Open Bar Vs. Cash Bar: How to Choose Bar Options for Your Wedding
Whether or not to have an open or cash bar at the reception is one of the biggest points of contention while planning a wedding. There are several factors that go into the decision and all sides of the argument should be considered before making a final call.
There are three primary levels of openness brides and grooms can choose from when planning their wedding reception bar options. While every venue is different, these three categories are industry standards and can usually be negotiated around.
- Closed Bar:
- Cash Bar:
- Open Bar:
Once the available options are fully understood a more informed decision can be made as to what level of openness the reception bar should be. Time of day, budget and personal beliefs and relationships should all be taken into account before setting a bar decision in stone.
- Time of Day:
The time of day in which the wedding reception will be held can be a large factor in whether or not the bar should be open, closed or cash. There are not very many wedding guests who expect a fully open bar at ten in the morning. On the other hand, evening and nighttime receptions are usually held with an open bar to encourage guests to have fun and dance. Consider how many cocktails or glasses of wine people usually have with the mealtime that the reception encompasses. One mimosa with breakfast, cash or closed bar. Three drinks with dinner, open bar if possible.
The predetermined budget of a wedding reception can instantly decide the status of the bar. A fully open bar can become highly expensive depending on how many guests are in attendance. For a budget friendly option that still allows guests to have a drink or two on the house, consider opting for the middle ground where a certain dollar amount of liquor, beer and wine is negotiated and once that limit is reached the bar switches to cash instead of open. This is an option that not every venue offers off the bat but can be easily negotiated in most circumstances.
- Personal Beliefs/Relationships:
Most important of all the factors that go into deciding how open or closed a wedding reception bar should be is the personal belief system and relationship the bride, groom and other guests have about alcoholic beverages. For example, many religions frown upon or entirely forbid drinking alcohol and in that case, a closed bar is the most appropriate. Brides and grooms should never feel pressured or obligated to provide an open bar at their wedding reception and should always choose the option that makes them happiest.
The bar debate is famous for causing contention among brides and grooms planning their wedding. The best way to make this decision easy and stress-free is to have a clear understanding of the options and where you stand on the major factors that go into this decision.