I recently received an invitation for an annual banquet which is thrown by a journal at my law school. Normally, these are fairly lavish affairs that everyone gets dressed up for and the banquet includes food and drink. People are allowed to bring guests. This year, the journal has had monetary problems, which were accompanied by accusations of misuse and irresponsible, self-serving spending. As a result, the money for the banquet was entirely dependent on how much money they could scrape together at the end of the year. Or at least that's what they claimed - I am friends with the organizer of the event and she told me that she "had a great budget to work with!"
The invitation states, in part, "We are getting the place to ourselves and there will be a wide array of food and beverages. Cocktail attire is recommended for dress. Members are allowed to bring one guest. The cover for guests is $10. Guests will have access to the cash bar for purchasing of drinks."
I can understand the cover charge for the guests since using the school funds to pay for everyone to bring a date seems off to me anyways. However, I don't know about the partial cash bar - i.e. A member goes to the bar to get a drink and exchanges their ticket for the beverage while their date is fishing out cash to pay for their own.
In prior years at my school, banquets for this and other organizations did not ask for money beyond voluntary tipping (in addition to what was already given by the organization) from students or their guests, so I'm not familiar with this practice.
Have other ehellions seen this done in other places for work or school events? Did it seem to work?