Now don’t get us wrong, if you want to invite us to a free bar party then neither of us is going to turn it down, but is having a free bar at a wedding something that should be expected or a special luxury? Time to find out!
**In the interests of impartiality Bride Vs Groom would like to clarify that no alcohol was consumed during the writing of this post… only before and after.**
In the Red Corner, arguing for buying your own drinks (well I guess she does spend a lot of her time sober at weddings… maybe it’s time everyone else suffered too!) It’s Dom “The Tog Bride”.
In the Blue Corner, fighting for the free bar… what? Whisky’s expensive to buy yourself! It’s Matt “The Gormless Groom”.
Pay at the Bar Vs Drinks Are on You…
Dom: Weddings really are unbelievably expensive events to host, and just feeding the guests can set you back anywhere from £20 – £120 or more per head (although a couple of glasses of wine will often be included in that). Providing a free bar on top of that requires an enormous budget!
Matt: It’s important to really look after your guests and make sure they’re relaxed and enjoying themselves… let’s face it, a free bar pretty much guarantees they’re going to have a good time!
Dom: Free bars can end up costing a lot more than you planned – when you’re not paying you’re bound to drink more and you can end up with two problems – running out of booze leading to some angry guests, or being hit with a bill far higher than you ever budgeted for! Free bars are also notoriously messy…
Matt: Your guests might have paid a lot of money and taken a lot of time out of their busy schedules to be there for your wedding day and having to pay for drinks as well might make it just too expensive for them.
Dom: Nice though it is, these days I don’t think guests really expect a free bar, it’s just a bonus luxury and money that might perhaps be better spent on other parts of the wedding.
Matt: Reception venues often charge a fortune for drinks for the guests but considerably less if it’s part of your overall package. If you can’t stretch to a free bar all night, maybe just put a certain amount behind the bar to get everyone started then let them pay if they want more!
Dom: By the evening you’ve probably already provided the guests with a drink or two at the drinks reception, a couple of glasses of wine with their meal and champagne for the toasts – that seems like drinks wise you’ve been a pretty great host without providing unlimited free drinks for maybe 150 people!
Matt: Free bars are nice and easy for the guests – they don’t need to worry about having enough cash on them or carrying wallets and purses around all day which can be tricky when done up to your nines!
Dom: Free bars tend to be quite limited in drink selections making it much tricker for the pickier drinkers! You don’t want to end up paying for incredibly expensive spirits but those that want them are usually more than happy to pay, and a cash bar is likely to be far better stocked!
Matt: Free bars often encourage more of a sociable atmosphere with all the guests getting each other drinks, hanging out by the bar and talking freely – exactly the kind of atmosphere you want for your wedding reception!
So those are our points but what do you make of the Free Bar / Cash bar debate? Would you be willing to buy all of your guests drinks for the night? As ever you can join the debate by leaving a comment and you can also place your vote in our weekly poll!