Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Is a Wedding Bar Tab Really Necessary?

Brides and Grooms, do not worry about providing a free bar at your wedding day.

I thought about writing this post as the topic was brought up with a couple of my friends the other day about what we might do for our long-awaited big 21st birthday bashes and the impression that I got was that a bar tab was a normal and regular thing to provide at your big day. I assure you this is really not the case! 

Firstly, it is incredibly expensive to have an all-paid-for-bar for your guests (especially if you have invited lots and they're a big fan of spirits).  Believe it or not, I have worked at a few weddings featuring a bar tab and there are some guests who will take advantage and spend pretty much their whole night lingering by the bar. You may be reading this, gasp, and exclaim 'heavens no!', not even considering that your guests may be ordering bottle after bottle of vintage wine on your tab. However unfortunately this does tend to be the case at the majority of weddings with tabs; and it always happens to be that guest who you were reluctant to invite in the first place. 

However a solution to this if you are still prepared to pay for a bar tab is to only include soft drinks, glasses of wine and pints of beer on the tab. This then cuts out all spirits, prosecco, champagne, and bottles of wine, meaning no-one can splurge out on anything unnecessary.

Secondly, many will be surprised to hear that even if there is a tab behind the bar (perhaps £5,000) it is very, very unlikely that this will all be used up. Trust me, I've heard it all before:

"Do I only see 4 bottles of jaegermeister in your fridge- you will definitely need to stock up as with this lot, it will be gone before you can even say jaeger-bomb" 
"We are not leaving until we run your bar dry"
"You might as well just leave the rest of the bottle of champagne with me love"

These are just a few of the many, many lines I hear from those who - for one night only - are trying to relive their university days as they're back with all their mates. In response to this, I give a charming (but almost challenging) smile, knowing that this certainly won't be the case. In fact it is those who come out with these 'original' lines who are the first to end up asleep on the sofa, not even making it to the dance floor.

Essentially what I am trying to say is that both the bride and groom and guests underestimate how much  alcohol they will have already drunk before the meal ends and they hit the bar. Perhaps a few (or more) glasses of prosecco at the reception, maybe half a bottle of wine (maybe a whole bottle) at the meal and another glass (or two) of bubbly for the speeches. Mix this all together with excitement and nervousness and you've got yourself an adequate concoction of booze. At this point, you may still think you can handle a lot more, endeavouring to "run the bar dry" and I hate to generalise (although I feel like I sort of can), but this really will not be the case. I would say that at the majority of the weddings at which I work, we will refund about 1/3 of the bar tab.

Thirdly and finally, many people will not even expect a pay-bar. I know I wouldn't. After the bride and groom have spent a fortune on their wedding day, I find it hard to believe that guests would be taken aback at the fact that they must pay for their drinks. I mentioned above that many take advantage of the pay-bar because they know it's there, however if there isn't a pay bar people are actually more than happy to buy drinks and they won't second guess it. 

This isn't a post to try and convince you not to have a pay-bar. Instead, it's to encourage those who were originally considering it but at the same time put off the price, that it is in fact not a necessary component of your big day. Personally, I would rather spend the money on an evening meal or an extra course at dinner, but that's just me!

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