Wedding Reception Forum

Four Hour Bar/Alcohol Service Limit?

Has anyone heard of this?  The venue we are looking at booking has a rule that we can't have the bars open, or serve alcohol, for more than four hours.  This means that if we had our ceremony 6:30-7:00pm, and did a cocktail "hour" before 6:00-6:30pm then opened the bars right after (we are doing our ceremony and reception on site), that the bars would have to close at 10:30pm.  Then the send-off would happen at 11:00pm. 

This seems really short to us.  Is it normal?
Does anyone have any suggestions?

We would have 80% of the guests riding out to our venue on shuttle buses, so would be able to serve them a drink on there as they are heading out to the location (it's a 30 min drive)... but ending at 11:00pm, especially with bars closing at 10:30pm, seems like it would leave guests feeling the party never really got started.  There will be 200-300 guests.

Re: Four Hour Bar/Alcohol Service Limit?

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    4 hours of a wedding reception would be more than enough for me.
    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
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Why are you opening the bar before the ceremony. I think its nice but not neccessary. Could you save that half hour and then leave the bar open until 11? It there are an option for you to pay by consumption after your 4 hours is up?
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Skip the cocktail hour before and just have a four-hour reception (or 4.5 hours, with "last call" half an hour before the end).
  • AprilH81AprilH81 Columbus, OH member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Cocktail hour following the ceremony and three hours of the bar being open during dinner/dancing is more than enough.
    photo composite_14153800476219.jpg
  • Our venue package initially came like this as well, and there was an option to purchase additional "hours" of bar service at a per-person rate. We expressed our interest in doing so, but the manager said that given the package we went with, they weren't going to 'nickel and dime' our bar service, since wine service during dinner did not technically count towards bar hours. They said they would just go straight through for us until 1am at the latest. It is possible this is just a guideline and you can purchase additional time or negotiate with the vendor to pay consumption once the four hours have passed.
  • Does the reception have to end at 11:00?  If not, is there the option to close the bar during dinner so you can keep the bar open (and party going) until later?  We're having a 6 hour reception (starting at 5:00) with 4 hours of open bar.  We'll have a cocktail hour before dinner, are closing the bar during dinner (though there will be wine service and a champagne toast), and then opening the bar back up until 10:30.  4 hours seems plenty that way.
  • Four hours is plenty of time. Our entire reception was four hours and we had people leaving at around the 3.5 hour mark because it had been a long enough day for them.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Thanks everyone!  It's not an option to extend it, nor is shutting down service if there is still wine being served during dinner, so I guess we will just do the 30 minute "cocktail hour", the ceremony, 30 minute cocktails again, then a 3 hour reception with a last call, then send-off 30 minutes later.

    Since everyone will be riding out on shuttles (4 total buses from 2 different locations), possibly we could serve a drink on the bus in a to-go cup, then when they arrive just have something like lavender lemonade for 15 minutes while we are gesturing people to their seats?
  • There is really no need to serve drinks on the shuttle.  As for the lavender lemonade idea do you mean that you would serve alcohol for 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and then serve non alcoholic drinks during the ceremony?  I'm a little confused as to where it fits in. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Don't do pre-ceremony cocktail service.  Open the bar when the ceremony ends, not before.  And I don't see that you need to serve drinks on the shuttle.

    4 hours actually seems pretty reasonable to me.
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