The bulk of New Zealand weddings serve alcohol, and it’s often assumed it’ll be free. If you’re serving alcohol but expecting guests to pay for their own drinks, that is your decision. However, part of sticking to appropriate wedding etiquette and keeping guests happy is managing expectations. So today’s post is covering what you should do if you’re having a cash bar.
Do I need to inform my guests that we are having a cash bar?
Strictly speaking, no, you don’t have to warn guests that it’s a cash bar only. It’s not a requirement at all, and you could rely on word of mouth to spread the news. But it’s good form to give people fair warning so they can be prepared by bringing their wallet and budgeting enough money for their night out.
WTF is a cash bar anyway?
Many people use the term “cash bar” to indicate that guests will have to pay for their drinks in some way, versus the proper use of the term which is – the bar will only accept cash, no eftpos or credit cards! If this is the case for your venue, and if your venue is away from an ATM and/or you know that your guests will want to grab some spending money for later in the night, then it will be especially important to let your guests know when you invite them.
How to word on the invite that we are having a cash bar at our wedding?
If you’ve decided to pop some text in a “Further Information” section of your invite, here’s some different options you can use to communicate there’s a limit of some sort in place:
- BYO drinks or BYO spirits [if you’re offering some sort of BYO]
- Cash bar only
- Some beer and wine will be provided
- A set selection of beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages will be available under a bar tab. Alcoholic drinks outside of this range will be available by a cash bar.
Can we shout only certain guests drinks?
While it’s not like it’s illegal to shout some people drinks, and not others, I think this is a bad idea. I strongly recommend you have a blanket approach to how you pay for alcohol – i.e. do not have a bar tab for some guests while some other guests are paying for their drinks.
We’ve attended a wedding where some guests received a stamp to get free drinks at the bar. As the bride got drunker, more stamps got dished out (…and with less discretion). As well as leaving the non-stamped guests with a sour taste in their mouth, many of those guests getting free drinks were going up and ordering for the others anyway!
Have you been to a wedding where you’ve paid for your drinks?
If you’ve been to a wedding where you’ve had to buy your own drinks, how was it managed? Were you surprised, or did it say something on the wedding invitation?