(Closed) Help! What is alcohol etiquette for the reception?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
2714 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

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
5889 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2012

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
68 posts
Worker bee

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
6661 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

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
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

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
379 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

You could serve them one drink with dinner and kinda be really slow about bringing the alchol out.

Post # 9
2779 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

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
3 posts
  • Wedding: February 2011

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
24 posts
  • Wedding: June 2010

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
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

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
769 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

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
3219 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

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
1184 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

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
1882 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

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.

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