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The Pros and Cons of an Open vs Cash Bar

Ask almost anyone what the best part of attending a wedding is, and they will more than likely say, “the open bar!” But, is that really the case? Is an open bar really better than a cash bar? We’re on a mission to find out. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of an open vs cash bar. 

Think you already know the winner? You might be surprised… 

Open Bar

Okay, we get it, who doesn’t love an open bar? The bride and groom and whoever is funding the wedding, that’s who. Let’s take a closer look. 


  • Get’s people socializing, out on the dance floor, having fun.
  • It’s a nice thank you for coming gesture/gift.
  • Guests will often leave bigger tips for the bartenders since they don’t have to pay for their drinks.
  • Guests will typically stay longer at the reception, even until closing time!


  • Do we even need to say it? It’s expensive!
  • Guests are much more likely to overindulge and become overly intoxicated.
  • Speaking of being overly intoxicated, most of your guests probably have to drive home! With an open bar, you may want to look into providing transportation. But again, more money.
  • There’s no telling how much the open bar will cost you beforehand. Sure, you could have a cut-off number, but then what? 

Cash Bar

At this point, you might be wondering what the pros of a cash bar could possibly be. Don’t worry, there are definitely some good aspects of having a cash bar. But, there are also some not-so-good aspects. 


  • The absolute biggest benefit of having a cash bar is that it’s nowhere near as expensive as an open bar. Win!
  • Guest’s aren’t as likely to get too drunk.
  • If you’re on a tight budget, a cash bar always wins over no bar. 


  • Hands down, the biggest con for a cash bar is that some of your guests may consider it impolite to host guests and then not pay for their drinks. 
  • Charging for drinks means it will take the bartenders longer to serve them. This could cause long lines and increased waiting time. 
  • Your guests will have to keep up with their wallet/purse, and may not have even realized they’d need to bring cash/credit cards. Be sure to give them a heads up on the invitation or wedding website. 

Overall, if you have the budget for an open bar, that is definitely the way to go. Just be sure to hire good bartenders that won’t overserve any of your guests. (Even if she is the maid of honor!) But, having a cash bar is definitely an option! Just remember to inform your guests before the wedding so they won’t have any unmet expectations. 

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The Pros and Cons of an Open vs Cash Bar | Texoma Bride Guide Blog
The Pros and Cons of an Open vs Cash Bar | Texoma Bride Guide Blog

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