Wedding Reception Bar Options

For wedding receptions that serve alcohol, deciding what and how much can be a confusing and frustrating decision. So we’ve decided to address some of the different options offered to you.

Cash Bar

While most times considered a faux pas, cash bars are a more popular option in recent years. A lot of couples consider a cash bar because it tends to help cutting down the price tag of the reception. But, most people find it offensive to have to pay for their drinks at your wedding. The only other perk to this option is that if you do not have free alcohol flowing all night it’s much more likely that your guests will not over-indulge and possibly cause a scene. You know your guests best, so only you can make the call on whether or not you will ruffle a lot of feathers with this choice.

Open Bar

Open bars are normally stocked with the works: mixers, beer, wine, hard alcohol, just like a normal bar. Which means, yes they are more expensive, though they are the most common choice. Keep in mind you have a few options. If you have a large amount of heavy drinkers on the guest list, you may end up with a larger bill than you had budgeted for. A possible option would be controlling the open bar by cost. Tell your bar host that once the tab reaches (your budget here) to shut it down or turn it into a cash bar.

Limited Bar

This is where you offer a small variety of drinks. For instance you could just offer beer and wine. Typically you choose just one red wine and one white wine. For beer, choose a domestic, a light, and a popular import. Keep in mind it’s more common to have a red wine with a heavier meal so you may need to purchase more of it. Then not only limit what drinks are available but limit the amount of time they are available for. Or try serving drinks only from seven to nine.

To help save money on your alcohol costs try looking into discounts, some places will give you a pretty substantial one if you buy a large quantity. Don’t forget to ask if they will allow you to return unopened containers of alcohol. Determining how much alcohol you will need to purchase is not always the easiest task either. Check with your caterers/bartender for tips.


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