As if you don't have enough choices when it comes to planning a wedding in comes the (new) age old debacle...cash bar or open bar.
Working in the wedding and event industry has allotted me the opportunity to see a variety of bar options and opened my eyes to the realization that it doesn't have to be black or white, open vs cash. Clients are doing full cash, open, 'toonie bars', open for dinner-cash for reception, two free drink ticket then cash bar, free signature drink or 'limited open' bar-the options are endless and no one option is best for the masses.
Open Bar- Guests are free to enjoy beverages without purchase. This option, although costly, is a welcome contender when taking into consideration the cost of attending a wedding or event.
Pros; easy and cost effective for your guests, elimination for the need of a special occasion permit, allows brides/grooms/hosts to choose the quality and quantity of alcohol and gives your new step father the liquid courage needed to split jump and russian kick his way into an early night (This is a true story...Sorry Fred.)
Cons; possibility of overindulgence by a small group of your guests-think 'passing out in a shrub' overindulgence and the expense of having an open bar can really tug at the purse strings.
Limited Bar-Free alcoholic beverages during cocktail hour/dinner or 'X' Free Drinks and the purchase of beverages during reception time. This is for the bride, groom, host that WANTS an open bar but for whatever reason is limited to the possibility of having it, wether it be cost, opportunity or otherwise.
Pros; Assists in diminishing cost, reigns in over indulgence closer to a time where guests will make their trek home (for the guests idiotic enough to even consider drinking and driving) and allows you to still cover some cost of the bar.
Cons; If not properly communicated to guests, it can cause confusion, it can unknowingly encourage over indulgence before the commencement of post dinner wedding events-when your guests will forget everything post cake cutting.
Toonie Bars-$2 drinks all night. The happy medium. This option has been increasingly growing in popularity. It's affordable for both guests and hosts!
Pros; Simple, cost effective, will most likely cover the cost of the bar supplies and alcohol, unless you have a really rowdy crowd like mine-shout out to the 4am'ers!
Cons; You will need an ample cash float.
Full Cash Bar-All alcoholic beverages are subject to a cash price.
Pros; Easy on the budget, covers expenses.
Cons; , Have to obtain Special Occasion Permit to sell liquor, depending on the cost of alcoholic beverages, some guests may be inclined to be disgruntled. Like the wedding my husband and I attended... $7.50 bottles of Coors Light...YIKES. (You can imagine how negated the bar was at that wedding.)
When it all boils down, the type of bar you have at your wedding is up to you. Each option has it's pros and it's cons and really as long as you end up MR & MRS by the end of the night, everything is as it should be.