Photos by Pink Penguin Studios
Disclaimer: The photo above does not depict the couples mentioned in this article. It is included solely for illustrative purposes, while certain Reddit threads I discovered online have proven useful.
When we got married last summer, we did a complete open bar because it came with the package (beer, every hard alcohol, wine, seltzers.. etc) and it was worth it to us to provide an open bar for everyone plus it was in our budget.
However, we just went to one of my best friends wedding and they did two drinks for free & then the rest we had to pay for.
Not one single person complained and a lot of us happily opened up a tab 😂 there’s this stigma that if you have a wedding, everything should be for free but a lot of couples truly can’t afford it and they should be able to enjoy their day without worrying about someone unhappy about having an open bar or not.
Just my two cents from someone that just got back from a cash bar wedding! Just wanted to make a bride feel better if they were stressing about it :)
Reminder that that acceptance of and how typical cash bars vary dramatically across the globe.
There are regions where cash bars are common and expected and others where they are viewed unfavorably.
Be sure to phrase your comments accordingly!
Whole countries use cash bars so please don't make blanket statements about what constitutes good manners, hosting, what people should spend their money on, etc.
Remember what is normal for you is just that, and it may not be normal for everyone.
I think this is definitely a cultural thing.
I've never been to a wedding (in Ireland and UK) where there was an open bar, nor have I ever heard anyone expect one.
We'll be providing a welcome drink, half a bottle of wine at dinner, and a toasting drink to our guests which I think it's the norm here, at least in my experience.
Getting two drinks for free is way different than a true cash bar. I've been to a wedding where you had to pay for soda or bottled water if you wanted it.
You could not access any form of beverage without paying.
This is an topic where I'm sure there are people who are unhappy/annoyed about having to pay for drinks, but it's probably not a big enough deal to voice it externally.
What is a guest realistically going to do, bring it up to the bride and groom at the wedding? That would be exceptionally rude, and worse than just sucking it up and buying the drinks.
If you're having a cash bar, it's important to let guests know ahead of time, especially if it's cash only. (I likely would only bring my license to a wedding otherwise.)
My friend went to a wedding where the couple supplied all the alcohol, but had a cash bar. So guests were paying the couple for their drinks. I think that's rude.
In the U.K., I have never been to a wedding with an open bar, not once.
You might get one or two drinks, and there’s usually wine (or a non-alcoholic option) at the dinner table, but after that it’s guests pay for the rest of their drinks.
It has never, ever stopped anyone from having a good time and getting insanely hammered haha. Is it a US thing to expect an open bar at weddings?
Or do other countries expect that too? I’ve been to one non-U.K. wedding and that was a Japanese one, and that wasn’t an open bar either.
Tbh an open bar at a British wedding would signal bankruptcy for the bride and groom, I reckon.
I only have an issue with a cash bar if, say, you spent $10,000 on your wedding dress, but want me to spend $10 for a glass of wine.
Or if you had all the guests spend $5,000 to fly to Hawaii for a long weekend and you don’t even offer them a cocktail. Otherwise I’m a good sport.
I know not everyone has the money for an open bar. Or have reasons they chose not to have one (recovery, etc)
I agree with the people saying this might be regional.
Where I am from, generally open bar is considered good manners/taking care of your guests properly.
I don’t drink myself, but having an open bar is personally important to me because I want to be a good host and it’s pretty standard where I live.
There are also certain sets of people where I live who tend to have dry weddings, cash bars, or beer/wine. For example, more religious folks.
People may also favor things like beer/wine if they’re having their wedding at a vineyard.
I think I’m the end, couples need to make decisions about what’s going to work best for them and their guests. I don’t think there’s one right answer about what to do about alcohol.
One set of people might be disgusted by an open bar while another considers it essential. I’m all for everyone doing their own thing
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