Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Having a Cash Bar at Your Wedding Reception? Guess What?

Filed under: Receptions,Wedding Etiquette — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Having a cash bar at a wedding reception is a major etiquette error, it’s tacky, in bad taste and a wedding reception faux pas!

Hmmm. Does that answer your question?

The Emily Post Institute was curious if the etiquette around this question is changing. Their poll revealed the following to the question (Total Voters: 998): Is it acceptable to have a cash bar at a wedding?

cashBAR• No, this is the height of bad taste. (41%, 412 Votes)
• I don’t like it but I understand why it might be done. (29%, 291 Votes)
• Yes, people should have the freedom to make this choice. (15%, 153 Votes)
• I think it is fine but I understand that some people might disagree. (15%, 142 Votes)

While the ultimate decision of whether or not to have a cash bar is up to the couple, proper etiquette says that it is not appropriate for a wedding. Alcohol is a must-have expense at any wedding reception, but it can also be a costly one, especially if you are expecting a large number of attendees.

While it is often necessary to find ways to cut costs, a cash bar is never a good choice. Savvy couples are looking for any way to cut wedding costs – and rightfully so. Figure out what is in your budget and offer that. Have a bar that only serves beer, wine and a champagne toast or specialty cocktail.

Having a party at your home? You wouldn’t think of asking someone to pay for a cocktail in your home, so don’t have a cash bar at your reception. People you invite to enjoy your celebration of Love are your guests. Guest don’t pay for drinks! If the couple doesn’t drink it is perfectly okay to have a reception with no alcohol.

DoNotDrinkNdrive8I agree that a wedding is different than a dinner party or inviting friends over. It’s much more formal and should be more elegant. So since we don’t ask guests to bring or pay for anything when we invite them to our home, we wouldn’t do it at an even more upscale event we were hosting.

Consider having a “limited” bar. Serve only soda, beer, wine, spiced and hot mulled cider, coffee, bottled water, and lemonade or have a champagne toast. If you don’t have the budget to provide alcohol for your guests, then simply have a smaller wedding with less attendees. Reduce the number of guests you are inviting before taking away alcohol because the result will be a lot of unhappy guests rather than less guests that are pleased. This often takes out the issue of cash bar altogether.

Signature cocktails are another great idea and are the epitome of fun and creativity so, the garnishes and accoutrement you use to adorn them should be something that also shows your flair, fun and festivity. How about fruity ice cubes and cocktail stirrers for summertime drinks? Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries will all light up a lemonade or sweet tea as well as a wine spritzer!

Consider choosing a wedding venue that allows you to bring in your own alcohol. Confirm whether you have to buy your alcohol from the place where the wedding reception will be. You may have signed a contract that says so, but if not, it’s generally much cheaper to buy your own liquor, wholesale – you can get more for your money, and get what you want. Believe it or not, there are venues that do not have liquor licenses and will allow couples to bring in their own. Anything unopened can be returned for a full refund after the wedding.


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Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

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