Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Alcohol "Etiquette"

My FH & I are paying for our wedding with minimal assistance from our folks, and we've been doing whatever we can (short of getting cheesy) to keep our costs down, because we're planning a 12-day European honeymoon...which, I'll be honest, I'd much rather spend our hard earned money on an amazing honeymoon than an over-the-top wedding.

We both come from conservative families who, for the most part, don't drink, but we do, and many of our friends do, and we know that a lot of those friends probably wouldn't come (or at least wouldn't stay very long) if no alcohol is served.  Plus you tend to get more dancers & just have a generally more fun reception when people have a little "assistance" in their system.  So we decided to offer a limited selection of beer & wine, and once it's gone, it's gone.

Here's the issue: Our venue charges an additional deposit & fees for serving alcohol at their venue (they don't have any sort of bar set up, so we have to bring everything in, including a server).  It's also a family-friendly wedding, so we have to have someone overseeing the distribution of alcohol for responsibility reasons.  Plus there's the cost to us of the actual alcohol itself (and any deposits on kegs, etc.)  Our wedding is also on a Sunday afternoon.  So, in order to help cover the costs of everything, we've decided to charge $1/glass for alcohol.  We won't turn any sort of profit, but it will help ease  the extra expense a bit, as well as (hopefully) slow the drinkers down a bit so their not throwing back too many drinks & then trying to drive drunk/buzzed after the reception.

I know it's a sensible idea, and so far all the guests we've told so far have acted like it's a non-issue...but I feel like we're breaking some sort of etiquette "code" by wanting people to pay for wine & beer.

Guess I'm just looking for some sort of confirmation that we're not horrible penny-pinchers.  :-)
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Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"

  • hjay07hjay07 member
    Fourth Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Having spent a lot of time lurking on the Etiquette board, I can tell you that this is a no-no. Since the reception is meant to thank your guests for celebrating with you, they shouldn't have to bust out their wallets at all. You should either have no alcohol at all or pay for it.
    I'm on a budget too, so I know how you feel- all those extra costs sure do add up, you've just got to remember to only plan what you can afford.

     

  • rascal17rascal17 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    It does break traditional etiquette but I personally dont think its a big deal as its so common now a day. Ive been to a couple weddings like that and it was not an issue and $1/glass is quite cheap, the ones I've been to were $3-5 a drink so $1 should diffently not be an issue.

    I would just make sure to let your guests know on your wedding website or by word of mouth or invite that it is a cash bar. It sucks going to a wedding and not knowing you need to pay for drinks.
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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:5009060a-143b-4f8f-ba35-6538e1af1e47">Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]My FH & I are paying for our wedding with minimal assistance from our folks, and we've been doing whatever we can (short of getting cheesy) to keep our costs down,<strong> because we're planning a 12-day European honeymoon...which, I'll be honest, I'd much rather spend our hard earned money on an amazing honeymoon than an over-the-top wedding.</strong> We both come from conservative families who, for the most part, don't drink, but we do, and many of our friends do, and we know that a lot of those friends probably wouldn't come (or at least wouldn't stay very long) if no alcohol is served.  Plus you tend to get more dancers & just have a generally more fun reception when people have a little "assistance" in their system.  So we decided to offer a limited selection of beer & wine, and once it's gone, it's gone. Here's the issue: Our venue charges an additional deposit & fees for serving alcohol at their venue (they don't have any sort of bar set up, so we have to bring everything in, including a server).  It's also a family-friendly wedding, so we have to have someone overseeing the distribution of alcohol for responsibility reasons.  Plus there's the cost to us of the actual alcohol itself (and any deposits on kegs, etc.)  Our wedding is also on a Sunday afternoon.  So, in order to help cover the costs of everything, we've decided to charge $1/glass for alcohol.  We won't turn any sort of profit, but it will help ease  the extra expense a bit, as well as (hopefully) slow the drinkers down a bit so their not throwing back too many drinks & then trying to drive drunk/buzzed after the reception. I know it's a sensible idea, and so far all the guests we've told so far have acted like it's a non-issue...but I feel like we're breaking some sort of etiquette "code" by wanting people to pay for wine & beer. Guess I'm just looking for some sort of confirmation that we're not horrible penny-pinchers.  :-)
    Posted by bobbilynne&david[/QUOTE]

    Providing beer and wine for your guests isn't over the top.  Could you afford keg beer and wine for your guests, no hard stuff?  Also, are you charging for sodas?  Those should defninetly be free. 

    It isn't uncommon to go to a wedding in MN or WI where the bar turns to cash after dinner.  What is common in your family/group of friends? 
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  • redheadfsuredheadfsu member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Wait, you are charging your guests for alcohol YOU bought for the wedding?

    Oh my... that is beyond rude. The guests do not pay for you to throw the wedding. Have the wedding you can afford. Period. People will talk about you behind your back. Wow.

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  • LoveMuffinsLoveMuffins member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    The whole point of covering the cost of the wedding is that you're throwing a party. If you're providing alcohol, then provide it, if you can't afford it then don't. chances are these friends of yours who can't hang out and celebrate unless their drinking are fairly young and so they're used to parties that are BYOB or have a cover charge at the door... but is that really how you picture your wedding?

    Cash bars tend to be considered pretty rude in general. If you're going for absolute good wedding etiquette as your subject heading implies, then it's bad etiquette to have people pay for something at a party that you're hosting.

    If you're more worried about cost than anything else then go for it, but just because the people aren't you are ok with it doesn't make it good etiquette or less tacky. If you need to cut costs and are worried about etiquette, i'd find a different route.
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  • redheadfsuredheadfsu member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:e6151b1f-f734-42ef-a108-651eae026b8a">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Alcohol "Etiquette" : Providing beer and wine for your guests isn't over the top.  Could you afford keg beer and wine for your guests, no hard stuff?  Also, are you charging for sodas?  Those should defninetly be free.  It isn't uncommon to go to a wedding in MN or WI where the bar turns to cash after dinner.  What is common in your family/group of friends? 
    Posted by Wiscisbliss[/QUOTE]

    But usually, the venue is charging the guess, <strong>not the couple</strong>.

    When the venue charges people it is kind of rude, but this OP is way past that line.

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  • edited December 2011
    I have never been to a wedding with a cash bar and I would certainly not like to go to one, especially if the money was lining the pockets of the bride and groom so they could go on a 12 day European honeymoon. Profit or not.

    If you'd prefer not to spend the money on alcohol, either have a dry wedding, cut down on your guest list, or elope. Or cancel/cut down the HM. If the HM is more important that hosting your friends and family, then... don't invite them.

    It's simply rude to charge people for anything at an event you are hosting, such as a wedding. This isn't a college frat party. If you can't afford it, don't provide it.
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  • Mrs.B6302007Mrs.B6302007 member
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:5009060a-143b-4f8f-ba35-6538e1af1e47">Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]  So, in order to help cover the costs of everything, we've decided to charge $1/glass for alcohol.  We won't turn any sort of profit, but it will help ease  the extra expense a bit, as well as (hopefully) slow the drinkers down a bit so their not throwing back too many drinks & then trying to drive drunk/buzzed after the reception. I know it's a sensible idea, and so far all the guests we've told so far have acted like it's a non-issue...but I feel like we're breaking some sort of etiquette "code" by wanting people to pay for wine & beer. <strong>Guess I'm just looking for some sort of confirmation that we're not horrible penny-pinchers. </strong> :-)
    Posted by bobbilynne&david[/QUOTE]

    Probably not gonna happen.
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  • jrkjpfjrkjpf member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    If you can't afford it, don't do it at all unless your venue is requiring you to use their services, which this is not the case.
    We also must bring in our own drinks, but to avoid an insane cost at the end. Buy a few bottles a week, or every other week, same with the wine or bottled beer if you'd rather that then kegs. IMO people can get a little out of hand with liquor then just wine and beer, especially if your bartender is over pouring. But not my place to make that choice. WE are paying for the drinks, including: beer, wine, liquor, soda, juice and any and all mixers that need to go along with those.
    Again, if you can not afford it, don't serve it.

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  • peanutty2peanutty2 member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Yikes! no, please cut something else that is for "you" and not for your guests.  I think it's perfectly fine to serve just wine/beer if that's what you can afford and skip the hard stuff.  But if your buying the alchohol and then basically asking me to pay you back for it with each drink i take, yea I'd be peeved.  I'm having my wedding on a tight budget and doing a sunday afternoon wtih only wine/beer.  We have to bring in the alchohol so when it's gone it's gone.  But I'd never dream of asking my guests to chip in for it.  They're already spending money on traveling, attired, gift, etc. To me, it's not like a family get together where everyone brings something, it's a formal affair that you are hosting.
  • jrkjpfjrkjpf member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Another thing, this may or may not be the case, but if a venue is in a "dry county", which means they are not allowed to sell liquor by any means, wedding or not. They will probably not allow you to charge your guests, we well as I don't see many venues allowing this regardless of the county rules. For all they know, you are making a profit, and they get none.

    Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I'm not perfect and I don't live to be. But, before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean. -Bob Marley

  • heyimbrenheyimbren member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:30a7b78e-d400-41d4-81d9-71b43119a447">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Alcohol "Etiquette" : But usually, the venue is charging the guess, not the couple . When the venue charges people it is kind of rude, but this OP is way past that line.
    Posted by redheadfsu[/QUOTE]

    OP, have you looked into whether or not you'd need a liquor license to sell the alcohol yourself since that's what you'd be doing (instead of the venue)?
  • edited December 2011
    It isn't a sensible idea, and it is a no-no. Since it's a Sunday afternoon, why not just serve beer and wine (and/or a signature coctail)? I think a bunch of had liquor would seem out of place on a sunday afternoon. 
  • LesPaulLesPaul member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Why don't you just have a cover charge for the reception?  What you're proposing is just as rude - you're hosting a party, and shouldn't charge your guests for refreshments.  Just scale it back to beer & wine to reduce the cost.
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  • edited December 2011
    We're not charging for anything other than alcohol--drinks are included with our caterer and will even be set up in a completely different area than the bar.

    Like I said, the majority of my family doesn't drink, so there's pretty much never alcohol at those weddings.  Of the few weddings I've been to where alchohol was served, it was either a full cash bar, or a small limited selection of alchohol that was free.  So I've seen a range.  Not much experience with it personally.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:0ebf0fec-3acc-4fb3-a24c-aebf4417a0dd">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]It isn't a sensible idea, and it is a no-no. Since it's a Sunday afternoon, why not just serve beer and wine (and/or a signature coctail)? I think a bunch of had liquor would seem out of place on a sunday afternoon. 
    Posted by SilverLining1[/QUOTE]

    We've always only planned to do beer & wine, no hard liquor.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:6f140283-dd2f-405e-a808-a4a9cc563fca">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]Why don't you just have a cover charge for the reception?  What you're proposing is just as rude - you're hosting a party, and shouldn't charge your guests for refreshments.  Just scale it back to beer & wine to reduce the cost.
    Posted by LesPaul[/QUOTE]

    I'm starting to realize I didn't clarify, but we were only planning to have beer and wine.  But yes.  I see everyone's points.... I had an uneasy feeling about doing a charge, otherwise I obviously wouldn't have posted about it here.  It's good to see other people's opinions on it.  Thanks to everyone. 

    *shrugs*  all the money stuff gets to me.  We've experienced a lot of "guest list creep" because of my massive family, and my FH & I are trying our hardest to do this whole event & honeymoon on a cash budget---no debt, just what's in our savings.  I'm very proud to be able to do this, but sometimes writing those checks really hurts.

    Thanks again.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:30a7b78e-d400-41d4-81d9-71b43119a447">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Alcohol "Etiquette" : But usually, the venue is charging the guess, not the couple . When the venue charges people it is kind of rude, but this OP is way past that line.
    Posted by redheadfsu[/QUOTE]

    I'm right here, you can refer to me directly...

    Got it.  Rude.  Thanks.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:2de30abf-5fc0-4a11-ad1c-7b5dc49b2d18">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Alcohol "Etiquette" : OP, have you looked into whether or not you'd need a liquor license to sell the alcohol yourself since that's what you'd be doing (instead of the venue)?
    Posted by heyimbren[/QUOTE]

    Excellent point.  Had not looked into it though the thought had crossed my mind.  But based on the overwhelming concensus, we'll just bite the bullet & pay for the wine & beer.   I'll break the news to my FH tonight. :)
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:7eba6bc3-89a5-4694-96ec-12519ac1c49d">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Alcohol "Etiquette" : I'd limit your alcohol to what you can afford rather than do a cash bar. (Or semi-cash bar.) The part I bolded from your post is because I wanted to point out to you that your guests are most likely going to be giving you wedding gifts, maybe traveling and paying for costs for that, hotel rooms, etc.  Your bridal party might have things they'd rather do with their money than <strong>rent tuxes and buy dresses</strong>. But people are making sacrifices with their hard earned money to celebrate with you; I think you'd be better off following proper etiquette for them.
    Posted by djhar[/QUOTE]

    Thank you...thus far, no one has put it from this perspective yet, and yes...people are taking on an expense to come celebrate with us, so spending a few extra hundred $ on alcohol is probably the least we can do.

    Besides...that frees up their one-dollar bills for the dollar dance... :)

    The part I bolded-- our groomsmen aren't wearing tuxes...since it's an outdoor wedding in July we've said "just black suit pants & a white dress shirt" so the only thing they have to pay for is to rent a vest & tie, which is about $13.  As for my bridesmaids, I asked them all to head to the store & pick out an off-the-rack dress that they know they'd wear again, and they all found gorgeous dresses for under $50.  So please don't think we haven't taken our friends & families expenditures into consideration.
  • edited December 2011
    Wow, some of these responses have been nothing but rude.  Honestly it shouldn't be that big of a deal.  Its YOUR wedding, do what you want.  Maybe if you wanted to restrict the amount of drinks you could give out "drink tickets"  say two per guest?  Just a thought, good luck.  Also don't let these "rude" people get you down!  Your wedding will be great!
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:e6e00f48-4891-47dd-b071-4f90c3ebf63e">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]Wow, some of these responses have been nothing but rude.  Honestly it shouldn't be that big of a deal.  Its YOUR wedding, do what you want.  Maybe if you wanted to restrict the amount of drinks you could give out "drink tickets"  say two per guest?  Just a thought, good luck.  Also don't let these "rude" people get you down!  Your wedding will be great!
    Posted by Desiri Havener[/QUOTE]

    Yeah, I mean who cares about being rude to your friends and family?

    Drink tickets = still rude.
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  • edited December 2011
    Sunday afternoon makes me think of mimosas or punch.  If I was going to a Sunday afternoon reception and was offered one of those or a beer, I would be content...
    however,  I would be put off by a cash bar.  In some regions it is not only the norm, but expected...so you really need to consider your crowd.  I am originally from up north, where a cash bar is a no-no (or was in my social circle) and I have not seen a cash bar down here.  I have been to a couple of dry weddings at churches, though.    Think of the weddings you have been to -- was it open, partially open, or cash bar?  If they were primarily cash, then charge the dollar...and it's a great deal!  If not, have a punch or something, or go dry. It is Sunday afternoon, after all.  Most of all -- Don't let the Knot-zis get you!  There are some SUPER opinionated people around here that think they should be the writers of the next 'how to get married the RIGHT way' books.  Have fun in the price range you can afford, knowing the people you invited will be happy to share the moment with you!
  • edited December 2011
    Its so funny, I dont believe I was talking to you.  Now that we have it cleared up as to who really is rude here, lets continue.  Your family and friends wont think anyless of you,  times are hard for everyone.  They will understand!  When it comes down to it do what you have to do.  It's your day, dont let anyone sway what you want.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:f5b0e1e6-8c1a-43f8-8357-cfc18b31db74">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]Its so funny, I dont believe I was talking to you.  Now that we have it cleared up as to who really is rude here, lets continue.  Your family and friends wont think anyless of you,  times are hard for everyone.  They will understand!  When it comes down to it do what you have to do.  It's your day, dont let anyone sway what you want.
    Posted by Desiri Havener[/QUOTE]

    It's not only YOUR day when you involve other people.

    And no, my family would be really disappointed if I did something that embarassed them. They wouldn't just "understand."
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  • edited December 2011
    You know I could come back with some like "well your family must not love you"  however, I wont because at this point I know I'm at peace with everything in my life, and some people arnt that lucky.  good luck to your FI.  Have a great life.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_alcohol-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:23Discussion:323a3408-3b76-4628-bd44-905e868c2fafPost:f5b0e1e6-8c1a-43f8-8357-cfc18b31db74">Re: Alcohol "Etiquette"</a>:
    [QUOTE]Its so funny, I dont believe I was talking to you.  Now that we have it cleared up as to who really is rude here, lets continue.  Your family and friends wont think anyless of you,  times are hard for everyone.  <strong>They will understand</strong>!  When it comes down to it do what you have to do.  It's your day, dont let anyone sway what you want.
    Posted by Desiri Havener[/QUOTE]

    Yeah... they will understand that you're being a cheap-a$$ and that your honeymoon is more important to you than them.

    Classy.
  • edited December 2011
    I totally dont understand why everyone is ganging up on me for defending this girl.  If it makes you feel better about yourself to degrade other people then go for it, that above all shows real class.  I'm sure your wedding will be spectacular!  Have a great night.
  • edited December 2011

    No one is "ganging up" on you... or "degrading" anyone. The decision for a bride & groom to personally charge their guests for alcohol is beyond an etiquette no-no, and to defend it as anything else is to fly completely in the face of etiquette and just general politeness.

    Especially when the reason for it is because you want to splurge more on yourself.

    And as someone pointed out, the "it's YOUR day" argument ceases to be valid the minute you include other people... which you did when you decided to host guests (with HOST being the operative word in that sentence).

    Oh, and thank you, I expect that our wedding will be fantastic.

  • edited December 2011
    I'm sorry, I had no idea you were an expert.  I should have known better.  Please can you send me a copy of your "I know everything about weddings, and everyone else is stupid" book I would love to learn a few things.  Honestly this isnt about me or my wedding I'm doing what everyone else is doing stating an opinion.  No one has a right or wrong opinion.  If you dont like what I have to say then dont read it.  
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