Is It Ever Okay to Have a Cash Bar?

Here's our two cents on the matter.
sophie ross the knot bridal fashion and beauty expert
by Sophie Ross
sophie ross the knot bridal fashion and beauty expert
Sophie Ross
Bridal Fashion and Beauty Expert
  • Sophie Ross is a Senior Copywriter at Adore Me.
  • Sophie is an experienced style and beauty writer.
  • Sophie worked as an Associate Editor for The Knot from 2017 to 2019.
Updated Feb 14, 2018

We get it. Supplying boundless amounts of booze to your guests might not be in your wedding budget. But please, by all means, do not have a cash bar.

Just hear us out: Your guests are happily there to celebrate you, of course—but don't forget that they're likely already reaching deep into their pockets to do so. Between travel and accommodations (if applicable), the average wedding guest is already spending hundreds of dollars just to be there—and when you add in the cost of a gift (and, potentially, an appropriate outfit), it's safe to say your guests will have already shelled out a pretty penny by the time they step foot in your venue. Attendants will spend even more.

(You won't hear many people complaining about the amount of money they're spending on a wedding, though. Obviously, it's a meaningful and beautiful life milestone, so it's a worthwhile spend for most people, especially if it's a close friend or family member's wedding. And if that's not the case, guests have the choice to decline the invitation.)

All of that's to say, it's in poor form to charge your guests even more once they arrive. You and your new spouse are the hosts of the party, after all. Remember: You wouldn't charge your guests if you invited them over to dinner.

Luckily, if an open bar just isn't in your budget (you wouldn't be the first) you have plenty of options. The most obvious choice is to simply have a dry wedding if you don't think your guests need booze to have fun. (More than likely, they don't.)

But if you're certain your guests will want to throw back a glass or two to let loose, just pick your poison. You can plan a drink menu that: only serves one or two options—it keeps the bar tab to a minimum by limiting the amounts of ingredients and liquors needed; sticks to just beer or wine, which are typically less expensive than spirits; or swaps pricey champagne for prosecco instead.

See? There are plenty of ways to cut back the cost without having to warn your guests to bring small bills for the bar. They'll appreciate it (and so will you when you see how much fun they're having on the dance floor).

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