Wediquette Wednesday: Is a cash bar ever OK at a wedding reception?

Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. This week, we’re taking a question from a colleague who encountered a cash bar at a family member’s wedding reception.


Question: A few years ago, I attended a family wedding in which the couple opted for a cash bar at the reception. Many of my fellow attendees grumbled about it. So my question is, is a cash bar ever OK at a wedding reception?

Answer: The hard and fast rule here is no, it’s never OK to have a cash bar at a wedding reception. In fact, when hosting any gathering whether at home (unless it’s a potluck) or at a rented venue, it’s expected that the hosts pay for their guests. It’s important for the couple to be mindful of their budget and plan accordingly. This could mean offering only beer, wine and non-alcoholic choices, but no spirits. Additional options are to consider inviting less people to the reception to help curb costs or cutting back in another area of the wedding festivities, such as transportation or décor. The point of the reception after all is to celebrate with loved ones and thank them for supporting you and your spouse in your new life together and throughout your marriage. Picking up the check at your reception is a small price to pay for a lifetime of encouragement and love.



Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email


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