Post # 1
My FI has worked very hard on putting together a wedding website for our upcoming wedding. When we were going over some of the content, I noticed that in the sections involving the parking, public transit, etc. instructions for our reception venue, he had mentioned that “as it was going to be an open bar, we really want people to make use of cabs, transit and designated drivers”. I really didn’t like that he was pointing out that there is going to be an open bar (the transit, designated driver stuff is all good)- it just seems unnecessary to me. We talked about it and he explained that as his family would expect that we would have a cash bar, we should let them know that they don’t have to worry about paying for drinks. Many people will be coming in from out of town and staying the night and he thought that this would let them know that if they want to have more than one or two drinks to not a) not worry about paying for them and b) to make sure they have arrangements for getting back to the hotels. I understood his logic, but still wanted to try to come up with different wording or not put anything at all and trust to word of mouth…he is being very stubborn about this and really wants to leave it as is on the website.
Fast forward to this past weekend…we were talking about the wedding website with my parents and they are HORRIFIED that we would mention that we would be having an open bar in print form. They think that it sounds like there is going to be a “booze up” and that it is tacky to mention drinks at all.
I should mention that in my family and for our friends/my friends, an open bar is the norm. For my FI’s family and friends from where he grew up, a cash bar is the norm.
I’m wondering if anyone can think of a way to nicely say that we’re having an open bar without actually SAYING we’re having an open bar (sounds silly, I know). Do you think that as the invitations state that guests are invited to a cocktail reception (starts at 8pm) people will understand that drinks are being served and that they don’t have to worry about paying?
I get where both sides are coming from here and need a compromise!
Post # 3
Could you leave it maybe to his mom or dad to just casually mention it to family from further away?
Post # 4
hmm, i dunno. i thinkc cocktail reception implies open bar…
Post # 5
I wouldn’t put it on the website. It doesn’t matter if people know ahead of time they will find out it is open bar when they get there!
I think most people are responsible adults and this message does not even need to be mentioned; however, if you FI insists I would probably encourage:
“If you plan on drinking please arrange alternate transportation.”
Post # 6
I would just say something like “Since alcohol will be provided at the wedding we encourage our guests to make use of cabs, public transit, and designated drivers to make sure everyone has a fun and safe night”. That way you are letting everyone know you want them to be safe.. but you’re not actually using the words “Open Bar”
Post # 7
I 100% agree with Future Mrs. Martin. I don’t think the open bar is something that needs to be mentioned explicitly.
Post # 8
Well, the rules on the wedding website aren’t as strict as the formal invite. So honestly, I’d let him win that one. While I wouldn’t of mentioned it at all, if I were in this situation and I fought him on this, he’s throw his hands up quickly and be reluctant to take on any other wedding related task (total cope out, but sometimes his ego is fragile, as is the case with a lot of men!). But, if there’s a way to make him take it out without causing any drama, do it. Stating on the invite that its a cocktail reception should clue your guests in that alcohol going to be flowing freely, if not they’ll just end up coming with money and being able to save it. And regardless of if its a cash bar or open bar, your guests will most likely make arrangements for transportation. I wouldn’t sweat it.
Post # 9
I can see his point. You and your family don’t think it’s necessary because it’s the norm for you. He however, explained that it’s not the norm for his family. SO he wants to make them aware. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.
Post # 10
I’m with Future Mrs. Martin – get your FI to take it off the website. If his family thinks it will be a cash bar, they’ll arrive and be plesently surprised that they don’t have to pay for drinks and get to keep their money! It really does come off as a “drunk fest / college frat party” type vibe to me to explictly say it will be an open bar.
If your FI still wants to include the info for cabs, transit, etc (which I do think is a good idea) maybe you guys can put a useful information page or something on the website that includes this info. I’m sure your friends are responsible enough to figure out their own way home whether its a DD or a cab.
Post # 11
I completely agree that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t important at all, but my FI seems…really cheesed off about this. lol There’s no drama- things have been remarkably calm. It’s difficult sometimes because my parents (and honestly I am too) are WAY more formal than my FI and his family. We all want everyone to have a kick a*% time at the party and to be comfortable.
I’m going to talk to him about this again and I will bring up the points about how most people will have alternate transportation arrangements and we can trust most people to behave like..well, rational peeps.
I also really like the suggestions of saying “As alcohol will be served, please use alternate transportation”- I will bring that up as an option.
Thanks everyone! 🙂
Post # 12
I just worked on our website and ended up needing to put verbiage about bringing your ID (since my bartender told me they would card). We will have an open bar, but I didn’t put anything to the fact on there. I have a section for “Wedding Events”. Under the reception section, I said “Please enjoy the cocktail and hors d’oeurves reception immediately following the ceremony.” To me, that implies that there will be food and drink for people to enjoy. It was after that I added a line about if you were fortunate to look underage, please bring your ID to enjoy the bar service….
I didn’t like doing that – but, figured better safe than sorry.
Also – something to point out to your FI. If you are going to a wedding and drink – open bar or cash bar, you’ll know if you’ll be drinking. Meaning, people should be able to figure out transportation logistics ahead of time (and don’t need to be explicitly told to find alternate transportation).
You could perhaps have a transportation link and have the info there (separate from anything about the reception)
Post # 13
I’d just say:
“We’re so excited to celebrate with everyone. When the night draws to a close we want to ensure that you make it safely home, please make use of alternative transportation should you require it. Local cab services include…(list names and phone numbers) and public tranport with service to hotel areas can be found at (list intersection).”
Post # 14
Open bars are frequently referred to as “hosted bars” in invitations/web-sites. You can just say “A hosted bar will be provided to our guests.” And then list cab company phone numbers.
Post # 15
Legally, you need to be cautious here. Check w/your insurance or your parent’s insurance whomever is throwing the wedding about party liability. It is nice to show caution that you are providing your guests w/alternatives to driving.
A more tactful way in place of open bar, may be to say in the website “please appoint a designated driver.”
You don’t want someone involved in an accident after leaving your reception. The bar tenders have to shut people off; but some people can hold their liquor more than others. If something happens, who will then be accountable? The venue or you? It may be grey.
Err on the side of caution. A reworking of the wording that points to your due diligence regarding the safety of your guests may be a better way to handle this, rather than pointing to the ‘open bar.’
He can tell his folks to spread the word that it is an open bar. That’s important because people sometimes figure out their gift based on things like that.