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Non-Alcoholic reception

I do not come from a large family of drinkers, however my F.H. comes from a large family that likes to have a good time. There are also some friends of both of our's that will be coming that are working on staying away from alcohol, as well as many little kids that will be attending our wedding from both sides. My family has an idea to have a keg of Root Beer at the reception behind the bar instead of having a signature cocktail drink so that everyone can enjoy it, and then IF necessary, we will have a cash bar for everyone else that really feels the need to drink alcohol. We really want everyone to enjoy themselves, but we want to make it fair for everyone, and we are on an extremely tight budget. The other option is that we have a complete cash bar, which I know is not looked upon kindly, however we feel it would make people refrain from drinking as much as possible. Does this sound  like a good option? Does anyone else have suggestions for us?

Re: Non-Alcoholic reception

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    jerseydeviljerseydevil member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper First Comment
    edited October 2010
    You can't police how much alcohol other people drink. They are adults and need to be responsible for their own consumption and actions.

    If you want it alcohol free, make it alcohol free.

    Or you can serve just wine and beer.

    I just personally think that cash bars are so tacky.
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    If people want to drink, they'll buy it. A cash bar won't accomplish anything except to piss people off.

    Like PP said, it's not your job to police people's drinking habits. So either serve (free) alcohol or don't.

    If you DO serve alcohol, and someone gets out of control (which I'm willing to bet won't happen), have them escorted outside and put into a cab.

    I don't know why so many people on these boards seem to think that alcohol will equal a giant disaster. And/or why they worry so much about what other people do with their lives. If it's REALLY that much of a problem, don't serve it at all ... but if you're willing to do a cash bar then I'm guessing it's really not a huge deal, right?
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    I agree... I do not like having to ask my guest to pay for anything including drinks.  If you are on a tight budget that dont do alcohol.  If you can afford it do the wine and beer wine... or maybe an open bar for the first hour of the wedding. 

    I wouldnt worry about planning your wedding because certain people dont want to drink and certain people like drinking.  Its your wedding.  Go with what you want and can afford.
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    I'm not a *huge* drinker but I would prefer to have alcohol at a reception.  I'm not a fan of cash bars but I would rather have the option to buy a drink or 2 than not to have any drinks.

    To save money you could just offer beer & wine and even just for a couple hours (not the entire reception).
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    Wait, would you have other (no-charge) non-alcoholic options like coke, sprite, etc.?  I mean, I appreciate really cold root beer but it's too sweet for me to want any more than a small glass. Cash bar for alcholic drinks is potentially debatable depending on your circle, but charging for standard flavors of soda is pretty bad.
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    Cash bars are tacky and I *hate* root beer.  If you want to have a dry reception, fine, though at least provide your guests some options in terms of pops and juices.  But I don't understand where this concern for people overdrinking comes from.  The children wouldn't be served alcohol and the adults are ADULTS and therefore capable of managing themselves.  I think you should provide a full bar to your guests.
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    I know a lot of people on here find cash bars to be terrible tacky but I have never felt that way. I guess maybe it truly is a regional thing around here a cash bar or a wedding serving only beer is very normal.

    If you don't want to serve alcohol though I would almost lean away from a cash bar and just offer soda, water and maybe a punch for guest to enjoy. However, if you would like to provide kegged beer or bottled wine then I see nothing wrong with providing what you can or what you want to and allowing guest to buy something different.
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    if you really wanted to have a signature cocktail you could make sure that they bartenders had a virgin option for anyone who want to enjoy your drink special drink without alcohol.
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    Where I am from cash bars are acceptable.  I will tell you this from personal experience-an alcohol free reception will be OVER before the cake is cut!  I was a bm at a wedding last summer and about 95% of the guests left after dinner was done to go to a bar down the street.  If I were you-I'd do a cash bar and a keg or two of root beer and have fun!  Bartenders know when to cut someone off so you can enjoy your day!
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_non-alcoholic-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:72a78aae-123d-40ce-89e5-d09c6ef24e1cPost:6b6b4d5d-657f-44fd-87f6-8b699860965e">Re: Non-Alcoholic reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Where I am from cash bars are acceptable.  I will tell you this from personal experience-an alcohol free reception will be OVER before the cake is cut!  I was a bm at a wedding last summer and about 95% of the guests left after dinner was done to go to a bar down the street.  If I were you-I'd do a cash bar and a keg or two of root beer and have fun!  Bartenders know when to cut someone off so you can enjoy your day!
    Posted by SeptemberFall2011[/QUOTE]

    Cash bars may be acceptable to certain people, but unless you can account for every guest at your wedding being from a region that allows for cash bars, this is not appropriate.

    For what it is worth, I have heard people argue to the death a cash bar is fine in the Boston area and I have people argue it is abhorred. My point? Go with the safer option of being a non-cheap and gracious hostess and provide for your guests even if it is not what they expect.That way, no one is offended at an event you are charged with accomodating people who are supposed to be the ones you care about the most. Would you really want to cut these people short? Shame on that and shame on your hostessing.
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    i love the idea of a root beer keg! we will be having a dry reception as well. thanks for the idea!  
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    I also think the root beer keg is a cute idea! You can do fun non-alch cocktails, too. FH and I are thinking letting everyone know that we will continue our celebration after the reception at a local pub and that we would love for anyone attending to come too.
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    Just because alcoholic drinks are available doesn't mean you're obligated to provide them.  That's like saying if there's a TV in your house you have to pay for cable when your friends come over.  If there are other options for those who don't want to pay for drinks then that's fine.  You aren't a restaurant and people shouldn't expect to get everything they want at YOUR wedding.
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    Cash bars are horribly rude.  If you want to have alcohol, you pay for it.  You don't offer things at your wedding, and then charge your guests.  It's rude to charge for the meal, it's rude to charge for cake, and it's rude to charge for drinks.  If you can't afford it, don't have it.  

    If you want to offer some limited alcohol, go for it.  If you want to offer a premium open bar, go for it.  If you want to have beer/wine only, go for it.  If you don't want to pay for alcohol, have a dry wedding.  

    Just be realistic about what a dry wedding means to your group.  If a lot of the people generally drink when they go out dancing, they probably won't be dancing very much, and you should consider skipping that element, or moving the time to the afternoon.  If your crowd will get out on the dance floor all night without a drop of alcohol, line up the DJ.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_non-alcoholic-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:72a78aae-123d-40ce-89e5-d09c6ef24e1cPost:6b6b4d5d-657f-44fd-87f6-8b699860965e">Re: Non-Alcoholic reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Where I am from cash bars are acceptable.  I will tell you this from personal experience-an alcohol free reception will be OVER before the cake is cut!  I was a bm at a wedding last summer and about 95% of the guests left after dinner was done to go to a bar down the street.  If I were you-I'd do a cash bar and a keg or two of root beer and have fun!  Bartenders know when to cut someone off so you can enjoy your day!
    Posted by SeptemberFall2011[/QUOTE]

    I have to disagree with this comment....i was in a wedding in June where they did not serve any alcohol at all, and the party went wayyy into the night- people came back to dance after the bride and groom left and everything. These friends didn't have alcohol at their wedding because of their faith traditions and beliefs about it, and i don't know if the OP is dealing with that issue or not, but either way, i think that people need to respect others' beliefs and preferences with this whole thing and not make such a big deal about cash bars being rude or not having alcohol ruining a party. If people can't have fun without alcohol, that's their problem, not yours.
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    Honey, I don't see anything wrong with a cash bar, especially if you are providing a full dinner. They are the latest trend at weddings, especially in this economy, and personally I've heard arguements where people were upset that they're WASN'T a cash bar option at least, if the bride and groom couldn't provide a full/partial bar. And, I've been to weddings with cash bars, and no-one complained. It's not like it's advertised all over the reception hall. The bar is usually in a discreet area, so those who want drinks can go grab one and enjoy it at their table. Bottom line is, It's your day. You should do it how you want it. As long as you mention the cash bar beforehand (wether it be on the reception cards, or your wedding website, or both) so people know to bring cash if they want to, it will be perfectly fine. My fiance and I are paying for our own wedding in June and other than the champagne toast, all additional alcohol will be cash bar only. In my mind, if people who give you a hard time over something so trivial as alcohol on your WEDDING day, then they don't need to be there. I hope I don't sound too harsh. It just really irks me that people think you MUST be all or nothing about alcohol. It's not like you're offering dinner but making people pay for dessert! And I know I'll probably get a a lot of negative feedback for this post, but I don't care. Anyway, end post. Good luck to you both!
    So happy to be married to my best friend.
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    Our reception site offers us to choose an amount to reach, before people pay, which made the drinks cost less then paying for a full bar. We did a quite high amount and we shouldn't go over it and we get a refund of whatever's not used or if it goes over, we can add more $. Also, our coordinator suggested if we have any guests that may typically get a little tipsy normally, we can point em out or maybe even do that w/the bartender and if anything they can make their drinks weak. I wouldn't do a cash bar otherwise. If i did i'd get the word out ahead, because most people don't carry cash these days
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    We are having a dry reception because FI and I don't drink and don't believe that it will be necessary for people to have a good time. They are there to celebrate our union and if they are unable to do that without alcohol than they should seek help. I refuse to pay for people to get drunk, tipsy, or whatever. I would much prefer to put that money elsewhere and I don't think that makes us a bad host. It makes us wonderful hosts who have faith that our guests are there for the right reasons and not expect alcohol! And if they happen to leave early... oh well! We will start the honeymoon early!


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    My FH and I also don't drink.. AT ALL. But his family does and some of mine does, and some of our friends do. We debated this too, but came to the conclusion, ITS OUR DAY. If people are displeased with it because there's no alcohol... that's sad.
    We are using sparkling cider for our toast, various lemonades, soda, and water as our drink options.
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    For all of the weddings I have ever been to all of the bars have ALWAYS been cash bars, except for a keg of beer. Because we have friends that can't drink anymore, we wanted to make sure the open option would be open for them as well. We chose the root beer because it is just a bit of a play on the "normal beer" and also because my FH worked on the website for a large beer/root beer company and they appreaciated his help so much that they now always give us a wonderful deal on everything we buy directly from the company. We are planning on getting custom made labels for the bottles of root beer that we were going to set at each place setting as our reception gift to everyone, and it will also help celebrate how we met. (We met in college, and the company is from the town that we went to school in.)
     I agree that it is most likely just a regional thing that our area always has cash bars except for a keg or two of domestic beer, but we wanted our free option to be available for everyone. We realize that not everyone likes root beer, but then again, I don't see how it would be any different with a signiture drink, because not everyone would be happy with that either.
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