Monday, February 7, 2011

Wedding or Big Booze Up?

On Friday night I was watching Four Weddings Biggest Wedding Blunders.  Now, I admit that I don’t care for the competition aspect of the show or how catty the brides get, but it is interesting to see what works well or what can go wrong at weddings.  With that in mind I was curious to see what the big blunders would be.

One thing that really struck me was when the question of alcohol was brought up.  The competing brides complained if:

  • Alcohol wasn’t being served at all.
  • If you had to pay for your alcohol.
  • If you had to pay for soft drinks.
  • If it was open bar but only wine and beer was being offered.

You name it, if there was a complaint to be made about the alcohol situation it was made.  Apparently the alcohol debate really stirs up some heated feelings.  One thing that has always bothered me about weddings is the odd person expecting to get drunk on your dime.  Weddings are expensive affairs and alcohol is a pretty huge contributor to that cost.  We can’t necessarily afford for our wedding to be your great big booze up especially since our venue doesn’t allow us to bring in our own alcohol.

Our venue offers a reception package that includes:

  • One hour of open bar: offered before dinner; unlimited regular hi-balls, domestic beer and house wine
  • Non-alcoholic fruit punch, iced tea or lemonade: choice of one, available all night
  • Wine with dinner: ½ bottle of house private label Peller Estates Chardonnay or Merlot, per person with dinner – served by wait staff
  • Sparkling wine toast: one flute per person

After dinner we then have the option of hosting the bar or going to a cash bar and I’m fairly certain we’ll go the cash bar route.  If anyone wants any pop, beer or hard alcohol during dinner then they will have to pay for it.  I think the drink package is pretty generous but I imagine there still might be the odd gripe since we won’t be covering everything.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a teetotaller.  I enjoy a good glass of wine or a beer.  This is pretty well an economic decision for us, but I’m still worried that despite what we are offering people may not be happy.  And do we give people a heads up that we’ll be having a cash bar later in the evening?

What are your thoughts about booze at weddings?


Anonymous said...

I think it's completely reasonable to do what's right for your budget (especially when you're providing a lot of options during portions of the evening!).

Our venue doesn't even offer less than five-draft-beers included all night ('s a brewery :D), so we just tacked on wine for a mere extra $2/person (I believe soft drinks are just included). I don't think we'll be making any hard alcohol complimentary---though people can certainly purchase it if they so choose. I think it's reasonable to expect people to pay for that themselves when we're offering quality beer (and, well, likely cheap wine) for free. Honestly, I don't drink hard alcohol other than the occasional nightcap o' scotch, so it's just not very important to me. As TLC teaches us...I'm sure everyone feels differently!

Unknown said...

Gotta have booz at weddings - we went to a 'dry' one and it was just weird. I think having even an hour of open bar is more than generous enough. When it's totally open bar people get lazy and waste drinks and it gets hugely expensive. I think having some kind of offering like tickets, or timed open bar or something is great. You could always subsidize the cash bar to make it a toonie bar or something...

Jessica said...

We're having a dry reception. The wedding is at 1 PM with the reception ending before 4, though. Since a lot of my friends will be recently graduated from college, I did not want to deal with worrying about them driving in a big strange city slightly intoxicated. Of course when my very traditional grandfather found out there would not be alcohol, he flipped. But hey, he's not paying for it!

So our big reasons for not doing it were:
-It is an afternoon wedding. If you need alcohol then, you have a problem.
-Don't want to worry about the guests

kristen said...

Booze is definitely a "hot issue" when it comes to weddings and I think there are regional differences as to whether or not people expect and open bar. I never expect one, but I find that in Ontario, almost everyone expects one. And people get really vehement about is odd.

I think having to pay at least something for your drink helps people be more conscious about not leaving a mostly full drink somewhere and then just getting another one. I've been to weddings with a "toonie" bar where all drinks were $2. That money went toward the bar bill and kept people accountable for their drinks.

Meg said...

I think you're good to go and have a great package. That gives everyone at least 3 glasses of booze, and really, that's pretty freaking generous.

We gave everyone 1 drink ticket, plus had 2 bottles of wine on the table. It was all we had budget for. Not one person complained, and everyone had a great time.

Only problem was that our bar (which we hired!) ran out of whiskey! LOL

I try to think of bars like if you had guests over for dinner. Sure you'd put a bottle of wine on the table, but if your friends wanted to get hammed, they'd BYOB.

Tracy said...

We served wine and beer at our wedding along with soda and water. I am sure someone complained, but not to me - lucky for them! I find it so interesting that you invite someone to be a part of one of the most important days of your life, you feed them, entertain them, give them some sort of gift/favor for coming and then you feel obligated to serve them booze too. People have totally lost sight of what a wedding is actually about. I say you do what you think is right, what you can afford or choose to afford and if people don't like it - give them back their gift!

Nicole @ Haute Runner said...

I think you picked a good booze package. It is a good compromise- not total cash bar, but not an open bar.
People will always complain but don't go over your budget for those 1-2 people who might make a stink.

Just don't tell everyone it is an open bar and then cut people off at 2 drinks with no option for them to purchase more. A good friend did this and a lot of people were not impressed!