Which One The Best For Your Wedding Reception? Open Bar or Cash Bar?

When you are planning the details for your wedding reception, one of the touchiest subjects can be whether or not to serve liquor to your guests at your own expense. While many brides feel that it is only polite to have an open bar, there are liabilities that you may not be aware of. To help you make the best decision, here are the downsides and benefits to having either an open bar or a cash bar.

One benefit of hosting an open bar is that your guests will appreciate the generosity and consideration. Some people feel that after purchasing a gift, making travel plans, or arranging for babysitters that they should not have to pay for their own drinks.

A major downside of hosting a cash bar is the legal liabilities that come with this option. For instance, you could be held responsible for serving alcohol to someone who becomes drunk and leaves your reception and happens to drive and injure someone. Research your local laws when it comes to who will be held liable in this situation. Although, it doesn’t happen often, the possibility exists and you should be aware of it. This can be very serious and can turn a wonderful event into a nightmare for everyone involved.

In addition to liabilities, there is the very real problem of cost. An open bar can be incredibly expensive and if your guests take advantage of your generosity, you can be left with a very pricey tab at the end of the night. With an open bar, there is usually much more opportunity for guests to overindulge and in some cases become a bit wasteful. If you prefer to avoid these problems, a cash bar is probably the best option.

A benefit of a cash bar is that you will not, in most cases, be held responsible for anyone’s actions after they leave the reception. This removes a lot of liability and makes you feel more comfortable.

In addition, you will also be able to save quite a bit of money on your reception when you go this route. This is usually the best option if your funds are limited and you would like to spend more money on better food or a nicer wedding overall. This is probably the best way to look at it. Would you rather provide everyone with a very nice dinner or be able to afford a nicer dress, or would you rather foot the bill so someone can embarrass you when they have too many drinks?

A downside of having a cash bar is that you may come off as being cheap. This of course will depend on the personalities of your friends and family, but some people may be offended by a cash bar. If you do have a cash bar, make sure your guests do not have to pay for anything else at the reception to minimize any discontent.

By Gina Brown

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Your Own Unique Style is The Best for Celebrate Your Wedding

Every bride dreams of having a special wedding celebration, it’s the definition of special that may vary from bride to bride. When I got married I knew that I wanted the atmosphere and décor to be a reflection of my own personal style. The big challenge for me was; what was my personal wedding style? Sure, I knew my colors, chocolate brown and scarlet red, two sensuous shades that have always spoken to me. And I was also confident that I wanted our wedding to be a really fun and fabulous night for everyone in general.

Now, I know that you are probably thinking, “Who doesn’t want their wedding to be fun?” but what I mean more specifically by a fun and fabulous night is that I wanted our guests to experience that awesome, magical kind of fun that you can’t plan on just any old night out. It was important to me that instead of memories of me cutting a cake, tossing a bouquet and otherwise basking in the spotlight, our guests left with memories of dancing to their favorite music, enjoying delicious and unusual delicacies and reconnecting with old friends and family. I had little other wedding planning ideas past these, but these I was sure of.

I was a very fortunate bride-to- be in that I have experience in event planning, not tremendous experience, but enough to feel that I was starting this process with an advantage. And unique to many other brides, without panic.
So I carefully and thoughtfully began, step by step, to formulate the decisions that would define the atmosphere and décor of our wedding in a way that would help it to stand out among the typical cookie cutter wedding reception that we have all come to tire of. I would love to share some of my tips, techniques and advice that allowed me to plan and execute the wedding of my dreams and even enjoy doing so!

Tear Sheets
Congrats! You are engaged! Now run immediately to your favorite newsstand and buy every bridal magazine! WAIT! There are so many more resources out there than every bridal magazine. I suggest buying two bridal mags to get a read on what the trends are in the wedding industry. Are brides going for traditional gowns? What are your contemporaries doing for favors? Find the look of invitation that most catches your fancy. Scour the two magazines you choose for whatever peeks your interest and then tear, tear, tear! Move on then to the interior decorating magazine you picked up with your latest issues of “Modern Engaged Bride-to-be”. And then pour through an issue of “Real Simple” or “Fine Cooking”. These are magazines dedicated to the finer aspects of living and celebrating life and they offer great insight into chic and distinctive ways of hosting a spectacular event. Lastly go through your favorite home catalogues, mine is Crate & Barrel. Tear out the pictures and advice that speak to you and along with the pages that you favored from the bridal mags and lifestyle publications begin a wedding production binder. Spend some time with these images and ideas, envision how you could incorporate them into your ceremony and reception and give yourself a little time to think on it! Before you realize it, your style will begin to rise to the surface.

Book your locations
While you are mulling the images and ideas over and over in your mind, begin making appointments with ceremony and reception locations. While you factor in cost, layout, capacity and availability, keep in mind the mold-ability of the location and how you could incorporate your pages from your production book. Is there a great built in fireplace that you could fill with candles? Is the décor shabby-chic just like your favorite catalogue? Are the draperies inspired by your favorite destination? Make mental notes of the design influences in the space you are checking out, you may be able to play off of those features in a way that makes HUGE impact! Once you find your locations, the remaining decision fall into place much more easily.

Invitations & Dress
Not many wedding planners would likely group together two such major event aspects like stationary and wardrobe, but for style purposes – they work well together. Keep in mind that both areas will complement the style of your wedding but are typically considered separate areas of the event. Well, they are and they’re not. For one, the invitation and dress set the tone of the event. By choosing the best wedding stationary and wedding gown, you can bring together all of the aspects of your wedding style that you have selected. If your décor is a sleek and modern white wedding staged outside under a tent of glowing Chinese lanterns, your perfect invitation, menu and escort card could be printed on delicate rice paper featuring the Chinese ideogram for love. Your ideal dress may be a gauzy and simple boat necked gown cinched sharply and intentionally at the waist with a silk obi. This complete look, preceded by the invite and completed by the décor, harmonizing food and drink and capped off with arrangements of cherry blossoms and votives, will be breathtaking! Pulling off your wedding style is as simple as minding your details and keeping in mind that every decision is an opportunity to make a statement.

Food, Drink, Tunes & Favors
The final details to incorporate into your fabulous event are the guest’s favorite! Perhaps you have chosen a location at a beach club. Your stationary could feature a save the date “flip flop”, a lobster embossed engraved invitation and escort cards of painted seashells. Your dress is a simple silk bias cut sheath, with a gorgeous cowl neck accented with a designer flat thong. Imagine your guests enticed by the scents of lobster hors devours wafting though the air and the whimsical sounds of a steel drum band. You could have your signature “beachcomber” cocktail passed on trays with mini umbrellas in them! This is the making of a memorable event! As your loved ones depart they can take with them his and hers flip flops in the colors of your wedding, wrapped in a beach towel monogrammed with your wedding date and a message of thanks! The trick to adding the best details to any event is to ignore the pressure to make a decision and think of a natural choice. Sure, the websites and magazine might suggest favors for a wedding being hosted at a country club, but those favors wouldn’t incorporate the feel of your event. Use your imagination. If you decide that you would rather have centerpieces of hurricane vases filled with shells and candles rather than flowers than you can make it happen! Shells and candles are easily obtainable at craft stores such as Michaels. Another cute centerpiece idea for a beach wedding is a aluminum sand pail with shovels filled to the brim with garden roses according to your colors. What an impression you would make!

I hope my approach to wedding planning has given you a decent jumping off point. There are a few more areas to tackle, like wedding party plans and transportation… Look for my next article dedicated to bridesmaids, groomsmen and carting them around. There I broach the subjects of shopping for flattering dresses in bulk and censoring the Best Man’s toast!

Good luck, enjoy and follow your heart. It will lead you right to your style!

By Ellen Preimesberger

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