Post # 1
Hi Lovely Bees –
I’m planning my wedding for this coming Labor Day weekend (2013) and I have many ideas for how to make sure my guests feel appreciated and enjoy their time with us. More than half of our guests are traveling in from out of town and I want to be sensitive to additional expenses they might incur on our weekend.
That being said, we’re planning a Welcome Reception the night before our wedding day (instead of a typical rehearsal dinner) and we’re inviting all of our guests to come and go as they please, and mix and mingle with one another. I would love to provide heavy hors d’oeuvres and alcoholic drinks BUT there is just not enough money in the budget for an abundance of both. We can afford a nice amount and variety of food OR we can host open bar with just a few munchies.
My thougts are: do open bar and light bar food. But then I feel guilty for not feeding them since the Welcome reception will be during dinner hours (6-9pm).
To give more info: our wedding reception will have nice food and open bar and we’re also doing welcome bags with munchies for the hotel rooms.
What would you do? Do heavy food and ask guests at the Welcome Reception to buy their own drinks? Do open bar and ask them to get their own dinner? Not host the Welcome Reception at all and do a traditional rehearsal dinner for the party only?
sorry this is so long, but I’m trying to stick to the whole “guests don’t pay for anything” rule but I’m going broke in the process lol. HELP!
Post # 3
We are doing something similar for our destination wedding. Although we are very blessed that FI family is paying for the rehearsal/welcome dinner, we are not providing a full open bar at the rehearsal/welcome dinner.. We are doing beer & wine only. I dont think my friends need to be getting hammered the night before our wedding. lol. Id say, use the $$ towards food. If they want to drink, they can buy it or maybe you could do beer/wine. Ive been to a few DW and no one got wasted the night before at the welcome dinner. Id hold the heavy alcohol for the wedding reception. Hope this helps!
Post # 4
@GAPeachyBee: When we attended my MOH’s wedding in Puerto Rico, they did something similar. At the “welcome reception” they just had a buffet of food and we purchased our own drinks at the bar. We had no problem buying our own drinks and were happy to just be fed for free. When people accept an inviation to a DW, they’re going knowing that they’re going to be spending money and most use it as a vacation (or at least that’s how my FI and friends group and I look at it).
Also, is there a way for the bar to run a tab for you and your wedding party, so you can cover their drinks?
Post # 5
If it’s during lunch, I would go with food. I dont know about you, but I usually only have one drink, if that if it isn’t 4pm or later. Maybe look into wine, beer, or signature drink only.
Post # 6
we are doing the same thing…. we will definitely be doing heavy appetizer type food mainly bc I don’t want to have another sit down dinner (which would mean another set of table cloths, centerpieces, seating chart etc)
I figure if we pay for the food (which I feel obligated to do since our hotel is actually an inn so there is no other food available onsite at all… not even a candy vending machine). We will also do hotel snack bags and have some picky type snacks – chips, apples, pastry etc – available during the day on saturday (and there is a brunch saturday AM as well). This means people will get a meal at 10 am then dinner at 6 pm and snack (or leave hotel and head into town a mile or so away and hit a restaurant for lunch) which hopefully will be enough.
My feeling is that everyone needs to eat, people don’t “need” to drink so I rather give them what they need and then if they want to drink the bar is right there! (that being said if we can do the food for a decent price we will likely either run a tab or do beer & wine only “free”)
Post # 7
@GAPeachyBee: as mentioned above by PP would you be able to limit the alcohol to beer, wine, or a signature drink to be able to afford more food?
Post # 8
Honestly, I wouldn’t even bother with an open bar – and even a signature drink (I am kind of over that idea anyway). I’d stick to something simple: beer, wine, coffee, iced tea and buffet style food.
Post # 9
I’m super broke, so we’re doing a BBQ at my parents for this.
For you, I vote do the food, let people buy drinks. You’re already throwing a great party for them the next day.
Post # 10
I vote food, with an open bar people will just get super drunk, with food people can sit and chat and buy the odd drink for themselves.
Post # 11
- Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY
What about making it 7-10 and phrasing your invites “appetizers and cocktails” or something?
Post # 12
We are wedding date twins! I’m also having a party the night before, which I was calling a Rehearsal Dinner, but I like the idea of calling it a Welcome Reception instead. Especially with many guests coming from out of town, I think it’s better to have a more inclusive party the night before so you get the chance to spend time with people over multiple nights.
We went to a Welcome Reception earlier this year that had hors d’oeuvres and (seemingly?) unlimited wine, which was nice; no one expected anything more. However, after the reception, all of the out-of-towners were hungry and ended up wandering around the town looking for a place we could all agree upon to eat dinner together, which was kind of a hassle.
We’re doing the entire wedding and Welcome party at a hotel/resort. We’re providing buffet dinner and hiring the bartender. I think we’ll set a certain amount of money down for alcohol, and after that point, people can pay for their own. I don’t want guests getting so drunk they can’t enjoy my wedding the next day!
Post # 13
Thank you for all of your comments! I’m surprised to see that more people would prefer food over alcohol. Good to know! I really love the idea of having set cap with the bar on beer and wine and letting it be cash bar after that limit. That way I can still provide heavier food options so guests aren’t wandering an unfamiliar city looking for restaurants. Thanks so much, bees!