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I’ve worked with so many brides over the years who want to have alcohol at their wedding, but they can’t afford to provide an open bar. They always ask, “Can’t I just have a cash bar?”


Okay…let me explain myself.

Imagine that you’re going to a dinner party at a friend’s house. When you receive the invitation, you expect that they will be providing everything, right? What if you got there and they said, “Your dinner is going to be $20.” You would be caught completely off-guard. You might wonder, “WHY did they invite me for dinner and expect me to pay? Why didn’t they tell me that I would have to pay? This is sooooo TACKY.”

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That’s the same reaction guests have when they show up at your wedding and find out they have to pay for their alcohol. They are your guests. They don’t expect that they’ll have to pay their way when they arrive. Heck, most people don’t even bring cash to weddings, because they don’t expect that they’ll need it. In addition, many venues dislike offering cash bars. I’ve talked to catering managers at venues who feel that cash bars look tacky and reflect badly on their location.

Here’s the good news: You have options.

-If you can’t afford to provide a full, open bar, consider offering beer and wine only.

-Serving champagne all night instead of mixed drinks could save you LOTS.

-Think about offering a signature cocktail all evening. Talk to your venue and find out if they will charge you by the gallon for your signature cocktail instead of per drink. You may come out cheaper if they allow it.

-If you move your event to an earlier time (like lunch or brunch,) you can save tons because people just don’t like to drink a lot earlier in the day. With a brunch, you can get away with just serving mimosas and Bloody Mary beverages.

-Just skip the alcohol all together. It’s just one night. People will be fine.

Now, there are some things that you should NOT do: Read More Tips

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