Post # 1
Fiance and I will be having an open bar, but I’m looking for some ideas on how to have some amount of control over it. There are several guests whose consumption worry me a bit!
I went to a wedding where they refused to serve shots and will definitely do that…any other ideas? The people I’m most worried about are a few who drink their liquor straight (if that helps at all).
Post # 3
@MissMaryMc: perhaps employ a drink ticket system? Guests all get a certain amount of tickets and must use one each time they go to the bar? That may or may not work depending on your guests.
I would just identify the guests you are worried about to the bartender and to tell them to be mindful when serving these guests. Give them the authority to cut them off if they feel like they have had too much. Do you have a wedding coordinator or planner or family member that could also help to regulate the situation if need be?
Post # 4
WE had the bartenders watching it for us and they decided when someone had enough. Also, we served no shots. Finally, the bartender told my dad that he recommended the bar be shut off at a certain time. Which was fine with me because then everyone started dancing!
Post # 5
Fiance is a bar manager, so he’ll be hiring tenders he works with regularly. I think we can trust them to a certain extent to do what’s necessary if people are over-served…but I feel like usually it’s hard to tell that until it’s too late!
Post # 6
I would think if a person really wanted to drink, they would just get extra tickets from someone who didn’t intend to use them. For example, I would maybe have ONE drink, but if I had three tickets, I would obviously have two left over. If someone was that big of a drinker, I would just think they would go to a friend/family member who isn’t a big drinker and request their extra tickers.
Post # 7
I agree on the ticket front. And half FI’s family doesn’t drink, so there would be a lot of extras floating around! That’s why I’m moreso looking for “rules” for the bartenders to employ. I don’t care if a person wants to have 2 or 10 drinks if they eat enough, wait long enough between drinks and don’t get rowdy.
Post # 8
I did drink tickets, but there are other things you can do.
In addition to no shots, no doubles/triples.
Only 1 drink per hand at a time (some people would say only 1 drink, but this way someone can get one for themselves and one for a date or someone with mobility issues).
Don’t have any self service, including wine at the tables. If waiters pour it there will be less over-consumption.
Don’t do a last call, this is when people will try to have as many drinks as possible in a short time frame.
Post # 9
I simply wouldn’t do an open bar. The term ‘open’ means you don’t control it, you know?
To keep costs down we’re doing open beer and wine and two signature cocktails. Everything else is up to the guests to cover. No shots, no martinis, no doubles, no straight ups/rocks pours… unless you want to pay for it. I think it’s fair… everyone should find something they like from our offerings.
Post # 10
No shots is definitely the way to go, and also, you could shut down the bar for the last half hour with a “only one drink per person” rule for “last call.” Also, if your bartenders are licensed and insured (which, you should definitely look for – if they’re provided through your venue/caterer, they should be, but double check to be sure), they will have received training in how to spot an intoxicated person and will, in their own interest, be looking to make sure people are cut off when they need to be. Also, as a PP said, you can point out certain people to your bartenders/maitre d’hotel/catering manager – they are usually pretty good at looking out for those things, especially if your manager is employed by the venue, since they don’t want to overserve someone and then get sued either! good luck!
Post # 11
Any bartender should have gone through training and will/should know when to cut a person off. Establish the no shots/doubles/triples. And let them take care of it, that’s their job. I would put a cut off time in place and make sure that coffee and water are in abundance at that time.
Post # 12
We will be offering a full, top shelf bar. No signature cocktails, other than Retro Cocktails like; Manhattans, Tom Collins, Side Cars, Martinis, Gimlets, and the Old Fashioned! These will be ready-to-pour with a Mixologist on staff that will make the drinks fun and not a free for all. He will be doing a show presentation and even dressed in vintage bartending clothing. The company he comes from let us know that they will not serve drunk people.
It’s not open, there are limits. We are limiting shots to toasts. We will have two occasisions where people can do a shot or champagne during a group toasts. We also will be shutting the bar down early (for us) and offering bottle waters, Italian sodas, and barista-made coffee drinks with a huge, ornate espresso machine before guests depart. We are hoping that the presentation of drinks will encourage people drink with class and responsibly.
Post # 13
A good bartender will be able to help you with this. Talk to your venue about your concerns and they should be able to handle it. We weren’t allowed to do shots at your venue – and the bartender was experienced at reading people.
Post # 14
At our wedding we only served wine and beer, people didn’t seem to mind too much. Our venue offered unlimited beer, wine and soda for $12 a person. Another good system is drink tickets. You can give everyone two, that way people can’t really get drunk but can have some drinks.
Is your concern the cost or just certain people not being able to control themselves?
Post # 15
Personally, Most weddings that I have been to have had an open bar and have had no issues with unruley drunks or anything. Yes, people were drunk, but no one was ever driving home drunk or making a scene in the place. I’ve never seen shots done at weddings, maybe because I wasn’t doing them.
Post # 16
We’re planning to provide transportation, so I’m not so worried about that…mostly just behavior.
Thanks for all the advice! you guys have some great ideas!