Wedding Etiquette Forum

Alcohol: Is it a must?

Hi, I'm new and while my fiance and I are not getting married for a few years yet we have begun planning and stumbled upon a question that we'd really love some feed back on: Should we serve alcohol for the enjoyment of our guests?

Here's why this is a slight issue: My fiance and I are straight-edge,one of the tenets of which is we do not drink alcohol. We don't like to do it, but we don't take issue with our friends doing so nor have we ever tried to push our lifestyle onto our friends. What's right for us, is not what is right for them. Plus, for our location we're trying to arrange having everything (ceremony&reception) at an art gallery which obviously wouldn't have a bar so we'd either have to supply the alcohol or have guests bring some.

We see it two ways:
1) We serve no alcohol, and tell the guests no bringing their own or "pre-gaming," on the grounds that we (the bride and groom) don't drink so we don't want it at our day, and the venue doesn't have anyway to serve said alcohol anyway.
-- our issue with this is that we don't want our guests to not have fun. we know that you can have fun without alcohol but also don't see any harm in a drink or two (leading to...)

2) We can allow alcohol, but limit the amount of alcohol each person can have at the wedding. 
--this brings up more issues though: how many drinks does everybody get? 3? Some of our friends can get ridiculously drunk off of just 2. Where do we get the alcohol, what kind do we get? etc etc. But on the flipside, our guests might be a little more at ease, and might enjoy themselves a bit more if they do have just a glass or two.

I'd love any kind of thoughts, opinions, and comments Smile
«1

Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?

  • I think it depends on your guests and what you are comfortable with. My whole family is Mormon and probably wouldn't have come to a wedding where alcohol is served. We didn't serve any because I wanted my family to feel comfortable. My IL's hosted an after party with alcohol and everyone had a blast after the wedding there.


  • If you don't feel comfortable serving alcohol at your wedding, have a dry wedding.  I probably wouldn't mention it beforehand.  If your friends know you and your FI, they shouldn't be too surprised.  You can't control if people pregame or sneak in a flask--I'd stop worrying about what's beyond your control.  

    If you have alcohol, you should provide it (not BYOB) and you should not limit your guests--they are adults and either know their own limits or can otherwise take responsibility for themselves.  If you know your guests will enjoy having a drink and you want to provide something, talk to your caterer about getting a limited bar--maybe just wine and beer--and have a bartender serve if you're worried about people over consuming.  
  • There is no rule that says alcohol must be served at a wedding. If you don't want to serve any alcohol at all, that's totally fine.

    Most people do not like having drink tickets, or being limited in their drinks - it just is an annoyance, in my opinion, and sends the message to your guests that they can't be adults about their alcohol.

    If you do serve alcohol, please don't limit guests to how much they drink. If you hire a bartender, they can be sure not to overserve anyone. 

    As far as there being no bar - Could you just have some wine and beer chilled that guests can help themselves to? You can set up a table as the "bar" and hire a bartender for the night, also, if you'd like to go that route.

    Do not ask guests to bring their own alcohol - either you provide the alcohol, or there is no alcohol served. It's a wedding after all :)
  • You don't have to have alcohol, but you can't tell adults that they can't pregame or have a drink beforehand. 

    I've only been to one dry wedding before and a ton of us stopped at the bar in between the ceremony and reception to have a few drinks.  We all skipped out on the appetizer/punch hour before dinner started. 

    And also, normally dry receptions tend to be a lot shorter.  People will leave after dinner.

  • You can have a dry wedding but please don't serve alcohol under the guise that you're going to manage your guests.

    From an etiquette perspective, as long as your guests don't have to pay for everything you're doing a great job as a hostess.

    But in reality, what is the norm for your families and social circles?  Alcohol is available at every event DH and I throw.  We threw the IL's a 40th anniversary party at our house and had ample booze.  3 weeks later was DD's 1st birthday and we killed several bottles of wine.  To not have it would have been very odd and it would have irritated our families.

    If you opt not to serve it, would it go against the norm for family functions?  If it does, be prepared that your guests may leave early.

    If you do serve, hire great bartenders that will cut off your guests and who will not serve those that get intoxicated.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:6482458d-af6a-4478-b5c8-11279fcae8fd">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>You don't have to have alcohol, but you can't tell adults that they can't pregame or have a drink beforehand.</strong>  I've only been to one dry wedding before and a ton of us stopped at the bar in between the ceremony and reception to have a few drinks.  We all skipped out on the appetizer/punch hour before dinner started.  And also, normally dry receptions tend to be a lot shorter.  People will leave after dinner.
    Posted by amys325[/QUOTE]

    And this too.  If you told me, "You can't drink before my wedding or in between the ceremony and reception," I might drink a few mimosas that morning.  I'm a grown woman and don't need other people telling me what's good for me.
  • I've been to one dry wedding, and I didn't care for it. Not because of the no alcohol, but because they only served lemonade, coffee and iced tea. No soda, juice, etc. 

    If the venue allows it, BYOB may be an option. 

    If you don't mind having alcohol, wine and beer may be nice.

    If you don't want it, don't have it. 

    Drink tickets=competition. Whenever I get drink tickets, I make friends with light weights so they give me their drink tickets. lol. I'm just saying :)
  • We had a dry wedding, our wedding and reception was at the church, so it was for religious reasons. I'm not going to say our wedding was an all-night dance party, but I don't feel like it ended right after dinner either. People stayed, chatted, went back for seconds (buffet, and after the cake was cut). Most people didn't leave until around 9ish. Dinner was served around 6:30.

    Don't have alcohol if you don't want it, but also make sure you follow the other advice the ladies have given you.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:f3df56c9-c264-4e78-af89-5fe75b32aa11">Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]My fiance and I are straight-edge,one of the tenets of which is we do not drink alcohol. We don't like to do it, but we don't take issue with our friends doing so nor have we ever tried to push our lifestyle onto our friends. What's right for us, is not what is right for them. Plus, for our location we're trying to arrange having everything (ceremony&reception) at <strong>an art gallery which obviously wouldn't have a bar so we'd either have to supply the alcohol or have guests bring some.</strong>  I'd love any kind of thoughts, opinions, and comments 
    Posted by Bay21[/QUOTE]

    <div>My reception was at an arboretum. There isn't a bar there, and there was absolutely no problem getting my caterer to take care of it. I said, "I want a bar in that corner," and it was done. There shouldn't be any problem getting a bar at the art museum.</div><div>
    </div><div>You may be able to buy your own alcohol (we did, and it was much less expensive) or you may have to purchase it from your caterer. Either way, YOU should pay for it, and you should not ask your guests to bring anything.</div><div>
    </div><div>A dry wedding is perfectly fine. It may be a little out of place if your reception is a Saturday evening wedding and you expect people to stay all night and dance. </div><div>
    </div><div>FWIW, I like to drink. I REALLY like to drink. That being said, I would prefer a dry wedding over a cash bar or being asked to bring my own alcohol.</div>
  • If the reception is at home or the like-That's what I meant by if the venue is okay with BYOB.

    BYOB is an option for any event, if the couple wants it. I'm not getting caught up on technicalities. I don't encourage BYOB for weddings, but I won't say no, just to say no. If that makes sense.


    Bottomline: If you really don't want alcohol, don't serve it. Avoid the hassle, and just don't serve it. If your guests want to drink, they can go out afterwards. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:6f0ca200-b178-4803-865c-bf416ad7358e">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Alcohol options for a wedding: 1. Open bar - hosted (you pay) 2. Limited bar - hosted (you pay) 3. Dry bar - no alcohol Don't mention the no alcohol thing on your website if you are worried people will try to sneak in alcohol. Do not do drink tickets (or any variation) or make people pull out their wallets.
    Posted by crfb87[/QUOTE]

    This.  And absolutely do not instruct guests what they can and cannot do before, during, or after your wedding. 
    November 2011 Siggy Challenge: The First Kiss
    image
    Fall Wedding Bio
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:300a6215-82f4-4ff0-becd-133b0540ce66">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]If the reception is at home or the like-That's what I meant by if the venue is okay with BYOB. BYOB is an option for any event, if the couple wants it. I'm not getting caught up on technicalities. I don't encourage BYOB for weddings, but I won't say no, just to say no. If that makes sense. Bottomline: If you really don't want alcohol, don't serve it. Avoid the hassle, and just don't serve it. If your guests want to drink, they can go out afterwards. 
    Posted by HeatherMKR[/QUOTE]

    <div>Her venue is an art museum. They're not going to let a bunch of random guests carry in six-packs. </div><div>
    </div><div>Most venues where you can supply your own alcohol also require you to have a bartender. That's for liability reasons and also to follow any state or county alcohol regulations.</div>
  • Am I the only one that has been to "hosted events" that are BYOB? 

    I've been to some where they provide wine or some beers, but if the guests wanted liquor or "higher end" beer, they brought their own.

    I personally see no problem with it, but to each his own :)

    Rock on.
  • I BYOB'd an entire bar in my purse to my 10 year HS reunion.  I had whiskey, vodka, rum and cans of sparkling wine.

    True Story.
  • We had a dry wedding.  Everyone who knew us expected it.  To my knowledge, no one came drunk and no one snuck anything in or went out to their cars to party.  We had a great time, our guests had a great time, and some of the biggest drinkers were the last to leave.  Like Whit, we didn't have a rip roarin all night party, but dinner was served around 6, we left about 8:30 or 9, and there were still people there when we left.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:d27a21f1-dfdf-4103-b3dd-648ea7c1c0b3">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Am I the only one that has been to "hosted events" that are BYOB?  I've been to some where they provide wine or some beers, but if the guests wanted liquor or "higher end" beer, they brought their own. I personally see no problem with it, but to each his own :) Rock on.
    Posted by HeatherMKR[/QUOTE]

    <div>The only BYOB events I've gone to are random GTGs with friends. As in, "Let's all go to the Smiths' house Friday. They're making dinner and have a few movies to watch. I think I'll bring some beer."</div>
  • I don't offend easily.  But if someone came up to me and tried to police how much I drank, either at their wedding or beforehand, I would be offended.  Your guests are all adults (presumably), and they don't need to be told what to do.  You and your FI have made the conscious decision not to drink, and you would like your guests to respect that.

    You don't need to provide alcohol at your wedding, but be advised to what PP told you.  Guests are usually inclined to leave earlier if there is no alcohol, and many won't be as willing to get up and dance.  My H's cousin's wedding had only bar during cocktail hour, and then it closed.  Almost nobody was on the dance floor, and half of the guests left before the last song.  You don't need to have alcohol at your reception if you don't want it, but keep this in mind.  And please don't try to police your guests' consumption on their time by telling them not to "pre-game."
    image

    Books read in 2012: 21/50

    AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers

  • It's fine to have a dry wedding.  If many of your friends and/or family drink alcohol, consider changing your reception to be a brunch or lunch reception, when fewer people would expect to drink.

    Having a limited bar (only wine and beer) is fine too, as long as that is consistent with your beliefs.  Your bartenders would be responsible for keeping an eye on guests and not serving guests who were showing signs of intoxication.

    But DO NOT have a BYOB wedding!  That's not proper hosting.
  • If you told me I couldn't drink before your wedding, I'd get hammered and show up that way. And I don't even like to drink. But I like being told what to do even less.
    image
    ttc chart
    BFP 8/01/12, EDD 04/10/12, mm/c @ 6wks, discovered at 8wks, D&C 9/05/12
  • TR, your sig always makes me smile. I don't know why, but it makes me happy.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:5f03182e-15c8-45ab-a04b-93c723fb14cf">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Alcohol: Is it a must? : This.  And absolutely do not instruct guests what they can and cannot do before, <strong>during</strong>, or after your wedding. 
    Posted by TiffannieF[/QUOTE]

    I had someone announce no smoking and don't throw rice... In some states/counties still allow smoking inside and some venues don't prohibit it either. I also didn't want rice thrown as it creates a mess and a tripping hazard. So are people not allowed to "instruct guests" not to smoke?
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:5fa4bb29-b815-46ba-a599-4af0c84ab4c8">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]If you told me I couldn't drink before your wedding, I'd get hammered and show up that way. And I don't even like to drink. But I like being told what to do even less.
    Posted by FutureMrsTR[/QUOTE]

    LIKE!
    I would totally do this.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:65275bec-b4f8-46cb-80ba-fe015c983914">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Alcohol: Is it a must? : I had someone announce no smoking and don't throw rice... In some states/counties still allow smoking inside and some venues don't prohibit it either. I also didn't want rice thrown as it creates a mess and a tripping hazard. So are people not allowed to "instruct guests" not to smoke?
    Posted by iugurl101[/QUOTE]

    Telling your guests the rules of the hall you are renting, and expecting them to conform to your own standards and personal rules, are two different things.  If the reception hall has a "no smoking" policy on their grounds, then yes, you can tell your guests not to smoke.  But if your primary concern is the smoke smell on your guests after they come back in from a break, then no, you suck it up and deal.  You don't have a right to tell guests what they can and can't do, barring the rules of the building that you're in.
    image

    Books read in 2012: 21/50

    AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:70fed967-8dcd-406d-8791-b696b8112232">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I don't offend easily.  But if someone came up to me and tried to police how much I drank, either at their wedding or beforehand, I would be offended.  Your guests are all adults (presumably), and they don't need to be told what to do.  You and your FI have made the conscious decision not to drink, and you would like your guests to respect that. You don't need to provide alcohol at your wedding, but be advised to what PP told you.  Guests are usually inclined to leave earlier if there is no alcohol, and many won't be as willing to get up and dance.  My H's cousin's wedding had only bar during cocktail hour, and then it closed.  Almost nobody was on the dance floor, and half of the guests left before the last song.  You don't need to have alcohol at your reception if you don't want it, but keep this in mind.  And please don't try to police your guests' consumption on their time by telling them not to "pre-game."
    Posted by baystateapple[/QUOTE]

    I would like to adopt you!
  • It's fine to have a dry wedding.  Lots of people do.  But please do not ask guests to bring their own alcohol.  You are hosting the reception, so your guests should not have to bring anything or pay for anything.
  • We are not serving alcohol at ours, simply because we don't enjoy it or want to pay for it, and their will be children attending.  If they want to go out for drinks after the reception that is up to them.  Venues may or may not allow it, then some make you purchase insurance, extra fees, etc. 

    I would not mention that you are having a dry wedding, then nobody will be "pre-gaming" or try to bring anything.  I certainly would never ask my guests to come to the wedding sober!  Kinda implying that they are drunks who can't live without their booze.
  • edited December 2011
    Wow thanks for all the in-put Smile I'll be refering to it constantly!!

    I'm just wondering though why you all hated on the idea of maybe asking for our guests to not drink prior to arriving at the ceremony/reception? I understand the whole "don't tell me what to do!" attitude, I'm a born rebel and so is my fiance; that being said we don't want people drunk at our day, and a few people we are inviting don't always know/respect their limits. 

    What if i just asked them to not drink in excess if they choose to drink prior? We know that we cannot control everything people do, and that trying to might make us bride/groomzilla to some people, but I'm not sure I see an issue with making our wishes for the day clear and asking people to respect our wishes?

    ...I am really showing my inexperience/youth with these questions aren't I? haha xD
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:0ce82e33-b8ce-42fa-8c21-2f61f02958a4">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Wow thanks for all the in-put   I'll be refering to it constantly!! I'm just wondering though why you all hated on the idea of maybe asking for our guests to not drink prior to arriving at the ceremony/reception? I understand the whole "don't tell me what to do!" attitude, I'm a born rebel and so is my fiance; that being said we don't want people drunk at our day, and a few people we are inviting don't always know/respect their limits.  What if i just asked them to not drink in excess if they choose to drink prior? We know that we cannot control everything people do, and that trying to might make us bride/groomzilla to some people, but I'm not sure I see an issue with making our wishes for the day clear and asking people to respect our wishes? ...I am really showing my inexperience/youth with these questions aren't I? haha xD
    Posted by Bay21[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Do your friends normally get wasted before heading out to a wedding? Are they normally unable to make responsible and respectful decisions? </div><div>
    </div><div>Don't mention anything about alcohol. If you have a dry wedding, no one will know until they show up. If you have alcohol, again, no one will know until they show up.</div><div>
    </div><div>I had eight alcoholics at my wedding. Not a single one of them caused any sort of problem. Please give your friends the benefit of the doubt and assume they won't make assholes out of themselves.

    </div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:7ae22583-d06c-4f78-a1ed-f3f2123012ba">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Alcohol: Is it a must? : Not to sound like a broken record, but you can't tell people what to do ;-)   Either you trust them to behave or you shouldn't have invited them.
    Posted by edielaura[/QUOTE]
     <div>That's probably true. I guess I am just being a tad paranoid since we are in college still and  nobody seems able to party without it. But they'll all (hopefully) have grown up a tad by the time the wedding rolls around :) </div><div>
    </div><div>
    </div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_alcohol-must?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:bb8c3b69-71c4-422b-9f6c-94726214e7bbPost:cad0fda1-ffa2-4f91-ab13-eb2a947098ba">Re: Alcohol: Is it a must?</a>:
    [QUOTE]If you don't mind alcohol being there, I think it would be a nice gesture since you know several of your guests do enjoy having a drink. You can do what PP's suggested with a limited bar. But there's nothing wrong with a dry wedding. <strong>I personally probably wouldn't stay as long at a dry wedding but that's just my honest opinion. </strong>And definitely don't give out tickets or have your guests BYOB.
    Posted by rachers1017[/QUOTE]

    <div>This. It's just my opinion and the opinion of the people in my family/circle. You don't have dry weddings here unless you want your wedding to be a huge flop and your guests to be miserable. Dry weddings just aren't as fun around here--and I drink maybe a glass of wine every 6 months. So I'm not even a drinker. I don't even drink at all weddings I go to, but even just having the beer/wine there makes the atmosphere more fun and relaxed for all. It's nice to have the option.</div><div>
    </div><div>You can have a dry wedding. There's nothing wrong with it as far as etiquette goes. But don't expect the guests to stay as long or to get out on the dance floor and party it up. If that's cool with you, then that's cool with you.</div>
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards