Post # 1
So my family and Fiance think that it’s fine, if at the reception, we have unlimited soda, beer and wine while having the option for guests to buy other drinks if they want (hard licquor, etc). I think this is tacky. Can you guys provide me some insight? Money isn’t the issue behind it either, I’m not really sure of the reason they feel this way – they just don’t want people to get too wasted too quickly. Thanks!
Post # 3
If it’s not a financial issue, it seems a little tacky to me, too. Also, depending on how they measure the amount of hard liquor used, hard liquor is not necessarily a lot more expensive than beer and wine. Do you have a venue already? Check with them (or with potential venues) about how they charge for hard liquor.
Another thought is to just offer a few signature drinks, so the amount of alcohol in each drink is a little more regulated (and sometimes those drinks are a little less potent, in my experience). Some bartenders also keep an eye on the people drinking a lot too early, though some people might consider THAT tacky.
Post # 4
Limiting the bar to beer and wine is completely acceptable.. I would avoid having a cash bar at all – voila, no tackiness.
Post # 5
Good point, vyeta7. 🙂 I was assuming jma herself wanted to have liquor at the reception. Your suggestion is definitely a good way of avoiding all sorts of issues (and some extra expense, which is always a good thing).
Post # 6
Agreed with the others. Keep it at water, juices, soda, beer, and wine only.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that people will likely not miss the "other" alcohols/liquors if it isn’t there; if they were sitting behind the counter and they had to pay separately for it, it may leave more displeasure than not having it at all.
Post # 7
I would have all alcohol if money isn’t the issue. Alcohol sets the tone of the wedding and gets people feeling more festive- it adds to the mood and makes it easier for people to dance. Aunt Ida may need a few to get out in the dance flooe (I know I do).
I don’t think it’s tacky, I just feel like most poeple expect it at a wedding. They are coming bearing gifts and you’re essentially the host of a party. Don’t put your guests out. And if you do go with your fiance’s idea- I would spread the word so people know to have cash on them.
Post # 8
we are doing bottles on the table. Each table will have red and white wine, and a beer list (provided by caterer), also we will have vodka and cognac on the table but we are russian and its the russian way . At first I wanted to do an open bar but then i was concerned with people getting wasted at the cocktail hour so we are only serving wine and champagne at the cocktail hour. ohh and we will have waiters come out with chapagne for the first toast.
I think its tacky to charge people for drinks, but its your wedding so you should just control the situation. I don’t think that people will leave disappointed if you only serve wine, beer, and specific cocktails or just wine, champagne and beer. I do however think that people may have funny feelings about being charged for drinks when they just bought you an expensive gift etc. .
Post # 9
In general, if you wouldn’t charge people by the drink at your house, you shouldn’t do it at your wedding. You (and perhaps your parents) are hosting this party, which means providing the food, drink, and entertainment. If you want to have no alcohol, that is fine; if you want to have beer and wine and soft drinks, that is fine; if you want a full bar, that is fine too. We are having a full (hosted, obviously) bar at our reception, and for the Rehearsal Dinner are having just beer, wine, and soft drinks. I suppose if your guests are the kind to get wasted just because the drinks are free, then perhaps you should have no alcohol, or cut them off at some point. If you have real bartenders, and reasonably responsible guests, I don’t think this should be an issue – just like in a bar, the bartender shouldn’t serve anyone who seems obviously impaired.
Short answer, whatever you serve or don’t serve, I wouldn’t charge for it.
Post # 10
Thanks guys. You echoed what I was thinking. Now I have to figure out how to win the fight. Even the DOC at the reception hall said that they way my family wanted to do it is how a lot of people did it (in the midwest). So, we’ll see.
Post # 11
Hmm, I wonder if this is a bit different in at least parts of the midwest. I’ve been to several weddings here with an open bar during cocktail hour that turns into a cash bar bar after dinner, often with hosted beer/wine. This happens in all sorts of venues and different types of formality, everything from really nice hotel ballrooms to country clubs, etc. It’s against most of the common etiquette but it happens all the time. I totally agree with Suzanno’s logic but wanted to put it out there that it isn’t as big of a faux pas here as it may be in other areas.
Post # 12
To be perfectly honest with you, even the most expensive weddings I’ve atteneded have done this and I heard no one, inncluding my self talking about how it’s tacky. I think you’re fine.
Most people actually prefer the wine, and beer and would only drink hard alcohol if they knew it was free. On top of that, I really mathc up the term "open bar" with free beer and wine, I very rarely see all out bar privlidges these days.
We’re doing this at our wedding, also not becuase of a money thing but just because in speaking witht he venue manager, it’s not needed & people are happy with the limited items for free.
We are making the exception to Scotch, as my step dad and Future Father-In-Law are Scotch drinkers and there will be a bottle or two provided by us for them to simply enjoy all night.
Post # 13
Most of the weddings that I have been to in the midwest have had full open bars with the bar closed during dinner but with wine served during dinner. I have actually never been to a weddding with any type of cash bar and I think I would think it is tacky but I am admittedly a bit of a snob so don’t base too much of your decision on what I think, do what is best for you and your guests.
Post # 14
As a wedding bartender, I have to disagree with people who say that guests won’t mind not having the liquor option….a lot of people don’t drink beer, some people don’t drink wine….I don’t think charging for alcohol is tacky either, but it is really your choice. Not a lot of people do it at our venue, but some do, and no one really complains about it.
And as far as bartenders keeping an eye on people drinking too much… it is my job on the line if I don’t cut someone off who has had too much and then they drive home and get in an accident…. I get fined, the venue loses their liquor licence, etc. It really is for everyone’s safety.
Hope that helps, and keep us posted!!!
Post # 15
We are getting married at a vineyard so they do not have a license to have liquor served – so it is just beer, wine, champagne, and all the non-alcoholic drinks. My Fiance was pretty bummed about this as all of the weddings we have attended together have had an open bar with liquor, and he usually drinks a gin and tonic, etc. at weddings.
But, we are serving really good wines, are in wine country (our coordinator tells us people who normally aren’t big wine drinkers have a "when in rome" attitude at vineyard weddings), are serving 5 different types of wine, and champagne, and port – plus liquor at the welcome party the night before – so I think it will all be just fine.
Post # 16
Skip the cash bar for liquor – I definitely think people will be fine with beer and wine.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned about weddings is that people don’t miss what isn’t there. So don’t have it as an option and people won’t miss it!