Post # 1
Fiance and I have picked our venue and our date, and while I asked many questions ahead of time, the venue has just sent me their full information package. I asked several questions about the “open bar” because FI’s family are big drinkers and so are many of our friends. In the info document the venue sent me though, there is a whole section about alcohol regulations and restrictions that has me a bit nervous.
They specify, among other things:
– If anyone appears under 19 they must be able to provide proof of age (govt issued ID)
– There will be no last call as it encourages consumption
– No patron may order more than 2 drinks at a time, and only two drinks may be given to one patron within a 30min period
– It is against the law for bartenders to provide alcohol to anyone who appears to be intoxicated
– No bottles – drinks will be poured into a container (glass or plastic cup)
– The venue does not serve “shots” “shooters” or “doubles”
– The serving of 1oz liquor is permitted on at least 4 cubes of ice
I’m not sure if these are things the venue has to say for legal reasons, or if they’re actually going to be carding my guests, forbidding my da from ordering his scotch neat, keeping people from picking up the drinks for multiple people at their table, and especially if they’re going to be strict about who “appears” intoxicated. I’m not expecting my guests to get hammered, but I’m worried the venue will start cutting off anyone who gets exuberant (some of our friends&family are loud and silly even when sober…)
So, here’s the crux of my question: Canadian/Ontario Bees – did your venue have these same rules, and if they did, were they strict about enforceing them, and did it put a damper on your reception?
Post # 2
These are pretty standard. They actually protect YOU from potential lawsuits.
Post # 3
valkyriejae : I would take their rules at face value and assume they will follow them. If they end up being more flexible then they write in their info package, great, but if not then at least you knew ahead of time. The venue has the potential of increased liability when offering an open bar service, so they need to protect themselves as well as your guests.
As for some of your specific concerns: I hope they are carding your guests! The place could get shut down for serving underage people. Besides people who are 19+ who frequently get carded will know to bring their ID. As for no more than two drinks per order, I don’t see this as a big deal… a lot of time it is to make sure drinks don’t make it to underage people. The shots and stuff I have no idea about, but I think there is a difference of some fatherly type going up and asking for his scotch neat compared to a 20-year old asking of double shots if Patron.
Most of the venues we looked at in eastern Ontario didn’t actually let you do an all inclusive alcohol packages unless you were paying like $200pp. We ended up with a consumption bar, so while it looked like an open and to all our friends we actually paid per drink. A lot of those rules were in effect and I can honestly say we didn’t have one complaint. People were just happy they weren’t paying for booze (open bars are very uncommon in my circle/friends).
All I can say, is if you don’t really like them maybe it isn’t the venue for you?
Post # 4
Not from Canada but those seems ordinary to me! I don’t think you need to worry about it.
Post # 5
raindropsonroses : I’m fine with the carding in general, but I’m worried if they card people who didn’t expect to bring ID (such as some of the clearly older guests.) There will be very few under 19s, and they will all be strictly observed to prevent them getting alcohol, since they’re all my cousins and my family are mostly teetotallers.
You make excellent points though, plus the scotch they offer isn’t great, so my da will probably stick to the mead I’m having brought in.
We looked at doing a consumption bar, but it actually worked out that open was a better deal, and anything that is less hassle for me is good. It’s one of the things I love about our venue – basically everything is included, and I’m not having a planner so that makes me super happy.
Thanks all for the feedback! I’m trying not to be paranoid about the wedding, but having folks to reassure me on stuff like this is so helpful 🙂
Post # 6
Ontario bride here as well! I think these rules seem pretty standard to me, except for the 4 ice cube one? You could speak to the venue about why drinks with liquor need to have ice in them, and see if this will acutally be enforced (hopefully if you mention the father of the bride’s drink preferences, they should try to accomodate your wishes). The other rules, while they may be slightly annoying (e.g. I have been to my venue for dinner before and they ALWAYS card me, hopefully will not on my wedding day but if they do oh well) I’m sure your guests will understand and not be too put off by it. Out of curiosity, where is your venue? 🙂
Post # 7
I wouldn’t worry about it. Most bartenders use their own judgement about who to serve and how much to serve. Nobody will hate your wedding because they could only drink scotch on the rocks instead of neat. An open bar makes everybody happy regardless 🙂
Post # 8
Not Canadian, but at most venues here in my part of the US that is standard. The carding and not serving visibly intoxicated people is standard and what EVERY bartender is supposed to be doing because venues/bartenders can be found liable should that person go out and drink and drive and injure someone.
Many venues have a no shots policy. The ice thing is probably to prevent people from getting around the shots policy (though it may be a legal thing). My guess is if they see a 55 year old wanting a scotch neat, they’ll probably not be as stringent as a 20 year old ordering their tequila neat (but even if they are stringent, I’m going to guess your guests can find some other beverage to drink instead and it won’t be a big deal).
And while the policy X drinks/half hour seems stringent, the reality is your bartender is going to be busy and generally not recognize repeat guests unless it’s really obvious so this isn’t the most enforceable thing. They just want to make sure no one is coming up getting 8 drinks for the whole table (some of whom might be underage) or they aren’t pounding drinks. If someone comes up and gets two more drinks for them and their spouse 20 minutes later, the bartender probably isn’t going to notice. But they’ll probably notice the same 19 year old coming up four times in a row, two drinks at a time probably getting drinks for all the under 19 year olds.
Post # 9
sapphire27 : I read the 4 ice cube one to mean, not drinks WITH liquor, but a drink that is JUST liquor. In other words, they don’t do shots (which is standard), and since “whiskey, neat” is basically a shot served in a glass, they won’t do that. But will serve “whiskey, on ice.”
valkyriejae : These all seem like standard stipulations for your benefit as well as the venue’s. I don’t know anyone who leaves the house without ID, whether they think they’ll be carded or not. I wouldn’t worry about it — venues rely a lot on customer referrals, they want you and your guests to have a good time. They’re not going to cut people off or be hardasses unless they really need to. No bartender likes having to do that.