Post # 1
We are having a very small wedding (45 people invited which are ALL family members). We are having our ceremony in the pastor’s backyard which is absolutely beautiful and then a LUNCH reception at a local Japanese hibachi restaurant. We are paying for everyone’s meals. We are going to print up a selective menu for them to chose from. Pretty much they can choose an appetizer thats under $10 and an entree that’s under $20. We’re going to make it cute and personalize the menu choices so they reflect us. For instance: the sushi rolls we will have as a choice will be the Houma Roll (that’s where we are gettting married), The Alaskan Roll (we got engaged in Alaska) Boston Roll (honeymooning in NE) and Cajun Roll (we are both cajuns).
For beverages however I’m not sure how to let people know that we are only paying for 2 of their alcoholic drinks. There are several reasons for this: Fiance and I are not heavy drinkers, his whole family does not drink at all, it’s lunch time on a Sunday, we don’t want people abusing our generosity or getting sloppy drunk.
Out of the 45 guests, I have 4 uncles, and 4 male cousins that I know for a fact are heavy drinkers and would abuse it just because they could. Pretty much any meal they eat at a family event they put down at least 8-10 beers a piece.
When I asked the restaurant manager about this problem, she kinda said “why are you paying for their drinks anyway?” Well I think it would be nice that the people who didn’t get alcoholic beverages or just got 2 or less alcoholic beverages didn’t have to pay for the extra $2-12 at the end of the meal. And of course being that my parents are contributing to the wedding, we will defenintely pay for their drinks, so it would look odd if we were only paying for some peoples and not others.
Thought about drink tickets, but being the wedding is so small and we’re all sitting together at a total of 2 tables (25/table) I just find the drink tickets to be strange.
(And I wouldn’t put it past my cousins and uncles to just use a non drinkers tickets to get their extras.)
Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thank you.
Post # 3
Maybe when the server takes orders for drinks, she can tell each guest that the first two rounds are taken care of. I’ve attended and hosted a few restaurant gatherings where this has been handled well by the servers.
Post # 4
Yea I guess I am worried that the server won’t be able to handle it because of the large amount of people at each table. Maybe after she has served them two, they can be directed to the restaurant’s bar so they can pay for them there. Should I write something on the menu like “The first two are on us!” under the alcohol choices? My favors for the wedding are personalized fortune cookies and each family or couple is getting a bottle of homemade wine made by us. This should be enough, I hope.
I just hate that because it’s a small intimate family wedding that the cousins and uncles are going to be ticked off that it’s not “open bar” because we can “afford it”. My dad is a very successful man but it’s not because he makes a lot of money, it’s because he knows how to invest and save his money! We have always been looked as the silver spoon fed kids out of all the family members if you know what I mean. I think they will expect a very high end wedding but that’s not what we want. My parents generiously gave us $5,500 for the wedding and any thing that isn’t covered in that is up to us. Both of us are debt free and intend to stay that way as long as we can so we chose a very small low key event.
Post # 5
Are you open to other ideas? We don’t want to spend a ton of money on an open bar and are in a similar situation. My fiance’s family doesn’t drink at all, my family is pretty low-key, but we both have friends who would love to go overboard. We are probably going to end up setting a dollar amount…we will let the manager/bartender know and they will keep track. Once that money runs out, it’s cash bar. This will probably get us through the coctail hour plus a bit extra. I was thinking of making two small but pretty picture frames – one saying “open bar” and the other saying “cash bar” for the bartender to display at the right times. That way there is no suprise!
*Edit – on second thought, it seems like your situation is more of a sit-down restaurant and this probably wouldn’t work…
Post # 6
@leblk452: I’m going to agree with Ellegee on this one, tell the serving staff/waitresses to inform the guests and if you recieve any directed questions by said uncles/cousins politly tell them you’ve just decided since it was so early in the day that it seemed appropriate for 2 not unlimited.
DO NOT feel bad for doing so, I will not be having an open bar whenever I do get married for that reason, I do not want people getting slobbering drunk and saying something crass or driving home that way!
Post # 7
@leblk452: What about pairing a drink or two with each course. Then they pick between the rolls and the drink options.
I went to a wedding that had each course paired with a selected wine, and it was fantastic.
Post # 8
This is a tricky issue!
One thing you could do is provide a couple of options for signature drinks to guests upon arrival and then a glass of champagne or sparkling wine near the middle to end of the meal for toasts. You can list it in your menu so that there is no surprise to guests. Instruct the servers that they may only serve two alcoholic beverages during the meal, the first signature drink and then your toast.
If you are really concerned about etiquette then consider offering a drink tailored to each course: appetizer, entrée and dessert. A coordinated menu is never a faux pas and three drinks over the course of a lunch reception are certainly enough. If the three drinks end up being too pricey then make one of them a virgin cocktail.
Finally if all else fails consider preordering bottles of wine or pitchers of punch for the table rather than providing two drinks. Polite company will dictate that they need to share. At least one would hope so.
Just remember it is your day and you have nothing to apologize for. Your family is attending your wedding not a kegger.
Post # 9
I like the idea that was suggested of the server telling the guests that they don’t have to pay for the first two rounds.
You can also have the word out there before your wedding so the guests aren’t surprised.
Post # 10
Yea still not sure how we will do it exactly but thinking we could blame it on not wanting to be responsible for drunk driving.
I like the ideas you all have provided but signature drinks won’t work because Dad has to have his jack and coke, and uncles have to have their beer. Each one is so picky about their alcohol choices. Mom and sister only like the mah tais from this restaurant, etc.
Another idea we might consider is that the table we are sitting at will be the closest family members (dad, mom, sister, fmil, fbils, future nephews etc) where the other table will be my cousins and aunts and uncles. We could always just pay for the “Head” table’s drinks and not pay for the second table’s. Secretly that is.
Post # 11
@andielovesj: I like this idea. or what about just some bottles on the table- some beer and saki? Then when it is gone it is gone everyone can just drink soda/tea.
Post # 12
I’d have the waiter tell each person as they take their drink order “the hosts are offering two complimentary drinks this evening.” Then you can list the drinks on your personalized menu.
Post # 13
I actually like your first idea of saying “the first two are on us” on the menus.
Paying for one table and not another is the fast track to hurt feelings. There’s just no way you’ll be able to keep that a secret.
Or, as Sienna76 suggested, have the server say to the table, “the hosts are offering two complimentary beverages today”. They can be non-alcoholic or alcoholic, but you’re paying for two. That way, there’s no messy drink tickets, and people still get their choice. After two, it’s on the individual.
If your wedding is in the afternoon, I bet most of your guests will be just fine with two drinks.
Post # 14
@Miss Root Very well put, I think putting it on the menu/server mentioning it will be the best way to go.
As far as betting on most guests will be just fine with two is funny: we live in the bayous of south Louisiana. Ever seen swamp people? lol People here drink ALOT. Our alcohol laws are very relaxed. And yes, dry thru daquari shops really do exist. I pass 3 of them on my way to work (10 minute drive)