Wedding Etiquette Forum

inflated bar tab (long, sorry!)

Hey, ladies,

Hoping I can get some advice/input. DH and I got married about two months ago and had our reception at a hotel. We had a hosted bar which was to be charged to us based on consumption with a set price per drink, with house liquor, premium liquor, beer, champagne, and wine calculated separately.

I've heard all the stories and we both figured there was a strong possibillity that they would pad the numbers a bit, but we didn't really see any way around it and figured it was just part of the risk of having a hosted bar.

When we received the breakdown of charges however the count they gave us was so grossly exagerrated it was basically absurd. I'm not going to lie, we drank a lot, and we had a very good time. But according to their breakdown, they would have had to have served our over 21 guests an AVERAGE of 8.25 drinks per person over the course of 6 hours. While I believe that there were certainly people who had 8 drinks, I can't imagine that was anywhere close to the average given the number of people who would have to have been overserved in order for that to be accurate, and given the number of over 21 guests who didn't drink at all or who drank much less.

The management at the hotel says they've researched it and that the count is accurate. But we've tried without any success for the past two months to have them explain how they confirmed the count, how the drinks were recorded and by whom, etc. On Monday DH was finally able to talk to the bar manager who told us basically that they never counted the number of drinks but at the end of the night counted the number of empty bottles (or eyeballed how much was left in a given bottle), multiplied by the number of shots in a bottle and then marked down that we had 350 mixed drinks, etc.

Our problem with this is that we have no way of knowing if the bottles were full at the beginning of the evening. Additionally, if any liquor was spilled this means we got charged for it. If any drinks had more than a shot in them then we were overcharged for those drinks, since the pricing they gave us was per drink.  If any staff member lifted a bottle, etc. we were charged for it. (In fact, they'd be dumb not to lift a bottle b/c they'd be getting paid 22% gratiuity on top of getting a free bottle of crown or whatever.) We also now have no way of knowing what would be a fair adjustment to the tab since they didn't count how many drinks we were actually served.

So a few questions for those of you who have experience with these sorts of things. Is this method of counting drinks standard? Does this amount of drinks (average of 8.25/person over the course of 6 hours) seem reasonable? How many bottles of liquor do you think get "lost" on average in a given night (i've heard 1 or 2 but not sure what size bar that's for)? Do you know anyone who has had any success getting matters like these resolved? If so, how did they get it resolved and what was the resolution?

So far we have talked to the catering manager, bar manager, the catering manager's supervisor, and now the location's general manager and have gotten nowhere. We just filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and we're also going to dispute it through our credit card company b/c they charged us well before sending us the tab (our mistake probably for signing a blanket authorization, lesson learned). I'm also wondering if we might have some recourse through the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (the wedding was in Texas), since what they're alleging is essentially that they overserved our guests but I haven't looked into that yet so I have no idea. Any advice would be appreciated!
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