for this year, I’m having doubts for some of our decisions. When we were originally planning our wedding, we wanted to either have an open bar or a toonie bar but when we got the quotes for both, we both decided we were not prepared to spend that much (our wedding is at a full facility venue so we cannot bring our own food or drink). So we opted to just have a cash bar as both of us have always expected to pay for drinks when ever we have attended weddings. But now that I think more on it, I really don’t want our guests to be disappointed... I know it’s our wedding and we should be able to do what we want but I want our guests to enjoy themselves and not have to worry about affording drinks. But my fiancé is firm on his stance and really doesn’t want to look into the matter again. I’m just one of those people that care about what others think so I don’t want our guests to feel like they can’t have a good time because they have to limit how much they spend on drinks.
I should also note that our package includes unlimited wine during dinner and a glass of champagne during toasts. Do you think this would be sufficient? Obviously this is all pending we can still have a reception by next year but I’ve already postponed this wedding twice so I’m trying to feel hopeful for 2022 lol.

28 Comments

Latest activity by Brianna, on April 1, 2021 at 15:50
  • Brianna
    Beginner March 2023 British Columbia
    Brianna ·
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    I needed to read this comment haha

    It makes so much sense, but I am also a people pleaser as Megan mentioned she is, and it's hard to remember this all the time. I keep wanting people to think my wedding is amazing and thinking of all these ideas for them, when really it shouldn't be about that.

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  • Meagan
    Newbie September 2022 Alberta
    Meagan ·
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    My Fiance and I had the same dillema! We decided on drink tickets (2 per person, other than our wedding party will get extra), with a few extra floating around that people can answer trivia questions (my uncle's idea) and get an extra ticket. Other than that they can purchase their own drinks. I also have wine on the table for dinner

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  • J
    Ontario
    Julie ·
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    My daughter is getting married Oct 2/2021, we were having the same dilemma with regards to the bar. We are not big drinkers but realize others are, I’m also very concerned about drinking and driving. We didn’t want a huge bar bill as it just adds to the wedding cost, here is our compromise, we will have wine on the table, every guest will get 2 bar tickets if they want more there is a cash bar. I feel that this is an acceptable compromise.
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  • Daily
    Frequent user August 2022 Ontario
    Daily ·
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    Unlimited wine is plenty enough. Your guests can get drunk out of it. I’m sure they’ll be okay to pay for their drinks. If they don’t wanna pay then don’t drink. Just stick to wine. You’re being fair for including unlimited wine. Good luck


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  • Margaret
    Curious December 2021 Ontario
    Margaret ·
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    Our wedding reception will include an open premium bar. I’ve personally never gone to a wedding with a cash bar. We chose this venue specifically because all the costs were included (food, drinks, tables, linens, cutlery etc)... If you can budget for an open bar, then you can do it.. Otherwise, you can also reduce the costs in other areas so you can have the open bar
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  • DANIELA
    Newbie June 2022 Ontario
    DANIELA ·
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    We are doing open bar but wine is not included and ironically the venue is at a winery. we are debating if we want to purchase the wine but we are considering the cost. We decided that it was necessary to have an open bar because its a Latin Wedding. But if you are having an intimate wedding, the toast and wine during dinner should suffice!

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  • Kathryn
    Newbie May 2021 Alberta
    Kathryn ·
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    And happy medium way around this to to provide all guests with 5 free drinks (or 3 if you wish). A friend's wedding had the same thing, mostly because the venues price for drinks was quite high, almost the same as food. It was insane what they were charging per drink. So everyone got 3 drink tickets witg their seat and if you had non drinkers, it was free. Just an idea Smiley smile if you postponed to 2022 then you have some time to.maube put a little away for buying everyone their first few drinks.
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  • Autumn
    Beginner May 2021 Ontario
    Autumn ·
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    My invites specially say “cash bar” so that guests are prepared for it. They can definitely still have a good time if they’re paying for they’re own drinks. If they’re upset about it then I doubt they’ve paid for an open bar before haha
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  • Pat
    Newbie October 2026 Quebec
    Pat ·
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    A wedding is a choice you make as a couple and the choice is not up to your guests. They attend your wedding because you choose to invite them.


    The people who come to my wedding will not be there for an open bar, a free dinner, a nice gift to go home with.. they were invited because presumably they care that we are getting married. If I thought that their happiness was continent on what they "get" to be there I wouldn't have invited them.
    Just something to consider Smiley winking
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  • Vinod
    Featured August 2017 Ontario
    Vinod ·
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    Your guests are accepting to pay for their drinks as they have done so at other weddings and this won't change that fact for your day. The cost implying on your shouldn't be more than what you can't fit into your budget. Being the considerate person you are and wanting to do something for your guests, 2 tickets each for their first drinks besides children (if invited) would be suffice and let them pay for the rest of the evening. Wine and champagne being served is enough and on the house as they are providing to you at no charge. We had an open bar for the most part except for dinner time when wine was served to everyone by the staff part of the package.
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  • Megan
    Curious April 2022 Ontario
    Megan ·
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    Oh I like the idea you put for your invitations! I really want to revisit the idea of a consumption bar.
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  • Tina
    Frequent user July 2021 Ontario
    Tina ·
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    I've learned that there are strong feelings around this topic lol! In my family, cash bar is the thing. However, since getting engaged, I've learned that's not for everybody (who knew?) so I had to consider an open bar. The cost was ridiculous - I just couldn't justify it. A nice alternative is a consumption bar. On our invitations we wrote: "The first few rounds are on us, but if you're feeling extra celebratory, a cash bar is available." This allows us to pay for an approximate number of drinks pp (we calculated at around 4 after dinner) and if people wanted more, they can do it on their own. It also discourages over-consumption, which is important to us as well. This way, for most people it'll be an open bar, but if there are those who want to drink a lot, then they'll have to pay.

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  • Megan
    Curious April 2022 Ontario
    Megan ·
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    That’s what I’m leaning towards doing too!
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  • Megan
    Curious April 2022 Ontario
    Megan ·
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    I’m kind of leaning in that direction!
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  • Rayanne
    VIP January 2022 Ontario
    Rayanne ·
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    We never considered cash bar. We would reduce the guest count before we would have guests paying for drinks. That's just us though. I've never been to a cash bar wedding though. I'm not a big drinker neither is FH so really if we were invited to a cash bar it wouldn't be a big deal for us to pay for our drinks. It would effect how much we put in the envelope though.
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  • Carmel
    Frequent user March 2021 Ontario
    Carmel ·
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    I'm going to have the unpopular opinion here but you did ask for them! Personally, it wasn't even a question - open bar. Our venue has a flat rate, which was the route we were taking, until covid hit and now it makes sense to just pay per drink (not worried about drinks lying around and forgotten). I come from a background that this is standard practice - if you're inviting someone to your event, they shouldn't have to bring their wallets and my fiance and I do agree. That being said, we completely understand why some weddings are not open bar (or at least not completely... It is nice to include something). I get it. We can't all afford to do it or justify the cost. No one should judge you for that and it's their problem if that ruins their night - not yours. That's not on you! I think the fact that your table wine and toast is included makes a huge difference and this will go a long way. If people want to drink more after, it is reasonable at that point that they pay for themselves. Is this a decision you have to make right now? If not, you have time to change your mind or flip flop haha.
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  • Kim
    Frequent user June 2022 British Columbia
    Kim ·
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    I think that if your venue has wine included with dinner, that should definitely tie some people over and they can pay for their own drinks afterwards to keep the buzz going.

    We're doing a limited open bar, where we are paying for glasses of house wines and domestic beers only. If people want shots or highballs, they're going to be on the hook.

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  • Abigail
    Curious May 2022 British Columbia
    Abigail ·
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    We're doing so that basically each guest will have 2 drinks on us, and then cash bar after! So you can do a mix if that's possible!

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  • Hank
    Featured September 2021 Ontario
    Hank ·
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    Are you paying for their coffee, tea, pop and juice? Don't forget that if you do a cash bar, every little thing counts and I'd be a very annoyed guest if I had to pay for a Coke.

    For the drink tickets, can you do a limited bar with a small selection of domestic (cheap) beers? $8 a beer is steep, it's usually $5-6 for a domestic so hopefully that can stretch your budget to a few more drinks. And with the free dinner wines and champagne toast, that would be fairly plenty.

    You can also do a limited open bar. Pay for $2 drink a person and have any additional drinks be on the guests.

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  • Amanda
    Featured August 2021 British Columbia
    Amanda ·
    • Dispute
    If you really want a cash bar then have a cash bar. Don't worry about what your guests will think about having to pay for their own drinks. It's your big day and you can do whatever you want!
    My fiance and I are doing a cash bar as well. All of our alcohol is provided by our venue and we're paying premium prices because of that. That being said we don't want to have a huge bill to pay at the end of the day. Both sides of our family are Ukrainian and can drink lots. If people want to drink they can pay their own way and if they don't then so be it!
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  • Christiana
    Featured November 2020 British Columbia
    Christiana Online ·
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    If I were in your shoes and could fit the drink ticket option in my budget that’s what I would do. I think it basically takes it to an open bar because people will have wine and champagne and then a couple additional drinks after dinner. Any non drinkers can give their tickets to the heavy drinkers and everyone should be happy.
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  • Megan
    Curious April 2022 Ontario
    Megan ·
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    The last few weddings we went to in Canada were either open bar or toonie bar but both of us come from different countries where it’s not common for weddings to have an open bar so it was very different to what we were expecting! Kind of nice not having to pay for drinks but we weren’t expecting it that’s for sure!
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  • Liberty
    Featured May 2022 Alberta
    Liberty ·
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    $800 is alot! If they can do 1 per person for $400 it might be doable. But id wait till closer to the wedding to see where your budget is at before making a choice
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  • Megan
    Curious April 2022 Ontario
    Megan ·
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    We did actually get a quote for drink tickets also! I think they quoted us 2 tickets per person (50 guests) at about $800 which was still pretty steep for us but we may look back into it!
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  • Megan
    Curious April 2022 Ontario
    Megan ·
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    Yeah if we decide to go through with the cash bar we would for sure let everyone know prior. Plus we aren’t expecting gifts anyway since we’ve been living in our own place the last few years anyway so I was thinking of stating on invites not to bring a gift so they can save their money on having a good time Smiley smile
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  • Amelia
    Featured October 2020 New Brunswick
    Amelia ·
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    I have never been to a wedding with an open bar, I think most people expect a cash bar these days.


    I do like the suggestion of you guys covering wine during dinner for a toast. It's a nice way of meeting in the middle and hopefully not spending a fortune!
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  • Liberty
    Featured May 2022 Alberta
    Liberty ·
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    Honestly cash bars are so much more common now. The last 4 weddings I've been to all had cash bars. If you're worried about it, you could give each guest a drink ticket so they can have 1 free drink from the bar.
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  • Sara
    Frequent user August 2021 Ontario
    Sara ·
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    I think if you include unlimited wine during dinner and a champagne toast, there isn't a problem with having a cash bar if you feel like you don't want to spend the extra money. Just indicate that it will be a cash bar on the invitation so that your guests are prepared with money, and can adjust wedding gifts accordingly! If people are prepared, they can adjust their expectations beforehand and there's no reason for anyone to be disappointed.

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