Scenarios: Is it tacky to ask people to help pay for the open bar at my wedding?

Sep 20, 2022, 3:38 PM
Photo from Flickr

On the Gee and Ursula Show, hosts Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin solve other people’s problems in a segment called … Scenarios.

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Scenarios: It’s common for wedding guests to be treated to a meal and alcoholic beverages at a wedding, I get that. And most of the circles that I run in have open bars. Well, I’m getting married in a few months and prices for food and catering fees are outrageous. One of the biggest expenses is the open bar portion. I have decided to keep everyone happy by providing an unlimited bar, but we’ll be charging each guest a fee. My family is furious. They say it’s cheap, low rent, and embarrassing. I say if there’s a problem, they can pay for the open bar. But I came up with a genius idea to make things work. Here’s what I want to do: I want to charge guests that are going to be coming a $35 donation. That donation goes to us for the honeymoon fund, the new house fund, or anything. What happens is this can be used to pay for the open bar, so everyone can come to enjoy the open bar. My fiancé and I are paying for the entire wedding ourselves with no help from either family, so I think personally it’s fair. I don’t think anyone will complain, if they don’t like it, they won’t come and that helps control our costs. Plus, it’ll just be our best friends who really want to be there for us, so it’d be more fun. Now, is this unreasonable? I think it solves all of the problems, don’t you?

Ursula Reutin: Have you ever been to a wedding where you’re told to pay any specific amount to attend the wedding? And this is going to cover your drinks?

Gee Scott: No, but I think there should be. I think this whole thing of weddings being on the folks getting married to pay for the open bar is outrageous. I am okay with paying $35 so me and my lady could come and drink all your alcohol.

Ursula: Here’s another solution: how about you provide the open bar, but you will cover a certain amount. What I see often is you pay for what you can afford, and anyone who wants to buy drinks that are beyond the soft drink or the wine that you purchased, that’s on them. So then you’re not asking for people because there will be some at that wedding who don’t drink. I don’t mind, you know, throwing in 35 bucks or whatever, but in my mind, I would be like, ‘okay, that’s weird.’

Gee: we do need to change some of these traditions.

Ursula: I don’t think you should go into further debt to have a wedding where people can get as sloshed as possible. If you have an open bar you’re covering, trust me, people notice that, and then they will be drinking away. I have heard people going, ‘oh, open bar, are you kidding me.’ And then they just keep going back to the bar trying to get as drunk as heck. You don’t want that. So why don’t you pay for what it is you can afford?

Gee: But $35 is everything. That’s the gift. That’s the wedding gift. That’s everything! Chef?

Andrew “Chef” Lanier: That is really tacky. One, you’re asking the non-drinkers to subsidize the unlimited booze of the drinkers, right? Two, you’re basically charging people an entrance fee to something you invited them to. This solution is very simple, don’t have an open bar, period. If you have tons and tons of money, great, have an open bar if you can afford to do that. Awesome. But to try and say you should have an entrance fee to the wedding because some of my family wants to get really loaded at the open bar. That is the worst possible solution.

Ursula: And then maybe you’ll use some of the leftover money for your honeymoon. By the way? Do you like this idea? You’re not going to have another wedding anyway.

Gee: Yes, I am. Okay, I have an idea for all the sprite, root beer, soda, and water drinkers. Yeah, it’s free. If you want alcohol, you got to pay for it.

Ursula: I’ve seen that happen, sure.

Gee: So we’re done. There it is. No more open bars.

Ursula: There are weddings that I’ve gone to, and yes, if you are going to get hard alcohol, it’s on you.

Gee: All right, Nick.

Nick Creasia: This is not fair at all. Whether you drink more or less or not at all. What are we trying to teach people? Things in life are free? Not at all. Not on my watch at my wedding. I’m making sure people are not having that open bar.

Ursula: So what are you going to do?

Nick: Just got to the bar and pay for what you want. Easy, right? Or how about you get like the first two or three are free.

Gee: The whole drink tickets are just so tacky to me.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Scenarios: Is it tacky to ask people to help pay for the open bar at my wedding?