Post # 1
So I just found out from our venue that our bartender contract is 6 hours, and that our reception ends either at 11pm or when those 6 hours are up, whichever comes first. This has thrown my day-of timeline for a loop because I had originally thought that our bartender would be there the whole time, however long the reception is. Our original timeline looked like this:
3:30pm – Ceremony begins
4:00pm – Ceremony ends; cocktail hour/photos
5:30pm – Bridal party entrance
5:40pm – Buffet opens
6:30pm – Dancing begins
10:30pm – Last dance
Which means that our bar would have to start at 4:30, which means that our cocktail hour will be more like a “water hour” for half of it. I don’t know how much it *really* matters though, because our “cocktail” hour is just going to be a “wine and beer” hour, because that’s all we’re serving (getting married at a winery and their contract doesn’t allow for liquor; fine with us because we don’t really drink liquor anyway).
However, if we push everything up half an hour so that the cocktail hour starts at 4:30, that means that a) dinner won’t be until 6pm, which is late IMO, and b) our reception will be cut short by half an hour, which I think would make it too short.
So here are my options:
-Leave the timeline the way it is and just let the guests deal with not having alcohol for part of the cocktail hour-Push the ceremony up half an hour to start at 4:00pm and deal with a late dinner and a short reception
As a guest, which would you prefer? Would you expect the bar to be open immediately upon your arrival to the cocktail hour, even though the “cocktail” hour won’t really have cocktails anyway, and it would make for a late dinner? Or would you think it was okay for the bar to open half an hour into the cocktail hour?
Post # 3
I’d expect cocktail hour to have alcohol for the duration. Is there any way you can shut the bar down for 30 minutes post cocktail hour? Thats what my venue suggested we do since everyone is migrating/finding their seat and won’t be looking for the bar anyway. FWIW I don’t think 6pm is late at all for dinner.
Post # 4
Can you hire the bartender for another half an hour? That seems silly to change the whole day around just for a half an hour… He can stop serving alcohol at 10:30 to start getting people out of there by 11 when the reception officially ‘ends”… if that makes sense.
Post # 5
It’s vital, IMO, that you serve drinks when the cocktail hour begins.
It’s not abnormal for the bar to close before the wedding ends – ie: my wedding the bar HAD to close one hour prior to the end of the event.
Start the cocktail hour at 4pm (when the cocktail hour begins) and have it end at 10pm. Have your DJ announce last call shortly before the bar closes. Everyone will have had PLENTY to drink by then!!
Post # 6
I would suggest trying to hire the bartender for 30 minutes extra. Or as PPs have said, try and split the time. Or, close the bar early; I think it’s fine to have last orders 30minutes to an hour before the party winds up. It means people can finish their drinks in leisure.
Post # 7
I don’t think we can, unfortunately. We’re not paying extra for the bartender, he/she is an employee of the winery who just serves wine and works the kegs, and after the 6 hours is up they go home.
I wish we could end the bar early but since the reception ends when the bar contract ends, that’s not an option. Like if we wanted the reception to end at 11pm and started the bar at 4pm, that would be 7 hours, so it wouldn’t work. We’d either have to start the bar at 5pm or end the reception at 10pm. That’s why I chose 4:30-10:30 as a happy medium lol. But I totally agree, the last hour or so no one is going to be wanting more to drink so the bar won’t need to be open. I think this is a kind of silly rule but it is what it is.
Post # 8
Have you asked them what other couples do? You can’t be the only ones who have come across this problem.
Post # 9
6 pm is not late AT ALL for dinner. Most people don’t eat until around then (I used to work at a restaurant in college). We’re starting dinner at 7-7:15. Remember- guests will be eating food during the cocktail hour as well.
Post # 10
My dinner starts at 8pm so I don’t think a 6pm dinner is late at all. I do think you should have the bar open for all of the cocktail hour, and just have a “last call” when the bar shuts down for the night….by then, people will have been drinking all night, so they probably won’t miss it as the night winds down?
Post # 11
I would push everything back. 6pm is not late for dinner, especially in the summer. From my perspective, you may run into issue when it’s time to take photographs. June in PA sunset won’t be until about 8:25, so just be aware and speak with your photographer if you want to take advantage of some gorgeous sunset shots.
Post # 12
Is there any way you can pay overtime to the bartenders to do an extra half an hour? I think it’s inappropriate to have a cocktail hour without offering any sort of alcohol, but shortening the reception isn’t ideal. A 6 pm dinner isn’t late at all, so I wouldn’t be concerned about that.