Planning a wedding is expensive. Period. Even if you’re saving wherever you can with DIY projects and help from relatives, every little thing adds up. So, when it comes time to stock the bar, a lot of couples hear a cash bar option, and their ears perk up. But, we’re here to give you our hot take…no matter your budget, it’s never cool to ask your guests to pay for their own drinks at your wedding.
While we're on wedding etiquette, here's what is reasonable to expect from your bridal party (and what is not) and the complete micro-wedding etiquette guide.
First and foremost, your wedding guests are just that, your guests. You wouldn’t ask someone over for dinner and charge them for their plate. Also, your guests will be paying for their own travel expenses for your wedding–flights, hotels, rental cars, that all costs a pretty penny. Even if they’re local, they will likely have to pay for parking or valet. Most guests will also bring a gift which is another major expense. And, let’s not forget about everyone in your wedding party that has invested a lot more in your upcoming wedding between wedding showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties. All of this to say, your family and friends are investing in your celebration too, the least you can do is treat them to a drink or two.
Now, just because we’re saying you have to pay for drinks, doesn’t mean we’re saying you need to spring for the top shelf. If you’re supplying the drinks, you get to choose what you’re serving. Buying in bulk is the best way to get the most bang for your buck and most wine/liquor stores will offer discounts with big orders. Some even allow returns for bottles that go unused. Instead of hiring a pricey bartender, opt for a self-serve bar where guests can help themselves. For self-serve situations though, we recommend sticking to wine and beer so your guests don’t have too much fun if you know what we mean.
We understand that even with bulk discounts, wine, beer, and liquor will still take a big chunk out of your wedding budget. So, look at your budget as a whole, where can you cut back? Maybe consider a less expensive venue or having an outdoor wedding in your own yard. Consider going with a buffet option for dinner instead of a plated meal. There are a ton of little line items that can really add up and plenty of savings to be had. If you’re working with a wedding planner, express how important it is to you to have an open bar and ask them to help you budget accordingly. While it may be hard to compromise on parts of your wedding vision to spring for the drinks, trust us–your guests won’t remember the venue, at the end of the day, but they will remember you making them pay for drinks. So, when it comes to wedding bars, open is the only way to go.Add your Business for free