Pre-wedding Parties

Rehearsal dinner cash bar?

So my MIL has planned a wonderful rehearsal dinner for us. Only problem: cash bar. Now, MIL does not have money. I told her she did not have to do a full-fledged RD and instead do something low key at her house, but she insisted on doing it at a restaurant. She barely had enough money for the food, and the wine is ridiculously expensive. The corking fee for outside wine is $10. I personally do not have a problem paying for my own alcohol but I'm afraid my guests will. Would it be rude for FI and I to buy some outside wine and pay the corking fee ourselves?

Re: Rehearsal dinner cash bar?

  • Well, under no circumstances should your guests be expected to pay for the alcohol, so I don't think it would be rude for you and your FI to pay for it along with the corking fee.
  • Either that ^^ or cover the alcohol at the restaurant/venue.
  • I know it would be the opposite of rude to my guests, but I am just worried about offending MIL. She was extremely upset and embarrassed that she could pay for what she thought she could. I just don't want to swoop in and show her up, you know? She worked hard and put literally her every penny into this rehearsal dinner.
  • Tell your FMIL, "FMIL, FI and I are deeply grateful for your paying for the rehearsal dinner, but we don't want you to find yourself in financial straits because of its cost.  It's important to us that you are able to eat and pay your bills!  So please let us cover the alcohol costs.  Regardless of whether you or we pay for it, we'll always remember your incredible love and generosity to us."
  • Ditto @Jen4948.    I think that's the best response to have so your FMIL knows you appreciate the gift and you make sure that no guest has to open a wallet to consume alcohol at the event. 
  • Well, the host should pay for everything that's offered... but is there any chance to just not offer alcohol?
    Like... I don't know how you're doing the dinner. If you're just letting everyone order whatever they want off the menu you may be stuck.
    But if all print up a fixed menu with just a selection of things, and it had a beverage section that listed things like tea, soda, coffee, then the guests would understand what's being hosted. Also give the waiters' a heads up so they know the drink offerings.

    If someone goes up to the bar themselves to get something you can't really stop them, but if the menu clearly lists the hosted drinks and someone goes off on their own that's not really on you.

    It's dances around the etiquette line but I don't think it plows across it too badly.

    That won't work though if you give everyone the restaurant's menu and let them order whatever. And it also won't work if your party is being held in a private room with a cash bar set up directly inside it.

    But just tossing the idea out there.
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