Hosted Bar vs Cash Bar for Your Wedding?

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Wedding planning entails several vital aspects, and figuring out the booze is one. It sounds simple – bring a bartender onboard, order a couple of bottles, and get your wedding day going. Well, it’s not that straightforward.

Stocking the bar at your wedding has more to it, including figuring out how drinks will be served up. In other words, wedding couples will have to decide on the bar service to hire and whether to have a hosted bar or a cash bar at their wedding reception. It’s easy to teeter on the two, which explains why different wedding etiquette experts give varying opinions on each bar option.

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Sterling Catering has you covered hosting a large-scale affair or an intimate gathering in St. Paul and surrounding areas. We can help you plan a memorable wedding, no matter the size of your reception. Even better, we do custom menus, and we can even bring a bar to your special event!

So, if stranded between hosted bar vs. cash bar catering services for your dinner wedding reception, you’re on the right page. We’ll explain what each service entails, including the pros and cons of each option. Let’s get right into it!

Hosted Bar

A hosted bar is where the groom and bride cover all the bar expenses, allowing the guests to enjoy alcoholic drinks and refills without worrying about their budget. As cool as it seems, a hosted bar has its upsides just as it has its downsides. They include:

Pro: Happy Guests

Making your wedding guests happy is arguably the most significant upside of having a hosted bar at your wedding. After all, what’s better than free booze at a party? So, one thing for sure? Expect your guests to be nothing but thrilled.

Pro: No Tedious, Long Lines

Remember, everything is paid for in the hosted bar service. Hence, the bartenders will only focus on serving alcohol rather than continuously pausing to process credit card and cash transactions, slowing down the line.

Con: Costly

Stats by the Bridal Association of America showed that the average cost of bar services and beverages at a reception adds to over $2,000. Jeez! Often, wedding couples consider the cost of a hosted bar as the primary deal-breaker to feature one at their reception.

It’s an expensive option and may not be the best if on a tight wedding budget. Consider a cash bar wedding or limiting your generosity to wine, unlimited beer, or a signature cocktail.

Cash Bar

Unlike a hosted bar, a cash bar typically has your wedding guests pay for their alcoholic beverages. However, a champagne toast for the wedding and a signature drink are often exceptions. While some social circles find a cash bar unacceptable, others don’t seem to mind. Even so, a cash bar also comes with its own pros and cons.

Pro: Significant Savings

One central selling point of a cash bar is its money-saving aspect, as you and your fiancé won’t be covering your guests’ drinks. You can thus focus your budget on other (probably more essential) wedding items by saving your bar costs. Perhaps, extra desserts or ice cream on the sweets table or getting a renowned live band to spice up your wedding reception.

Pro: Less Chance of Guests Over-Indulging

A cash bar is less likely to have incidents of guests over-indulging and possibly causing headaches throughout the night like – spilling alcohol all over the dance floor or photobombing precious memories.

Con: It Can Appear Tacky

Whether on a strained budget or not, a cash bar may not impress some guests – especially if they came expecting a night out with complimentary drinks. To some, it disregards the core canons of hospitality, and hence, the criticism from some. If you’re deciding between having a cash bar or no bar, go with the cash bar. It could keep your event lively and full into the night, allowing your guests to relax and have more fun.

Choose Sterling Catering

At Sterling Catering, we value excellence and understand the importance of exceptional catering on any special occasion. We boast dedicated catering experts that pay attention to detail, ensuring your social gathering, wedding, or corporate event in St. Paul and surrounding areas ends up a memorable success. Not only do we work with you to customize a food menu for your event consisting of the highest quality ingredients and care, but we also offer beverage catering to suit your needs. Contact us today to learn more!