Weddings are for celebrating love--but the open bar at the reception is an oft-cited perk for guests.
My fiance and I are in great accord about many things, but the open/cash bar decision took quite a lot of discussion. It's funny, because neither of us are actually drinkers.
I am with Miss Manners--one does not require guests to pay for anything. If you don't want to pay for booze, don't serve it.
Fiance has a different view. He doesn't want to bankroll people's benders, and if there's a open bar, people will drink a TON. But he also swears that his family will riot if booze isn't available. Probably so would my sorority sisters.
So we have decided to go with a cash bar (except for the champagne toast, which is included in our wedding package). I am more interested in making him feel comfortable than in obeying strict rules of etiquette, but I feel awfully defensive about it--like I should have to explain that we're not being cheap, I swear!