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