(Closed) Alcohol at the Rehearsal Dinner

posted 7 years ago in Food
  • poll: What are your alcohol expectations at a "normal" wedding!?
    Drinks at rehearsal dinner and reception, all covered by the host. : (38 votes)
    46 %
    Limited drinks at both events (beer and wine only or a specialty drink) : (24 votes)
    29 %
    Cash bar. Guests cover their own alcohol at the rehearsal restaurant and reception : (9 votes)
    11 %
    No alcohol at any wedding event! : (2 votes)
    2 %
    Other, please explain. : (10 votes)
    12 %
  • Post # 3
    42 posts
    • Wedding: July 2011

    I said “other” because we are doing pay-your-own way for drinks at the rehearsal, but an open bar at the reception. At the initial stages of planning, this issue came up. My fiance’s parents were very adamant that we do not pay for drinks at the rehearsal, and it seems like a cultural/regional thing for us (we surveyed friends and family about this). I felt a little weird about it at first, but I also would feel weird paying for drinks like with an open bar when the people at the rehearsal probably shouldn’t be drinking too much anyway due to the next-day events. For the reception, however, we’re having open bar.

    Post # 4
    10 posts
    • Wedding: May 2012

    @MissTurtle27:  I agree with you that your guests at the rehearsal may expect some adult beverages.  I like your idea of having only beer and sangria at the table.  I feel like that’s a happy medium between no alcohol at all and a full open bar.   Good luck!!

    Post # 5
    519 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    I agree that you should pay for the drinks at the rehearsal, and I think limiting it to beer and wine is a fine option if you don’t want to offer the full bar.  


    Post # 6
    405 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    I guess I am in a different social circle and we are only offering maybe a glass of wine to everyone at the rehearsal and then they pay for the rest of their drinks.  At the wedding we are handing out *gasp* a drink ticket to everyone for cocktail hour and then free beer and wine all night on top of one mixed drink.  I know its not ideal, and as much as I would like to have open bar all night, we just can’t afford it. 

    Post # 7
    2702 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 2011

    I used to work many rehearsal dinners and it was about 50/50 with open bar. So I don’t think it is out of the ordinary or unaccepted at all. We are planning on having an open bar at our rehearsal dinner and reception

    Post # 8
    3344 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    Our rehearsal was at a restaurant.  We provided two drinks for each guest.  At the wedding it was an open bar.

    Post # 9
    4582 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    I think it’s fine to have guests pay for their own drinks at the rehearsal. I’ve been to two rehearsal dinners and neither had free alcohol. We’ll most likely have guests buy their own drinks at ours as well, because FI’s parents are covering the dinner but they don’t drink. I would never expect them to pay for other people’s drinks when they don’t partake of alcohol themselves.

    Post # 10
    180 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2011

    We did not provide drinks for the rehearsal dinner, but the restaurant had a great bar where everyone bought their drinks while we ate.  Then we provided an open bar for the wedding.  I personally think having a cash bar at a wedding is lame.   

    Post # 11
    10287 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2011

    My FIL’s are paying for our Rehearsal Dinner and I do not expect them to pay for an open bar. Non-alcoholic drinks, sure, but they don’t have to pay for our guests beer and wine. We’ll be having a limited open bar at our wedding so I see no problem making people pay for their own drinks at the Rehearsal Dinner if they really want something alcoholic (our Rehearsal Dinner venue gives everyone a free shot of tequilla anyway). 

    At my FBIL’s Rehearsal Dinner a few years ago Future Mother-In-Law told us to drink whatever we want and they’d cover it but they didn’t want everyone knowing it was an open bar. In the end I’m pretty sure they ended up paying the whole bar tab anyway but since the guests didn’t know it was open, they didn’t really go crazy. 

    If anything maybe we’ll do some pitchers of beer on the table but I don’t think anything more is necessary. 

    Post # 12
    255 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    Open bars are entirely regional (as you can see from many previous threads).  I’ve been to both, and I don’t think it is bad manners to have a cash bar, though of course I love an open bar! 🙂 I wish I could have one at my own wedding, however our ceremony is at 5pm, the first drinks are served at 5:30pm and the last one won’t be served until 1am!  I tried to find a venue where I could bring in my own, but in my area those were far and few between.  So we are providing drinks during cocktail hour and dinner, and then in switches to a cash bar during the “dancing” portion of the evening.

    My own personal opinion (which is not based on anything from an ettiquette book) is that when possible it is best to serve beer or wine during dinner, and then them purchase whatever they would like after that.  For you I’d think it might be a good idea to have wine with dinner (or pitchers of sangria and beer as you mention) and then once whatever you ordered is gone people can buy additional drinks if they want them.  It is a good middle ground.

    Post # 13
    3049 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: January 1991

    Other. I don’t expect to pay for alcohol at a rehearsal dinner. I don’t mind if I have to pay, or even if it’s not an option. But I would rather have an open bar for the actual reception. I like the option of being able to drink at a reception, so a cash bar would be fine as well. I’ll be disappointed if there is no option to drink, but I’m not going to die and be angry 🙂

    Post # 14
    69 posts
    Worker bee

    I would expect (and have been expected to) purchase my own alcohol at a rehearsal dinner. I was fine with that. As far as reception, I prefer open bar but cash bar is fine too!

    Post # 15
    5667 posts
    Bee Keeper

    I would never expect to, or expect my guests to, pay for drinks at a hosted event. If you’re going to pay for their food, why would you ask them to front the money for their drinks?

    Post # 16
    1427 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I agree with @aure. My In-Laws hosted the rehearsal dinner and they paid for all the alcohol that was consumed.

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