The Bar: Glass or Plastic? Pros and Cons

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All your guests want to celebrate with you, and many will toast you well wishes with an alcoholic beverage from the bar. However, should those glasses be glass or disposable plastic? There are pros and cons to both options.

Serving beverages at your wedding reception using glass is an upscale, classy way to entertain your guests when they enjoy their alcoholic spirits.


Using glass at the bar creates a sophisticated atmosphere at a wedding reception. Glasses can also be refilled, making it a more environmentally friendly choice. That being said – The bartender or caterer needs to assume that each guest won’t do that, so you will have to order extras so you don’t run out of glasses.


Guests can consume alcohol quickly and excessively at a wedding reception. This can impair their coordination and judgement. Frequently, intoxicated guests will drop their drink on the dance floor, shattering their beverage glass in the process. This will force the DJ and venue coordinator to clear the dance floor for 10-15 minutes to clean up the mess and make the dance floor a safe environment. It can also potentially be a safety hazard to anyone dancing in their bare feet. That will halt the party atmosphere and the fun as you boogie the night away. You may also be charged a replacement fee by your caterer or rental company for the damage.

Another drawback of glasses at the bar is the cost – Unless your venue provides that as part of its service, it is likely an upcharge. Glass varieties, such as wine, champagne, rock glasses and low ball, can be rented through your caterer, venue, rental company or bartender. When using an off-premise caterer, glass at the bar is typically an upcharge of anywhere from $1 to $3 per persom. The bartender will allocate three rock glasses per guest, and one wine and one champagne glass per guest at the bar. (Water and wine glasses may also be placed at each guest’s place setting as well and may be an additional upcharge as well.)



All caterers, bartenders and venues will include a disposable 9-ounce clear tumbler cup as part of their service. In addition, the dance floor will not need to be cleared should a guest lose the grip on their drink. Instead, the venue coordinator will typically shift guests to another part of the dance floor as they clean up the cracked plastic and liquid mess.


The upscale disposable is not as strong as glass, and not as easy to hold. Your bartender will also garnish your drinks within the drink itself and not on the side. Plastic cups can also crack easily when squeezed.

No matter what beverage container you ultimately choose, please remember to drink safely and never allow an intoxicated guest to get behind the wheel. Offer a complimentary shuttle van to take guests back to their hotel or have an Uber on standby to take friends and family home safely.