If you haven't discussed the pros and cons of a free bar, are you even engaged?
When it comes to getting married, there are a million decision to make. From wedding dress styles to honeymoon options, choosing a venue to being more sustainable, picking out wedding favours to choosing your first dance as Mr & Mrs Happy Couple, everything about planning a wedding requires an answer, and none is harder than deciding whether to have a free bar or not. Urgh, what to do, what to do?
Sure, the dreamiest scenario would be to have your gorgeous guests turn up to your big bash, pick a glass of bubbly of a tray and then party all night without ever having to reach into their purse. However, there is one teeny-tiny hiccup and that's, well, errr, a free bar isn't as easy-peasy as we all wish it was. There's quite a few considerations that need to be discussed... out loud.
And in that spirit, we're going to think out loud for you and weigh up the "yay" and "nay" arguments of having a free bar at your wedding. Let's do this:
The Yay Arguement
When you start to think about the entire feel of your big n' beautiful wedding day, you want it to be magical. You want it to feel like a dream. You want every single detail to be absolutely perfect, to the point where you can hear your guests "ooooo" and "awwwww" as they walk around having the best time of their lives -- and to do that, you've got to prioritise what will make your guests smile the most.
Now we know this might suck because paying for all your bride tribe to have a jolly good knees-up will cost a lot, but there's always that little voice in your head that says you shouldn't have your friends and family worrying whether they brought enough money. That means budgeting for a free bar. Luckily, rocking a free bar doesn't have to be excessive -- it's just a matter of planning what you'll serve your guests.
You could do the old school Calais trip and stock up on the most delicious and affordable wine in the world. Or you might want to look for a mobile cocktail bar hire company to bring a splash of exciting tipples to your wedding day. Some even go down the half-and-half route by placing a agreed amount of money behind the bar, and then switching to a paid bar when that number has been reached.
Whatever you decide, try to remember that a free bar doesn't have to mean you go and buy Jay Z's champagne or Provence rose wine from Brad and Angelina's vineyard or spirits so rare the bar staff keep referring to them as liquid unicorns. Of course, you might want to because there's no such thing as a wedding with too many extras. After all, you want to have the time of your life and give your guests a party they'll be talking about forever. You want to treat them. You want to say thank you to everyone for making it to your wedding, and a free bar is exactly that. It's a big, beautiful, slightly tipsy thank you that will get your guests on the dance floor.
The Nay Arguement
Let's get straight to the elephant in the room: the money thing. As you'll have probably realised already, wedding can make your eyes water and wallet shed a tear, and paying for everyone's drinks on top of that is a cost that some couples can't justify. And it's not just the money thing because, while a free bar is about the generous gift you can give, you've got to remember that giving everyone a crack at free booze can be a recipe for disaster (hint: we all have that one friend who can resist everything except temptation).
That's where a pay-your-way bar can become a party-saver. You can guarantee your guests will still have an amazing time, but when they have to pay for their own drinks and stick to their own personal budgets, they tend to stay to their own happy-vibe limits too.
And let's not forget, we all have a group of mates that are known to completely abuses a free bar as they order five drinks at a time, followed by a few shots, which isn't going to be everyone's style. And what if that person caring five bottles of wine and a tequila in their mouth starts to get a little bit rowdy? (Yeah, we're looking at you Uncle Bill). Every couple wants their guests to have a totally groovy night where drinks are flowing and feet are dancing, but that can come with responsibilities on your part, which might mean going down the part-free, part-paid route?
The Bottom Line
A free bar: yay or nay? Whichever way you look at it from (whether it's a budget decision or a catastrophe avoider), it's something worth sitting down and chatting about. Is it a wonderful gesture to all those gorgeous people that have made the effort to make your big day super-special? Definitely. Will it also mean there's a chance of loose lips as well as loose hips? Yup.
Whichever way you look at it though, the number one dream is to encourage your guests to dance, laugh, groove, move and leave with the biggest smile on their faces. So how do you make sure your wedding encourages this much fun? If the answer involves a few raised drinks, the answer may be simpler than you first imagined.