Wedding Reception Forum
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Bar/Alcohol....

So our wedding is in September, so I do have some time to figure this out... But it feels overwhelming. The venue we chose has a bar that any licensed bartender can opperate, we will probably just use the caterer's. However, the location is private property managed by the parks and rec department and they do not allow in an way cash to be exchanged with the bartender. No tips, no paying for your own drinks. Which mean we have to provide all the alcohol, and cover the entire tip ourselves once it is over. If we had buckets of money that wouldn't be an issue but we are college aged with mediocre jobs and no family financial help.

The other issue is my family will not touch alcohol, they are surprised we are even serving it. His family drinks plenty for both families combined. I know we don't want a full bar, just beer and wine.

Would it be ok to put a bottle of red and a bottle of white on only the tables his family and our friends are seated? And then just have a few 12 packs of beer on ice for the bartender to hand out as requested? I have no idea how to do this!!!

I want everyone to have a good time, but I can see conflict from both sides depending on which way we go...  

Re: Bar/Alcohol....

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    Your idea is a good compromise to open bar.  Can you actually provide your own alcohol, or do you have to go through an approved alcohol providor? I'm having open bar, and we will be providing mostly wine and beer options.  If you can provide your own wine, I'd suggest getting a few cases of wine from Trader Joe's, if possible.  $36/case ($3/bottle)!
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    You should be the one providing the alcohol and tip, if you have alcohol at your wedding.  Keep in mind that BYO alcohol is a fraction of the cost of what it would be if you were purchasing it from the venue.  Search for the evite.com drink calculator to determine how much alcohol you'd need based on how much you think your guests would drink. 

    If you have a Trader Joe's that sells alcohol, they apparently sell wine for $2-3 per bottle.  If not, there are a lot of decent table wines for $8/bottle.  In terms of inexpensive beer, I'm not big on Bud/Heineken/etc for the most part so I have no idea on cost, but I do like Lionshead ($0.50 per bottle) and Miller Genuine Draft.  Since you'll have a bartender, you could also get away with boxed wine and a keg if you want, since he can pour it behind the bar.  I know my crowd is perfectly happy with that.

    If you go with wine on the tables, about 2 glasses per drinker might work if you're just looking for dinner service (5 glasses of wine per bottle).  Or you could have the wait staff offer wine or beer if it's a seated meal.
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    If you're having a bartender, you should definitely go with kegs.  Much cheaper, and more eco-friendly too (so you're not wasting all that aluminum packaging).  Your local liquor store should be able to provide kegs of beer, or you could ask your caterer for a recommendation.  Also, try to buy the wine from a place that will buy back any unopened bottles.
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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
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    We aren't serving alcohol, but I worked on a March of Dimes event committee for years.

    It was cheaper for us to place  2 wine bottles (1 red and 1 white) on each table and have a champagne fountain than it was for a bartender, since there was less of a service cost.

    Fewer people would get up to refill from the fountain, so most guests only had 1 glass. Also, nobody knows what king of champagne is in the fountain.
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