(Closed) Liquor in the afternoon vs. evening

posted 10 years ago in Food
Post # 3
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

We’re planning on an afternoon reception as well to save costs and we’re doing a very edited bar with signature drinks. In keeping with the feel I’m planning for the event, we’ll be doing beer, wine, and signature champagne cocktails during cocktail hour, and then throwing in some lighter, non-alocholic drinks, like lemonade (my Fiance demands we serve freckled lemonade a la Red Robin :p), iced tea, clear sodas, etc served from glass pitchers during the meal. I know there aren’t any heavy drinkers amongst our guests and I wouldn’t want to encourage them anyway. 

I truly believe a open bar during an afternoon reception won’t be missed. It’s just such a different feel between day and night…the vibe is so different from a night reception, which tends to be longer and  definitely includes more dancing and activity that may be helped along with free alcohol :p. If you think people will miss having options during the actual reception then see if you can arrange for some different non-alcoholic drinks. Since you and your Fiance are footing the bill, I’m sure your Future Mother-In-Law will learn to deal with whatever decision you end up making. GL!

Post # 4
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

If people start drinking wine during cocktail hour, it will be a bit of a buzzkill if they can’t have another glass at the reception.  Personally, I think it would be very appreciated to continue the limited bar.  I doubt people are going to get sloshed on wine and beer in the middle of the day.  And even if they do, most adults do not act like total idiots when drunk.  I had a full open bar, nighttime wedding and not a single problem!!!

Post # 5
2373 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I would definitley do a limited bar for the reception.  People expect to drink at afternoon early evening weddings… I think it’s a luxury you should offer your guests.


  I’m sure no one will get sloshed.. but everyone appreciates a good buzz.  Weddings are sometimes uncomfortable… and alcohol helps people begin socializing.  My parents were at a wedding a few weeks ago and they knew no one… my parents had a couple of drinks to loosen them up and by the end of the night everyone wanted to talk to them.  

    In My Humble Opinion, your Mother-In-Law sounds a but prudish and not very fun.  I would ignore her opinion… get your relationship off on the right foot! 🙂

Post # 6
103 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2007

if there are no *specific* people you or any of the parents (as the people who know the people on the guest list) know to be inclined to over drink, I wouldn’t worry about people going overboard, so if you can afford it, I think you’d be safe having an "open" bar with your venue’s limited selection.  If you want to cut costs further, I recommend bargaining with the venue to make it open for just champagne at a reduced flat fee with cash for the other options.  People who are not willing to spend are really unlikely to go overboard on just the option of champagne. 

Post # 7
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018 - Auberge du Soleil

We are having a day-time event, over by 4pm. We are having an open bar, but it is limited to beer, wine and soda. No liquor of anykind. I would recommend keeping an open bar if you can. I think most people expect it and it might be confusing to go from open bar to cash bar. Is there any way to trim costs in your food budget to allow for the bar? I don’t know about your venue but for us we decided to choose just one entree, a pasta, instead of giving a choice because it was an extra $10 per person to have entree choices. We thought this was fine for a lunch reception and figured with the appetizer and desert nobody would miss an option at lunch. An extra bonus is that it made the invitations and set up much easier 🙂 Good luck!

Post # 8
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

This actually sounds like the kind of thing my mom would say!  She doesn’t drink much herself, and tends to get a little judgemental of those who do.

However, I believe that people will drink less at an afternoon reception than they would in the evening.  After all, you have to go home and cook dinner, right?  But a couple of drinks isn’t out of line.  For an afternoon reception, I think that limiting the bar to beer and wine is just fine, but I would go ahead and try to keep the bar open throughout the reception. 

And really, for the kind of people who are seriously going to over indulge – they will find a way no matter what.  I have friends who will go out to the bar to get their own drinks, and Darling Husband has friends who will bring a flask if they think there won’t be alcohol (his dad probably would have as well).  I don’t think its good policy to limit alcohol for everyone because you suspect that a few people might go overboard.  And maybe once your Future Mother-In-Law gets her drink on, she will be a little more pleasant…  I know that my mom is!

Post # 9
16 posts
  • Wedding: October 2008

We’re also having an afternoon reception, over by 7 pm.  We’re planning to serve alcohol for the first three hours, because our venue does alcohol based on 3-hour increments.  My mom was also very worried about guests over-indulging.  In the last hour of the reception, people can drink water and other non-alcoholic beverages, so they’ll have something to drink but won’t be gulping down cocktails on their way to the car.

Post # 10
59 posts
Worker bee

I think an open bar with wine, champagne & beer is perfectly appropriate for an afternoon wedding. Those are all light, festive alcohols–and are (I believe) more or less widely accepted for daytime consumption. In other words, they frequently accompany meals or a special occasion–and aren’t exclusive to raging drunken bashes. 

I don’t really think the question of whether or not to have an OPEN bar is about time of day. I think whether or not a bar is open has more to do with whether you can afford it, since it’s really just a very nice courtesy to provide your guests. I also don’t think deciding whether or not to have an open bar is about deciding how drunk your guests should get–open bars aren’t invitations to get sloshed. The wedding’s guests & atmosphere will determine that.

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