Post # 1
I am 5 months away from the wedding, and have a few etiquette questions for all of you.
First, we just had to change our reception venue because of budget. The new venue is an American Legion, that has a very large reception room, and a second room that is a bar. The bar is open 7 days a week, and cannot/willnot shut down during the wedding. NBD to me – I knew it when I booked it. FI and I are paying for a champagne toast, and then having a lemonade and iced tea bar with multiple flavored syrups for people to drink. We are not having any other liqour – we can’t afford it. So, if people want liquor, then can go next door to the bar and buy it, and then bring it back, but we aren’t offering it in the reception at all. Does this infringe on being a cash bar? We truly cannot afford a hosted bar – it is out of the budget, hence why we are providing what we can afford.
Second, the guest list just exploded from 120 to 180 (thanks Mom). The reception is from 2:30 to 5:30, and will be a large buffet of appetizers – no entrees, no hot dishes. We will have dancing, and a photobooth, and a cookie buffet. Do we need place cards? I am thinking yes, moms are saying no. Ideas? Also, since it is a very small entrance, and then you’re in the hall, I’m considering using a framed print of seating chart, rather than cards. Is this ok?
Post # 3
First, you have the wedding you can afford, and if booze isn’t in the budget then that’s that. 🙂 I think it’s totally fine to allow people to go to the bar next door if they really want to drink, but considering it’s an afternoon wedding I don’t think that many will take advantage (we attended one this summer and I think Fiance and I both only had one drink from their cash bar, and it was no big deal.. it was the afternoon and we had to keep going with our day once the wedding was over)
Since you’re not serving an actual meal, I wouldn’t do the seating chart. It’ll save you a lot of headache trying to place that many people, and it’ll save time since people will just sit where they want to instead of everyone finding their places. Just make sure you have more seats than people and this will work out.
Happy planning 🙂
Post # 4
@nyscpa2be: i agree with kristen.
just make sure there are enough non-alcoholic beverages for your guests and if your guests want an alchoholic drink, they can go next door. you don’t want to your guests to have to ‘buy’ iced tea next door.
the wedding doesn’t sound extremely formal, so why bother with the table cards and seating chart (especially for 180 ppl).
Post # 5
I would say the bar next door is just fine. We had no alcohol either.
Also the table idea works for me! lol We did the same thing and no one was confused. Our wedding was about half your size though. I think it’s totally fine.
Post # 6
I had to have a cash bar because of budget too. Nobody minded. People who wanted to drink were willing to pay. This also helps prevent people from getting too wasted (if they have to pay they won’t drink as much) Also I decided to forgo seating charts all together. I was going to do place cards but it was such a headache trying to make my family, the in-laws, and the Fiance happy that I decided to reserve a few tables near the head table for close family (ie parents, grandparents, siblings) and have the rest be sit-where-you-want. It worked out fine. Everyone sat where they felt comfortable and the important family members still had a place of honor. My wedding was about the same size as yours too.Hope this helped! I’m sure it will all work out beautifully for you. Best of luck!
Post # 7
Thank you all so much!
@mypinkshoes: There will be plenty of iced tea and lemonade, plus regular coffee, decaf, tea and ice water. The only purchased items would be soda and liquor.
Even though the guest list is 180, we are hoping and expecting 120. Some of the people are “courtesy invites” because one member of the family, usually a sibling, is invited, some live overseas (and I really don’t think a cousin I can’t remember ever meeting will fly from Taiwan), and some others are scattered throughout the US, so I don’t think we’ll have too many people at the wedding. 120 would be ideal. And since we’re not inviting kids, some parents won’t show, guaranteed.
Post # 8
@nyscpa2be: I agree with PPs about not worrying about a seating chart as you are not offering a sit down meal. It will also allow ppl to mingle more and hopefully encourages use of the dancing and photobooth.
Regarding the non alcoholic drinks, have you considered some fruit punches aswell? Just a suggestion.
Post # 9
Personally, I would still do a seating chart up front, and nix the placecards at the tables themselves. If you want to save on the cost of printing/framing that though, I would still put up a little sign up front with some sort of cute saying that lets the guests know to seat themselves (Since you never know who you’ll meet, we’ve decided to let you choose your seats, Don’t be nervous, Don’t be shy, Grab a seat, shake hands & smile! < sorry that sounds so corny, but I’m sure you’ll be able to make something up lol
A few downsides to not having a seating arrangement:
– people might not feel comfortable approaching a table with people there already, if they don’t know anyone
– if you’re doing table pictures, there’s no sure way to make sure that everyone ‘is at their seats in the next twenty minutes’ and you get at least most of the table in each picture
If either one of those aren’t a big deal to you, then feel free to let them at it – if you know your crowd is comfortable & outgoing, it shouldn’t be a big deal. 🙂
If you don’t wa
Post # 10
It’s perfectly fine to host what you can afford. You can’t close down the bar in the room next door, so it isn’t even like you’ve arranged for a cash bar. Just be sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks to keep guests happy.
I would skip the place cards. Many people will likely stand and mingle based on your menu. As long as you have a seat for every rear, you’ll probably be fine. You might want to add in an extra table or two just so that couples don’t have to split up if the other tables all only have 1 seat left or something.
Post # 11
The bar next door is fine. You are providing beverages for your guests, and it is not like you chose to have a cash bar. You chose not to have alcohol, and the venue just happens to have a bar that serves alcohol.
It sounds like you are providing ample food for your reception, I love the cookie bar!
It is up to you whether or not to do place cards/table assignments. I personally prefer that, because some guests may not know where to sit. Regardless of whether you assign places or not, please make sure you have a seat for every guest’s butt.
Post # 12
Thanks everyone! I just saw that I had responses – so sorry it took me so long to respond!
We have decided to go with placecards, since the guest list exploded, but they are doing double duty. The placecards will be tied to each favor. This is actually a calculated way to avoid grabby hands – some members of my family have been known in the past to take extra favors (for people that were “forgot” on the guest list). Said person isn’t invited, but to avoid that issue, we are essentially assigning favors. And since our favors cost almost $1.50 each, it will save us some money, too.
Post # 13
Is this the Schuylerville Legion? If so that’s where my reception is too! We are doing a cash bar and just letting the people go to the other room Fiance and me are under 21 so we didn’t want to do Alcohol at all. I love how big the room is we are getting married on June 2nd I’m actually making a a tulle canopy for the dance floor in all white, I can send you pics of it at the wedding if you would like to see it as it will be made for that venue!