The infliction many couples are faced with: do we pay, or do our guests pay? Do we take blame for having guests fork out $8 a beer, or won’t we? Well, we’ll still serve Diet Coke…
Ah, the classic cash bar controversy. There are many reasons that one may want to cheers to a cash bar; perhaps to put some sort of restrain on Uncle Joe’s love affair with gin & tonics or to avoid another budget gobbling fee, but either way, we know you’re reading this thinking “Tacky? Say it ain’t so”.
Unless you’re into flamingo yard décor and wearing Hawaiian shirts in November, we won’t think you’re tacky, but we’re still not huge fans of cash bars. Guests have flocked to your wedding venue to wine, dine and be merry in celebration of your nuptials, but they didn’t ask to pay for it. Although there may be a lot more lace and penguin suits involved, but a wedding isn’t much different than a BBQ with all your closest friends, and you wouldn’t charge them for a beverage in your own backyard, right? We know that it’s a tough spot between a martini on the rocks and a hard place, but listen up and learn all the ways to serve up liquor without the whole guest-hissing -whilst-hunting-down-the-nearest-ATM-to-the-ballroom thing.
Here are five different ways to make an open bar a little more budget friendly. Bartenders can charge either by the hour, per head or by bottle opened, so find the best solution that suits your drink specialist’s rate. In all these following cases, every couple will need a licensed bartender to distribute the goods (your dad’s mixing and shaking skills won’t cut it).
### Create a Cocktail
Instead of having a fully fledged top of the shelf open bar that’ll cost you a pretty penny, get creative with the beverages you’ll be serving for the evening. If your bartender charges by bottle opened, opt for one or two signature drinks that will be served to limit how many bottles of the same liquor are opened throughout the event. Collaborate with the bartender on personalized cocktails that can be created to reflect each newlywed’s personality: Amy’s Hot Toddy and Jared’s Fair Lady may just be the perfect mix for the couple who doesn’t want to break the bank.
### Save the Bartender for Later
The second way to lessen the expense of an open bar is to cut the hours the bartender’s around. As much as we love ‘em, the cocktail connoisseurs that charge by the hour don’t have to be on duty from the end of the ceremony to the end of the reception. If champagne is served at cocktail hour, the bartender isn’t needed until the last guest has sipped the last drop of pinot noir that accompanied their rib eye. Have wait staff pour vino to every table during dinner and Mr. Margarita will make an appearance just in time for dessert and dancing, so you don’t have to worry about your guests (or your wallet) getting parched.
Unless you’re into flamingo yard décor and wearing Hawaiian shirts in November, we won’t think you’re tacky, but we’re still not huge fans of cash bars.