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Beginner June 2021

Alcohol at happy hour and reception

Danielle, on July 22, 2018 at 8:34 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 20
So we aren’t into major planning yet but have mainly discussed small details as we aren’t getting married till 2021. My FH’s side of the family has some heavy drinkers.. his parents are compete alcoholics.. same with uncles and his close family friends.. I feel like I was to limit alcohol comsumption but wanted opinions on how to present it to guest and how to go about doing it. How would the bar regulate it? Has anyone done this? It’s to the point where I don’t mind not having alcohol there but don’t want guest to think we were being cheap or not enjoy themselves or stay as long.. any ideas?

20 Comments

Latest activity by Danielle, on July 23, 2018 at 3:17 PM
  • Gen
    Champion June 2019
    Gen ·
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    You can have a consumption bar with a limit. ie once the tab hits 2k, either alcohol stops being served, or it turns into a cash bar (if money is the issue)

    You could also limit to wine and beer
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  • Marissa
    Expert August 2019
    Marissa ·
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    Even if you have an open bar, bartenders are supposed to cut people off if they feel like they are getting out of hand with the alcohol consumption. I would put some trust in your bartenders and have the kind of car you want, open, consumption, pay, etc.
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  • Beginner September 2021
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    I would have the the bar tender use a bingo stamp on those who have been drinking. Or get those tough paper bracelets and the bar tender can stamp those. You can say 3-6 stamps which ever one number you prefer. But everyone is different. Some people need 6 shots while others need 1. I'm not sure if I want alcohol at my wedding because we both have "party people". My fiance said he thinks we should do alcohol beverages for the head table while everyone else can have like a wine cooler when it comes to toasting and the speeches.

    I would honestly just be creative. You can buy wine coolers and tested the flavors and add juices to make them more diluted. And call them your signature drinks and have that at the "bar"... Just serve signature drinks, a variety of about 5... And you should be fine.
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  • D
    Beginner June 2021
    Danielle ·
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    Money wouldn’t be the issue with it. His mother has made a scene at the reception of both his brothers weddings. I just don’t want a repeat. The bartender didn’t cut her off and she started cussing people out. I would just like a way for guest to know ahead of time that this isn’t an event to get hammered at. Any ideas how to present it?
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  • AQuixoticBride
    VIP July 2018
    AQuixoticBride ·
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    My feeling is that drinkers will drink, whether you give them the alcohol or not. People who want to get drunk will do it on liquor, wine, or beer. At the end of the day, you can't control others. As PP said, your bartender should monitor consumption and cut people off if necessary. If you have potentially unruly people, hire security to deal with that.
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  • D
    Beginner June 2021
    Danielle ·
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    I love that idea! Thanks!!
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  • K
    Dedicated August 2019
    Kate ·
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    I went to a wedding once and the couple was nervous about the crowd and how they’d handle an open bar, turns out it was good they did.

    they went Open for cocktail and Cash reception. Some people definitely loaded up when it was open and didn’t stop a wild time for some, unfortunately, it got sloppy. but as a guest I didn’t mind at all to have to pay knowing the type of crowd it was anyway.

    could go cash or even only beer and wine only. No big deal!
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  • Beginner September 2021
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    You're welcome Danielle. Good luck. ❤️
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  • Kelly
    Devoted September 2018
    Kelly ·
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    You could do beer and wine only for sure. But, I'd wonder if the guests would be disappointed with that. I feel like most people like mixed drinks at weddings. But, your situation is different than most. Hmmmm... I'd say 3 drink max but you can't expect the bartenders to keep track of everyone. I was worried about this at my own reception. We're doing open bar, everything included. My friends can be some very heavy drinkers, but my entire wedding is barely 5 hours, so I'm not too worried about it. It ends at 11.
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  • Amelia
    Expert June 2019
    Amelia ·
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    I would go with only wine or beer. I think other things feel more like a bar and less like a wedding. And hopefully if you’re very clear with the bartenders about watching consumption that will help
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  • V
    Super April 2019
    Valerie ·
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    This is a wedding, not a festival or a concert. DO NOT DO bracelets or cards or any sort of thing like that. It is extremely tacky. Just make sure you get good bartenders and let them know the situation ahead of time. Nothing else is needed.

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  • Hunter
    Dedicated May 2020
    Hunter ·
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    You could probably tell the bartenders who you are worried about in particular so they could keep an even closer eye on them

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  • H
    Dedicated October 2019
    H ·
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    Stamps? This is so cringey to me. These people attending your wedding are adults. They don’t need to be treated like children. This is on your bartenders to be sure no one gets out of control.
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  • M
    Dedicated November 2014
    Mandy ·
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    You've gotten a lot of TERRIBLE, rude, tacky ideas so far, and some good ones. Don't do a cash bar, or switch to cash at some point, or have drink tickets/stamps/whatever. None of these are appropriate, and if people know a bar is going to cash at some point they'll likely get wasted as early as possible to save themselves money.


    Here's the appropriate way to have alcohol at a wedding but to limit the drinking:

    1. Hire good bartenders, and talk to them ahead of time. Make sure you are VERY clear that it is OK and even encouraged to cut people off if they've had too much.

    2. Beer and wine only, or if you must have mixed drinks definitely no shots! And again, good bar tenders will ensure the mixed drinks are not very strong.

    3. Don't have too many bar tenders, so there are lines to get drinks during the peak times...that way people can't get more than 1-2 drinks during cocktail hour.

    4. Again, good bartenders won't serve more than one drink per person--you can make sure your bartenders are on board with this.

    5. During dinner close the bar and only have waiters/table service. This will again make it take longer for people to get drinks.


    These are all things that an "average drinker" won't even notice, but the big drinkers will, and will limit their consumption.

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  • AQuixoticBride
    VIP July 2018
    AQuixoticBride ·
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    Bracelets and stamps and watering down people's drinks are not answers to this issue. Hiring competent professionals and letting go is. If his mother makes a scene, that has nothing to do with you.
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  • Emily
    Master May 2014
    Emily ·
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    Bingo stamps??? WHAT?? My god, no. That is beyond tacky as is any form of capping the number of beverages such as tickets or bracelets. This is not a carnival. A LIMITED bar is perfectly fine. This means that you limit the types of alcoholic beverages available to certain options such as beer, wine, and a signature drink. Most venues are able to handle this without a problem. They simply put a menu on the bar listing the options available to guests.

    Also, please don't do any form of cash bar. That is also not ok.

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  • Emily
    Master May 2014
    Emily ·
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    Diluting people's drinks?! Wow. As pp's have said, you have received some truly horrific advice on this thread.

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  • karen
    Master October 2017
    karen ·
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    Hire good bartenders. Discuss ahead of time. Give them pictures of who to BOLO (be on lookout for)

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  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
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    What do you mean limit alcohol consumption? If you have a limit on your bar, I assume the heavy drinkers would just drink more quicker and the other guests would suffer. If you have a cash bar, they would likely just buy the liquor? I guess you could offer just wine & beer, no hard liquor but people can get just as drunk on those as they can liquor. If I went to a dry wedding, I'd leave pretty much after dinner.

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  • D
    Beginner June 2021
    Danielle ·
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    I appreciate all the feedback everyone! 😊
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