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Etiquette

How to avoid cash bar at RD?

crackktheskyycrackktheskyy Stars Hollow member
500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
Has anyone ever pulled off hosting a dry RD at a restaurant that serves alcohol? 

FI and I have been very fortunate: his parents have generously offered to pay for our rehearsal dinner.

I do not think FI's family will be paying for alcohol at the RD for personal reasons. (This is obviously more than okay -- they are going to host a lovely evening and have asked that we select the restaurant of our choice! We are so excited!)

Is there any way to prevent people from walking over to the bar and paying for their own drinks? Is it bad hosting to hold a dry RD somewhere where alcohol is easily accessible? Help! I don't want anyone to think this is a cash bar! 
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Re: How to avoid cash bar at RD?

  • KatieinBklnKatieinBkln (NO SLEEP TIL) Brooklyn! member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer First Anniversary
    Will it be in a separate area/back room? I think it'll be more clear then that whatever is brought to you, is what is hosted. If people walk to the bar...well, let's just say as a guest I would not think, "oh, this is a cash bar." I would see that I was making a choice to leave the party to get a drink. But maybe that's just me, hopefully other posters will have ideas?

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    melbelleuplarrygagaPrettyGirlLost
  • If it's in a back/private room it's certainly more clear, but I think you (or his parents) could talk to the server beforehand and when they go to take drink orders have them ask if they can bring anyone a soft drink or ice tea rather than "a drink". That would indicate to me we weren't having alcohol with dinner and the restaurant having a liquor license becomes null.
    PrettyGirlLostmollyringwald15
  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper

    Will it be in a separate area/back room? I think it'll be more clear then that whatever is brought to you, is what is hosted. If people walk to the bar...well, let's just say as a guest I would not think, "oh, this is a cash bar." I would see that I was making a choice to leave the party to get a drink. But maybe that's just me, hopefully other posters will have ideas?

    This makes sense, but my concern at a restaurant would be someone trying to order a drink from a server at the table. Then either A) the server has to tell them it's not covered, which is awkward or B) that drink goes on your FILs' tab. Neither of those options is great and I'm not really sure how to work around it. Are there any restaurants in your area that just don't serve alcohol? Or could you look into having catered dinner (doesn't have to be fancy - even BBQ would be fine) brought in at some non-restaurant location?
    Wedding Countdown Ticker



  • IMO, this situation wouldn't be considered a cash bar or bad hosting regardless of whether or not a guest chooses to buy a drink.  . 

    You can't stop someone from buying a drink at a restaurant that has a bar.  


    sexy, harry styles, best song ever, cute, beautiful, asdjglñlñ, marcel
    ashleyepashley8918PrettyGirlLostHesterlicious
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Our RD (hosted by my ILs) was beer and wine only.  They made it clear what was being hosted by working with the restaurant to print up menus and they were placed at each place setting.

    Another RD I went to in a restaurant was a dry RD.  The hosts provided menus that stated what was hosted.  Also, they had the servers make note that so and so was hosted but any alcohol was not.

    crackktheskyyPrettyGirlLost
  • crackktheskyycrackktheskyy Stars Hollow member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Will it be in a separate area/back room? I think it'll be more clear then that whatever is brought to you, is what is hosted. If people walk to the bar...well, let's just say as a guest I would not think, "oh, this is a cash bar." I would see that I was making a choice to leave the party to get a drink. But maybe that's just me, hopefully other posters will have ideas?

    It will definitely be in a private room, which is great. There is obviously a restaurant bar outside of the room, though.


    blabla89 said:

    Will it be in a separate area/back room? I think it'll be more clear then that whatever is brought to you, is what is hosted. If people walk to the bar...well, let's just say as a guest I would not think, "oh, this is a cash bar." I would see that I was making a choice to leave the party to get a drink. But maybe that's just me, hopefully other posters will have ideas?

    This makes sense, but my concern at a restaurant would be someone trying to order a drink from a server at the table. Then either A) the server has to tell them it's not covered, which is awkward or B) that drink goes on your FILs' tab. Neither of those options is great and I'm not really sure how to work around it. Are there any restaurants in your area that just don't serve alcohol? Or could you look into having catered dinner (doesn't have to be fancy - even BBQ would be fine) brought in at some non-restaurant location?
    This is the sort of awkward situation I wanted to avoid. The restaurant is FIs favorite, so we were really hoping to do it there, especially because it accommodates some special dietary needs! We can't do catering because the rehearsal is near the venue, which is a little bit of a hike from our house. We are all staying overnight so we are close the next morning and aren't stuck driving back and forth!
    image
  • crackktheskyycrackktheskyy Stars Hollow member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Our RD (hosted by my ILs) was beer and wine only.  They made it clear what was being hosted by working with the restaurant to print up menus and they were placed at each place setting.

    Another RD I went to in a restaurant was a dry RD.  The hosts provided menus that stated what was hosted.  Also, they had the servers make note that so and so was hosted but any alcohol was not.
    This is a GREAT idea! Thank you so much! They will host all coffee/tea/soft drinks/etc. so that could all definitely go on a menu.
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  • ShallowSeasShallowSeas Indianapolis, IN member
    Sixth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Our RD is at an Irish restaurant with a bar, however we are having a dry dinner in a separate room in the back of the restaurant. The restaurant offers a limited menu for large parties so we plan on making a menu for each person attending the RD so they know what their options are.
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    crackktheskyy
  • How about making the restaurant of your choice one that doesn't serve alcohol? If you're hosting a dry dinner next to a bar, I'm going to feel like it's a cash bar. Are they comfortable with people drinking but just don't want to pay for it? If so can you set up a separate tab?

    In my circle we all drink wine with meals so I would find choosing to host somewhere that serves alcohol but then not serving it to be very odd. And frankly a pretty poor thank you for attending your rehearsal.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • We had our rehearsal dinner at a restaurant.  Like others have mentioned they did a limited menu for large groups.  However, we did not provided the menu to the guests.  We informed the restaurant which items we wanted on the menu and they took care of printing them up.
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    crackktheskyy[Deleted User]
  • crackktheskyycrackktheskyy Stars Hollow member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
    Our RD is at an Irish restaurant with a bar, however we are having a dry dinner in a separate room in the back of the restaurant. The restaurant offers a limited menu for large parties so we plan on making a menu for each person attending the RD so they know what their options are.
    This is a great idea!


    How about making the restaurant of your choice one that doesn't serve alcohol? If you're hosting a dry dinner next to a bar, I'm going to feel like it's a cash bar. Are they comfortable with people drinking but just don't want to pay for it? If so can you set up a separate tab? In my circle we all drink wine with meals so I would find choosing to host somewhere that serves alcohol but then not serving it to be very odd. And frankly a pretty poor thank you for attending your rehearsal.
    We are having it in a very large city. Most places serve alcohol. We want to choose this place because its FIs favorite and because it can cater well to expansive number of dietary restrictions in the WP. The restaurant itself is very lovely. I would certainly hope that no one would feel that a very nice meal (in a separate room from the bar, mind you!) was a poor way to say thank you. I just don't want to convey that this is a cash bar. 

    The family likely won't pay for alcohol due to addiction issues. I believe it is simply something they do not feel comfortable financially supporting. Our wedding the next day will have a top shelf open bar, though.
    image
  • ashleyepashleyep member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited June 2014
    How about making the restaurant of your choice one that doesn't serve alcohol? If you're hosting a dry dinner next to a bar, I'm going to feel like it's a cash bar. Are they comfortable with people drinking but just don't want to pay for it? If so can you set up a separate tab? In my circle we all drink wine with meals so I would find choosing to host somewhere that serves alcohol but then not serving it to be very odd. And frankly a pretty poor thank you for attending your rehearsal.
    Alcohol is not required as a thank you.  A nice meal in a private room is more than an adequate thank you for attending the rehearsal.

    It is in a private room.  If they wanted to see the bar, they'd have to leave the party they are attending.  That is rude.  It is not at all rude to have a party in a private room and host only select things.  Having the menu cards that list what they have a choice of is a perfect solution.  If a guest feels inadequately thanked without a glass of wine, they are the rude ones. Not the hosts.

    Edited to add: unless it is a breakfast or a fast food restaurant, it is generally pretty hard to find a place that doesn't serve at least wine and beer. Even places like Moe's and Chipotle serve beer and wine!
    The thing is, some people host RDs expecting their guests to do that. Cash bars are common here and the last RD I went to, the parents of the groom made it clear that if we wanted a drink we could go to the bar and get it. I know you said it's rude to do so, but where's the line between "this is what we're hosting" and "this is what we're hosting, you can go to the bar if you want a drink"?

    OP, if you don't make up menus, make sure the wait staff knows what is and isn't hosted. We spent the first ten minutes or so not knowing what the groom's parents were hosting, and it was awkward.

    Depending on where you are and how common cash bars are, I'm not sure that you can truly convey that it's a dry dinner and not a cash bar. If it's a small enough party, I would try and spread it via word of mouth in advance. If it's in a separate room, going to the bar is probably one of those things that everyone is waiting for someone else to do so they're not the first, and so if you can avoid anyone being that first person, you'll probably be okay.



    Anniversary
  • crackktheskyycrackktheskyy Stars Hollow member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    How about making the restaurant of your choice one that doesn't serve alcohol? If you're hosting a dry dinner next to a bar, I'm going to feel like it's a cash bar. Are they comfortable with people drinking but just don't want to pay for it? If so can you set up a separate tab? In my circle we all drink wine with meals so I would find choosing to host somewhere that serves alcohol but then not serving it to be very odd. And frankly a pretty poor thank you for attending your rehearsal.
    No.

    Just because there happens to be a bar in the restaurant, does not make it a cash bar.  

    Hotels have bars, hotels have weddings, so basically you are saying that every single dry wedding held in a hotel that has a bar is a cash bar?  

    OP, I would print up menus and have them at the table or around the private room as to what is included at the RD.  That's all you can do.  It's not bad hosting.  
    Thanks! I totally love the menu idea so I think that is a great way to make clear what is being offered. So glad I have you all to consult on these things! Crisis averted!
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    [Deleted User]
  • crackktheskyycrackktheskyy Stars Hollow member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    ashleyep said:
    How about making the restaurant of your choice one that doesn't serve alcohol? If you're hosting a dry dinner next to a bar, I'm going to feel like it's a cash bar. Are they comfortable with people drinking but just don't want to pay for it? If so can you set up a separate tab? In my circle we all drink wine with meals so I would find choosing to host somewhere that serves alcohol but then not serving it to be very odd. And frankly a pretty poor thank you for attending your rehearsal.
    Alcohol is not required as a thank you.  A nice meal in a private room is more than an adequate thank you for attending the rehearsal.

    It is in a private room.  If they wanted to see the bar, they'd have to leave the party they are attending.  That is rude.  It is not at all rude to have a party in a private room and host only select things.  Having the menu cards that list what they have a choice of is a perfect solution.  If a guest feels inadequately thanked without a glass of wine, they are the rude ones. Not the hosts.

    Edited to add: unless it is a breakfast or a fast food restaurant, it is generally pretty hard to find a place that doesn't serve at least wine and beer. Even places like Moe's and Chipotle serve beer and wine!
    The thing is, some people host RDs expecting their guests to do that. Cash bars are common here and the last RD I went to, the parents of the groom made it clear that if we wanted a drink we could go to the bar and get it. I know you said it's rude to do so, but where's the line between "this is what we're hosting" and "this is what we're hosting, you can go to the bar if you want a drink"?

    OP, if you don't make up menus, make sure the wait staff knows what is and isn't hosted. We spent the first ten minutes or so not knowing what the groom's parents were hosting, and it was awkward.

    Depending on where you are and how common cash bars are, I'm not sure that you can truly convey that it's a dry dinner and not a cash bar. 


    Yeah I think the menu is the best way to go about it. I called the restaurant today and the bar package comes separately so we will just print up the menu and make clear that beverages include juices, teas, coffees, soft drinks, etc.
    image
    ashleyep
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    As PPs have mentioned, your best course of action is to have menus available to your guests indicating what you are paying for, but that do not list anything that you are not paying for. You can also ask the venue management and/or coordinators to require of the waitstaff to indicate to guests who order something that the venue ordinarily serves but is not on your special menu that the item in question is not available.
  • Now, if you tell guests that they are more than welcome to go to the bar to get a drink, that might be confusing and could be construed as a cash bar situation.  

    I would just leave it at the menu covering the items that you will be hosting and if a person insists on going to the bar on their own, there is nothing you can do about it.


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    PrettyGirlLost
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Now, if you tell guests that they are more than welcome to go to the bar to get a drink, that might be confusing and could be construed as a cash bar situation.  

    I would just leave it at the menu covering the items that you will be hosting and if a person insists on going to the bar on their own, there is nothing you can do about it.

    This is also how I would approach it.
  • I certainly don't mean to suggest it's a crisis, but if you and your guests usually drink, and there's alcohol available for sale, to me it would feel like a cash bar. I don't mean to suggest it's a crisis or anything, but if I'm you're bridesmaid and I can't get a drink at your rehearsal dinner, I will find it odd. I'm not really clear on why you can't pick up the tab yourself. Honestly I simply don't see the point of having a nice meal without a glass of wine, but in my heavily euro-influenced circle no one else would either so I suspect it will work out fine for you.
    NYCMercedes
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited June 2014
    I don't mean to suggest it's a crisis or anything, but if I'm you're bridesmaid and I can't get a drink at your rehearsal dinner, I will find it odd. I'm not really clear on why you can't pick up the tab yourself.
    Maybe for financial reasons? Alcohol isn't cheap.

    Truth is, it's not really your (generic) business why hosts don't choose to provide alcohol if they don't wish to.  Dry weddings and wedding-related events are polite and totally within the hosts' right to provide.
    ashley8918countrygirl061513
  • Well aware it isn't cheap. Which is why I suggested changing the restaurant to one the couple can afford. I don't expect to win anyone over on this, just sharing a different perspective. Personally I would sooner skip the rehearsal and accompanying dinner than expect my friends and family to sit through a dry meal.
    NYCMercedes
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Well aware it isn't cheap. Which is why I suggested changing the restaurant to one the couple can afford. I don't expect to win anyone over on this, just sharing a different perspective. Personally I would sooner skip the rehearsal and accompanying dinner than expect my friends and family to sit through a dry meal.
    If his family want to host it, that's their right.  And they're not required to provide alcohol either.  You just aren't entitled to it, whether or not you're in the wedding party.  If you want to drink, you need to do it not only on your own dime but also your own time.
    pinkshorts27jenndeirdremcgarci2
  • melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    Could you make an insert to be distributed with the menus?

    E.g.:

    Hosted drinks:
    Coffee
    Tea
    Soda
    Ice tea
    Juice
    Etc.
    image
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    melbenso said:
    Could you make an insert to be distributed with the menus? E.g.: Hosted drinks: Coffee Tea Soda Ice tea Juice Etc.
    I'd just list the drinks being hosted on the menu itself.  This menu would be a special menu that lists the subset of items actually being paid for, without any prices.
    pinkshorts27[Deleted User]
  • sofakingmadsofakingmad member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
    Well aware it isn't cheap. Which is why I suggested changing the restaurant to one the couple can afford. I don't expect to win anyone over on this, just sharing a different perspective. Personally I would sooner skip the rehearsal and accompanying dinner than expect my friends and family to sit through a dry meal.
    I get where you are coming from and I can totally relate.  In my circle, we drink a lot.  It would be very strange if someone chose not to have booze at a wedding related event.  Hell, I served booze before and during my ceremony.

    However, she was just asking about the proper etiquette in this situation and you just keep offering your opinion about why she should serve alcohol.  From what I'm reading, It doesn't really have anything to do with being able to afford it at all.  They have other reasons beyond money.

    So your opinion on what she should do doesn't have to be won over by anyone.  It just doesn't belong in this thread.

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    crackktheskyyKatieinBklnHesterlicious
  • I wouldn't skip attending it! Absolutely not. I would skip hosting it or accepting that it be hosted on my behalf because I view alcohol as part and parcel of a meal and wouldn't feel comfortable entertaining my guests in a way that doesn't fit my personal hospitality standards. If invited I would accept graciously, would not go wandering to find a bar, and would have nothing to say about the matter except "thanks so much for having me."

    But I would inwardly go arghghg I spent so much on traveling to your wedding buying a bridesmaids dress making it to your rehearsal and you can't even spring for a glass of wine even though I know you drink and your wedding is extravagant? Aghaghags
    NYCMercedesPrettyGirlLost
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