Post # 1
So we are having a brunch weekday wedding later this year. We were hoping to do an open bar full of boozy breakfast drinks, but we can’t swing it on our shoestring budget. We compromised by deciding to cover the first boozy breakfast drink for each guest, then turning it into a cash bar, should anyone want a second or third or fourth drink. Tea, coffee, juice and milk will also be offered for free throughout the reception.
Now my conundrum is this: how do I let guests know, both before our wedding, as well as at the reception, and how can I word everything so it’s clear what the situation is? I’m not really looking to hear from any etiquette police because this is done and decided.
ETA: Brunch is a highly prized meal here in Portland and most of the people invited are no strangers to being day drunk, so I think most will have more than one drink.
Post # 3
I think I would not mention it at all (except by word of mouth), since it’s a brunch reception and people probably won’t be looking to drink more than one drink anyway… but I’m interested to see what others say.
Post # 4
Is it tacky to hand out drink tickets? That might get your point across…
Post # 5
I would hand out drink tickets and leave it at that. Have a sign at the bar/tables listing the complimentary drinks as well. People will get the hint.
Post # 6
@KatieColorado: @MadTownGirl: I really want to stay away from drink tickets. I guess I should have mentioned that. There is just something weird about them to me, so I’d rather not do them.
Post # 7
Yup drink tickets is the best way
Post # 8
What about offering a “toast drink” along with your cash bar? I think its weird to say we’ll pay for your first drink only, this is sort of a more tactful way to only offer 1 drink.
Whatever you choose, be sure to communicate before the wedding (on invitation insert, welcome bag, website, whatever) that guests should bring cash!
Post # 9
You could put something like “We want to thank you for celebrating our special day, so the first round is on us!”
I think I would understand that it is only the first round you are paying for, and like another bee has said, its brunch, I dont think I would drink more than one anyway
Post # 10
@MissStumptown: Can you make pretty drink tickets, or something that way 1 person can give their ticket/token to someone else. I also doubt anyone is going to have more than 1 drink at brunch anway.
I lived in Portland for 5 1/2 years until last May…where’s it at. Portland brunch is fantastic!
Post # 11
Rather than a ticket, what about some sort of token- something you could have made up, small, with a cute design- like “We’d like your first one to be on us!” with a cute pair of toasting glasses or something to get the point across. Even if you don’t like the idea of a drink ticket or token, how else would you have the bartender police the situation?
Post # 12
I’d just say “Complimentary Tea, coffee, juice and milk” or something like that on the menu at the reception. Or say cash bar on the invite. Then let people be plesantly surprised if they order a boozy drink when they are told by the waiter that their first is complimentary. That way people that wouldn’t normally order booze wont do so just cause it’s free and those that do want it can be told accordingly what the deal is with it.
ETA: if you dont want to to drink tickets, how will you keep track of who has had their free drink yet?
Post # 13
A drink ticket is the only way to keep track of what someones 1st drink is anyway, isnt it? the bar tender will most likely not be able to keep track if many people do have drinks. If you are going by peoples word of mouth to tell the bartender MANY people will be too akward and just pay for their drinks.
You could do something a little less tacky than a ticket (place card, bracelet, program etc)… but it isnt much different than the ticket idea.
Maybe if you are to uncomfortable with the ticket just dont pay for 1st round of drinks. Pay maybe only for cocktail hour? (which is usually around the same as 1st round of drinks) or only serve signature drinks in your price range or mimosas?
Post # 14
@aliciapdx: It’s at BridgePort in the Pearl!
Post # 15
Don’t do drink tickets, that’s just a bit too carnival for me. I think you could spread the news through word of mouth, but like other posters mentions I don’t think many will expect tons of drinks for a brunch wedding. Although, I too enjoy a good brunch cocktail, I don’t think everyone will be expecting it. As far as during the wedding, I would put a note on the menu. Lay everything out on the menu and on the bottom list the options and possible put a note: “The first round is on the happy couple!”. That lets everyone know that yay they get a free drink, but after after that they are on their own.
Post # 16
Drink tickets.. but not like carnival style.
Maybe have some cute business cards made up that say something like, “your first drink is on us”, and have them attatched to the menu – they turn in the card for a drink of their choice.
And, it also ensures that all of the drinks paid for, get used.. for instance, if I didn’t want/use my ticket, I could give it to John Doe to use.
EDIT : Also, I would let your guests know ahead of time if you are doing a cash bar after that, they will need to the option of bringing money [some people don’t bring money to a wedding].
EDIT AGAIN : I would NOT make the free drink the toast.. alot of people don’t even like champagne and ONLY drink it for your toast. I think toasts should be provided automatically, not considered a “gift”. or “free”.