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No bar during dinner/speeches/both?

Hello, I've been a lurker here for a long time. I'm getting married in just over two weeks and my fiance and I are trying to stick to our budget. We've decided on an open bar for all of our guests and to save a little money we were thinking of closing the bar during dinner, speeches or both. We're trying to keep speeches down to a minimum but I was told by my venue that the dinner service is typically about two hours. If we keep it closed for both dinner and speeches the bar will be closed for about 2.5 hours. As a guest how would you feel about having it closed that long? If that is too long what would an acceptable amount of time be? We were going to give everyone a heads up so they could grab a drink or two before it closed down for a bit.

Thank you!
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Re: No bar during dinner/speeches/both?

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    First of all, many places close the bar a half hour before the night ends. Have you checked on whether your venue does this?

    Secondly, I would be upset if I didn't know you were closing the bar and therefore finished my drink and wanted another. If you announced somehow that the bar would be closed, I'd probably stockpile a drink or two to be set, which might cause a problem when you want to start dinner and everyone is up getting drinks. 

    Lastly, would water and soda still be available during this time?
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    I would be really annoyed if they closed the bar for that long with no warning.    Could you have them alert guests and then do a wine pour during the meal?    Since the "correct" spacing is 1 drink/hour after 2.5 hours, that's a recipe for thirsty pissed off guests.

    But closing for one hour and doing a wine pour could be a nice way to keep the costs down - especially for cocktails. 
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    That's what I was concerned about. I was planning on putting a sign on the bar and/or having someone make announcement.

    Would it be better we kept the bar open during dinner and had the MC make the announcement before dinner is served that the bar is going to be closed during speeches which are supposed to begin as dessert is being served? Then people only have to go without a drink for 30 minutes and people have a good amount of time to stockpile some drinks.
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    I agree that only offering beer and wine may be a better way to cut down on costs.
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    I would be really confused by this. I tend to only drink at weddings during a) cocktail hour and b) dinner because after that I'm on the dance floor and don't feel like holding a drink while I dance. If you took away the bar for all of dinner (and that's a loooong dinner), I would probably get a little annoyed. Plus, you might end up with everyone making a beeline for the bar as soon as it opens again - which would a) cause a lot of traffic and annoy guests who get stuck waiting for awhile and b) delay the dancing from getting started.
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    Cocktail hour starts at 5 and last call will be 12:30 so the bar has the potential to be open for 7.5 hrs. Both FI and my family and friends typically stay until the end so I'm not concerned that there won't be enough time to drink. Both FI and I drink hard alcohol and not wine or beer so personal preferences means our bar will be more than just wine and beer.

    We've decided against closing the bar for dinner. As a guest would to be upset if the bar closed for only speeches if you were given ample warning of the closure? Water and soda will still be available during that time.
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    Why are you having speeches? If you mean toasts, they shouldn't take more than a couple minutes.
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    1) Are you paying "per drink"? If you are, closing during dinner could help, but not if you tell guests to 'stock up" as they may just order a bunch of drinks at once to get them to last through dinner

     

    Here in Chicago, the standard seems to be that the Bar comes as a package deal with the venue and tends to be closed during dinner. It seems to be the standard. People just seem to know to stock up ahead of time (though, most of the times, wine is still available on tables during that time) so I personally don't think it's a big deal as that seems common in our neck of the woods

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    Thanks for the correction. I completely mean toasts. Sorry work is on my brain.
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    It wouldn't bother me from a drinking perspective but I think it would disrupt the tone/ flow of the reception.  Toasts should be lighthearted and/ or emotional, the closing bar would make it feel serious and more professional, like speeches rather than toasts.  JMO.
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    I would feel rude getting up during toasts to get a drink, so the bar being closed then wouldn't bother me.  But they will only last 15 or so mins, in my experience, so I can't see you saving much.  Please don't close it for dinner.  If I'm finished eating and others aren't, I might go for a drink anyway.  If the bar was closed, I'd be a little upset

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    If people are "stocking up" before the bar closes, doesn't that defeat the purpose of closing the bar to cut costs? Or is your venue charging based on time and not consumption? It just doesn't sound like a money saver to me, but maybe I'm missing something.
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    hnkirk81 said:
    If people are "stocking up" before the bar closes, doesn't that defeat the purpose of closing the bar to cut costs? Or is your venue charging based on time and not consumption? It just doesn't sound like a money saver to me, but maybe I'm missing something.
    I'm in the boat with you. 
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    I've heard of folks closing the bar for dinner, but for a 1 hour dinner. 2 hours seems a bit much
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    Thanks everyone. Everyone brought up very good points. My FI and I discussed the idea further and realized that closing the bar for toasts only was pointless and we don't want to inconvenience our guests with not having access for 2 hours so we're just going to keep the bar open the entire time. Thank you all for your help!
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    My venue has a policy of closing the bar during dinner...which is annoying...so I have to figure out how to let my guests know that beforehand...if I should put that on the website or how I should do that. Any suggestions?

    It's been that way at most weddings I have attended, so I think some people would expect it. I've seen a sign at the bar stating that they will be closed during dinner. Most guests who care about getting a drink will have gotten one by dinner time if it's been open since cocktail hour. Not sure if this is the best way, but I have always seen it done this way.
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    Please don't let the toasts go on for 30 minutes. Or even 15. People will be bored out of their minds. One or two toasts, three max, at a max of 2 minutes each, is plenty. Don't give the mic to anyone else after that.
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    TeddiD34TeddiD34 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited September 2013
    Yup, my vote goes to keep the bar open the entire length of your reception. People can get pretty annoyed if they can't get a proper beverage.

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    I think closing the bar for 1 hour for dinner is pretty common. Can you close it for the entrances, toasts, and the start of dinner but open it after that? 
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    It's weird to me that they close the bar during dinner since that's when I usually drink the most. Do they not expect people to get up while eating and go to the bar?
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    Closing the bar during dinner is not uncommon, but in my experience dinner service lasts about an hour.  As long as soft drinks are offered, I would close the bar during dinner if that were only for an hour, but for two hours I agree you should keep it open.
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    2 hours for dinner service? That seems quite long. We closed our bar during dinner but we had signs and the bartenders told guests as the time was coming close when they went to get refills. We also offered wine, tea and water during dinner at the table so nobody went thirsty.

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    Yes, please don't let your toasts go on for more than 2 minutes each, and please don't have too many of them.  The last wedding I went to had 5 speeches and 2 "performances" during the reception...some of the speeches long and typed out on several pieces of paper.  It felt more like an awards ceremony for the B&G and everyone at the tables was whispering and PISSED that they were being held a captive audience and could not get up and dance, get a drink, etc.
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    That's a long time to close the bar.  If you do that, I'd limit it to one hour.  And I have to agree with CrazyCatLady3 not to treat your guests like a captive audience with too many speeches or performances, especially long ones (long being more than about 2-3 minutes).
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    This happened at a wedding we went to a few years ago - the bar (beer and wine only) was opened for the cocktail hour and then closed for dinner.  During dinner, there were bottles of wine on the table, and the wait staff was coming around to pour.  The wine was unlimited, so no one complained too much about not being able to get beer during the meal.

     

    Hower, the meal ended around 8, and then dessert happened at 10, the reception ended at 12.  The bar closed FOR GOOD at 10, almost without warning.  The only reason we knew was that one of our friends became buddy-buddy with one of the wait staff during the event and he warned her.  Well, cue the stockpiling.  Between our friends, an entire high cocktail table was filled end to end with fresh beers and full glasses of wine within 10 minutes.  I don't know why they closed it so long before the end of the event (or without warning) but I hope it wasn't to discourage heavy drinking.  Because i feel like the stockpiling actually made that worse.  People would have been a lot more relaxed about it if they weren't worried about getting cut off.

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    Will your guests have something else to drink at dinner?

    At our venue (and most in the area), the bar is closed during dinner (we were told ~1.5 hours for dinner) the bar is closed during dinner- no exceptions- but, there is unlimited wine on the tables. 
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