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No, I'm Not Paying For An Open Bar At My Wedding

Open bars are like the Teslas of weddings: Great in theory, but terrible when your Uber driver relies too much on the self-driving feature. 

There are a lot of things weddings don’t need: A giant sign that says the service is unplugged (your officiant can make that announcement), “All The Single Ladies” blasting during the bouquet toss (rude), and at the tippy top of that list, IMO, is a pricey, messy, open bar. 

I know what you’re thinking, but WWMSD (What Would Martha Stewart Do)? The hostess with the mostess would most certainly ensure her guests have as many glasses of oakiest Chardonnay as money can buy. 

Hmmm… Is that why Martha went to prison for insider trading? So she could afford all those open bars? You don’t want to go to jail! You can barely pull off white, you think you can rock bright orange?!  

You are not Martha Stewart. You have a budget! A quarter of my micro wedding’s budget went to our 26 guests, who took “open bar” as a personal challenge and ordered whatever TF they wanted for four hours. That was money we could’ve spent on… literally anything else. 

As a wedding guest, I’ve had my fair share of indulging in open bars. Downing champagne, Savvy B, vodka sodas, and espresso martinis I definitely did not need like they were going out of style (but espresso martinis probably are soon, right?). Thinking to myself, “I deserve this!” I bought this dress, a plane ticket, a Dry Bar appointment, and a hotel room; the least the happy couple can do is not cut me off! 

Until the next day’s hangover kicks in, which now lasts two days (thank you, 30’s), and I start to wish there wasn’t an open bar. Weddings are already stupidly expensive. Here’s why if I were to get married again, I’d cut my budget by cutting off my guests

✅ I’d rather spend that money on good food

Food is always the worst at weddings. Rubbery chicken, overcooked fish, and steak so well-done that even psychopaths who purposely order it this way would call it overcooked. My theory is wedding food sucks because people spend that money on open bars, which is a big mistake. Big! Huge! 

At the last wedding I attended, it was clear they spent more of their budget on an open bar than on the food (which was good, considering the few bites I had). There wasn’t enough food to go around for everyone, which included a comically small 20-person serving charcuterie board for their 200-person guest list during cocktail hour, which actually lasted TWO hours, and there was no shortage of waiters refilling wine glasses. 

This led to my 36-year-old butt getting blackout at a wedding where not one but TWO of my exes were in attendance. One of them sat across from me at “dinner.” What did I say to them and their wives all night? We’ll never know! But it sure keeps me up at night!  

Your guests might think they need more booze than food, but I am telling you, as someone who was over-served, if you’re going to spend more money on something, spend it on the food. Make sure it’s edible, and there’s plenty to go around. 

✅ I’m not paying for whiskey older than my uncle’s 3rd wife

The biggest problem with open bars is most people are assholes, especially your closest friends and family. When they’re not paying for their bar tab, they’re more likely to order the most expensive thing on the menu, which will cost you. So don’t let your uncle, whom you didn’t want to invite in the first place, order a 25-year-old scotch all night (that’s older than his third wife, whom you also didn’t want there). Which brings me to my next point:

✅ Champagne, not shots

I don’t know about you, but when I dreamt of my wedding growing up, I never dreamed of doing Tequila shots in front of my new in-laws. Elegant champagne toasts, sure. But shots! Shots! Shots! That’s as tacky as… well, everything about LMFAO. 

That’s why I’m only serving wine and beer. They’re much less expensive than top-shelf liquor your guests will inevitably order if you’re buying. I never said “cash bar only.” The bar can be a little open, but with some boundaries, which I also plan to establish with my in-laws.  

✅ Sure, drink tickets are tacky, but so is binge drinking after college

Drink tickets are a great way to track how much your guests drink while staying within your budget. Plus, your guests will bond as those who don’t drink can share their tickets with those who do. They will also probably bond over how much it sucks that you don’t have an open bar, but it’s not their wedding! 

Lost your drink ticket? Well, then, you probably shouldn’t be ordering another drink. 

✅ The invite says “black tie,” not “blackout” 

Blacking out at weddings is not cute. I know because I’ve done it! Binge drinking is such a toxic part of our wedding culture. I’m just looking out for my guests. They spent all this time looking put together. Cutting back on the booze will just help them keep it together. 

✅ It’s a wedding, not a frat party

This is hard to enforce when your soon-to-be husband’s frat reunites on your big day. But again, it’s YOUR big day. Not Sigma Kappa Whatever. 

✅ IDGAF if you BYOB or pregame, just don’t ruin my expensive photos

I don’t want to have an open bar because it’s too expensive and wasteful, but I’m not your mother. So if you want to BYOB or pregame, IDGAF. 

My cousin did this before my thirty-minute 2 PM church ceremony (!), before the open bar, ruining all the group shots. There was nothing I could do about it! But hey, not having an open bar not only cuts down your budget but also cuts down on the likeness of a friend or family member, ruining all the photos they’re in because they can’t stand up straight. If I’m paying thousands of dollars for a wedding photographer, I’d like my guests to have both eyes open in pictures, TYSM. 

Look, this open bar isn’t happening because I’m looking out for you, my wedding guest. I know you’re pissed now, but when you’re traveling home without a hangover, you’ll be thanking me. So you’re welcome, babe. And if not having an open bar makes you not want to come to my wedding. Great! You just saved me even more money.