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

posted 11 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
211 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@flamingred I moved to PA 1 year ago and I was shocked and confused that I could not buy wine at the grocery store.  Well I drink less now.  I am from WA and we have a lot of great wine.  My friend bought $3 wine from a discount grocery store for her wedding and Crane Lake is always $3

I like the watered down drink idea.

Also if you need a liquor license you can easily buy one at a liquor store (I have been told by my friend when she did her wedding).  Then they hired a bartender for $100 to serve.  The bartender even decorated his bar.

Post # 18
176 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

It’s fine to cut off the bar before your reception ends to keep people from driving around blitzed, but no more than an hour. I plan to tell my guests that booze will be cut off at the last hour.

I think you should have some wine too…you can get inexpensive ones. As bees said above, some people don’t like beer.

Post # 19
1114 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I think that if you have beer then you should have wine also. Just so guests have options.  If you were at a reception that only served wine then you probably would not appreciate it so much if you didnt like wine! I think that having a cut off time is the best idea if you serve alcohol, but honestly it sounds like with all of the alcoholics around you might just not want to serve alcohol at all..then you save money and possibly drama and thats that!

Post # 20
87 posts
Worker bee

I also got my wedding wine from Trader Joes! : )  We had 120 guests and a pretty informal wedding and this is what we went through:  1 full size keg of a local amber, 1 small keg of brooklyn brown, and 60 bottles of wine.  Although the last few bottles were finished by the wedding party on our way back to the hotel (we all rode together, it was rowdy and one of the highlights of our night… but we had a driver of course!).  No one at the wedding got ridiculously wasted (that I knew of), the BM’s were drunk but functional enough to change and clean up before we left.

 So, I would suggest having both beer and wine but get a reasonable amount.  If you are that concerned about people drinking too much you could always ‘underestimate’ that way you aren’t necessarily cutting it off at a certain time, just when you are legitimately out of alcohol.  Not sure if you can hire a bartender, but if you can then explain to them your situation and tell them that if they prevent any problems you will tip them really well!  Also… get smaller cups!  We had 6-oz cups for our wine (thus allowing a ~4-5 oz pour) and 12 oz cups for beer.  Good luck and enjoy your day!     

Post # 21
836 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

@flamingred: It’s illegal in my home state of Oklahoma too, it stinks!

I’d serve both beer and wine because your guests could have different tastes.  I personally don’t like beer, but we served one beer, one red and one white wine at our wedding.

We had x amount of each alcohol and when it was gone, it was gone.  I think that’s a good idea if you buy enough for one or two drinks per person.  If you do the time period, you definitely need to make it known to guests via signage at the bar.  Another option is to hire a couple people to do table service.  If you’re just doing it for 1 or 2 hours, you can probably hire a couple people pretty cheap and when table service is done, alcohol is done. 

Post # 22
87 posts
Worker bee

Oh, one more thing to add.  Just as it probably isn’t wise to cut off at a certain time and confuse people, I wouldn’t do it just because if people know what time it will end, they will binge.  It’s like last call at the bar… or the end of happy hour… what does everyone do?  One in each hand… two in the pockets… etc…  

Post # 23
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

If you were to close the bar early, you should try to spread this by word of mouth ASAP so people know in advance and aren’t confused.  Maybe put it on your website, or even the sign at the wedding as others suggested.  Since you’re looking for opinions, I’d suggest you pick wine over beer if you could only serve one.  I prefer a good microbrew to wine as well, but I’ve found that while most people can find wine they like, many dislike beer.  Perhaps you could buy both beer and wine but in a smaller quantity in order to cut costs.  We’re doing only beer and wine (but GOOD beer and wine), as per my parents’ decision, and guests are already complaining about the abscence of liquor.  Not everyone is going to be happy with your choices or decisions, but if you give your guests variety they will at least have options.

Something you can’t curb no matter what, even if you do close the bar early–>guests bringing their own libations.  I see flasks at dry weddings all the time, and from my experience, liquor definitely causes a party to “escalate” faster than wine/beer.  It seems like people tend to shy away from this practice when they know there will be some alcohol served.

Post # 24
184 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@gulbraa44: I’m from Canada and when I went to the states a couple years ago and learned they sold alcohol in grocery stores, I was like THIS IS A MAGICAL LAND. You could even get a beer at a 7/11! Too bad it’s only some states 🙁 In Canada alcohol is only sold in liquor stores (although liquor stores are probably about as abundant as 7/11…)

Post # 25
34 posts
  • Wedding: September 2011

This is a magical land…. that is too funny!!  I thought all states sold alcohol in grocery stores… wow!  I learned something new today… I was planning on buying at BevMo (for the 5 cent sale and you can return unused wine), but I just learned from you girls that Trader Joe’s takes unused wine back, too… thanks for all the info!  But, @ Anna- I wouldn’t close down the bar after an hour and a half.  I’m with everyone else… if you’re really, really worried, don’t have any alcohol.  You should definitely provide wine if you’re going to have beer and when you run out, you run out!  From what I can tell, people tend to buy too much anyway. Smile

Post # 27
554 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

I personally would be annoyed if there were alcohol restrictions. 

You shouldn’t control people getting drunk.  I would be inclined to order wine as well as beer as many people don’t just drink beer.  It’s about accommodating others too.  Perhaps if you’re on a budget, just get a few bottles of wine per table.  Generally though, this is one area of the wedding to splurge a bit on.  From my experience, if the booze is crappy, the mood/atmosphere is crappy and people tend to not want to hang around and start bitching.  TRuthfully, jut because people say they are ok with it, doesn’t mean they actually are.

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