Crazy Wedding Story Of The Week: A Cash Bar Gone Wrong

By Sara Levine | October 10, 2019

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Whether you hate the wedding-industrial complex, are a bride planning a wedding and want to feel better about your own demands, or just need something to read, we’re doing a new series where we share the craziest, most out-of-touch wedding story we found on the internet that week. Submit your own crazy wedding stories to [email protected] with the subject line Crazy Wedding Story, and we just might feature yours. And make sure to follow @BetchesBrides on Instagram and subscribe to our podcast, Betches Brides.

There are few things I live for in this world, but one of my top reasons to continue on comes in the form of insane wedding stories. I just can’t get enough of them. I love judging people and using their outrageous demands as a way to self-soothe for the fact that I will likely never have a wedding of my own if I continue on at the rate I’m going, sue me!

In any case, I found this story when I was doing my nightly (okay, hourly) browse of the Am I The Asshole? subreddit, aka r/amitheasshole. Our inaugural Crazy Wedding Story of the Week comes from a bride who wants a cash bar… but it’s of course not that simple. If it were, I wouldn’t be here, poised and ready to drag her.

Reddit user cashbarwedding writes, “Ok so me (f25) and my fiance (m24) are getting married next year and like many people our age we are pretty grossed out by the wedding industry and are trying to keep our wedding as cheap as possible. 
So for example we are having the ceremony and reception at my uncle’s farm (free of charge) out in the country, my good friend from college who owns a catering business agreed to do our catering for free as a wedding gift, and my fiancé’s good friends with a band that will play at our wedding for free also as a wedding gift. We got my dress and his suit from Goodwill and got them altered. Everything said and done we will be paying less than $2k for our wedding.”

Okay, look, there’s no shame in being thrifty for your wedding. However, as commenters were quick to point out, free catering for 150 people is a huge ask—many added that this could easily come to $6,000 with food and labor costs. But, whatever, maybe that friend is really generous.

But hold onto your wallets, because it gets worse.

“Now we get to the alcohol. We’re having a semi-big wedding (150 people – we have a ton of friends and family coming from all over) and the idea of paying for all of that booze is making us stressed out. It’d be at least $1k. We thought about it and decided to do a cash bar. We figured we could buy the booze and pay one of my cousins to be bartender for the night, and we realized we could probably recoup some of our costs on the other wedding expenses by charging moderate prices for drinks – win-win! We were set on this idea until I brought it up with one of my bridesmaids and she flipped out and said that would be incredibly tacky.”

Sometimes, an entire verdict can be decided on one turn of phrase. In this case, it all comes down to this statement: “we could probably recoup some of our costs on the other wedding expenses.” I can’t believe I even have to say this, but it is incredibly tacky to use your guests to turn a profit on your wedding! Reddit user bisexualsquirrel agreed with me, commenting, “YTA. It would be a different thing if you were to just sell the drinks at the price you bought them for and break even(Which is still a little tacky). But instead, you are charging your friends and family more than the drink is worth in order to make a profit.” How does OP think their guests will feel once they realize the couple was basically using them to fund their wedding?

Also, as other Redditors pointed out, there are plenty of options that don’t require you to drop half your wedding budget on booze while also not making your guests foot the bill for it. One, obviously, you could have a BYOB wedding, which I’m sure people would be way happier with. Personally, I would way rather bring my own $7 bottle of wine than have to pay $6 per glass. Or, as FrasierCraneDayOff said, you could get, “2 kegs, sodas, a few mixers, and you can probably get 100+ people pretty drunk for like $500-700.” They further explained, “Cash bars are only appropriate at a venue that requires them. Dude is probably going to get enough cash gifts to cover the bar costs anyways. I mean, what are you going to do, charge people $0.50/cup for a keg? Super tacky after they brought you a $50 gift.” Yeah, there are definitely other options here.

OP closed with the following admission: “I was sort of taken aback by this. I’ve looked online and cash bars at weddings are pretty common. it seems ridiculous to pay to get everyone drunk. My other friends and family seem pretty split and I’m starting to wonder if this is actually a faux pas. Am I the asshole?”

Yes, cash bars are pretty common, but typically that happens at venues where you are paying for a drink package—not your uncle’s barn where you can do whatever you want. And, while I’m all for doing a wedding on a budget, it seems kind of crazy to have a 150-person wedding if you simply cannot afford it. There are other ways to offset wedding costs than having your guests indirectly fund it, like downsizing your guest list, or again, making it BYOB. This couple is already being just about as frugal as they can be on this wedding, but this cash bar that’s meant to “recoup some of our other costs” is just a step too far. I guess it would be one thing to break even with the price of the drinks, and I couldn’t be too mad at that. But really, the funniest thing I think is that OP thinks this solution is a win-win. A win-win for whom? She and her husband win, but how do the guests win in this scenario? I don’t think OP is aware that “win-win” is supposed to refer to a mutually beneficial situation, not one in which you benefit off of others’ contributions and they get little in return. In any case, if they are going to make money off their wedding guests, then I really hope they are adamantly turning away any gifts they may receive.

Got a crazy wedding story you want featured on Betches? Email [email protected] with the subject line Crazy Wedding Story.

Images: Micheile Henderson / Unsplash