DIY Weddings

Drink tokens?

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Re: Drink tokens?

  • My FI and I are talking about having an open bar at the wedding, the only problem is there are specific guests who don't handle themselves well when heavily intoxicated, but may not outwardly appear to be too drunk. Our plan was to create special "drink tokens," where everyone gets them, but specific people get specifically colored tokens that identify them as limited alcohol content/drink quantities. Basically:

    Guest arrives, receives bag of drink tokens with their name on them. Regular guests get 10, "special exception" guests get 8 (i.e. persons who are 20 and are nearing their 21st birthday. For example, my MOH's birthday is September, and our wedding may be in September. If it was a situation where she was still 20 and her 21st birthday was shortly after the wedding, she would rate "special exception"), and limited drinkers (angry, destructive, reckless) get 6 in a designated color. You present the token with your name on it to the bartender, and it can be redeemed for one alcoholic drink (you don't need them for soda and water). When you are out of tokens, find the bride/groom. They will determine if you can continue drinking or if you need to stop. If you can continue, there will be a special token created called the "Bride/Groom's Promise" token, where you can redeem it for another drink.

    The bartender still reserves the right to cut you off, for limited drinkers, the strength of your limited drinks is at the bartender's discretion, and getting ugly is grounds to be kicked out just like it would be anywhere else. If you have the same name as someone (for example, I have a cousin named Taylor who can handle her liquor and a friend named Taylor who can't), the last initial will be used.

    Is this tacky or is it acceptable, considering we're paying for the venue and the alcohol being consumed? I'm also concerned with the limited drinkers feeling singled out because they're of age and being barred from the bar, and this is my way of letting them feel included in a way that barring them from the drinks as a whole would not. We also felt it was better than wristbands because we can limit intake the way we can't with a wristband, whereas with a drink token with your name on it that's laminated, you can't forge it or steal/ask for someone else's.

    I figured I was making life easier for the bartender too, considering people tend to flock to bars, and there are some people who can be ridiculously drunk but not outwardly appear completely wasted. But its seeming like trusting the bartender is the least rude option. I wasn't trying to hurt feelings or be an ass or anything, I'd just really rather not have my venue trashed and be left with the awkward "let it slide because I provided alcohol or  make you pay for damages" dilemma for bringing good friends who make stupid choices.
    To all of the bolded - there is no WAY this is making life easier for the bartender.  Think about it logistically.  You have, what, 3 different colored tokens for your 3 subsets of drinking guests, all with their first names on them.  I don't know how many guests you're inviting, but imagine being the bartender in this situation.  You have a line of people waiting for a drink, and the guests are handing you tokens.  You need to 1) remember which color is which so you can determine what "type" of drinker they are, 2) read the names, and somehow verify that this person's name is actually what's on the token, 3) somehow keep track of all of the names separately so when a guest comes to the bar multiple times for their drinks, the bartender is sure of this person's identity and knows which # they are on.  You're going to have people waiting for-EV-VER for their drinks and a couple of super stressed out bartenders.

    PPs have given very solid advice, and I hope you can take it rationally.  Presumably you are hiring licensed bartenders who are trained to know when to cut someone off.  I'd also think they might be better able to tell when someone's had too many, while the lay-person may not realize that guest is drunk.  It's their job.  Please don't treat your guests like kindergarteners.  Trust the professionals - that's what they're there for.  Hire great bartenders and have a security plan and you don't need to worry.


    hellohkb
  • Not one piece of this makes sense.

    I may have missed this in previous posts, but 10 alcoholic drink tokens even for a "regular guest" is a lot of alcohol, and then providing alcohol to minors is illegal (and there's no way a bartender would serve them).

    Let the bartender do their job, and either just don't invite those people or be prepared to have them kicked out.
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  • alexandducky412alexandducky412 Jacksonville, NC
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    AlisonM23 said:
    Not one piece of this makes sense.

    I may have missed this in previous posts, but 10 alcoholic drink tokens even for a "regular guest" is a lot of alcohol, and then providing alcohol to minors is illegal (and there's no way a bartender would serve them).

    Let the bartender do their job, and either just don't invite those people or be prepared to have them kicked out.
    We already established early on that none of this was a good idea and me trying to be kind (for lack of a better word) to a friend with a birthday nearing on my tentative wedding date would just cause troubles all around. But thank you.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited July 2015
    How do you keep an unlimited drink token out of the hands of someone with a drinking problem?

    It's not something you can control even if it were polite. I wouldn't do this.
    doeydoFosmoh
  • Echoing hiring security and having your "idiots" tossed out if they start causing trouble. Maybe it's about time they learn that their actions have consequences that affect themselves and others, instead of being coddled like the children the apparently act like.

    Also, really? With the contributing to a minor thing? You think that because it's a special occasion for you, that the law doesn't apply, and that you, your FI, and your bar tender won't end up in cuffs? That's cute.


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    thespeshulestsnowflakeFosmoh[Deleted User]
  • The vouchers are a bad idea, not least because they sound really complicated! And it means that you have to have the responsibility for policing your wedding, which doesn't sound like much fun either. I would echo what others have suggested and let your bartending staff manage whether people are too drunk/ of age to be safely served.

    Prior to my current career, I was a personal licence holder for a bar. I wanted to reassure you that even if people are coherent enough to order a drink, there are other clear signs that they're too drunk, and then it's up to the server to decide whether or not to serve them. I would urge you not to take this responsibility on, it will just complicate things.

    Re the 20 year old - Here in the UK, there are special additions to the age restrictions, for example, children aged 16 and 17 can have an alcoholic drink with a 'substantial meal' (not a packet of crisps!), if it is purchased by someone of legal age and they are being supervised whilst drinking it. This means that for weddings etc in this country, children of 'almost age' can have a glass of the table wine with the wedding meal as it has been purchased by the wedding hosts and they are eating a meal. Are there similar rules in the US?

    The other suggestion I had was to have your open bar but only host beer, wine and single spirits. Meaning no cocktails, no doubles, shots or shooters. Would this be okay from an etiquette point of view?

    Try not to over-think this, it will just make you feel uptight on your wedding day. If there are people you cannot trust not to ruin the day, wreck the venue and cause trouble them maybe those people shouldn't be invited. It'll be hard to make those decisions but you'll feel better when you have. Best of luck.
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    @switSwoo00 No, there are not similar rules in the U.S. Underage drinking is 100% against the law.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • thanks @AddieCake I should've googled it :)
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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    The vouchers are a bad idea, not least because they sound really complicated! And it means that you have to have the responsibility for policing your wedding, which doesn't sound like much fun either. I would echo what others have suggested and let your bartending staff manage whether people are too drunk/ of age to be safely served. Prior to my current career, I was a personal licence holder for a bar. I wanted to reassure you that even if people are coherent enough to order a drink, there are other clear signs that they're too drunk, and then it's up to the server to decide whether or not to serve them. I would urge you not to take this responsibility on, it will just complicate things. Re the 20 year old - Here in the UK, there are special additions to the age restrictions, for example, children aged 16 and 17 can have an alcoholic drink with a 'substantial meal' (not a packet of crisps!), if it is purchased by someone of legal age and they are being supervised whilst drinking it. This means that for weddings etc in this country, children of 'almost age' can have a glass of the table wine with the wedding meal as it has been purchased by the wedding hosts and they are eating a meal. Are there similar rules in the US? The other suggestion I had was to have your open bar but only host beer, wine and single spirits. Meaning no cocktails, no doubles, shots or shooters. Would this be okay from an etiquette point of view? Try not to over-think this, it will just make you feel uptight on your wedding day. If there are people you cannot trust not to ruin the day, wreck the venue and cause trouble them maybe those people shouldn't be invited. It'll be hard to make those decisions but you'll feel better when you have. Best of luck.

     
    AddieCake said:
    @switSwoo00 No, there are not similar rules in the U.S. Underage drinking is 100% against the law.



    Actually some states do have such rules.  In Louisiana a parent can order a drink for their underage kid.  The server must give the drink to the parent, who will then give it to their kids.    Most (if not all) major chain restaurants have their own policies against that practice.   But smaller mom-and-pop places will allow parents to order alcohol for their underage kids. 

    Parents only.  You can't get your friend or even sibling to order for you. 






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    I stand corrected! Thank you, @lyndausvi !
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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    AddieCake said:
    I stand corrected! Thank you, @lyndausvi !
    The things you learn attending Louisiana's alcohol responsibility classes.    I think I have 1 more year before it expires.


    Which by-the-way, most require some sort-of alcohol responsibility course.  LA's is a half day course, you get a card that is good for 5 years.   Major hotel chains all require a yearly TIPS classe, per their insurance.   I'm sure most major restaurant chains require something similar.    

    It's laughable that a bride and groom wants to take on the task.   Like someone said, you can't control any pre-gaming.  A bartender might cut them off long before you would.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • From a purely logistical standpoint, what would stop teetotaler Aunt Jane from using her drink token to get a beer and then hand it to drunk Uncle John? Even aside from an etiquette standpoint, this plan makes literally no sense.

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  • kaos16kaos16
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    The vouchers are a bad idea, not least because they sound really complicated! And it means that you have to have the responsibility for policing your wedding, which doesn't sound like much fun either. I would echo what others have suggested and let your bartending staff manage whether people are too drunk/ of age to be safely served. Prior to my current career, I was a personal licence holder for a bar. I wanted to reassure you that even if people are coherent enough to order a drink, there are other clear signs that they're too drunk, and then it's up to the server to decide whether or not to serve them. I would urge you not to take this responsibility on, it will just complicate things. Re the 20 year old - Here in the UK, there are special additions to the age restrictions, for example, children aged 16 and 17 can have an alcoholic drink with a 'substantial meal' (not a packet of crisps!), if it is purchased by someone of legal age and they are being supervised whilst drinking it. This means that for weddings etc in this country, children of 'almost age' can have a glass of the table wine with the wedding meal as it has been purchased by the wedding hosts and they are eating a meal. Are there similar rules in the US? The other suggestion I had was to have your open bar but only host beer, wine and single spirits. Meaning no cocktails, no doubles, shots or shooters. Would this be okay from an etiquette point of view? Try not to over-think this, it will just make you feel uptight on your wedding day. If there are people you cannot trust not to ruin the day, wreck the venue and cause trouble them maybe those people shouldn't be invited. It'll be hard to make those decisions but you'll feel better when you have. Best of luck.
    I feel like I always learn the most interesting stuff on the Knot.  Who knew there was such a rule!  very interesting
    pinupbride6189


  • kaos16 said:
    The vouchers are a bad idea, not least because they sound really complicated! And it means that you have to have the responsibility for policing your wedding, which doesn't sound like much fun either. I would echo what others have suggested and let your bartending staff manage whether people are too drunk/ of age to be safely served. Prior to my current career, I was a personal licence holder for a bar. I wanted to reassure you that even if people are coherent enough to order a drink, there are other clear signs that they're too drunk, and then it's up to the server to decide whether or not to serve them. I would urge you not to take this responsibility on, it will just complicate things. Re the 20 year old - Here in the UK, there are special additions to the age restrictions, for example, children aged 16 and 17 can have an alcoholic drink with a 'substantial meal' (not a packet of crisps!), if it is purchased by someone of legal age and they are being supervised whilst drinking it. This means that for weddings etc in this country, children of 'almost age' can have a glass of the table wine with the wedding meal as it has been purchased by the wedding hosts and they are eating a meal. Are there similar rules in the US? The other suggestion I had was to have your open bar but only host beer, wine and single spirits. Meaning no cocktails, no doubles, shots or shooters. Would this be okay from an etiquette point of view? Try not to over-think this, it will just make you feel uptight on your wedding day. If there are people you cannot trust not to ruin the day, wreck the venue and cause trouble them maybe those people shouldn't be invited. It'll be hard to make those decisions but you'll feel better when you have. Best of luck.
    I feel like I always learn the most interesting stuff on the Knot.  Who knew there was such a rule!  very interesting
    Personally, I think it's a great rule. It actively teaches responsible use, and let's you experience what being (at least a little) drunk actually feels like in a protected environment, so that you can gauge how you should best handle the situation once you're on your own.

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  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    You could set up a sobriety check point at the bar for people that have used all their tokens. You and your groom could make people recite the alphabet backwards and try to touch their nose with their eyes closed. Hell, why not just buy a breathalyzer too?? Problem solved. You're welcome. 

    I'm not sure what kind of venue you're hosting at, but if your MOH is under 21, they most likely won't serve her. I was just asked for my ID at a wedding last month when I ordered a glass of champagne. And I'm 34, 

    lyndausviredoryx[Deleted User]
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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    OP - If you want your MOH to be able to drink at your wedding, just plan it for after her 21st birthday party. 

    If you continued with your token plan for almost 21 year olds, that may pass some or all of the legal responsibility of their drunken actions on to you.  Some states have a policy that if you over serve someone and they get a DUI or something worse, the person/company serving them also are held responsible for the drunk persons actions.  Then the person/company are going to say, well the B&G provided the drink tokens, so we took that as them being of legal age.  Then you just got dragged into a lawsuit or worse a criminal matter.  And remember, people under 21 have even lower BAC levels then people of age.

    • You may be ok with having a guest drinking who will be turning 21 shortly have your wedding, but from a legal stand point, it would still be illegal for them to be served by your venue. What you do at a family dinner is one thing, but a bartender can't legally serve someone underage
    • How are you going to stop Uncle Bob who is a restricted guess from going, darn, I'm out of drink tokens, and Uncle John who doesn't understand the significance of the token system going "I'm not using all of my tokens, here have some of mine"
    • Do you really want to get interrupted by guests at your reception asking for more drink tokens
    • Are the bartenders going to card all guests to make sure the person whose name is on the token is the person using the token?
    • Do you really want to go through all the work and expense of making all these tokens & figuring who gets what
    • What do you say when Bobby & John as pulling out their drink tokens at the table and bobby starts asking why John has more drink tokens then he does? Are you prepared to tell him, it's because you can't control your drinking and risk that scene at your reception?

    You need to have faith in your bartenders & venue that they will keep an eye on guests when serving. Also you need to have faith in your guests that if someone starts acting out of control they will deal with their out of control guests. Talk to your venue to see how they deal with guests who have had too much to drink. Do they have a taxi service that they can call to get drunk guests home? And also if you have security (or even the staff) there, you can give them a head up on which of your guests would be more likely to cause problems when they drank too much.

    I had a guest who we were concerned about with theft, but we had to invite her because she was the SO of a GM. So we talked to the venue in advance and even provided them with a photo and the coordinator talked to the staff in advance. The servers discreetly kept an eye on her through the night. To everyone else, they just seemed super attentive, but I knew they were keeping an eye on her and the belongings of my other guests. Talk to your venue for how they deal with these types of guests. Your wedding won't be the first one they run into drunk guests who cause issues and it won't be the last

  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
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     The other suggestion I had was to have your open bar but only host beer, wine and single spirits. Meaning no cocktails, no doubles, shots or shooters. Would this be okay from an etiquette point of view? 
    I agree with the above.  I come from a throw-down, partying family and most of my cousins are big dudes; they can drink 8 to my 3 legally.  I loved one venue; it was the original Ford Model T plant.  I didn't book it though, because someone in my family *will* sit in a display car and I don't want to pay for that.  

    You can't control what other adults do, and you shouldn't spend your reception worrying about them or babysitting them, that's not fair to you.  Get rid of the booze if you don't want a dry reception and serve wine and beer only. If you really want alcohol, offer 1 or 2 specialty drinks only and make sure they're low ABV beverages.  It's okay etiquette wise to limit what you offer, just not how much of it you offer.
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  • Putting aside the whole drink token debacle let me tell you a story. I used to work in a bar. The legal drinking age is 19 and when I worked in a bar the law was that after 10pm, no one in the bar could be under 19 so we used to card everyone. I carded one girl whose 19th birthday was the next day and told her that she was more than welcome to come back, the next day when she was 19. 

    Unfortunately, depending on how your liquor license is worded, you may end up with any of the burden if anyone underage gets caught drinking. In Ontario, it's up to a $10,000 fine to the bar and bartender who served the person. 
  • No. You either have alcohol or you don't.

    Anyone under 21 (as I'm assuming you're in the states) shouldn't be handed anything with alcohol in it, unless you're *planning* on getting in trouble, and your bartender shouldn't be handing out liquor to minors anyways. You shouldn't even post that you're allowing that to happen.

    You're only real option to "limit" the amount of alcohol consumed, is to have the bar closed early, or during dinner, etc. Have alcohol available for cocktail hour only, or only during dinner. Whatever you do you can't dictate certain people and the amount of drinks they order if they're an adult/over 21. And it would be pretty shameful if someone was walking around with a flashy red token indicating they're a heavy drinker. Thumbs down. If they're going to embarrass themselves, it should be on them not you. 
    Fosmoh
  • FosmohFosmoh
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    I didn't read all the comments but i hope this is strongly emphasized

    this is an absolutely *HORRIBLE* idea in so many ways.
    I don't mean to be rude and i fully understand that you're trying to make things work but this is NOT the way to do it. 

    For one you can NOT tier your guest list, giving varying drink limits to your guests is NOT the way to do it. there are other options that are far more appropriate (frankly, you're setting yourself up VERY quickly for losing friends... i can't really think of a better way to insult your guests)

    also you can NOT allow "almost 21 year olds to drink" it's illegal. if they do not meet the minimum drinking limit that's unfortunate but why would you ask that of your bar tenders? you can't give your underage guests drinking tokens and then the bar tender is legally obligated NOT to serve them alcohol. you realize the establishment can lose its liquor license over that, right?


    Here are better options:
    - have a dry wedding
    - don't have an open bar but have a signature cocktail
    - have the bar only open for cocktail hour and closed for dinner
    - have the bar serve non alcoholic beverages and have a bottle of wine on each table



    please, please PLEASE reconsider this idea because there is no way to make this work.  it's way too much work for the bar staff (you're making their jobs a lot more difficult, NOT simplifying it) and i agree with others, if you're genuinely concerned about people trashing your event then hire security. if they get kicked out that's on THEM.


    Also, if you're really concerned that your friends are going to get completely wasted to the point where they'll trash your venue then perhaps it's time to reconsider those friendships. 
  • Don't know if ti's been covered but in most states, Bartenders can be held liable if they serve someone who is OVER intoxicated. So if people get that bad I highly doubt they would continue to be served. Look problem solved. Let the people do their jobs. And you worry about getting married.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    lyndausvi said:
    My FI and I are talking about having an open bar at the wedding, the only problem is there are specific guests who don't handle themselves well when heavily intoxicated, but may not outwardly appear to be too drunk. Our plan was to create special "drink tokens," where everyone gets them, but specific people get specifically colored tokens that identify them as limited alcohol content/drink quantities. Basically:

    Guest arrives, receives bag of drink tokens with their name on them. Regular guests get 10, "special exception" guests get 8 (i.e. persons who are 20 and are nearing their 21st birthday. For example, my MOH's birthday is September, and our wedding may be in September. If it was a situation where she was still 20 and her 21st birthday was shortly after the wedding, she would rate "special exception"), and limited drinkers (angry, destructive, reckless) get 6 in a designated color. You present the token with your name on it to the bartender, and it can be redeemed for one alcoholic drink (you don't need them for soda and water). When you are out of tokens, find the bride/groom. They will determine if you can continue drinking or if you need to stop. If you can continue, there will be a special token created called the "Bride/Groom's Promise" token, where you can redeem it for another drink.

    The bartender still reserves the right to cut you off, for limited drinkers, the strength of your limited drinks is at the bartender's discretion, and getting ugly is grounds to be kicked out just like it would be anywhere else. If you have the same name as someone (for example, I have a cousin named Taylor who can handle her liquor and a friend named Taylor who can't), the last initial will be used.

    Is this tacky or is it acceptable, considering we're paying for the venue and the alcohol being consumed? I'm also concerned with the limited drinkers feeling singled out because they're of age and being barred from the bar, and this is my way of letting them feel included in a way that barring them from the drinks as a whole would not. We also felt it was better than wristbands because we can limit intake the way we can't with a wristband, whereas with a drink token with your name on it that's laminated, you can't forge it or steal/ask for someone else's.
    There is not such thing as a special exemption.       You are either 21 or you not.  Period.  I'm NOT losing my license by serving an underage person.  Even if that underage person is only 5 days away.

    How the hell am I going to know if the right person has the right token?  Card them?  What is to stop the ones you are limiting drinks from getting someone else's token?   And I would be PISSED if I saw that Jane has 10 blue tokens and I only have 8.     


    I think your heart is in the right place, but it's just not going to work.   You should not be limited people's drinking.  It's not your place to give underage guests special exemptions.  Let the bartenders do their jobs.



    There are actually exemptions.  I know in Wisconsin a reasonably aged minor is allowed to drink if the parents are with the minor.

    http://www.legalflip.com/Article.aspx?id=20&pageid=94
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
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    My FI and I are talking about having an open bar at the wedding, the only problem is there are specific guests who don't handle themselves well when heavily intoxicated, but may not outwardly appear to be too drunk. Our plan was to create special "drink tokens," where everyone gets them, but specific people get specifically colored tokens that identify them as limited alcohol content/drink quantities. Basically:

    Guest arrives, receives bag of drink tokens with their name on them. Regular guests get 10, "special exception" guests get 8 (i.e. persons who are 20 and are nearing their 21st birthday. For example, my MOH's birthday is September, and our wedding may be in September. If it was a situation where she was still 20 and her 21st birthday was shortly after the wedding, she would rate "special exception"), and limited drinkers (angry, destructive, reckless) get 6 in a designated color. You present the token with your name on it to the bartender, and it can be redeemed for one alcoholic drink (you don't need them for soda and water). When you are out of tokens, find the bride/groom. They will determine if you can continue drinking or if you need to stop. If you can continue, there will be a special token created called the "Bride/Groom's Promise" token, where you can redeem it for another drink.

    The bartender still reserves the right to cut you off, for limited drinkers, the strength of your limited drinks is at the bartender's discretion, and getting ugly is grounds to be kicked out just like it would be anywhere else. If you have the same name as someone (for example, I have a cousin named Taylor who can handle her liquor and a friend named Taylor who can't), the last initial will be used.

    Is this tacky or is it acceptable, considering we're paying for the venue and the alcohol being consumed? I'm also concerned with the limited drinkers feeling singled out because they're of age and being barred from the bar, and this is my way of letting them feel included in a way that barring them from the drinks as a whole would not. We also felt it was better than wristbands because we can limit intake the way we can't with a wristband, whereas with a drink token with your name on it that's laminated, you can't forge it or steal/ask for someone else's.
    I can't even.

    I'm sorry, but this is not going to work the way you hope.  First off, you are letting underage people drink?!  Wow, I hope the bartenders are smart enough to ask for ID because if they are trusting you, they could wind up in a world of trouble. You're worried about people underage feeling singled out?  That's their problem.  Surely they know that there is a legal drinking age in the U.S. and they are under it.

    Second, I'm pretty sure you are going to be too busy and having fun at your wedding to want to deal with people coming up to you and asking for more tokens. 

    Third, have you cleared this with your bartenders? I doubt they want to deal with all the craziness of different colored tokens and names and concentrations of drinks and all that.

    Fourth, tokens of any sort are not appropriate at weddings.

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