When it comes to planning a reception, the topic with the largest debate is always the bar. It can be very expensive for a couple to pay for an open bar for all of the guests. It is also an issue for some couples that are more conservative, but want their friends to have a great time but do not want Uncle Larry on the groom's side to get wasted and start dancing on the kids' tables. However, an open bar seems to be the most popular option as most guests often expect it.
There are, however, other options to fit each couples budget and please the crowd at the same time. Having a cash bar seems to be common for couples that simply cannot afford an open bar, but want their guests to be able to enjoy the reception at their expense. A lot of people view cash bars as being cheap and unfair to the guests, but for larger weddings and conservative families, it may be the best option. Other couples choose to have a limited bar that contains just beer, wine and maybe a specialty drink. This keeps the couple in control of the consumption of alcohol and it is not near as expensive as a complete open bar. Guests will usually be satisfied with a choice of beer or wine, and a good specialty drink will add some variety. I have included a list of advantages and disadvantages of each service. The choice is yours, as it is your wedding!
1. The guests are happy! This is the easiest choice for your guests. They can drink freely with many options!
2. No cash needed
1. The most expensive option. The bigger the wedding and the more people drink, the bigger the bill!
2. Hard to control excessive alcohol consumption.
1. The least expensive option for the couple.
2. There is less chance for the party to get too crazy.
1. Guests have to carry extra cash.
2. It may be more expensive depending on the location.
1. Not as expensive for everyone.
2. Serves as a happy medium (most people are ok with just beer or wine)
There is a limited choice for the guests to select from.
Feel free to also combine any of these options. You may also have an open bar for so many hours and then have a cash bar for the rest of the evening. If you choose an option that requires guests to pay for their own drinks, be sure to inform them before the big day. However you decide to tell them, do NOT print it on the wedding invitations. You may choose to write a note and place it in the envelope, as long as it is done classy, but printing CASH BAR ONLY on the invitations are frowned upon. I hope that you are more informed about options for the bar and that an idea has inspired you! Please feel free to ask any questions regarding your own personal endeavors. It is your party, you can drink if you want to!