Post # 1
So my wedding is in 8 days (ahh!) and I know this seems pretty last minute but.. well, no exuses, it IS last minute!
One of our friends is just starting a catering service and is doing the food for our wedding. We said we’d be in charge of the alcohol, and I’m just now realizing I haven’t figured it out! Our budget is 10k with 200 guests, so we’ve been working pretty hard to cut costs and DIY mostly everything.
The wedding is outdoors at 5:30 and everything is a bit informal and nontraditional. Both of our families have a history of alcoholism and many of our friends choose to overdrink frequently at events, so we were thinking about serving alcohol from only 6-7:30 (the reception is from 6-9) to discourage people from getting drunk. As far as types of alcohol served, our budget only allows for wine and beer.
My fiance and I do not like wine, and serving wine with the beer would cost a bit more. I guess my questions are:
Is it appropriate to serve alcohol for only a short period of time during a reception? Should we inform our guests of the limited time or just shut it down when 7:30 comes?
Is it appropriate to serve only beer at a wedding reception?
Thanks so much for your help!!!
Post # 3
I’m not sure about your 1st question — hopefully other bees can help you with that. But I would advise that you provide both wine and beer to your guests. It’s not fair to just serve beer simply because you and your Fiance do not like it……
Post # 4
well, everyone has a different opinion on this, and i definitely don’t think it is worth going into debt over, however- i personally do not drink beer, and i like a drink at weddings, so people in my situation wouldn’t be able to drink. also, i’ve heard that even if you have a group of friends that mostly drinks beer, people tend to drink wine too when it comes to a wedding.
in terms of a shutting it down after an hour and a half, i think that might be a little weird.
Post # 5
If you’re not comfortable with alcohol, I wouldn’t serve it at all. Serving only beer for an hour an a half might be confusing to some guests.
However, if you are going to be serving the beer, I would also serve wine. There is already time limitations, I think a good balance would be to have some options.
Post # 6
I don’t know what ‘etiquitte’ states, but IMO you can do anything you want. You can even choose one signature drink to serve if that’s easier. If you are trying to cut costs, if I were you I’d just do a cash bar which would be free for you and would discourage guests from drinking too much since they’d be paying for it.
Post # 7
Go with what you’re comfotable with. I will say if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can find really nice wines that aren’t any more money per serving that what decent beer costs.
I think it’s smart to consider the alcohol consumption habits of your guests. I’m sure a few people may gripe, but they are coming to celebrate your wedding. A free flowing bar should be the last thought on their minds.
Post # 8
You could serve them one drink with dinner and kinda be really slow about bringing the alchol out.
Post # 9
I think if I were in your situation I wouldn’t serve alcohol at all. 1.5 hours is enough time for people to get drunk and rowdy, especially if there’s cases of severe alcoholism. And I worry that you would close the bar and those already well on their way to being drunk would complain and ruin your day.
Post # 10
Why bother serving alcohol at all at that point? I was at a wedding once where they served for the first two hours, but not again after that-it was a bit confusing, since we were waiting to order drinks until after dinner since we didn’t want to have more than a few drinks the whole night. Turns out, we never got a chance to get a drink at all!
If you’re worried about alcoholics and drunkenness, then i would recommend not serving anything. if you’re worried about cost, I would reccommend having a signature drink. If you’re reaaallllly worried about cost, maybe consider a cash bar?
Randomly shutting down before dinner is even over might be a bit odd for some folks.
Post # 11
I don’t mean to overly worry here, but we also DIYed our own alcohol, and it raised some logistical questions that I might not otherwise have thought of: May I ask where you are holding your event? Because depending on the state / venue you may need licensed bartenders to serve alcohol. I’d just be concerned about liability. Maybe your friend who is catering already has this covered…
That said, I think that your guests will appreciate whatever it is you serve. Just make sure it goes with the tone of the event, and if you are having a limited time/selection I would let people know ahead of time so that they can plan their evening.
EDIT: by ‘ahead of time’ I meant ‘before you shut down the bar’. I don’t mean to imply that I think you need to tell guests before the event itself. Maybe just some signage at the bar or something saying “Beer will be served from 6-7:30, enjoy!”.
Post # 12
All I can say, is I find beer absolutely revolting and disgusting, however we’re offering 3 types for our guests (and we’re doing a DIY bar) as I know not everyone likes a light beer or a dark beer etc.
There are a lot of really affordable a decent wines out there. Double Dog Dare Cabernet Sauvignon is under $4 a bottle (less than $1/glass) and is a really good red. Please at least offer your guests a choice of red or white.
Also, check with local stores. While beer is not usually returnable because if you don’t store it correctly it can spoil, some places DO allow leftover wine to be returned.
Post # 13
We bought beer at Costco and wine at Trader Joe’s for our wedding. We were able to return leftovers of both – just fyi.
Post # 14
Why not just have it be BYOB. If you are worried about costs that seems like a great way IMO. And if you do offer something deff do a red & white wine too.
Post # 15
Trader Joe’s in an excellent resource for wine – their house wine is $2-$3/bottle and is good enough to serve your guests. No one is expecting the finest wine. I think there are better ways of controlling consumption than abruptly cutting off service after an hour and half. Although I don’t generally advocate cash bars, that could be one way to dissuade people from drinking too much (and help you on the budget front). You could give people a few drink tickets with their program – maybe two drinks on you, and then after that they have to pay? I would guess people would be much less likely to drink a lot in that situation. You could also serve mixed, watered-down drinks. Maybe make sangria, and add more juice than wine?
Post # 16
Can you just serve wine and beer with dinner, and then after dinner when it’s time for cake roll in some coffee-I think people will get the hint.
I’m soo jealous of all of you that can get wine at Trader Joe’s. In PA it is illegal to carry alcohol in grocery stores. blah.