Cash bar versus open bar at a wedding reception has been a huge debate over the recent years.
Some couples may not have the money to pay for an extra $3,000-$5,000 on an open bar for their guests, but they worry that their guests will be not have a good time or be upset.
Today, there are so many alternatives to the cash bar that allow the couple and their families to save money and still give the guests a memorable time.
- Ask the bar vendor if they have discounts on wells for mixed drinks. This is a good way to save on expensive alcohol.
- Give your wedding party open bar, and serve wine, champagne, beer, etc. to your other guests.
- Give each guest a “bar ticket.” This allows them to get as many free drinks as the couple can afford, then open a cash bar after those are used.
- Having a signature drink that represents the couple’s personality is a good way to give the guests free drinks, but keep the budget in place. The signature drinks can really bring out the aesthetic and overall feel of the wedding. The couple can truly design exactly how the cocktail looks and tastes based on the type of alcohol, color, glass choice and garnish they choose. Arrange the signature drinks around the cake table, have a separate table for the drinks, or have servers pass around trays of them.
Is asking for a wedding gift from your guests and then asking or expecting them to pay for their own drinks at the reception asking too much? The answer to many people is yes. To most, if the couple cannot afford to have a small amount of alcohol at their wedding for their guests, they should cut costs elsewhere or trim down the guest list.
If you do opt to have an open bar at your reception, asking your wedding party to fork out a large amount of money on their bridesmaid dresses, shoes, tuxes, etc. may be a put-off to them.
An open bar is especially a must if you have guests flying in from out of town and they have to buy a plane ticket, pay for a hotel room, etc. You don’t want them to hop a plane to catch your wedding and then not even offer them a drink.
There is always the “cover your plate rule” that the guests go by, which refers to the wedding gift. Their gift should cost the equivalent, or more to the cost of each plate plus an open bar. This rule is put in to place so that it is all equivalent in the end.
Here are some more unique ideas for signature drinks for your reception: