(Closed) How long to serve alcohol?

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
2051 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

What time are you serving dinner? Ideally I’d like to have a glass of wine with dinner at weddings.  Are you arranging it so waiters will serve wine at tables? If so, open the bar after dinner ends.  If not, open the bar when dinner is served.  Can you negotiate a package with your venue? Maybe a discount for the 3rd or 4th hour?  It never hurts to ask ๐Ÿ™‚  I say you’d probably want the bartender there until at least 10 or maybe 11 If you want a lively dance party!

Post # 6
2622 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

3 hours is short, but better than nothing.

If you can I would have a bar 1 hour before dinner, then 2 hours after dinner. I would ask the bartenders to spread the word about the hours or put a small sign on the bar so people know what to expect

When you close the open bar, does that mean its closed or it turns to cash bar?

Post # 7
2873 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

7-10 i guess. lots of people like wine with dinner, even if they arent likely to drink afterwards (eg my parents would have a glass or two to eat with, then switch to soft drinks)

then afterwards itd be cash bar? or how would it work?

Post # 8
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

3 hours is a bit short.  If you can I’d do maybe 4-5 hours.  My friend just had a wedding with a limited time bar and after the ceremony she and her bridal party verbally told people to head over to the reception hall for appetizers but the bar wouldn’t open until 8 pm.  the reception ended at 1 a.m… I wouldn’t recommend a cocktail hour with no cocktails so I think you should do 1 hour open during cocktail hour, then have it open right after the speeches until an hour before the end.  

Hope this helps!

Post # 11
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

7pm-10pm sounds good to me.  Even 8pm-11pm would be good but I agree with PP that I like to have a glass of wine with dinner so if dinner is at 7pm I would prefer the bar to start then.  Other than that I don’t get judgey or demanding with free booze.

Edit: If you’re doing a Wednesday night then 7-10pm should work perfectly.  I would assume most guests are not going to stay all the way until midnight because they probably have to work in the morning so there probably won’t be much drinking after 10pm anyway.  We went to a Sunday night wedding and pretty much everyone was gone by 10pm except for the bridal couple, their bridal party, and their siblings.

Post # 13
2873 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

View original reply
@mimsmims7:  but people will be able to get a soft drink or a glass of water right?

ok i read your update. for a wednesday night 7-10 is fine, people will probabyl head back after that ready for work the next day

Post # 15
1288 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

I am shocked at the 150.00 rate! That’s insane ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ I say 3 hours 6:30-9:30 especially that it’s a Wednesday. You will not want people to have to wait for drinks… With a 6:00pm short wedding, as you mentioned, I would want the alcohol to be served immediately. So, 6:30-9:30 that gives people time to sober up at the end.. And still make it home at a decent hour.

Post # 16
3884 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Just keep in mind that, whatever time your bartender wraps up, people will start to leave. Even if they are not drinkers, the bartender shutting things down sends a non-verbal sign to guests that it’s the end of the night, much like customers in a regular bar start wrapping up when the bartender starts doing his/her nightly cleaning.  If you want your guests to stick around, you’re going to have to keep the bartender there, and personally I’d have gladly forked over the extra money if it meant my reception went on for another hour, even on a weeknight.

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