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Newbie September 2019 Ontario

Cash Bar vs. Open Bar

Kimberley, on August 11, 2019 at 10:02 Posted in Wedding reception 0 11
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Hello Ladies,

My fiance and I are thinking about providing every guest with a drink ticket for our cocktail hour and then will be providing them a bottle of both white and red on their tables for dinner. Following this we want to do a cash bar.

Are any of you doing something similar / have any of you done something similar and what was the feedback?


  • Ashley
    Featured August 2020 Ontario
    Ashley ·
    • Dispute

    Sounds great but let people know its a cash bar so they will bring extra money with them! i know people these days dont walk with any cash anymore!

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  • Rachel-Anne
    Curious September 2020 Ontario
    Rachel-Anne ·
    • Dispute
    We are doing 2 bottles of wine on the table (tables of 6) during dinner and giving each guest 2 drink tickets. After that, cash bar. It allowed us to control costs.
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  • A
    Devoted October 2019 Ontario
    Amanda ·
    • Dispute
    We are providing our guest with the wine and drink ticket as well. After that it's a cash bar. We only have a handful of drinkers coming and they usually bring their own beer anyways.
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  • Rayanne
    Featured February 2021 Ontario
    Rayanne ·
    • Dispute
    As long as people know it's a cash bar before they go they don't mind.
    • Reply
  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
    • Dispute
    View quoted message
    Yes to this!

    We had an open bar because there was no way not to. Our families are Italian and Canadian and they really enjoyed the open bar. Also, in my family it would have been a huge faux-pas if we went the way of cash bar.
    • Reply
  • Tori
    Master October 2019 Manitoba
    Tori ·
    • Dispute

    It's neither here nor there - when you have an open bar you tend to get more money in presentation, but of course there is no guarantee on that.

    For both my family and my FH there was no question - OPEN BAR! but if it's not in the budget/ it's not one of the top priorities - then I would say that it's getting more and more common and all it means is that say I were to attend: I would pay for my meal ($50 no matter what), and then my drinks (another $50). On top of that we would throw in maybe another $20 for the couple. If it's cash bar then the couple can expect only the $70 or round up to $80.

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  • Veronica
    Featured October 2020 Alberta
    Veronica ·
    • Dispute

    We are doing exactly this! + a glass of champagne at cocktail hour for a toast. We just can't justify or afford a cash bar, our venue will not allow outside liquor to be brought in so we are tied to their prices etc. I think providing 4 drinks (assuming 2 glasses of wine) is plenty! That being said, we are going for a more sophisticated evening with good food and conversation vs a party atmosphere as well. So far the guests we have mentioned this to have been fine!

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  • Casey
    Master October 2019 Ontario
    Casey ·
    • Dispute
    I find cash bars are becoming more popular, or toonie bars just because the prices for open bars are crazy if your venue doesn’t include it.
    Giving a drink ticket and then 2 bottles of wine on the table for dinner is about 2 drinks per person to start which will be ok for many people. Then you don’t have to worry about doing an open bar for people who don’t really drink!

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  • Meadus
    Newbie May 2021 Ontario
    Meadus ·
    • Dispute
    I think the break even point on open bar versus cash bar , is 5 drinks pp. consider a glass of wine before the ceremony, 1 or 2 after, and 2 after dinner. If your guests drink more than that, generally an open bar is cheaper
    • Reply
  • Amelia
    Super September 2020 Ontario
    Amelia ·
    • Dispute

    I'm seriously considering a cash bar after dinner too but we'll have an open bar during cocktails in addition to the 2 bottles of wine with dinner since it's included in both packages our venue offers. My family have said they couldn't care less about paying for a few drinks but I still need to check in with my FH's family, who tend to indulge a bit more.

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  • Kelsie
    Featured September 2021 Ontario
    Kelsie ·
    • Dispute
    We’re having a Canadian-Polish wedding so for us a cash bar wouldn’t work; we’re having an open bar.

    Having said that, a cash bar is definitely the most cost effective option! I also think it helps guests control the amount they drink (ie less drinking and driving worries). You’re going to have people complain about a cash bar, but your wedding is for you - not other people!

    Do what suits you and your partner.
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