Author Topic: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding  (Read 9699 times)

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artk2002

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Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« on: February 24, 2014, 12:12:02 PM »
Consumerist.org runs an occasional series of "How Not To Suck At ...". They're taking on weddings in a multi-part series. Here's a link to the first part

How To Not Suck At Planning Your Wedding, Part 1: The Most Expensive Steps
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

nuit93

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 04:56:41 PM »
I really wish cash bars wouldn't be suggested as a way to save money.  You aren't saving anything, you're just passing along costs to your guests.

katycoo

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 05:44:09 PM »
I really wish cash bars wouldn't be suggested as a way to save money.  You aren't saving anything, you're just passing along costs to your guests.

You're providing options.  If the alternative is no alcohol at all, I'm more than happy to buy my own.  I'm only ever annoyed if I don't have prior notice as sometimes its not easy to access money at the venue.

IMO its only rude if no beverages AT ALL are provided by the HC.

Peregrine

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 05:47:07 PM »
While I absolutely agree with you Nuit, I wonder if the prevalence of cash bars has something to do with the overwhelming feeling that "it just isn't a celebration without the booze"  or further, the idea that guests are entitled to an all out reception extravaganza to repay their generosity in showing up with a gift.

While on E-hell, we always say have the party you can afford, I have seen examples even here, of people who would think the bridal couple were inconsiderate or rude if every possible dietary need/preference wasn't met, the wedding isn't happening on the right day/time/place, there was no booze or dancing or music and on and on. 

I still remember trying to plan my own wedding over a decade ago, and the push/pull that resorted when I married into a family that abstained from alcohol for religious reasons, and my own extended family that wondered if it would be worth coming if there wasn't booze and dancing (my immediate family were all teetotalers as well).  I think my parents eventually had a phone call with the aunts and uncles who were complaining about the lack of a bar and having a rather candid conversation with them about the fact that my husband and I (both college students at the time) were paying for the entire wedding ourselves and that it was our prerogative not to serve alcohol, and that if the relatives didn't like it, they were free to stay home, but if they came they weren't to complain.

Mikayla

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2014, 05:56:12 PM »

While on E-hell, we always say have the party you can afford, I have seen examples even here, of people who would think the bridal couple were inconsiderate or rude if every possible dietary need/preference wasn't met, the wedding isn't happening on the right day/time/place, there was no booze or dancing or music and on and on. 

I totally agree as far as you take this.  But there's definitely a flip side, and whoever wrote this article tossed out some pretty atrocious ideas about couples throwing parties they can't afford. 

The food suggestions were the worst, particularly pot luck.  Maybe there are places in the world where this is accepted practice, and I know there are some small pockets in the US where families traditionally do this.  But c'mon.  In standard US weddings, this is a horrible idea. 

I also thought it was bizarre to suggest a dessert and cocktail reception without clarifying what times of day this would be.  If the couple wants people hanging around for a typical Saturday evening reception, complete with dancing , this is flat out rude, and the suggestion to "warn your guests ahead of time" is even worse.   Obviously, if it's a 2 hour cocktail reception, that's different, but there are still those who'd say it's rude, unless it ends up being something like 4-6.  Even then, who wants dessert with cocktails?

menley

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2014, 05:56:33 PM »
I really wish cash bars wouldn't be suggested as a way to save money.  You aren't saving anything, you're just passing along costs to your guests.

While I also dislike cash bars, it's not exactly passing along costs to guests. For weddings, it's often difficult to estimate how much people will drink, and of which types of alcohol. So, say that you estimated that of your 100 guests, all of them would drink 2 glasses of wine, costing you $X. But in reality, only 50 of your guests really wanted wine, and had there been a cash bar, those 50 guests bought wine costing the lesser amount of $Y.

This mostly comes into play if you want to serve a large variety of alcohol, because it then becomes really difficult to estimate how much people will consume of each kind (and many places that do serve large varieties will charge a huge amount to cover this uncertainty). We solved it for our wedding by only offering beer and wine, but we had guests that said they wished we'd had a cash bar so they could get shots!  ::)

LadyL

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2014, 05:58:17 PM »
I really wish cash bars wouldn't be suggested as a way to save money.  You aren't saving anything, you're just passing along costs to your guests.

You're providing options.  If the alternative is no alcohol at all, I'm more than happy to buy my own.  I'm only ever annoyed if I don't have prior notice as sometimes its not easy to access money at the venue.

I also prefer a cash bar to no bar. And I also prefer a cash bar to a bar that is only very cheap beer and wine and bottom shelf liquor because all of those things give me terrible hangovers.

In general, one of my hosting goals is that things be all inclusive with no "upcharges" - so no paid mandatory valet parking, no coat check charge, no cash bar, etc. etc. It just sours my night when I have already allocated my budget for transportation, attire, lodging, etc. and then end up spending anywhere from another $20-100 that I didn't budget for. If it is JUST the cash bar and it's communicated ahead of time, I am pretty ok with that, but understand that others draw the line at different points.

shhh its me

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2014, 06:05:26 PM »
I really wish cash bars wouldn't be suggested as a way to save money.  You aren't saving anything, you're just passing along costs to your guests.

While I also dislike cash bars, it's not exactly passing along costs to guests. For weddings, it's often difficult to estimate how much people will drink, and of which types of alcohol. So, say that you estimated that of your 100 guests, all of them would drink 2 glasses of wine, costing you $X. But in reality, only 50 of your guests really wanted wine, and had there been a cash bar, those 50 guests bought wine costing the lesser amount of $Y.

This mostly comes into play if you want to serve a large variety of alcohol, because it then becomes really difficult to estimate how much people will consume of each kind (and many places that do serve large varieties will charge a huge amount to cover this uncertainty). We solved it for our wedding by only offering beer and wine, but we had guests that said they wished we'd had a cash bar so they could get shots!  ::)

UK wedding aside were I believe cash bars are the norm.  I don't take issue with drink tickets for venues that charge by the drink, I don't love it but I can understand the logistic necessity.  Most places here charge a fix rate for an open bar something like $12-20 per person (less for beer or wine only)

nuit93

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2014, 06:25:17 PM »
I really wish cash bars wouldn't be suggested as a way to save money.  You aren't saving anything, you're just passing along costs to your guests.

You're providing options.  If the alternative is no alcohol at all, I'm more than happy to buy my own.  I'm only ever annoyed if I don't have prior notice as sometimes its not easy to access money at the venue.

IMO its only rude if no beverages AT ALL are provided by the HC.

Might be a difference of opinion then--I drink and very much enjoy having alcohol available at social events, but I have no problem whatsoever with a HC only offering non-alcoholic beverages.

I've known couples who went dry at their receptions for various reasons.  Religion was the most common one but also financial reasons, one or both was in recovery, etc.  Honestly the only beverage I would be upset at not having available would be coffee :)

violinp

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2014, 06:39:43 PM »
See, if/when I get married, I'd much rather not have booze. Cabbage is allergic to wine, beer, and champagne; I can't drink anything BUT wine, because everything else tastes too nasty to me; and at least two family members have to abstain most of the time for medical reasons. If that makes people think I'm cheap or I don't want to have a good time, so be it. I don't want to cause more stress than necessary, and I don't want to worry about whether I might get trashed at my own wedding, since I'm incredibly light - weighted (2 drinks is more than enough for me). The cheaper cost is only incidental for me.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


katycoo

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2014, 07:30:08 PM »
I really wish cash bars wouldn't be suggested as a way to save money.  You aren't saving anything, you're just passing along costs to your guests.

You're providing options.  If the alternative is no alcohol at all, I'm more than happy to buy my own.  I'm only ever annoyed if I don't have prior notice as sometimes its not easy to access money at the venue.

IMO its only rude if no beverages AT ALL are provided by the HC.

Might be a difference of opinion then--I drink and very much enjoy having alcohol available at social events, but I have no problem whatsoever with a HC only offering non-alcoholic beverages.

I've known couples who went dry at their receptions for various reasons.  Religion was the most common one but also financial reasons, one or both was in recovery, etc.  Honestly the only beverage I would be upset at not having available would be coffee :)

I could enjoy a dry wedding, but I don't see why a wedding should have to be dry if the only factor in the decision is cost.  The examples you gave above I would absolutely respect also.

I don't "need" a drink to have a good time.  But I very much enjoy a wine with a nice meal.

LtPowers

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2014, 10:05:02 PM »
The problem with cash bars is that they negate the concept of hospitality. The hosts are obligated to provide some sort of beverages, but it is rude for a guest to complain that their preferred beverage isn't available. At most weddings, the provider of those beverages is under contract to the host, so the cash bar sets up a strange situation where the hosts are asking their guests to foot some of the bill for their own hospitality.

What baffles me is why anyone stops with a cash bar. If it's okay for a guest to pay extra to get his preferred beverage, why not pay extra to get filet mignon instead of prime rib? Or pay extra to get priority access to the dance floor?


Powers  &8^]

purple

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2014, 10:10:25 PM »
The problem with cash bars is that they negate the concept of hospitality. The hosts are obligated to provide some sort of beverages, but it is rude for a guest to complain that their preferred beverage isn't available. At most weddings, the provider of those beverages is under contract to the host, so the cash bar sets up a strange situation where the hosts are asking their guests to foot some of the bill for their own hospitality.

What baffles me is why anyone stops with a cash bar. If it's okay for a guest to pay extra to get his preferred beverage, why not pay extra to get filet mignon instead of prime rib? Or pay extra to get priority access to the dance floor?


Powers  &8^]

You say that last paragraph like it's never happened.... ::).....LOL.
Asking your "guests" (and in this situation I use the term very, very loosely) to pay for anything at your wedding is disgustingly rude, IMO.

lakey

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2014, 11:32:38 PM »
I do consider it rude to have a cash bar. If you wouldn't ask your guests to pay for their food, why would it be okay to ask them to pay for their drinks? Hosts need to have the type of party or reception that they can afford. If people are pressuring the bride and groom to have a more extravagant reception that the couple can afford, then those people aren't worth pandering to. They won't come if alcohol isn't served? Not much of a loss.
And there are alternatives to an open bar. I've been to receptions where there was alcohol and non-alcohol punch, or where beer and wine was served, or just wine. I've also been to receptions where there was no alcohol at all. If you care about the couple you don't base your attendance on whether or not there will be an open bar.

kareng57

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Re: Consumerist: How not to suck at planning your wedding
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2014, 12:33:03 AM »
I really wish cash bars wouldn't be suggested as a way to save money.  You aren't saving anything, you're just passing along costs to your guests.

While I also dislike cash bars, it's not exactly passing along costs to guests. For weddings, it's often difficult to estimate how much people will drink, and of which types of alcohol. So, say that you estimated that of your 100 guests, all of them would drink 2 glasses of wine, costing you $X. But in reality, only 50 of your guests really wanted wine, and had there been a cash bar, those 50 guests bought wine costing the lesser amount of $Y.

This mostly comes into play if you want to serve a large variety of alcohol, because it then becomes really difficult to estimate how much people will consume of each kind (and many places that do serve large varieties will charge a huge amount to cover this uncertainty). We solved it for our wedding by only offering beer and wine, but we had guests that said they wished we'd had a cash bar so they could get shots!  ::)


Me, and my DS and his fiancee, have been going back-and-forth on this.  I have offered the bar as my contribution.

The kids (including his brother) have maintained that no weddings around here that they have attended, during the last few years, has had a full, hosted bar.  The staff at the contracted-venue have said the same thing.  I'm of two minds - I'm old enough to have the mindset that hosting means hosting - you don't do it halfway.  OTOH, I want to do what is mainstream around here (and yes, remain in budget).

I am thinking - include all soft drinks/juices for anyone who wants them during the entire evening (it's about $ 5 a person, I can handle it).  Include red and white wine on the tables during dinner.  Provide two free drinks per person during the whole event.

I'm well aware that the advice on this forum is no cash bar!  Ever!

I have dressed myself with the flame-suit...