My fiancé & I are getting married this September & all our plans are going well & we’re very, very excited. However, I am prone to flapping & this week I’m mostly worrying about drinks. Our package at our reception venue includes 4 drinks for each day time guest & I thought this would be fine, but I saw an article on theknot.com that suggested guests would be peeved if there wasn’t an open bar. Is this just an American expectation or should we be doing it too? I can’t bear to cost it- I’d probably faint in horror- & I just don’t think we could stretch to it, but I don’t want to be a bad hostess!
What do you think? Are we being stingy by just having a cash bar for the rest of the day? Getting sozzled is a given at a party, but I don’t want to have to compromise on everything else to facilitate it. Your advice would be greatly appreciated!
Cor I remember the drinks/open bar stress. Mr O was intent on having an open bar, as was Mr O the Senior. I however have been to many events with open bars, and ended up absolutely sozzled beyond belief (because it’s rude not to, right?)
Let me share my experience of having an open bar wedding. My concern was that people would take the mickey and order double whiskeys and champagne. So after much debate we finally agreed on an open bar set at a limit of a certain amount of money, say £700, and guests were offered beer, wine, and single spirits. This is as well as the four glasses of wine and glass of Prosecco they were offered at their tables. There were guests who of course wanted to drink something different and they were happy to pay for that out of their own pockets.
This set limit lasted until about 6 or 7pm. We were asked if we would like to close the open bar or increase the limit. So we increased the limit. An hour later we were asked the same question. And we increased again. This continued until at 10pm my drunk husband just signed off an open bar for the rest of the night (I believe the night ended at about 3am).
I can’t say whether it made a difference to the party atmosphere, there were a few people who shall remain anonymous who like a drink and ended up completely rat ar$ed – but then it’s a wedding, you will always end up with a few who enjoy a higher state of refreshment! …..As long as there are no fights then you’re all good.
Settling the bill the next day was a little bit of a shock. However we felt immense pride that we had thrown a really good reception, our guests gave us brilliant feedback they had all had a really bloody good time, and the pictures from the fully packed dancefloor speak for themselves. It was worth every penny and I felt that somehow it was a small thank you to our gorgeous family and friends for being so generous, supportive, and loving of us.
Do I always take a fully stocked purse with me to weddings? Yes of course I do, it’s not good etiquette to presume an open bar. Am I offended when there isn’t an open bar? No way! Would you be?
You could always have an open bar for close family and friends, set at an amount you are comfortable with, a few hundred quid maybe? Give the bar staff a code word for them to use like ‘massive wangers’ or something…
“Ahem yes I would like two pints of Carlsberg and three glasses of dry white wine please-massive-wangers”.
You just gotta hope the barmaid hasn’t been blessed in the chest department otherwise that could be awkward.
This means you won’t break the bank with an uncontrollable bar bill, you are keeping those close to you looked after – which will be a lovely surprise for them, and your other guests still have the table drinks to kick start their evening. Everyone’s a winner!
It’s something to think about, and if you opt out of an open bar that is your choice and anyone who judges or complains about it needs to order themselves a double and loosen the heck up! It’s a celebration!
Good luck Jenn, make sure you let us know how your big day went.
I’d love to hear other experiences of open bars, did you have to sell a kidney on the blackmarket to cover the cost? Drop me a comment and let me know!
Craving wine but can’t touch a drop because I’m pregnant again love,