(Closed) Alcohol etiquette question (need ideas!)

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
721 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015 - The Victorian

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Ralleshouse0919:  Well the cost of the bartender and off-duty cop (where do you live? I have never heard of that.) are fixed costs, so you need to decide if you can live with those. It’s not hard to find a licensed bartender willing to work for cash for 3 hours. I would say either dry or limited open bar. I think the token and cash bar gives a bad impression. Really, for beer and wine, it’s not going to run you THAT much. If you live somewhere with a BevMo even within an hour’s drive, it’s worth it to go stock up during their 5 cent wine sale and buy by the case (an additional savings). If not, costco/BJs/Sam’s Club usually have good deals on wine and buy by the case.  For beer you could do a few kegs. If you know anyone with restaurant connections, see if theycan get stuff at-cost for you. You could also limit the limited open bar to 3 hours.

Post # 3
Member
529 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

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Ralleshouse0919:  I assume that you can bring in your own alcohol to the venue? If so, I think it’s a little rude to expect your guests to pay for it, since it can give them the impression that they are paying you for their drinks, and may even think you may be profiting, which it seems like is not the case.

If you are not big drinkers, I think you are fine with offering beer and wine, but I would stay away from having them pay.

Post # 4
Member
1070 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

We are not having open bar but putting wine on the tables for the dinner.  You could do an open bar until a certain amount and then do cash bar as well instead of tokens.

Post # 5
Member
6349 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

I personally think giving your guests drink tickets or having a dry wedding is a bit rude. Maybe it’s just me, but when I go to a wedding I want to celebrate with the bride and groom and that includes some drinks. It’s supposed to be a party after all. I’m not saying you have to have a completely open bar with every sort of liquor imaginable. I think just wines and beers is a great idea! It will help keep costs down and also keep guests from getting too inebriated at your reception.

Post # 6
Member
1383 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: Disneyland - January 2016

I don’t think giving people two tokens each is rude at all. People will expect a meal and some type of beverage. Alchohol and being allowed to get drunk on your dime is NOT a requirement. Two drinks is plenty and I think it’s perfectly fair that if guests want more they can shell out the bucks for it. I assume you’ll have other non-alchoholic drinks there so it’s not like people are going to go thristy. Ugh, I absolutely hate the idea that people seem to think they NEED to be buzzed or drunk in order to have a good time.

Post # 7
Member
6299 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think you need to price out the cost of a bartender and off-duty cop, and see what it comes out to be. Personally, it’s my opinon that it’s never ok to asks your guests to pay for ANYTHING at your wedding – so either go dry or foot the bill for the bar. I look at it this way – you’d never invite your guests to your reception and ask them to buy their own dinner – I see alcohol as no different.

FWIW, my DH and I don’t even drink and we still paid for a full open bar because we wanted to host our guests in the way *we* felt was appropriate. 

I think anwers will vary from location to location. I’m sure plenty of bees will chime in and say that cash bars are common in their area and many have never even been to a wedding where there was even a hosted bar. Personally I don’t think etiquette is void due to location but it doesn’t change the fact that some areas it’s toally ok. If in your circle everyone has a cash bar, you’ll be fine. 

Post # 8
Member
5360 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

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Ralleshouse0919:  If you’re just trying to keep costs down, I’d go with your idea of wine/beer and when it’s done it’s done. That way all your costs are fixed and you can budget for them. Having a full bar with tokens doesn’t save you money, really. You will have to buy more things and probably end up with a ton left over. Meanwhile, people who want to drink will easily collect tokens from people who don’t, so I doubt you’ll recoup much money from paid drinks anyway. 

Post # 10
Member
9189 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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Ralleshouse0919:  apart from being rude (IMO) I think the biggest problem I would have with getting tickets is keeping track of them throughout the night. I don’t usually have pockets or a purse when I go to a wedding – I stash some lip balm in my husband’s pocket if anything. 

The biggest thing I’ve learned from this website is that you need to know your crowd. Cash bars are big tacky no-nos in my social circle, but if it’s 100% expected in yours then no one will probably mind. 

Post # 11
Member
881 posts
Busy bee

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Ralleshouse0919:  Its not a carnival – it’s a wedding! I think tickets or tokins for drinks is rude. I also think asking your guests to pay for their alcohol is rude. If you come to my home for a dinner party, I’m not going to hand you a bill at the end of the night. You are my guest and I will provide what I have to make your night enjoyable. A wedding is no different. If all you can provide is beer and wine, then that’s great! But please do not make your guests pay for their drinks with tickets or otherwise.

Post # 12
Member
1740 posts
Bumble bee

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Ralleshouse0919:  I am not alchoholic. I only drink on weekends and I don’t get drunk. But I would bummed to go to a wedding without alchohol. I have NEVER been to one, and to be honest, I wouldn’t stay very long. Most bartenders for hire have the liscense, that is normal. You don’t need to hire an off duty cop. The venues are used to every single wedding having alcohohl and they don’t require it/aren’t worried. I think beer/wine is the best way to go for your needs. The tokens are weird/depressing and nobody wants to feel like they are limited to 2 drinks. You can get by with only one bartender if you’re only doing beer and wine and if you can buy it yourslef, that saves a lot of $. Read the other thread about the poor bride who is miserable because everyone left her wedding hours before it was over, then reconisder if you are willing to give your guets the drinks they are accusomteed to having at weddings. A wedding without alchohol is a bit like a wedding with a cake, or without vows, or without food…. to most of us, anyway! 

Post # 13
Member
1740 posts
Bumble bee

In my area bartenders tend to be $35/hour. If you buy beer and wine in bulk and have one bartender serving it you can easily stay under 1K maybe even $500-600

Post # 14
Member
2056 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

There could be a major issue with selling alcohol that you bought. Even though the bartender is licensed to serve, that may not mean that you are licensed to receive money from selling said drinks.

I do not understand why drink tokens are any ruder than plated meals.

That said, the best advice I can really give is to consider other weddings you’ve been to for the “etiquette ok” stamp.

Post # 15
Member
2065 posts
Buzzing bee

Are you under 21?  Do you not drink alcohol?  Isn’t there an option that it is not an open bar and the guests buy their own drinks?  If you don’t feel good about tokens just provide a small/reasonable amount of beer and wine and when its gone its gone.

I have only been to one or two weddings out of about twenty where I had to pay for drinks but my personal vote is that I would rather have the option to buy a drink or two myself then attend a completely dry wedding. 

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