Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Cash Bar Controversy

"Cash Bar: Sorry, but this cost is on you. Tempting as it may be to cut your spending in this area it’s totally tacky. Guests (who have already bought you a gift, dressed up for you and attended your ceremony) will most certainly not appreciate this added expense."

Quote from SheFinds "8 Things you Should Never do at your Wedding Reception"

Can we talk about bar costs for a second?

Firstly, I object to any list of things you can or can't do at your wedding, because hello, it's your wedding. You've just shelled out for the most expensive day of your life, do whatever the hell you want. If you want a burning man themed unlimited alcohol camping wedding -- the day is for you, so go for it. Most of the other items on this list are, I admit, either common sense or pretty good advice. Stuff like, don't play offensive music (grandma is listening), or don't get black out drunk (most expensive day of your life, you kinda want to remember this shit). However, dictating to people what they should or should not spend on alcohol does not fall into the common sense category.

This is my second biggest pet peeve in the wedding industry (the first being the assumption that you have to spend a ridiculous amount of money in the first place). Guess what? The people you are inviting to your wedding are not there to judge you on how much your venue cost, or how good the food is. They're there to celebrate you and support you.

That's it.

How supportive would they be if they griped and complained and called you 'tacky' because you made it a tooney bar (sorry non Canadians... a two dollar bar? I have no idea what you call this...).

The bar tab is usually one of the largest expenses for the whole wedding.


Isn't that a little nuts?

Why should people expect unlimited free booze in exchange for buying you a toaster?
Why do people want to get drunk at weddings in the first place?

As someone who loaths over imbibing and would be humiliated if a friend smashed through a table and ruined the cake, why do I even need to have alcohol at all?

One of my biggest questions during planing this part of our reception has been: how do I stop people from drinking too much without saying "hey boozy relatives, I don't want you to drink too much". I certainly don't want to offend anyone, but I also don't want my mother saying, "if you don't have an open bar people will think you're cheap!" Well, surprise, I am cheap.

I know some people really want to have an open bar. Great for them. See previous section where I dictated, "do whatever the hell you want", but don't aim your judgey eyes at me Miss Manners, when I ask you to pay full price for a cocktail. I do not think I am responsible for paying for your cocktail, since you are here to celebrate with me which you can do completely sober if you wish.

I am completely flabergasted by the amount of judgey etiquette rules that exist for hosting a wedding. If I was OK going into debt over this thing, I would totes pay for your cocktail.

And no, I am not obligated to give you free alcohol in exchange for the gift you purchased (especially if I am not expecting or requiring gifts), because the definition of a gift is "an object given without the expectation of payment" (Wikipedia). I am only obligated to give you free booze if you help me move. That is a rule of life.

I am also not obligated to give you free booze because you put on a nice dress. I was totally not standing behind you in the mirror while you were dressing for this occasion, dictating what you were to wear. When I attend weddings I usually say "oh goody, an excuse to wear that expensive dress I purchased!" and not "oh crap, now I have to put on a fancy dress in exchange for free alcohol".

Almost all of the weddings I have been to included a cash bar, or a partial cash bar, with free table wine during dinner. This appears to be the trend in the area in which I live. As such, I don't expect to get much flack from friends and relatives. Even so, I loath hearing this outdated advice from every wedding website I happen to stumble upon.  The only time I, as a guest, have complained about alcohol at a wedding was that one time the over zealous table clearing staff cleared a full glass of wine while I was in the middle of drinking it.

Based on this experience, I am going to re-write the advice in this tacky ass list of things not to do at your wedding reception.

"Cash Bar: Totally do it, you should be free to spend your money on an awesome photographer or honeymoon, not on your guests misguided opinion that their libations should take precedence at your wedding." 

Anyway, rant over.

In case you're wondering Nick and I are thinking cash bar with free signature drinks and wine. But we haven't decided yet. Many of our family members and friends have been very supportive of our desire not to pay for booze.


  1. Your wedding, your choice. Period. End of story.

    Signature drinks can be a really fun way to get everyone "involved" in your to-this-point life story (i.e. did you get engaged in Mexico? Have a Tequila drink, etc.). I wish you all the best in figuring it all out!

    1. I do like the idea of signature drinks! When Nick orders a cocktail it's always a white Russian and I love the idea of including white Russians at the wedding for that reason. A little inside joke. ;) Thanks for your comment!

  2. Its your wedding, therefore its your choice to make. There should be NO preconceived expectations by guests that the hosting couple will pay for their guests intoxicants. I think Signature drinks are a great idea. And as for Nick and his White the fact he was named after a Russian Czar might have something to do with it lol..!