Whether you’re planning a backyard bash or a formal ballroom wedding, it’s a simple fact that weddings are an investment. Costs can quickly add up, so it’s not surprising that couples often look for ways to save on certain items. One of the biggest costs of any wedding is food and alcohol. There are lots of different bar options available, with one of the most common being a cash bar. Cash bars can cut costs, but they also have some drawbacks. Our wedding photographers break down the advantages and disadvantages of a cash bar for wedding receptions!
Pros of a Cash Bar
Guests Won’t Get as Drunk
If you have some guests that like to overindulge in drinks, or just don’t want to risk your wedding reception getting too out of control, a cash bar is a great option. Since guests have to fund it themselves, they’ll be less inclined to overdrink.
The biggest advantage of a cash bar is that it does save you a lot of money. For cash bars, you typically pay a fee and the cost of the bartenders, but the actual alcohol costs are up to the guests. This can save thousands depending on how large of a wedding you’re going for.
Fits Within Venue Rules
A lot of venues have rules against open bars due to liability reasons. The beauty of cash bars is that they fit within almost every venue rule. You won’t have to worry about underaged guests sneaking drinks or overserving someone.
Cons of a Cash Bar
Less of a Party
If you want your wedding reception to be a giant, fun party, then a cash bar might not be the best option. Since guests are paying for drinks themselves, they’ll be less inclined to pour them out and get out on the dance floor. Some guests may also leave early if they feel the drinks are too expensive, so don’t count on guests dancing the night away with a cash bar.
Viewed as Cheap and Tacky
It’s a bit of a modern debate, but cash bars traditionally go against all wedding hosting and etiquette tips. If you’re inviting guests to an event, supplying drinks is standard. And while most guests these days understand how expensive weddings can be, they’ll probably silently think a cash bar is cheap and tacky.
Guests Need to Worry About Payment
One thing about cash bars is that they can be logistical nightmares. Guests now have to worry about having cash on hand or downloading whatever payment app the bar vendor uses. Adding payment at the bar also makes it take longer, as the bartenders now have to make the drinks and handle payment. It can make the wedding bar feel more like a nightclub than a reception.