Post # 1
I am having a reception at a pavillion by the lake of a state park and I wanted to be clear that I could bring in my own alcohol to serve. And after getting multiple vague and unclear responses from the group services coordinator, I finally called the superintendent. When asked to clarify, he said they don’t allow alcohol in that part of the park even when they are rented to a private party. He continued to ask if we could hold it anywhere else in the park (which we can’t because none of the venues will hold enough people). And then at one point he said "We don’t police that area, so if you do it (as in bring in alcohol), you do it and you will be held responsible. We won’t come down and arrest anyone, but you are liable" Then he went back to saying there was no way we could have alcohol. SO… was this the wink* wink* we weren’t seeing with the vague emails that it’s a "don’t ask, don’t tell" kind of thing? So I stopped pressing for hard answers and just hung up. What do I do from here? Say "ok, got it. No alcohol *nudge, nudge, wink wink*" And chance bringing it in on our own with the possibility of having it confiscated, or start looking for a new venue?
Post # 3
Gosh that’s strange. How in love with this venue are you? I’d be inclined to say find another. Beit the alcohol or not, it sounds like they are not organized, truthful or whatever is going on.
Personally I wouldn’t want to feel like I can’t serve alcohol. I also wouldn’t like feeling like I’m breaking the rules or could incur some big fine or liability. It sounds like at the least you aren’t supposed to do it. Even though he’s given you mixed signals on whether they’ll police it. It sounds like you’ll still be accountable, say if Uncle Jim gets in an accident, fight or breaks something due to alcohol.
If it was a small family picnic or whatever, maybe OK. But this is your wedding. I’d find somewhere else.
Post # 4
This is really pretty typical of park district behavior. They don’t allow alcohol, but they also don’t have weekend staff to monitor the parks during weddings. Promise not to serve alcohol, but go ahead and serve it anyway. It’ll be fine. I wouldn’t worry about it.
Post # 5
Thanks for the input! I would really really really like to stick with this venue. The two comments are exactly how my fiance and I are split. He says, lets go for it. And I’m concerned, I can’t imagine feeling comfortable taking a gamble on serving alcohol at our wedding. If we never would have asked, we could have just done it and claimed ignorance.
I was at a convention at this state park a year ago and later in the night after everyone had several cocktails, some of the attendees bought cases of beer and started jamming on guitars in the main room of the lodge. And it got pretty rowdy. And there were no problems. And the event coordinator told me at our meeting that there is no alcohol, food, or gatherings in the main room of the lodge. So that makes me feel a little better about just going for it, but I can’t begin to decide what to do…
Post # 6
Eek. I would feel uncomfortable working with a venue that told you that. Maybe there are state regulations they have to follow that require them to make it "alcohol free" but they don’t want to discourage the business from weddings and other events where it would be served, so they use these vague answers?
I would decide based on your comfort level. If the fear of being "caught" for having the alcohol would be so overbearing that you couldn’t relax and enjoy the reception, I would choose somewhere else.
Just curious, but do you know what the sanction is for being caught with alcohol? Is it a small fine or being kicked out of the park? If the possible sanction is something relatively minor, I wouldn’t worry about it.
Post # 7
It’s interesting if they have a policy that they actually don’t enforce; in that case he’s probably telling you that as long as there aren’t complaints the park will sort of look the other way. However, the park is subject to the local liquor laws – they don’t make their own. You can find out what the penalty would be if city police or the county sheriff happened along by calling the city or county in which the park is located – because that’s probably what you really have to worry about. The park would, at most, ask you to leave or to put away the alcohol; the city or county can arrest you for serving without a liquor license. That would sort of suck.
Post # 8
In California a lot of venues make you pay for your own security if you have alcohol — someone who’s job is to make sure everyone drinking is 21 or over — this is a good way to CYA.