Post # 1
We’re doing a limited bar at our wedding (multiple beers, wines, and a signature drink). I don’t like the idea of guests paying for drinks, but doing a full open bar is outside of our budget. The problem is our reception site is a country club with a fully stocked bar already. They can’t hide all the liquor that’s there. What should I do? Let guests pay for other stuff if they really want it? Keep a tab open for booze we’re not serving and just not advertise it? Did anyone else have this happen?
Post # 3
we’re keeping an open tab for booze we’re not serving, not advertising it, and hoping no one asks for the fine aged scotch! alternatively you could just have the barkeep tell them that it’s not available if people ask.
Post # 4
I would put out menus saying what IS provided. And if somebody wants something else not offered (BTW i offered what you offered and everyone was 100% happy), then they can buy something if they really truly have their heart set on it.
You’re providing plenty! Just say ‘beer, wine, signature cocktail provided, any specialty liquors purchased separately’ or something.
Post # 5
Does the club have something in place for this, maybe they put away the liquor or lower a screen or mirror? Do you think your guests would order liquor if you put out drink menus featuring what you are offering? (I ask because I almost always only drink wine/ beer, with few exceptions.)
I think you have a valid concern; I’m not sure what I’d do in your situation. I’d probably allow people to buy it if they want that over your more than adequate selection.
I’m trying to recollect one wedding I attended that was along those lines; it was at a restaurant. I don’t order liquor so I’m not sure, but I remember someone asking for a whisky shot and the bartender told him he couldn’t have it. I’m not sure if the guest was already drunk or what, maybe the couple didn’t want anyone getting toasted on free shots … but I would say out of sight, out of mind.
Post # 6
I’ve been to events like this and the bartenders simply say, “oh that’s not part of the open bar tonight, but we can serve you if you’d still like it”. 9/10 the guest goes “oh okay i’ll have X from the open bar”. Very few people are THAT picky that they’ll say no to whatever you’re serving =]
Post # 7
There’s no way to cover the bar area unless they took down all the bottles and put them somewhere behind the scenes (that seems unreasonable to me).
I’m thinking I’ll leave it alone and let guests buy drinks if they REALLY want them. I’m pretty sure most of the guests will be more than happy with the free stuff. I’m just worried because the site manager keeps bringing it up. He makes it seem like lots of people are going to want the other liquor, and I don’t want too many guests paying. Who knows though…he’s probably just trying to sell us the open bar.
Post # 8
I thinjk he’s trying to sell it to you.
What are your signature cocktails? If you pick something nice and broad, I think in general people will want THOSE. We had black raspberry peachtinis (black raspberry schnapps, peach nectar, vodka) and blueberry fizzes (blueberry passion fruit schnapps, vodka, sprite) and seriously, everyone either loved those or the gin (mostly men). Don’t worry about the people who are going to be so picky as to turn down free drinks. Very far and few between. not sure what the manager is smoking.
Oh, when i waited tables–everyone ALWAYS (90%) wanted what was the “special” for the night. Why pay full price for grey goose when a margarita is $2.50? You get my drift
Post # 9
I’ve been to limited bars before, and since I don’t like wine or beer, I order cocktails and pay myself. It’s no big deal. I’ve never been offended to buy my own drinks at a wedding. I think offering a limited bar is more than enough and if someone wants something else, just make it available. I’d rather pay for a drink myself than not have the option.
Post # 10
I would print up a couple of small signs in a cute display to put on the bar, saying something like “Please enjoy our drink offerings:
Maybe you could offer one or two more cocktails so they have more of a choice?
Post # 11
I think you’d be fine following ejs4y8’s suggestions…the wording works, and I’ve been to wedding with a limited bar and completely understood that if I wanted something “off” of the drink menu that it was up to me to pay for it.
Post # 12
Thanks for all the input! Our cocktail is Firefly (sweet tea flavored vodka) and lemonade. We’re getting married in South Carolina where they make Firefly. Most people seem to like that drink, so I’m hoping there just won’t be a problem. I’ll probably still hear through the grapevine how someone was really angry about paying for top-shelf scotch, but I’m just not going to worry about…someone will always complain!
Post # 13
We had the same issue. The bartender just let guests know we were serving beer and wine. I think I saw a few people buy scotch, but generally people were happy to just have wine or beer. I think having a discreet open tab is fine, but sometimes when people see one person with a drink they assume it is on the menu. It might be best to just let picky guests buy their own drinks.
Post # 14
Oh, um, EVERYBODY loves Firefly and lemonade. Seriously. Everybody. It’s sooo good. It’s been a regular at all our bachelorette parties. We freeze it so it’s syrupy and then it’s a nice quick, easy shot. Squeeze of lemon with sugar rim? mmmm =]
You might have like, 2 old men who want top-shelf scotch. No worries.
Post # 15
I would definitely follow ejs’s suggestions. What you are providing is great. If the guests want more they can pay for it. If you are really worried, you can start spreading the word so your guests know what will be available.
Post # 16
I went to a wedding this summer where they placed a sign in a pretty frame on the bar that said:
Wine and Beer: Hosted
Premium Mixed Drinks: $$
Rail Mixed Drinks: $
It was very clear and worked out great.