Wedding etiquette: Is it rude to not offer open bar?
Throwing a wedding can be very expensive. And one of the most expensive items can be the bar tab. To cut costs, is it OK to not offer an open bar and instead making guests pay for their drinks?
According to MarthaStewartWeddings.com, as a general rule of thumb, your guests shouldn't have to pay for anything at your wedding – including drinks.
There are ways to cut costs on the bar tab, though, while still offering your guests drinks.
One tip is to limit what drinks are served at the bar. You can arrange ahead of time with the bartenders to only offer a couple of types of beer and wine.
To really cut costs, see if the venue will allow you to bring your own alcohol. This way you can buy wine, beer and other types of alcohol at wholesale prices to help cut costs.
Another option is to only offer an open bar for part of the reception. You can host a cocktail hour before dinner that will allow guests to drink for free, and then change to a cash bar after dinner.
If you do decide to have your guests pay for their drinks for a portion of the evening, make sure you mention it on their invitation so they know to bring cash for the bar.