(Closed) Alcohol etiquette question (need ideas!)

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 16
8067 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

If you can bring in your own alcohol then yes I think tokens are rude.  It’s pretty cheap (like really cheap!) to bring in your own alcohol- so making them pay for it probably means you’ll be making $$ off of them.  Plus you would probably need a license to sell your own alcohol.  I’d just bring in my own alcohol and have an open bar.  You could do beer only for a couple hundred bucks.

I think dry weddings are usually pretty dull but that’s just me.

Post # 17
6536 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

tickets or tokens are rude. Stick to beer, wine, and some sort of alcoholic punch and you’ll be able to provide a gracious welcome for your guests without breaking the bank.

Post # 19
366 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

View original reply
Ralleshouse0919:  To give you an idea of cost, The mobile bar service near me (upstate ny) charges $25/hr for a bartender. They require one bartender for every 75 people. Now this did not include tip, but it was paid to a company who then paid the bartender so the actual bartender did not keep all of this money. I would think if you can find an individual and not a company, just $20-$25/hr should be normal. You can let them use a tip jar too if you want to avoid giving them an additional tip (I know, I know, not acceptable in all regions).

Keg beer is reasonable and if you buy it from a local brewery, you may be able to negotiate the price, or get a volume discount. There is also no harm in cheap wine, less harm than having no wine. 

Post # 20
237 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

There is a fine line between being thrifty and being cheap. Your guests are going out of their way to attend your wedding and bring you a nice gift–don’t insult them by failing to provide enough alcohol or asking them to chip in. You want them to have fun and remember your wedding in a positive way, right?

You can definitely get alcohol for a reasonable price. Trader Joe’s two-buck-chuck ($2) or Whole Foods’s Three Wishes are very affordable bottled wines. Buy boxed wine if you have to–like smarie314 said, it’s better than nothing! Cases of beer can be purchased for pretty low prices too–go for cans to keep the cost down even further.

Drinks are generally expected at weddings and very much appreciated by many (especially if you have a dance floor!) If your Fiance thinks alcohol is a waste of money, he needs to be reminded that your guests don’t think so. It may be your special day, but you still have to be gracious hosts!

Post # 21
1383 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: Disneyland - January 2016

OP, ultimately the decision is up to you and your Fiance, but please don’t feel that you have to spend outside your budget in order to be considered a “gracious” host. If you decide you want only a limited amount of wine and beer, then go for it, and don’t feel obligated that you have to keep the liquor flowing all night long to not be seen as rude. Some of the comments in this thread are really making my eyes roll. You’re providing free food, beverage, and music to thank your guests for sharing this day with you. I will never grasp why alchohol seems to always be the deciding factor as to whether or not you “appreciate” your guests enough.

Post # 22
14 posts
  • Wedding: February 2016

View original reply
Ralleshouse0919:  I’m doing drink tickets! Each guest will have two (alcoholic) drinks already paid for, and the tickets will have our name on them. They’ll basically just be added to the bridal party tab so we’ll pay for whatever’s bought. Then, if a guest wants more than that, they will have a selection from beer/wine/ small selection of premade drinks (margaritas, moscow mules, ect). We are also serving lemonade/juice (anything that can be a chaser) to all of our guests, for free (we do have to pay for this at the venue). 

I do not think it’s rude, and frankly don’t care if it is. Our reception is only going until 9:00 PM, and we’re right down the street from the big bar scene (it’s a college town; we’re 23).  Our guests will understand that we don’t want to pay for them to get hammered, after we paid for the entire wedding. Obviously, they had to travel in from out of town, buy a gift, etc but most of our friends and family are local. If this means we don’t get big gifts, then I don’t care. I’d rather have a fun evening, and not pay for alcohol, then gifts. 

Open bars aren’t common here, and hosted bars are pretty much the norm. I’ve been to weddings that were cash bars, and that were completely covered. Both guests seemed happy to be there.

At the end of the day, the people that will support you and your soon to be husband in your life style choices will be there. 

Post # 23
1695 posts
Bumble bee

Definitely don’t skimp on alcohol. It’s not necessary for people to have a good time. But it’s expected. You’re hosting a wedding and you want to provide for your guests. A good meal + alcohol + socializing.

Post # 24
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I agree with you on the “just beer and wine is free” idea. I am not a HUGE drinker, but I have to say, when I go to weddings that are dry, I feel like it was a horrible way to try to save money. Yes, yes I know people say “people shouldn’t need alcohol to have fun.” Blah Blah but let’s face it-everyone likes a good celebratory drink or two. Offering beer and wine is generous, and if guests would like more, they pay.

Post # 25
5521 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
Ralleshouse0919:  I’m from the UK and open bars are pretty rare/unusual, and are absolutely not expected. So, my answer on the cash vs open bar debate tends to be ‘do what is the norm within your social circle’; we were bothered about OUR guests’ comfort and expectations, not what guests thousands of miles away in a different country with different norms might expect. 

That said: a cash bar at a BYO venue would be considered rude here. Typically at such a venue either guests themselves would bring (some of) their own drinks (with the couple providing some too, eg a glass of wine and champagne, and plentiful soft drinks and water), which would be OK with everyone I know (much cheaper than the usual which involves pricey hotel drinks generally speaking), or, the couple would provide all drinks (likely limited to beer and wine) for their guests. I would seriously raise an eye-brow and find it quite off-putting if the couple charged for drinks at this sort of set-up, which is typically cheap for the couple; the only way I’m find it OK is if the cost was very small ie covered the actual cost of the drink; so, if I know a bottle of wine cost £6, I would not expect to pay more than £1.50 for a 175ml glass of said wine. 

So, do whatever is the norm where you live, but if you do charge for drinks I would do it to at the very most cover the cost of the drinks themselves; IMO anything else (bar tender, cop, glasses) should be paid for by you. 

Post # 26
302 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

When I go to a wedding, I expect alcohol. Am I a big drinker? No. 

I don’t drink during the week, or on the weekend. I drink when I go out to dinner with friends. I drink when I have Friday drinks after work. I drink to socialise. I drink at weddings. 

I’d be miffed if I had to pay. Especially if it was wine/beer/soft drinks. I don’t expect spirits. 

And IMO, tokens are cheap. If you can’t afford to provide your guests with alcohol, maybe you have cut down on something else to afford it.

Like one of the PPs said – you may actually have to check the legality of charging for alcohol. 

When I used to bartend I charged $25 AU/hour. 

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