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Reception Ideas

Place for reception and alcohol?

My FI and I are having a camouflaged wedding theme. So I thought a big back yard would be perfect. Our issue is finding one. However, when it comves to our reception, we were talking about it and since there will be about 150+ or so people, we thought about buying the first round of alcohol. We were both thinking of like 3 kegs, and then buying a gallon of vodka, tequila, whiskey, rum etc. After that's all gone then everyone will buy there own. Considering we'll be paying about 200 or so dollars for alcohol alone, is it rude that we ask that? Especially with there being so many people. I mean, the way we figured it is the least they can do if we run out of alcohol since there will be so much, is pay for the second round. Obviously with a back yard reception people WILL be staying the night or have a DD. I REFUSE to put up with it. And since there will be sober people there I am having them watch to make sure no one leaves drunk. Any ideas on how to change this, if this is honestly deemed as rude? (Taking donations for the second round maybe?)
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Re: Place for reception and alcohol?

  • Avion22Avion22 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its
    Yes, it's rude.  You should only serve what you can afford to provide.  If that's beer and wine (no liquor), then that's fine.   If it's kegs, then that's fine too.  If you serve what you have and when it's gone it's gone, then so be it.  But your guests should not have to open their own wallets AT ALL during your wedding.   I'm not even sure how you would go about having them "pay for the second round" -- would someone be nominated to leave the party to run to the liquor store or go buy another keg?    

    Another thing to consider is your location.  It sounds like you're looking for someone to let you use their backyard?   I would be VERY careful about this.  I mean, if someone offers their property, then that's fine.  But this is a lot to ask of people.  You'll need to consider the cost of extra insurance to cover any liability issues so the homeowner won't get stuck in a lawsuit should anything go wrong.  You'll also want to consider the cost of all of the equipment you'll need to rent (tables, chairs, etc).  
    DSC_9275
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Cashs bars are bad enough, but I get they are common in certain circles.   However,  I would be PISSED if I had to pay the host directly for a drink.  

     How does that even work?  Aren't there laws that you have to  have a license to sell alcohol? 

    Buy what you can and when it's done, it's done.

    I don't even know how to address the "people will stay over because it's backyard reception" issue?  I've never heard of such a thing.

    And ditto the liability issue with using someones backyard. 






    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. 
  • Ditto  Avion22 100%.  First off - you can't use the excuse of " Considering we'll be paying about 200 or so dollars for alcohol alone, is it rude that we ask that? Especially with there being so many people."

    YOU decide how many people to invite and when you do that you decide this based on what  you can afford.  If you can't afford to serve alcohol to 150+ people you either cut the guest list or cut the alcohol.  You don't ask your guests to cover your bill.

    The liability that someone would assume by having this on private property would be enormous.  They would be responsibile for the actions of 150+ people who have been drinking.  Any accidents on the way home will and the property owner will be held responsible.
  • Wow, this was in NO way for you all to come attack me. I asked a simple question on opinions!  The whole backyard reception is because of so many people we are having a pig roast. And since it'd be family, we thought we would offer whomever allows us to use their property say 100 or so for using it on top of renting a portapotty. I don't understand why everyone decides to be rude when someone asks a simple question.  WWith the people staying, I'm a firm believer in NO drinking & driving. It is my wedding night and I do not to feel at blame should something happen because someone drove home drunk. 
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  • Also, I realize the $100 isn't much being we'd pay A LOT more for a hall or venue, but I mean every bit counts. Sorry for sounding stupid, I've never been to many wedding so I don't exactly know the whole protocol for it all. Hence, me asking opinions. If you were in my shoes, and allowed alcohol, how much would you put aside for it all? We haven't set a budget yet so we're just trying to figure stuff out as to how much stuff would be. Thanks for your opinions, however, it did seem as though a lot of you were getting accusatory. 

    OAN: Anyone in Lansing - Mt Pleasant area know of venues that allow us to bring in our own food and don't exactly have a time to be out?
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    No one attacked you.  We said buy what you can and when it's done it's done.   Do not ask your guests to pay for 'round two'.  It's odd and awkward.

    The biggest problem with a backyard reception. Is liability.  The homeowners will be 100% liable is something happens.  Drinking and driving is just the tip of the ice berg.  Grandma could slip and break a hip.  Guess who the insurance company is going to go after?  Yep, the homeowner.

    Now some people have no problem taking on such risks.  My parents are fine with such parties.  They however get special liability coverage for the event.  I would look into getting insurance just in case.

    How much alcohol you need depends on your crowd.   We bought all our own alcohol for our wedding.  Ours was top shelf with a lot of options, so the price was about $1500+k.   We could have easily done if for a lot less if we bought kegs, less expensive brands and a lot less variety.   

     Our liquor store allowed any UNOPENED bottels to be brought back for a refund.  Check in to that.  It's a budget saver.

    Also check out places like Trader Joe's for sales.






    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. 
  • Thank you soo much for your help and the explainations! :) I will DEFFIENTLY be looking into places for price ranges and all that. Completely understand with the liability insurance, it's obviously something if soemone allows us to do we will need to check into and see what all it would cover and cost etc. thanks again ladies!
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  • OP - I'm a Lansing MOB (3 times now).  We also used venues that allowed us to bring in our own caterers.  In the Lansing area there is the Grand Ledge Country Club (Jim was GREAT to work with), the Cobblestone Inn in Mason but that is probably more south than you were looking for.

    Grand Ledge Opera House allows outside caterers from an approved list and you pay in the neighborhood of the equivalent of 15-20% of the catering bill as a service charge.  Can get pricey.

    Perspective2 in Old Town has gotten less than favorable reviews on the local boards to your left.  Nickle and dime you to death.

    Try contacting Ottawa Street Catering.  They are in E. Lansing/Okemos.  Best prices around and we really didn't just have boring wedding food.  It was really good.

    Now, if I can share a word of advice about wedding planning.  I think if you take this approach, it might help.

    Figure out your budget FIRST THING!!  Don't come up with guests lists or what you think you want until you know how much cash you have in hand.

    Next, come up with your guest list.  Every couple on the planet has had to make painful cuts to their guest list and you guys will too.  When you look at your guest list, are these people you have for dinner at your home?  Do they invite you to dinner?  Do you exchange Christmas cards?  Do you spend holidays together?  Do you see your gynocologist more than you see this person?  If so, they might be a good place to start shrinking the list.

    Remember that you have to invite someones date if they are in a relationship.  Please let them define what that is.  None of the "if they haven't been dating more than 6 months/we haven't met them/we are only inviting engaged and married couples."  If someone is seeing someone regularly, they need to be invited as a couple.

    Once you know how much money you have and how many people you want to invite, then you start planning.  Figure out what can you afford so that no one on your guest list has to buy anything.  If you can afford soda and lemonade, that's great.  If  you can afford alcohol that's great too, but you need to be able to afford to take care of your guests for the entire reception.

    When  you are figuring out things like the caterer, etc. make sure you add in gratuities.  They will bite  you in the hiney when all is said and done if you don't factor them in.  DD #1's wedding, I forgot about a 700.00 gratuity.  That hurt my budget!!

    Your reception will probably be 50 - 60% of your budget.  Remember that for every bridesmaid/groomsman you have, you need to buy them a thank you gift.  nothing that is for your wedding like jewelry, but a personal thank you.  Shop like it is their birthday and don't fall for the wedding industry idea of matching gifts.  They just want your money.

    For each attendant you guys have, you need to budget in flowers for each person and a seat for them and their date at the rehearsal dinner.  The more you get carried away asking, the more it will cost you.

    We haven't even talked flowers, dress, invitations (postage really adds up), tuxes/suits, etc.

    Back up and figure out your budget - it will much smoother for you if  you do.

    Also - there is TREMENDOUS liability when alcohol is served.  Especially if you are looking at asking someone to use their home.  I don't love anyone enough to let them serve booze to 150 people at my risk.  If you rent a venue and serve alcohol you will need a one day insurance policy to cover the liability.  Check with your insurance agent - I think our last DD and her FI paid about 150.00 or so for that.  You could also check wedsafe insurance or google wedding insurance.
  • kmmssg is right.  Follow her advice closely.  Also, head over to the Lansing board (look on your left under Local wedding Boards) for advice on local vendors.

    As far as renting a porta potty- If you are having 150 people, you will need more than one.  Also, splurge for the nice ones that having water and flush.  Your guests will greatly appreciate it.
  • edited May 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_place-for-reception-and-alcohol?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:0a956f14-47be-4824-ba52-b11f49c7f4cbPost:736da48f-ad0b-4053-96e6-93f71b3a1bdd">Place for reception and alcohol?</a>:
    [QUOTE]My FI and I are having a camouflaged wedding theme. So I thought a big back yard would be perfect. Our issue is finding one. However, when it comves to our reception, we were talking about it and since there will be about 150+ or so people, we thought about buying the first round of alcohol. We were both thinking of like 3 kegs, and then buying a gallon of vodka, tequila, whiskey, rum etc. After that's all gone then everyone will buy there own. Considering we'll be paying about 200 or so dollars for alcohol alone, is it rude that we ask that? Especially with there being so many people. I mean, the way we figured it is the least they can do if we run out of alcohol since there will be so much, is pay for the second round. Obviously with a back yard reception people WILL be staying the night or have a DD. I REFUSE to put up with it. And since there will be sober people there I am having them watch to make sure no one leaves drunk. Any ideas on how to change this, if this is honestly deemed as rude? (Taking donations for the second round maybe?)
    Posted by ChristinaB2010Wed160673[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>A couple basic things to keep in mind:  a reception is a "thank you" to your guests for attending the wedding as well as the first time you and your new husband will be "receiving" society as husband and wife. As such, it's really, really important that you provide anything that you offer at the wedding free of charge to the guests and do not ask the guests to bring or provide anything. </div><div>
    </div><div>If you can't afford booze, that's cool. There's nothing <em>at all</em> wrong with a dry wedding. I personally would go with what you've planned (a couple kegs, a couple handles of liquor and maybe a couple cases of wine) and then if you run out just call it a day.  It is <em>truly</em> rude to ask guests to bring extra liquor or to switch to a cash bar. </div><div>
    </div><div>As far as drunk people leaving the wedding, PPs have covered looking into insurance.  I wouldn't worry yourself too much about it though; get insurance and have a good time. Adults know they shouldn't drink when they're impaired.</div><div>
    </div>
  • saric83saric83 member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    If I were you, I would skip the hard liquor all together and just have kegs and some bottles of wine (good tip from the PP about Trader Joe's for wine!)  Kegs will be SO much easier, and then you don't have to worry about mixers nor extra bottles. 

    And ditto PP's idea about getting more than one porta potty. 

    One other thing to consider, figure out what you would do as a back-up plan in case it rains. 

    Good luck!
  • I think you should get a venue in place before you start hashing out the liquor details.  If somebody close to you has not offered their space, I doubt you will find an aquaintance willing to offer their yard and have random drunk people stay the night in their home.  I would also be concerned with the liability issues if you do not have a licensed server.  Anyways, in the event you to obtain a backyard space, I would buy the booze you can afford and once it's gone it's gone.  If everybody who wanted one got at least 1 or 2 drinks, that's plenty.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited May 2012
    I think you should offer your guests what you can afford for the entire reception.  If that means a dry wedding, so be it.  If it's beer and wine, great.  But a couple of PPs mentioned having some stuff and when it ran out, it ran out.  As a guest, I'd be ticked off to go back to the bar only to find out they ran out, especially if it was still early in the night.  I would think it was piss poor planning on behalf of the hosts and I'm sure I wouldn't be the only unhappy guest. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_place-for-reception-and-alcohol?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0a956f14-47be-4824-ba52-b11f49c7f4cbPost:ad6db6fe-d2f6-44b0-95b1-81386fda16f8">Re: Place for reception and alcohol?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Wow, this was in NO way for you all to come attack me. I asked a simple question on opinions!  The whole backyard reception is because of so many people we are having a pig roast. And since it'd be family, we thought we would offer whomever allows us to use their property say 100 or so for using it on top of renting a portapotty. I don't understand why everyone decides to be rude when someone asks a simple question.  WWith the people staying, I'm a firm believer in NO drinking & driving. It is my wedding night and I do not to feel at blame should something happen because someone drove home drunk. 
    Posted by ChristinaB2010Wed160673[/QUOTE]

    seriously people on these things are viscious!!! I think you can come u with some way, maybe have something written like if they feel like they want to donate alcohol iin lieu of a gift then its more than welcome, hhaa. I cant believe people think a cash bar is bad too.. jeeze.  ask me the wedding is about the couple and not the guests. can u hire a bartender, is that legal? so maybe first round on you then a cash bar after that? or maybe have some sort of jack and jill shower before and have it be abot donating your fav alcohol towards the reception, perhaps just closer friends and family for that part. yikes though people really are mean on here. now im nervous about what responses im going to get on my question! hahaha good luck!
  • i think kegs and wine are your best bet though and skip the vodka and whiskey. maybe you could write beer and wine will be provided and guests are welcome to bring a drink of their choice if they wish to drink something else.. but word it better
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_place-for-reception-and-alcohol?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:0a956f14-47be-4824-ba52-b11f49c7f4cbPost:5db270dd-cef4-40c5-a766-f6c8bd955344">Re: Place for reception and alcohol?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Place for reception and alcohol? : seriously people on these things are viscious!!! I think you can come u with some way, maybe have something written like if they feel like they want to donate alcohol iin lieu of a gift then its more than welcome, hhaa. I cant believe people think a cash bar is bad too.. jeeze.  ask me the wedding is about the couple and not the guests. can u hire a bartender, is that legal? so maybe first round on you then a cash bar after that? or maybe have some sort of jack and jill shower before and have it be abot donating your fav alcohol towards the reception, perhaps just closer friends and family for that part. yikes though people really are mean on here. now im nervous about what responses im going to get on my question! hahaha good luck!
    Posted by Gina8484[/QUOTE]

    <div>I strongly urge you to lurk on here for awhile before chiming in with your so-called ideas. And I'm actually trying to be nice here. Educate yourself a little bit more or you won't make it.</div>
    Anniversary
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_place-for-reception-and-alcohol?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:0a956f14-47be-4824-ba52-b11f49c7f4cbPost:5db270dd-cef4-40c5-a766-f6c8bd955344">Re: Place for reception and alcohol?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Place for reception and alcohol? : seriously people on these things are viscious!!! I think you can come u with some way, maybe have something written like if they feel like they want to donate alcohol iin lieu of a gift then its more than welcome, hhaa. I cant believe people think a cash bar is bad too.. jeeze.  <strong>ask me the wedding is about the couple and not the guests.</strong> can u hire a bartender, is that legal? so maybe first round on you then a cash bar after that? or maybe have some sort of jack and jill shower before and have it be abot donating your fav alcohol towards the reception, perhaps just closer friends and family for that part. yikes though people really are mean on here. now im nervous about what responses im going to get on my question! hahaha good luck!
    Posted by Gina8484[/QUOTE]

    The ceremony is about the couple, but the reception is a thank you for the guests.  You don't ask your guests to open their wallet and pay for anything.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_place-for-reception-and-alcohol?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:0a956f14-47be-4824-ba52-b11f49c7f4cbPost:5db270dd-cef4-40c5-a766-f6c8bd955344">Re: Place for reception and alcohol?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Place for reception and alcohol? : seriously people on these things are viscious!!! I think you can come u with some way, maybe have something written like if they feel like they want to donate alcohol iin lieu of a gift then its more than welcome, hhaa. I cant believe people think a cash bar is bad too.. jeeze. <strong> ask me the wedding is about the couple and not the guests.</strong> can u hire a bartender, is that legal? so maybe first round on you then a cash bar after that? or maybe have some sort of jack and jill shower before and have it be abot donating your fav alcohol towards the reception, perhaps just closer friends and family for that part. yikes though people really are mean on here. now im nervous about what responses im going to get on my question! hahaha good luck!
    Posted by Gina8484[/QUOTE]


    If the wedding is strictly about the couple, then why bother with the whole reception?  You'll will be just as married if you go to the JOP or courthouse and get married with just the two of you.  Once you invite people to witness the ceremony you become hosts that must provide for your guests properly.
  • Whoa, ladies. I think you all for your opinions, I do sincerely value you them. I was talking to my FI and we have come to an agreement on alcohol. We will serve what we have planned and if anyone wants anything else or what ever, they are more than welcome to bring there own. I will now be heading my happy hind end over to the Lansing area for reviews for our reception area. :) We're looking into possibly buying land. 

    &Thanks for the idea with the extra porta pottys, to be honest I truly didn't even think about it. Ooops! And the flushable ones with running water? Never heard of them. Then again, I am kind of a country gal!Wink 
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