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Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Posted by culley52 (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 8, 06 at 19:43

We're considering doing a 50th birthday party at a country club with about 75 guests. We're hung up on the bar situation. I've looked at this thread in the wedding forum and there are lots of opinions. It appears that there are different trends depending on the part of the country you live in. We're in southern California. Either we cut way back on the guest list and do an open bar, or do a cash bar and keep the guest list intact.

I'm guessing that whatever rules apply to wedding events would apply to a 50th birthday party - right?

Any opinions would be appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

A cash bar is always tacky - no matter what part of the country or how it is rationalized. I'd opt for minimizing the open bar to beer and wine only. If that's still too much $$, I'd look into holding the party elsewhere.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I also find cash bars a bit tacky. I don't like being invited to a party and have to pay for my own refreshments.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I ditto the previous two responses. I would even opt to not serve any alchohol at all.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Hmmm...not so sure I agree.

I've been a guest at both ... cash and open bar. I always *expect* it to be a cash bar. Non-alcoholic drinks are free. I just wouldn't expect the party hosts to foot the bill for lots of expensive alcohol. Plus, I think that, with an open bar, some people would over-drink just for that reason ... and that can really detract from an enjoyable evening ...

Also, with the danger of drinking and driving, I think I'd rather have the responsibility on the party-goer than the host.

I've been to parties where everyone gets 1 or 2 drink tickets. Those are free, then drinks over that are paid for by the guest.

As I said, I would expect it to be a cash bar. I absolutely don't think it's tacky. Seems that it would be more important to have more friends there, if that's the choice.

Just my opinion.

Suzieque


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I'm firmly in the tacky camp. If the expense of alcohol is a burden, limit choices or do away with it. If more friends is the priority, limit alcohol to cheaper alternatives or do away with it. If people not behaving appropriately is a concern, hire a bartender, limit choices, don't invite the party animals or do away with alcohol all together. I would sooner have a party in my back yard than have a guest pay for something. At no time would I expect guests I invited to pay for something.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Yep....tacky!....
You might think of providing one kind of drink....either beer or a signature cockatil....and 'allowing" people to pay for their own drinks if they want something else.
I am remembering one deadly wedding reception with no bar at all.....we walked all over the hotel looking for a drink ( needed one to survive the BS)...none to be had!...Not a good thing.
And another awful hotel party where there was no bar....but at least you could go outside into the hall and buy a drink if you wanted.
Offer "something"....and if the guests want something else besure they don't have to go to the bar on the corner to buy it.
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Hmmm....Ok, I guess I'm in the minority. I still wouldn't be offended to attend an event at a Country Club and be asked to pay for my alcoholic drinks. One or 2 "on the host" would be nice, but not necessary in my book.

As I'd said, I've been to this type of occasion and never heard any grumblings about it being tacky.

Not sure if it does have anything to do with regional acceptances, but I'm in the Northeast.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Yup, I went to a similar party a few years ago and there was a cash bar. I thought it was tacky.

I agree that offering beer & wine only, or one signature drink, or something along those lines would be preferable. If it's a seated dinner, serve wine with dinner instead of the bar, that will save you some money while still offering your guests a drink or two. (Even if it's a buffet, if you have tables where guests are expected to sit you can do this. If it's hors d'oeuvres/stand around then it wouldn't work.)

I would sooner have a party in my back yard than have a guest pay for something.
I agree with that - and have in fact held parties in my home to save expense. And I served beer & wine.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I'm in SoCal and I agree that it's tacky at a personal event. I like everyone else's suggestions.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I'm in Connecticut, and I agree it's tacky as well. I like the idea of just beer and wine, or one signature drink.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I'm with suzieque and expect to see a cash bar in a place like that. I mean come on. It's not a backyard barbeque for cripes sake! What's wrong with a cash bar? How many people do you actually know that can afford to dish out hundreds and possibly a thousand bucks just so that you can go overboard on the booze at their expense? Come on everyone!! Not everyone is rolling in the bucks.

Karen


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

If you can't afford to give a party....you should cut down on the guest list....or only offer what you can afford to pay for.
And invitation to a party means "come and I will feed and entertain you". The invitation might be only for coffee and a cookie, but you provide it....or it might mean a full bar with filet mignon for dinner and dancing to a name band....but if you invite, you pay for it. Anything else is pot luck or Dutch treat.
And it is particularly tacky to ask guests to pay for anything for an occasion where people might bring a gift.
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Couldn't have said it any better Lindac. If you invite people to the party you provide everything for your quests. NancyLouise


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Tacky. However, you can limit your offerings to wine (Blackstone offers some decent wines for under 10.00 a bottle), beer, and soda.

Sue


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Linda - you said it! I agree 100%.

The invitation might be only for coffee and a cookie, but you provide it.
If you can't afford to serve booze, then don't serve it. It's your party and you get to decide what to serve. But asking people to buy -- well, would you invite people to a dinner and ask them to buy their own food?

How many people do you actually know that can afford to dish out hundreds and possibly a thousand bucks just so that you can go overboard on the booze at their expense? Come on everyone!! Not everyone is rolling in the bucks.

I'd have to say that if the people you invite come so they can go overboard on booze at your expense, you might want to rethink the guest list. I'd compare the open bar to a buffet dinner. The food is open for the taking, but you don't expect anyone to consume large amounts of food just cuz they're not paying. I'm sure some people do have that kind of mindset when it comes to free booze, but I'd definitely do my best to eliminate those types.

If it were my party, I'd either have a limited amount of limited choice -- whatever I could afford -- or I'd just skip the booze altogether. Either way, it's better than asking people to pay. IMHO.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Just my opinion, but I don't find cash bars tacky at all. I live in CT and in a very "snobbish" part of the state and it's done all the time! If I'm invited to a party, whether it's at a restaurant or hall, I full expect to pay for alcoholic drinks (not soda, etc.) I've only been to a couple parties in past ten years that had free drinks all around. I don't care how much money you have, to foot the bill for alcohol is a lot. Besides, some people cannot afford to foot such a bill. That doesn't mean they shouldn't throw a party if they want. If you have a party in your home, it's a little easier to provide the liquor. But if you are throwing a party at a restaurant, for example, you may not be able to control the costs, etc. You do what you can do with the resources you have and you make the best of it.

In all the parties I've been to where there was a cash bar (weddings included) I never heard one complaint.

: )


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I agree with Laurie3333, I am from RI and I go to Country club parties, restaurant parties etc. and rarely is there an open bar.

Now, at someone's house, that is different. Everything should be provided there (free of charge).

I have also been to middle of the road parties where beer and wine were free, and mixed drinks had to be paid for. The open bar parties I have been to have run the gamut from everyone drinking moderately, to full blown drunks everywhere.

You guys from SoCal must be livin' it up with all those open bar parties. Maybe it is regional?!


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I've lived in the South (Georgia), Midwest (Kansas) and Northeast (Pennsylvania) and would have considered it tacky in all three regions. I stand by seeking to control costs in a way that does not ask guests to pay for their entertainment such as cutting the list, changing venues or limiting choices.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

If I was invited to someone's birthday party and faced paying for drinks I would be offended. A birthday party is a personal event, isn't it? You're inviting friends and family who give a hoot about your birthday.

If you are having large, impersonal events and invite everyone you've ever met - what's the point of such a party? Maybe I'm not getting that part of it.

Maybe it is regional, but I can't even remember the last time I faced a cash bar. (Actually yes - it was my 20th high school reunion. That's an event where you should have a cash bar.)

If it's because the venue, like a country club or whatever, is charging a lot for the bar, maybe try to find a venue that's more affordable?


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I, too, have lived in several cities -- in New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and I rarely see cash bars at private parties (as opposed to charity or political fundraisers, class reunions, etc.). I am sure there are hosts who have cash bars in each place, though; I think that it depends on the community (i.e. the "crowd," not just geography). Your instincts are correct that the same rules apply to weddings, birthday parties -- all private parties.

Count me among those who considers cash bars, or cash anything, in bad taste. I agree with the many posters who say that hosts provide everything, and if that means they don't have a full bar, then that's what it means. Your choices are not limited to, as you wrote, "Either we cut way back on the guest list and do an open bar, or do a cash bar and keep the guest list intact." Consider serving no alcohol, just wine and beer, a "signature cocktail," a time-limited open bar, or other solutions.

Lowspark said it very well: "I'd compare the open bar to a buffet dinner. The food is open for the taking, but you don't expect anyone to consume large amounts of food just cuz they're not paying. I'm sure some people do have that kind of mindset when it comes to free booze, but I'd definitely do my best to eliminate those types."

If you don't want to spend for hard liquor, then just don't -- the same as you may choose to offer chicken rather than lobster. But that doesn't mean you have to provide a way for your guests to buy liquor (it's almost an insult to them to suggest that they couldn't manage if you didn't). If you can only spend enough to serve chicken, would you feel obligated to offer a cash buffet or cash menu for those who would prefer lobster? Of course not. You serve what you serve, and that's what they get. If they don't like it, they go find a public bar and buy a drink, the same as they can go find a candy machine if they don't like your dessert.

A couple of posters above said something like, "I've been to parties with cash bars, and no one was grumbling." I'm sure they are telling the truth. But look at the vast weight of opinion here. Just because people were polite enough not to criticize their hosts' decisions within hearing of other guests doesn't mean they didn't think it was tacky, inhospitable, and maybe even offensive. You wouldn't hear one word of criticism from me at a party with a cash bar, and even if the hosts asked me if I thought it was tacky, I wouldn't say so -- and look how strongly I feel: I think even a tip jar on an open bar is grossly inappropriate. So beware of relying on reports that "no one thinks it's tacky" -- obviously, many, if not most, people do (including at least one poster in your area). If we are representative of your guests, or even of a few of them, is that really the impression you want to give?


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

It's not like she would be asking them to pay for the food, for goodness sake! It's liquor. People do not "need" liquor at a party. Sure, it's fun and anyone who drinks would like to do so especially at a happy occasion, but if you can't spend a few hours celebrating with a friend or family member at a party without requiring a free drink, then you shouldn't be there. I'm not talking about parties in private homes. I'm talking about restaurant affairs, etc. If the host is paying for the facility, the food, the tip, the service charges, whatever, I feel that's enough. Non-alcoholic drinks are usually included with the meal. So I'm talking about the liquor here.

And if a dear friend or family member asked me honestly if I felt that a cash bar was "tacky", I would be honest but in nice way. If you truly are their friend, you will be honest because they are asking your opinion. Otherwise they wouldn't ask you.

Anyway, that's just my opinion and I respect everyone else's. I think you just have to do what you can do and I doubt anyone who cares about you will remember this faux pas (if that indeed is what they consider a cash bar). I think what they'll remember is the fun, the memories and the time spent with a dear friend/loved one. Personally, if a friend of mine only remembered the fact that I had a cash bar at my party, then quite frankly I'd rather not be friends with her. Life is about more than a cash or open bar! Good luck with whatever you choose. : )


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I still agree with laurie3333! I wonder what you guys think about weddings??? Now that is a setting where I have DEFINITELY seen open bars get way out of control.

I also don't think that it is tacky to have a tip jar (or to give a tip) to a bartender working an open bar. Why is that tacky exactly? The bartender is still serving you a beverage and working the party. Bartenders usually don't make very high hourly wages, I always tip open bar or cash, and I always tip well. I think it's tacky NOT to tip a bartender.

Of course it always nice to go to an event where the alcohol is free, but I don't expect it. Just my opinion.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Good manners dictates that when you pay cash for a drink, you hand back some change to the server who hands it to you. A tip jar on the counter indicates that you might be such a clod that you don't know enough to leave a tip.

I live in Iowa....and a cash bar is definitly considered tacky..BY CERTAIN PEOPLE! I was once invited to a wedding shower and asked to send a check for my dinner, my share of the bride's dinner and a gift!..I sent money for the gift and declined the rest. But apparently others didn't find it tacky.
I went to a wedding at the American Legion where there was a cash bar...I expected it there. I went to an anniversary party at the VFW, cash bar...but a keg was provided, I expected the cash bar but was surprised they provided the keg.
Truthfully, it's a socio economic thing. If the people you are inviting give parties with a cash bar, why then they wouldn't expect anything else. But if your guest list includes those who throw a party and pay for everything, why then they will definitly think a cash bar is tacky.
I guess the bottom line is your tolerance for tackiness. Will your party include cloth napkins and table cloths? Or plastic disposable plates stacked on the end of the table?
If the rest of your party is lovely, consider serving just wine, or cut back on your list....or have it somewhere else.
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

People do not "need" liquor at a party. Sure, it's fun and anyone who drinks would like to do so especially at a happy occasion, but if you can't spend a few hours celebrating with a friend or family member at a party without requiring a free drink, then you shouldn't be there.

Exactly my point. Liquor is not required. If you can afford a full open bar, great! If you can afford only beer & wine, or only a signature drink or whatever, that's fine too!

If you can afford none of it, then don't provide it. I'd much rather go to a party where no alcohol is being served than to one where I'm expected to buy my own.

Personally, I just wouldn't want people who overdo the alcohol at my party, regardless of who's buying.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

To be quite frank, after reading this thread I think some people (and I don't mean this thread all by itself but in general) are maybe, perhaps, a bit of a snob. : ) I don't say that in a mean way but, as I said before, if you attend a party for a friend or loved one and all you think about (or criticize) is the fact that you had to spend $5 or $10 or whatever for a drink or two, then perhaps you should skip the party. Not everyone in this world can afford to do things "the right way" or to "impress" others or to do everything perfectly; we all do what we can with what we have; it's the thought that counts!

This was an interesting thread, wasn't it?! : )


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

The original question asked if a cash bar at a birthday party would be tacky. Some of us honestly replied that we think it is, and why, and gave ideas about alternatives. These forums are great because you hear from people of all ages, areas and walks of life. Please don't get offended or start calling names - like "snob". It's not productive to the discussion at hand.

Again, I think there are events where a cash bar makes the most sense, as in a school reunion or a business function. And some venues may require that when you use their venue, you use their bar services.

I don't know when cash bars started popping up at more personal events but it's an encroachment I really find objectionable, at any "level of society". And there were times I had no money and still believed the same.

Where do you draw the line? Like someone mentioned - she was once asked to pay for her own dinner at a personal function. You do hear about people doing that. Again, if you can't afford to have a sit-down dinner wedding reception and feed 100 people, for goodness' sakes, please just have a cocktail reception or a whatever you can afford. It's extremely ill-mannered to ask for cash donations for the food at your own wedding function.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Yes, Laurie, everyone CAN afford to to things "the right way", because the right way is about making people feel welcome, that you care about them and will do your best to see that they are happy, and comfortable and not embarrassed in any way. One of the thoughts against having guests pay for their drinks is perhaps they may not be able to. I do know that as a single woman there was one occasion where I went to a party with another couple. He drove, I carried a little evening purse with some ID and $5....and it was a cash bar. I was very uncomfortable!
Years ago I went to a party where a keg was provided, and when that ran out, the host took up a collection to go out and buy another.....
We took the opportunity to leave.
By the way, consider this next week i am having a party at the country club. There will be a bar but you will have to pay for your drinks. There will also be a buffet at 7:30. I will be serving tuna noodle casserole and a lovely jello salad and potato chips. However there will be an laternate buffet serving roast prime rib, twice baked potatoes, green salad with your choice of dressing, for a cash price of $20 per person.
Or perhaps this party At the local Mexican restraunt, there will be a keg of beer and pitchers of Margaritas until 8 PM. Chips and salsa on every table and a build your own taco table will be put out at 7:00. Please stay as long as you like, there will be beer served until midnight.
I would take the taco party any day!
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

GinaW: I wasn't calling anyone on this board a snob. I was simply stating a fact about people in general. And I am not "offended" by anything on this board. I find the comments intriguing.

Also, you mentioned paying for food at a wedding. Even I agree that's tacky! But again, this post was talking about liquor, not food.

Everyone has their own idea of what's appropriate and that's what makes like so interesting. Take care everyone and good luck to the original poster. : )


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Okay, I agree paying for your dinner at a wedding is tacky. But so many people bring envelopes with money for the bride and groom, effectively (if the bride and groom are throwing their own wedding) paying for their dinners, venue etc. Hmmmmmm...

Depending on the event, I usually assume that there will be a cash bar, and I am pleasantly surprised when there is an open bar. What I do "expect" is to have a great time socializing with the party goers and enjoying myself. And I always tip the bartender cash or open bar regardless.

Has this 50th bash happened yet, what did you do????


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

And I think bring an "envelope" to the wedding is tacky too... A wedding gift should be sent ahead.
My daughter married into an Italian family and there was a LOT of cash brought to the wedding in cards. Thank heavens someone warned us so we had someone watch the table where the cards were....but there was almost $3,000 in cash...not checks but bills! Of course they were delighted, but a check sent before or after would have been a lot less worry.
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

And I think bring an "envelope" to the wedding is tacky too... A wedding gift should be sent ahead.
My daughter married into an Italian family and there was a LOT of cash brought to the wedding in cards. Thank heavens someone warned us so we had someone watch the table where the cards were....but there was almost $3,000 in cash...not checks but bills! Of course they were delighted, but a check sent before or after would have been a lot less worry.
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Cash wedding gifting is a custom in some cultures. I didn't get any :-(

I guess here in the U.S. we have people from all cultural backgrounds and it keeps things interesting on one hand, but unpredictable on the other hand. Hopefull someday I'll be invited to an Indian (hindu?) wedding - lots of dancing!


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I am another one who thinks a cash bar is misplaced at a personal gathering. The venue hasn't really got anything to do with it. When you invite people to join with you in celebrating a personal event, you treat them like guests not like someone at a "paid ticket" event.

From the time I was a way broke student until today I have planned parties based on what I could afford which often meant restricting the numbers of guests, or the menu or the beverages...or all of the above. Stay within your financial means rather than asking your guests to fill the $$$ gap.

A Canadian point of view....


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Here is another example: My friend is having a one year Birthday party for her son. He is having the party at her MIL's house and told me she is inviting everyone ( almost 100 people). She plans to serve coffee and some nibbles and then hopes everyone goes home! ( Read after we open the gifts).

Her mom said no deal. Either buy decent food and drink or invite only your friends who are as poor as you are!


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Good for her mom!!!
What she is doing is "trolling for gifts"...
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Bonelady, yikes! Did she really put it that way? Bluntness aside, though, I see the mom's point. A child's birthday party is an event to which guests are definitely expected to bring a gift. Inviting a HUNDRED people does sort of seem like the idea is to get as many gifts as possible -- certainly, the one-year-old guest of honor won't appreciate a huge party. So I guess I agree that it would seem nicer to provide a little more for the guests. But I wouldn't have said "only invite your friends who are as poor as you are" -- I would have suggested they invite fewer people.

Laurie, I too don't think it's fair to call people -- even in general -- "snobs" because they don't like cash bars at private parties. I also think that your remarks, "Personally, if a friend of mine only remembered the fact that I had a cash bar at my party, then quite frankly I'd rather not be friends with her," and "if you attend a party for a friend or loved one and all you think about (or criticize) is the fact that you had to spend $5 or $10 or whatever for a drink or two, then perhaps you should skip the party" are overstating the case a bit. No one here said that that was all they would think about or remember, or even anything close to that. People are just answering the original poster's question about their feelings about cash bars, and as you yourself said, "if a dear friend or family member asked me honestly if I felt that a cash bar was 'tacky,' I would be honest but in nice way. If you truly are their friend, you will be honest because they are asking your opinion. Otherwise they wouldn't ask you." I presume people posting questions here want honest answers, although we are not "dear friends or family members." Probably they are a lot more likely to get them here, too -- no need to live with the consequences of, say, telling your sister something she doesn't want to hear.

lindac's example about the country club party with the cash bar and buffet vs. the casual, low-cost party, where the hosts provide everything, at the Mexican restaurant is perfect. ANYONE can afford to do things hospitably. What we can't always do is both provide for our guests AND live out our fantasies of deluxe level entertaining for huge numbers of guests -- without asking those "guests" to pay for our entertaining. I still absolutely don't see the difference between food and alcohol. If it would be wrong to ask guests to pay for one, then why not the other? And if it's okay to serve only the food you want to and can afford to provide, then why is it not okay to serve only the beverages you want to and can afford to provide? I completely agree with Laurie that "People do not 'need' liquor at a party. ... [I]f you can't spend a few hours celebrating with a friend or family member at a party without requiring a free drink, then you shouldn't be there." But I would add that the word "free" is unnecessary there -- if you can't enjoy the party without a drink at all, or without anything else that the hosts didn't choose to provide, then maybe you shouldn't be there. That's why providing a cash bar seems insulting to me -- it's like saying to my guests, "We're not serving alcohol, but I know that you are so addicted that you can't survive a few hours without it, so I provided a cash bar for you."

For the same reason, I still also respectfully disagree about tip jars. Do you tip the waiter who brings your dinner at a wedding reception? Why not, if you tip the bartender who serves your drink? (I stress that I am talking about a bartender hired just for your party, not the bartender at the public bar elsewhere in the building.) The hosts presumably are already tipping all the help they are hiring. The help should not be asking the hosts' guests for money; they represent the hosts, after all, so it is really just as if the hosts were doing the asking. I wouldn't want my guests to think that the tip jar was there so that I wouldn't have to tip the bartenders.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

oh dear!! You were talking about a tip jar at a bar where the hosts were paying for the drinks? And when you pay for the drinks you also pay the bartender!....NO TIP JAR!
A couple of years ago I hosted a big deal Christmas party with another couple. It was about a $1,000 party. There was a bartender and serving and clean up help and champaign and oceans of shrimp etc.......and I cannot believe how totally out of place a tip jar on the bar would have been!! The bartender earned a very good tip from the hosts!
When our daughter was married, the bartenders, the waiters, the band, even the manager of the Country Club all were tipped well.....and we would have been more than insulted if there was even a thought of anyone soliciting a tip!
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Okay, I am totally going to get slammed by you guys, but...

Apparently none of you have ever been bartenders. I think putting out a tip jar is a bit tacky, and I think it's great that you, as the host of the party, are taking care of the staff, but there is nothing tacky about a guest tipping a bartender. Whether it is an open bar or cash bar, if one of your guests feels like tipping the bartender, that is really nice (I said nice, not neccessary). Also, function staff waiters and waitresses make MUCH higher hourly wages than the bartender, because it is assumed that the bartender will be tipped accordingly. That is how most golf clubs and country clubs work. I am not saying that as the host, you should not be responsible for the majority of the staff tipping, I am just saying, if you have a few drinks at the bar, tip the bartender. When my DH and I go to an open bar, or cash bar party, we usually tip the bartender $20 just for taking care of us all night, and because we have been in his or her shoes...


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

At a cash bar, of course tip.....at an open bar ( where the host pays for the liquor and for the help....and tips) it's not necessary. But it's fine to hand the bartender a bill either when you are served or at the end of the evening....unless of course the bartender is the owner or the manager.....a mistake I have made twice in my life, and was embarrassed to have made such a blunder!
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

lindac, I see your point. I just think it's a nice gesture to tip regardless.

I am still wondering whatever happened with this party? Where is the orginal poster????


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Are the bartenders at an OPEN (= host is paying for the liquor, not the guests) payed less than the food servers? I don't mean at a restaurant, I mean at a catered party. If the caterer is employing them all, I thought they were paid the same. But if I'm wrong, I'd like to learn about that, although I still think the hosts should do all the tipping.

Emmhip, I agree with you, it isn't "tacky" for guests to tip the bartender (as opposed to the bartender's putting out a tip jar, which is). But tackiness isn't the issue. If I were the host, I would be upset to see my guests tipping the staff -- waiters, bartenders, dishwashers, whatever. I would think that my guests were implying I am too cheap to pay the staff adequately (and how do they know? Did they go so far as to ASK them what they are being paid?), or perhaps that they think I must be horrible to work for, so they are taking it upon themselves to compensate. That would make me feel terrible.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Gellcom it is polite to tip the household staff should you be an overnight guest at a private home witha chamber maid.
My daughter has done duty as a waitress and my son as a bartender. My son's bar tender job paid more but where he worked the tips were shared with all the wait staff....my daughter got paid very little in wages but made out like a bandit in tips.
Anytime I have delt with bartenders and waiters at the same time from the same establishment, the wages were the same.
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Yes, I think it's tacky.
If a guest wants to give the bartender something, it's the guest's prerogative, but the host has also tipped the bartender in his bill. It's already figured in the cost to the host.
Happy party.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Well, just in this thread, I count 13 who think a cash bar at a private party is tacky, especially at an event where the guests are giving gifts, and 4 who don't (I didn't count bonelady either way, although her post suggests she wouldn't have a cash bar). Now, it's not that majority rules or anything like that -- in fact, it's almost the opposite, when you think of it. Here's what I mean: 76% of this non-scientifically selected group disapprove. So if this group is representative (which of course it's not, because we know these things vary with community, but stay with me a moment), that means that if you have a cash bar at your private party, 76% of your guests will think it's tacky, or some variation of that. Why would you go to all the trouble to make a lovely party, and then have most of your guests put off? Especially because none of the "anti" posters said hosts should provide OPEN bars -- in fact, most stressed that they would NOT think it was tacky or wrong not to serve alcohol at all, or just some limited bar, or whatever, just as long as the guests aren't charged for anything.

But even if the numbers were reversed -- would you feel okay about "only" a quarter of your guests thinking you did something tacky? Would you post a notice on the wall with the results of a survey to prove you're right, and therefore no one can be offended? It doesn't even matter what is "right" or "wrong" if your concern is how your guests feel. So even if you live in a community where cash bars are customary, keep in mind that there probably will still be a few people who think they are unacceptable. You can still have one, of course -- it's no crime, for heaven's sake! But if what you want is to know if anyone would be offended, now you have the knowledge base to make an informed decision.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Good job of summing it all up, gellchom! That makes perfect sense.

And I, too, would like to know what the OP decided to do and how the party went. culley52, you still out there?


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

gellchom, good points!!!
I would never want one guest to think my party is tacky, let alone almost all of them. I will stay away from the cash bar scenario in planning future events, and take this as a learning experience.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

hey, wait a minute... shouldn't the question be, how generous can you reasonably be? I love to cook and have people over for dinner, but reasonably, I cannot foot such a bill all the time, so some of the time, I throw caution to the wind and throw a big hoopla for a small group of guests. Perhaps some people have big groups of friends, want to see them, but don't want to strap themselves financially, but they would like to get people together, they can fork over dough for the venue, for the food, but the alcohol, well, we all know the markup there..

c'mon folks, can we be a bit less judgmental?


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

The question was asked if it's tacky to ask people to come to a birthday party at a country club and ask them to pay for their drinks....the answer was without a doubt..."YES".
If you want to see a large group of friends but can't afford to pay for all....call and invite them to a pot luck....or say lets all get together and go out.
That's not being judgemental....that's just being honest. A cash bar is tacky at a party you are throwing.
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

crispy, did you read ALL the comments? That point has already been addressed in the discussion above.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Uh, this is a discussion forum is it not and I wished to weigh in my opinion and be counted in with the "non-tacky" vote. Gee, someone last calculated 34% ? So there! Exercising my vote.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Your math is a bit off....it's only 24% that think it's OK to ask guests to pay for their own drinks.
Say! I just had an idea?? A country club makes a profit on every drink sold, don't they? You could have a huge party in your home, hire a bartender and charge $3.50 to $6 per drink and probably make enough to pay for the food!

Tacky? Really? What is that different than asking guests to pay for drinks at a country club?
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Hey, why not charge $7 and turn a profit?

The percentages are irrelevant. As I pointed out in the "math" post, this is a completely unrepresentative sample anyway.

But I wouldn't even want ONE percent of my guests laughing at me.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Gosh, this topic has been beaten to death, but I weigh in on the side of "provide what you can afford" and everyone will appreciate it, whether it's coffee and cookies or caviar and expensive champagne. As another poster said, I remember the time I went to a wedding by myself with my license and $5 with my comb and lipstick in my pretty little purse only to discover it was a cash bar. No good friends were there, so I didn't ask for a loan from anyone; just sat there feeling a little silly. I'd never want a guest of mine to feel like that.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I think the irony is in having the party at a country club and having a cash bar;
I am in the camp of finding cash bars tacky- food and drink go hand in hand when you entertain, you do it all or don't do it at all.

Or you find a more modest venue where you can buy your own inexpensive wine and liquor and have people serve themselves.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

many years ago, my husband and i received an invitation from some fairly new friends to attend a restaurant birthday party in honor of the husband. the invitation clearly explained that each guest would pay a set fee for his or her meal. i had never received such an invitation before. we thought it was pretty tacky and was surprised, to say the least. but we went and had a pretty good time.

the irony is that just last year, my husband and i hosted a gala 50th birthday party for the wife (of this same couple)-- at our house, very fancy, no fees charged to the guests! i had actually forgotten the you-pay-for-it birthday party until i read this thread.

i guess the lesson here is that i didn't particularly approve of it when my friends charged for their party, but i supported it by attending; nevertheless, i couldn't have such a thing myself.
nancy


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Nfukura's post reminded me of a birthday party -- I think a 40th -- we were invited to several years ago. It was a surprise party for my friend, given by his girlfriend. She had secured one of the best restaurants in town for the evening (a night the restaurant is ordinarily closed) and invited a LOT of people for a very fancy, special dinner -- but we were "invited" to pay our own way, and although I am sure it was fantastic, it was very expensive. We had a conflict and couldn't attend anyway. But I knew my poor friend was going to be absolutely mortified when he found out that his girlfriend had charged the guests. (And he was -- but he married her anyway!)

Other friends have from time to time had the "great" idea of planning an AMAZING party with a famous band -- I'm talking, like, Blood Sweat and Tears -- and either charging all the guests or else asking several friends each to chip in some MAJOR bux. They are inevitably puzzled and a little hurt when there are no takers, and the parties don't happen. The thing is, if people are going to plunk down that kind of money, they want it to be for their OWN dream party, not for someone else's choices. I think that often happens with "destination weddings," too -- the bride and groom think that they are planning a wonderful vacation for their guests. But if I am going to spend the money (and time) for a cruise or a trip to Hawaii or something, I would like to choose the time and ship/destination myself, not to mention maybe go with my own friends or family, not my friend's uncle and fiance's college roommate.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

The party is probably over, but I wanted to add a couple comments. If anyone has been to a wedding message forum, you will find umpteen opinions on what is right or wrong - from cash bars, to dollar dances, to providing 10 favors, or not providing any favors, etc. etc. Rather than any of this being "regional" tradition, it seems to be more of what is accepted within your own social circles. I personally don't see anything wrong with hosting a party where no alcohol is being served. Even if the party is at a public place that has a bar on site, I don't think that means the hosts are required to provide booze to their guests. If a host does not object to alcohol, I see nothing wrong with just providing beer or wine, but no hard liquor. But they shouldn't be required to provide any alcohol if they don't desire to.

I have been to numerous weddings and parties - some open bars all night; others just beer, wine & soda is served at the party and if you want hard liquor you have to go to the bar to buy a drink, to no alcohol being served at all. I have never been offended at any offerings that were provided at parties. Just last month my SIL had a baby shower at an exclusive restaurant. There was a bar in the group room where the party was held, but only soda was provided free of charge because the hostess family are non-drinkers. Everyone expected this because we knew who was throwing the party and if guests wanted alcohol, they bought their own drinks. But at another bridal shower given within the same family (different sister), alcohol was free flowing. That was nice for the people who drank, but nobody would have been offended if it wasn't provided.

In our region and our social circle, it is customary to provide beer, wine and soda for guests at big parties or weddings (presuming the hosts don't object to alcohol). If anyone wants hard liquor, they purchase it themselves. Sometimes there is an open bar for a couple hours before dinner (only "bar" booze, no name brands), then only soda & beer the rest of the evening. Some parties we've gone to have a "theme" drink provided plus soda, but anything else must be purchased. If you come to my house for a picnic or family reunion, you will have beer, wine, wine coolers and non-alcoholic drinks, but not booze.

This is just my humble opinion, but just because the party is being held at a public location that has a bar on site doesn't necessarily mean that you have to provide free booze at your party.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Bizlady, I agree that you don't necessarily HAVE to provide free booze if a party is held at a public place with a bar on the premises.
But if you are in a party room at that place and there is a bar set up in that room to be used exclusivly for those attending the party, there should be no charge for the booze.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Blizlady, I'm with you 100%.

I've been to many hosted parties at restaurants, event halls, etc., and it's just common practice to have a cash bar. It's not even thought of, just assumed. There have been very few occasions where it's been open bar. Of course, that's a pleasant surprise, but a cash bar isn't a disappointment or "tacky"; it's normal, in my area, at least, and not even given a 2nd thought.

I'm surprised that this thread has carried on for so long! Seems that there are more that think it's tacky than don't ... oh well, I'm certainly in the minority, but that's ok! LoL. I guess it's just a matter of what's customary in your locale and social circle.

Suzieque


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I too have been to parties hosted at a club, hotel, or elsewhere, where a cash bar was provided for drinks that guests might want in addition to what is provided by the hosts. I have NEVER heard anyone complain and it is just an acceptable practice, many people expect and accept it.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Wondering if those parties at the clubs and hotels also provided an alternate buffet for those that didn't like the food that was being served?

Perhaps what's really tacky is guests that accept hospitality and expect a host to provide everything they might possibly want to eat or drink?
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Linda C - huh? I think you meant to slam those of us who don't think it's tacky to have a cash bar, but somehow I think that your last sentence agreed with us. Yes, I do think it's tacky for guests to think that the host will provide (and pay for) everything they want.

Not sure what is meant by your comment about an alternate buffet. Apples and oranges, entirely. I think this thread has proven that different areas, different cultures, different laws, and different habits all have a bearing on whether or not open bars are expected or a nice surprise. No need to try to trash someone for having a different opinion ... now that's tacky.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Whoa, cool down, everyone!

I don't think LindaC meant to be criticizing anyone -- I think she was just saying that guests should accept whatever hosts provide, no different for drink than for food, and that hosts are no more obligated to provide liquor to drink than caviar to eat.

But I repeat my caution to those who comment that "I have NEVER heard anyone complain" and that cash bars are "not even given a 2nd thought": just because you haven't heard anyone complain does NOT mean that everyone -- even most people -- thought something was fine. They may just be politely keeping their opinions to themselves. I am sure that even those who posted here that they thought cash bars are completely unacceptable have never, ever said so to any hosts who had cash bars, and probably not even to others at the party. And haven't you ever told a host a little white lie -- like that their (yukky) special recipe had been delicious, or that you really enjoyed getting to know (obnoxious) Aunt Pittypat, or that their (deadly dull) party was lovely and fun? That's not just polite, it's simple kindness.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

You said what I was trying to Gellchom. No need for a host to provide something for every eventuality and it is rude for a guest to expect something which is not part of the party. It's rather like bringing your own meal to a dinner party because the hosts may not be serving something you like. When you are a guest you accept the host's offerings, or go without until you get home.

And of course a guest never complains about the offerings, especially within the hearing of the hosts.
Many "clubs" won't allow a cash bar at a party with a host. If you are having a party at our facility, either pay for the bar too or don't have a bar....because we are a club and just anyone can't buy dinner and drinks here....just members and their guests. And when you have a cash bar you then have to have someone collecting money and making change etc.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Yes, I do think it's tacky for guests to think that the host will provide (and pay for) everything they want.

Actually, That's not at all what Linda is saying. No one said the host has to provide (paid for or not!) everything the guests might want. That's almost a physical impossibility!

What we're saying is that the host should decide what s/he wants to serve, can afford to serve and then stop right there. The guest, in return, should be happy with that. As a guest, I never expect my host to serve free liquor. Some do and I'm pleasantly surprised and will have a glass of wine or two. But a party can be just as nice with no alcohol. After all, I'm there to visit with (or celebrate with) the host and guest of honor, not to lap up free booze.

The problem IMHO occurs when booze is at the party and I'm expected to pay for it. It puts people in an uncomfortable position.

I'd much rather go to a party with no booze than be asked to pay for my own. The point (again) comes down to the host paying for what they want to and can afford to pay for, and the guests making do with what is served.

If it's normal in your crowd to have a cash bar at a party, I guess that's what you do. But as gellchom pointed out, just because no one complains doesn't mean they are ok with it. I didn't complain to my host at the private party I went to where there was a cash bar years ago. But believe me, I was not pleased at the idea of paying for my own booze there -- again, I'd have rather there be no alcohol at all. Much nicer.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I think there is a disconnect on an unspoken issue here. As I see it, the "elephant in the chatroom" is the amount of alcohol different people expect their guests to drink. Look at some of these excerpts:

emmhip: "I wonder what you guys think about weddings??? Now that is a setting where I have DEFINITELY seen open bars get way out of control."

suzieque: "I think that, with an open bar, some people would over-drink just for that reason ... and that can really detract from an enjoyable evening ... Also, with the danger of drinking and driving, I think I'd rather have the responsibility on the party-goer than the host."

nookie: "How many people do you actually know that can afford to dish out hundreds and possibly a thousand bucks just so that you can go overboard on the booze at their expense?"

Who ARE these people who can be depended upon to drink themselves sick at every opportunity -- including someone else's WEDDING, for heaven's sake? I admit, I live in a pretty tame community where drinking is concerned -- the caterers all say they bring tons of food and sometimes still run out, and not much booze and usually have most left over. One or two cocktails before dinner and a glass or two of wine at dinner is the most I personally ever have, and in all the zillion weddings we've been to over the years, I can't offhand ever remember seeing anyone even what I would call drunk, let alone out of hand or sick, although I am sure it must have happened a few times. Now, I know that's not the case in every community -- I guess we're just pretty pokey. But come on. Even if your community drinks a lot more, do THAT many guests drink so much that they get out of control or run up an unbelievable tab? I know that there are close friends and relatives you have to invite no matter what. But other than those mandatory guests, why on earth would you invite someone to your wedding that you couldn't depend upon to behave appropriately -- including drinking an appropriate amount? We don't expect our guests to empty a buffet into a shopping bag; why expect them to drink to excess just because it's free? It would seem to me that if they can't control their drinking in a setting like a wedding, they probably can't be depended upon to control a lot of other behaviors, either.

I like what lowspark said: "I'd have to say that if the people you invite come so they can go overboard on booze at your expense, you might want to rethink the guest list." I'd only add that I'd be just as scared to invite someone like that to a party with a cash bar. If they make a scene, throw up on Grandma, or crash their car on the way home, who cares who paid for the alcohol?


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

If the reason you aren't having an open bar is because you are afraid some guests will get drunk, then you ought to invite different friends. And if the reason you are not having an open bar is because you don't want to spend that much, you need to invite fewer friends....or skip or limit the bar.

Two examples. One was a party, 50th birthday at the club where I belong. Almost all the guests were also club members. There was a DJ by the dance floor, a keg in one corner and a party bar with a bartender set up in another corner. I didn't find out until much later when I got my club bill, that it was a cash bar.....and the bartender just charged club members for their drinks. Tacky??? You bet!

And another time some other members of a dinner group I belong to gave a cocktail and buffet party for about 75 for another's daughter and her fiance at my house. The fiance was not one of our group...nor were his parents. I had a bar set up with everything that anyone might want.....and the fiance and his father got stinking drunk. Helping them out the door drunk! They were obviously taking advantage of free booze.....or drowning their sorrows about the wedding. The marriage didn't last long.

So....the bottom line is what's tackier than having a cash bar? People who take advantage of an open bar and get drunk....but then people who get drunk are tacky any time.
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

This IS a tough one-I've read most of the posts and been back and forth-good argument either way!

My wedding in 1993--I provided one bottle champagne/one bottle of wine for each "pair", if you will. When DH and I reached the reception (post photos) it was virtually mutiny!! All the alcohol was gone and the natives were restless after 40 mins.--apparently the booze was a bigger draw than the extravagant appetizers-which is where I put more money while planning.

I'm no prude, but I never imagined people would drink so much. Given that, I'd be somewhat afraid to have an "open bar"--I may never be able to pay for it! LOL


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Wow, this has certainly created a lot of interest. Last year we attended a 40th birthday at a hotel with food, music, etc. all provided. The alcohol was a cash bar. The drinks were TINY and EXPENSIVE. That made it tacky. One of our neighbors who owns taverns/restaurants commented later that the house should have made the drinks a better value and not look like they were gouging a captive audience.

Well, later in the year I was hosting the 50th birthday for my other half. The restaurant manager and I agreed that tap domestic beer and house wines would be put on my tab. Anything else was cash from the guest. Of course, the guests were all friends, so everyone understood. Those who did not want much to drink or were happy with house beer and wine got served at no charge to them. Those who wanted imported beer, top shelf drinks, etc. could make that choice. I think everyone was pleased with the situation. The only thing I might have done different would have been to have pitchers of house margaritas at my expense, as the food was mexican theme.

One couple who are friends have the money to provide a lavish bar when they entertain, but I just can not do that. They understand that I entertain at my level and they at theirs.

DP


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I share the "cash bar is always tacky" opinions.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I am in the Detroit area and had never even heard of the concept of cash bars at private affairs until...

I went to a wedding in Boston that had a cash bar. "Cash bar? You're joking, right?" DH and I are not big drinkers by any stretch, but we had to BORROW MONEY from a friend to enjoy a cocktail. We only had about $5 between us - but why did we need money? We were going to a wedding!

Needless to say, we were floored.

I am another person who votes for serving your guests only what you can afford. I wouldn't think twice about the graciousness of hosts who only serve beer and wine - or even nothing more than coffee or tea. But I've got to tell you, I'm still appauled at that cash bar wedding, 15 years later!

Nicole


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Help me decipher this invitation I just got today by e-mail. I can't tell if the hosts are treating for everything, both the appetizers they are serving and whatever the guests choose from the menu, or if they are just treating for the appetizers. Can you? By the way, this party is for their birthdays. They gave the name of the place, but it doesn't mean anything to me (I live about a thousand miles away).

"Well have all the fattening appetizers you can eat, whatever you want to drink ordered off the menu. When and if you decide to sit down, you can order whatever you want off the menu ~ or not ~ and whatever dessert you want ~ or not. Dance in the bar to the live music. Dance in the party room to the Muzak. .... Im giving the party for [husband]; hes giving the party for me."

Can you tell? I mean, it wouldn't determine for me whether or not I would attend (I can't anyway; too far). You already know how I feel about cash bars (and possibly here a cash buffet?)! This one also reminded me of lindac's point above that it is especially a bad idea to have a cash bar at a party (birthday, wedding, etc.) at which people are likely to bring a gift. I like this woman a lot, and it doesn't make me think less of her -- if indeed this even is a pay-your-own-way party -- by the way. I just thought of this string when I got the ambiguous invitation.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

It's definitely cryptic but the more I think about it the more I think they are saying we'll supply appetizers, you pay for your drinks and dinner if you choose to order that. I think that's what they mean by "off the menu".


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Nope I think they mean to pay for everything....and you get your choice from the menu....and drunbks and because it seems to be at a hotel, you can cance to the band or the recorded music.
Whatever.....they sure don't make it very clear do they?? Do you know someone who will be going, so you can find out what really went on??
Linda C


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Reads to me that they are paying for everything also. Whether you order off the menu or not. To bad it is so far away gellchom. Sounds like it is going to be a fun time! NancyLouise


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I know, I'd really like to go. I bet it will be really fun, like she is (I've never met her husband). But I'm in Ohio and the party is in Texas. She is an old friend from college -- I haven't seen her since our 10th reunion, and that was in 1988! But she is a good e-mail correspondent.

Anyway, I, too, guess that they mean to pay for everything. Otherwise, why would they need to tell me that I can order off the menu? It's not like anyone would need their permission. Well, I can't go, so I don't really need to know. But I will remember in the future to have someone who does NOT know my plans proofread any invitation I send out to make sure it's clear.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

gellchom,
the party's in Texas? I'll be happy to go in your stead - it sounds like it will be great fun!


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

To me, the above evite reads that they are providing the appetizers and not the rest, that is why they mention the menu, they make a point of mentioning that you can order your drinks from the menu, they certainly would not let you pick anything you want if they paid for it; what an inexpensive way to host a party !!!

I find it weird that they mention dancing to live music in the bar and to muzack in the party room; obviously they are not hiring a dj.

I'm surprised they did not mention that they would like you to bring them each a nice birthday gift on top of it all, lol....


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

Tacky, tacky, tacky! If you can't afford to "host" the party at the country club all the way then do what you can afford...even if it's a picnic or backyard barbecue. This is different from a get-together where the host just offers the space and everyone contributes. Come on...it's cheap too!


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

I just attended a 25th anniversary and it was great... my younger cousin (20) hosted the event in honor of her parents (my aunt and uncle). Now keep in mind she is a full time university student paying her own tuition on a small budget.

Because she was on a very tight budget she decided that she would have an open bar (which is fine by me as I am there to celebrate the 25 wonderful years that my aunt and uncle have shared.) Secondly she decided she would have everyone pay for their own meal... this is how she worked it out... she asked for $35 from each guest... $20 to go towards the meal, which was very good... and the remaining $15 from each guest was pooled together and given as one gift from the entire family to be put towards my aunt and uncles trip to Hawaii.

I know it seems we paid for everything... but that is not the case... I think people sometimes overlook the other hosting details that add up... such as the venue, decorations, favors, cake, centre pieces and etc. She also hired a photographer, which I think is more important paying for than the bar... the photos are lifetime memories that will help remind our entire family of the amazing time we had that day/night. I am happy she kept my aunt and uncle in mind that day... it was there day and if that meant I had to spent a little bit of my money to make sure it was everything they dreamed, then so be it I LOVE MY FAMILY.

I almost forgot... we raised $1800 toward their trip to Hawaii. Pretty good, eh! (Yes I'm Canadian.) Think about it! If I had to go out and get a card that's $5... gift wrap and bows $10-$15... a gift is approx. $50 or more if you want something worth buying... this would have added up to a lot more money. So basically I saved... I paid $35, $20 to my meal, $15 toward the Hawaii pool and approx. $12 on drinks the wine was free and set on the tables. So if you do the math based on buying a gift at $50 and the card and bow at $15... I saved $23, WOW!

Sure she could have left the bar out all together, but I think it's best she gave her guests the option to have a few casual drinks or not. I mean really what does it really cost for a few good casual drinks approx. $15.

Just my opinion!

Have a good day!


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

What a nice story! But it's apples and oranges. The difference is that rbfe's young cousin wasn't actually "hosting" a party -- she was organizing it (not to demean what she did in any way; what a lovely thing to do). It sounds like it was all or mostly family from rbfe's post, and they all agreed to do this very nice thing for rbfe's aunt and uncle. That is the difference -- not that photographers are more important than bars or that this family loves each other (I assume rbfe was not trying to imply that other families don't). As a 20 year old student, of course this young woman was in no position to be throwing an expensive party -- or for that matter, even an inexpensive one. I see nothing wrong with her asking the other relatives and perhaps some close friends if they would like to join her in giving a party and gift for her parents, and she would do the organizing. No one here ever said that the only kind of social events possible are those in which hosts treat. As several posters pointed out, there are potlucks -- well, here is another possibility. The young cousin didn't simply send out invitations and then present each "guest" with a bill at the door.

That is a very different thing from sending invitations to people to be your guests, implying that you are planning to entertain and provide for them, and then surprising them with charges for drinks (or anything else) when they attend -- especially at a party to which guests bring gifts.

Really, though, I think what it all comes down to is whether you see alcohol as somehow in a separate category from everything else. I feel certain that even those posters who say that they always expect to see a cash bar for cocktails at a hosted party would be very surprised to see a cash buffet for dinner. We "antis" are just saying that to us, a cash bar is exactly the same thing, and we come from every region of the country -- so if you're considering a cash bar, be aware that there is an excellent chance that at least a few, and probably a lot more, of your guests will feel the same way, even if they are too polite to say so.


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RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

This is interesting.

The too think it's a bit tacky to host a party that you just can't afford.

The funny thing is, I think it's tacky to host a party and NOT host alcohol appropriate to the event.

We had a reception that we went to at a country club. We know the bride and groom and the venue was DEFINATELY chosen by the parents to impress their (the parents) friends.

They hosted the bar, but only one type of beer and one type of wine.

The effect of this was someone going up to the bar, looking over the 12 or so types of beer and ordering it. The poor bar tender (who Im sure NEVER has to say this to club members) would have to say "Of course sir, but that beer will be $xx, only this beer over here is hosted."

TACK-KEY (mispelling and emphasis intended).

On the other hand, my wife threw me a great party for my 40th birthday. This was a party at a nightclub whose cover charge is $20 on the night of the party. We covered admission, had a very luxurious private room (couches, pool tables, separate waitresses,e tc) and catered appetizers. The bar was NOT hosted at all. In fact, mostpeople enjoyed the camraderie of "buying the birthday boy a drink." Nearly everyone at the party makes a six figure income and I don't think we were thought of as tacky at all.

I think hosting a bar comes down to whether the bar IS part of the attraction, or merely happens to be there.

On another note, many people have parties way too early! Heck, have the darn thing start at 7:30 or 8:00, serve appetizers only and skip serving dinner! You might be able to afford hosting the bar then...

aiki


 o
RE: Cash bar tacky for a 50th birthday party?

We've never had a dinner/party/reception where we expected our guests to pay for anything. We offer all food and drinks, including beer and wine. Anything a guest brings (gift, food, wine, flowers, etc.) is not expected, but is appreciated.

Although we would never have a cash bar, we have no problem with others doing it. Everyone entertains in his/her own way. If we're uncomfortable with the invitation, we don't have to go to the party!

Cheers, from
SwampWitch


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