Open Bar? Semi Open Bar? Cash Bar? What should we do?

Jennifer Leigh DiMarco

Friday, November 27, 2015

As a Wedding Planner, I often get asked this very question:  Should we have an open bar?  A semi-open bar?  Cash bar?

When you hire me, you will always get my honest opinion.  That being said my answer is...

Cash bar or Open bar only!  A semi-open bar is just bad wedding etiquette and could come across as tacky to your guests.


After waiting in line at the bar, you make your way back to your table to find your husband sipping on his beer.  After taking a seat you casually mention your disbelief in the cost of the drink in your hand.  A guest overhears you and says, "Really?  My drink was free."  At this point you may not care or you may be wondering why you had to pay and guests x, y and z are walking around with free drinks.  Having either a cash bar or open bar only prevents this.

-If you decide on a cash bar, please make your guests aware of that ahead of time to avoid any disappointment.

It is a fact, 60% of couples today pay for their wedding entirely on their own and simply cannot afford an open bar but are horrified at the idea of a cash bar.  My solution:  supply your guests with one type of wine and beer and then purchase non-alcoholic drinks as well.  Or, put a signature drink on the menu!  One that the 2 of you really love!  Guests can enjoy that drink and non-alcoholic drinks while they dance the night away!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

Brides/Grooms-to-be:  How are you planning to handle this part of your reception?

To my couples who have already tied the knot:  Share with me what you provided during your reception.