Whether you can have a cash bar or an open bar will really be determined by which venue you choose. Not all venues allow you to have a cash bar or an open bar. You really need to check with each venue to see what their liquor policies are.
Since we are a venue that allows you bring in your own alcohol, I am a supporter of non-cash bars. Unless of course it is a fundraiser and in that situation cash bars are allowed with the proper permits.
Having an open bar at a wedding is very important. You have invited special people in your life to take time out of their day to spend helping you celebrate one of your most special days. Most guests will spend money on buying you a gift, possibly taking a day off work and I find it hard, when I host an event, to make my guest pay for their drinks.
There are a few mistakes brides and grooms make when having an open bar. Remember this is a celebration not a high school kegger. Speak with your bartender or who ever is in charge of the bar before your wedding. Most bartenders that have hosted bars at weddings can recommend what you should have on hand. Remember the drinks are free to the guests so they will drink what ever you give them in choices. You don’t, and I wouldn’t, set up a full bar. At the most I would offer a couple choices of beer and couple options of wine. I would try and avoid offering hard liquor because that is where a beautiful day can end with bad memories.
You should talk with your bartender about how to handle the over indulgent guests ahead of time. You should always have a contact person that the bartender can advise and consult with should a problem arise. Remember the bartender and venue always reserve the right to stop serving or ask a guest to leave.
If at all possible, within your budget, plan on reserving a shuttle, limo or a bus to help those who drink too much to get home safely. Taxis are great and every venue will be more then happy to call one. A venue would rather see numerous cars left in their parking lot the next morning then hear about an accident later on the news.
There is liability for all who decide to drink alcoholic beverages. Something to remember is that most venues hold the bride, groom, and parents responsible for any damage done to the venue. So we should always just offer enough alcohol so everyone can enjoy the celebration with out letting them over indulge.
If you are a guest of the bride and groom and you are reading this please remember you are a guest of someone special in your life and you don’t want to ruin his or her celebration.
With a little planning and taking the recommendation of your bartender, you can plan an inexpensive and enjoyable evening for everyone.
2331 Ellis Ranch Lane Loveland, Colorado 80538