Jessica
Dedicated September 2019

Open Bar Anxiety!

Jessica, on May 15, 2019 at 10:59 AM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 33
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Anyone else have anxiety about both the cost (of a consumption) bar and of roudy, tacky, rude, intoxicated guests?!


We have one guest who we didn't think would come, but supposedly is afterall (though my money is on that he and his two kids will RSVP yes and not show). He is humungous - about 6' 4" and almost 300 lbs. He drinks like noone has ever seen before. He sits around and drinks an entire 30 rack of bud light to himself per night almost everyday and then complains that he has no money. We are terrified of the bill knowing he is coming. He also tends to get in his car and drive intoxicated (even though we are providing transportation - the entire hotel is booked and he is not on the block list so he will be missing the transportation we are providing - he is also always late, so will miss it anyway). So anyway, I'm anxious about the bill for him, ah! He rarely ever gets cut off because he sits around and talks (albeit loudly) but isn't up on tables or anything like that. Anyone else feel anxious over a consumption bill?


I'm also anxious because I was so surprised by some of the things that were said by another friend of ours. Usually he is totally "with it" when it comes to etiquette or basic decency - but our wedding has brought out a whole other side of him. First, even though he is coming with an entire very-close knit group of single friends, he assumed he could bring a random plus-one (we don't want strangers at our wedding - partners/spouses/fiance(s)s are all invited and we happen to know everyone's partners decently well). Keep in mind the last plus-one he invited to our home for a dinner we hosted threw up ALL over our home, We are in our late-twenties and WELL past that phase of our lives. So definitely no plus-one for him. THEN he assumed there was an open bar (it's open beer and wine, not open liquor - Also, as a guest, I never assume, as I've been to weddings that were either all cash, or limited host, or open only for cocktail hour, and so-forth) and that he was gonna pound shots (which - I've never been to a wedding that even allowed shots, and also don't pound shots in front of grandma, sheesh). And THEN he said that he intended to drink ALL the alcohol - this is a guy too who, while we've gotten to be very close to, we have only known him for a year out of our 10 year relationship.

What is everyone doing to ensure safety, keep things classy (not trashy), and rein in the bar? So much anxiety!

33 Comments

Latest activity by Cristy, on May 15, 2019 at 6:37 PM
  • Allie
    Master August 2019
    Allie ·
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    Yikes. Do you have to invite these wild partiers? Are you having a licensed bartender?

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  • Samantha
    Devoted December 2019
    Samantha ·
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    Wonder if you can talk to the bartender ahead of time to keep an eye out for this guest and cut him off at some point??
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  • Hannah
    Master July 2019
    Hannah ·
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    I agree with this. It sounds like he's hard to miss, so I would make the bartender aware of him ahead of time and ask them to be extra cautious.
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  • Jennifer
    Expert October 2019
    Jennifer ·
    • Flag
    I have a couple of friends who acted like your second friend, and they're a big part of why I'm fine with my fiance wanting a dry wedding. Definitely make sure your bartender feels comfortable cutting people off. Consider hiring a security person.
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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    Great idea, you're right! Maybe I can tell the bartender only one drink at a time too (should be a give-in but you never know!)

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  • Gen
    Champion June 2019
    Gen ·
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    Bartenders are trained to stop serving to someone if they appear intoxicated... it would be a liability for them if they kept serving someone who was clearly very drunk!

    If you’re worried about the cost you could put a dollar limit on the bar (once it hits x amount, either they stop serving or it turns into a cash bar).
    • Reply
  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    Right! It also annoys me because I don't think he realizes that this is not an event exclusively about getting him hammered . . . I don't think he even realizes that, since he's such a new friend, that there's over a hundred people above him on our guest list . . . (not to rank guests, I love them all, I'm talking longevity here and also, parents, grandparents, people who raised us will always come first).

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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    I'd love to do this, I'm concerned about the etiquette behind it. Ah! I'm at a loss :-(

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  • Mandi
    Master October 2020
    Mandi ·
    • Flag
    Talk to your bar/bartenders/venue. Putting a cap on spending limit is ok. It ensures your guests won't drink you into financial ruin.

    Absolutely have them cut him off. Show them a photo ahead of time if necessary. But if they are licensed and experienced this shouldn't be a problem.

    Also, if you need to, call the cops. If he leaves your venue totally wasted and a danger to society, absolutely call the police. You dont have to give them your name.

    I'd much rather have a friend with a DUI, than a friend with an aggravated manslaughter conviction.
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  • Gen
    Champion June 2019
    Gen ·
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    I think if you make the limit as high as you can possibly afford without going into debt (lol) it’s very reasonable. Personally the idea of having a completely open tab with that many people would give me a ton of anxiety, and I think reasonably so! You said you’re afraid of the cost being too high... what exactly is “too high” to you? Like, what number are you afraid of it reaching? I would set the limit at THAT number. At that point, where you’ve made it as high as you possibly can without struggling and stressing over paying it, I feel like etiquette is less important. Odds are you probably won’t hit it anyway, but if you do... personally I’d rather risk slightly poor etiquette than potentially go into debt because people drank too much lol. Your friends and family wouldn’t want that either, I would hope!
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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    Wow, thank you. You're right, if they are real friends they wouldn't want us to go into debt.

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  • B11
    Super May 2019
    B11 ·
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    Don't put a dollar limit on the bar. What if someone decided to get their second drink after dinner and the money has run out. That's very rude to your guests that drink slower, or start drinking later in the night.

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  • Lauren
    VIP September 2019
    Lauren ·
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    Maybe seat those "VIP" guests at a table on the other side of the room from the bar. Ask the bartender to only serve one drink per person at a time. This should limit the drinking if they have to get up and walk all the way across the venue to get a drink. Also have the bar close 30 minutes - 1 hour before the end of the event.

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  • Rayna
    Devoted July 2019
    Rayna ·
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    If you’re concerned about specific guests then have them cut off at a predetermined number. Don’t leave it to the bartender to determine their drunkenness since heavy drinkers won’t show signs. Tell them Uncle Joe is capped at 5 drinks and leave it at that.
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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    Thank you, I think you're right! I think the "true" friends wouldn't want us to go in to debt at all. The second friend it seems doesn't care if we do or not - sad because we thought he was different. The first one (and both of his adult children) will drink people out of house and home and are the type to either give no gift or a very small one (not that anyone has to, but I know that FH and I put extra $ than we normally would in the envelope because FH is a heavy drinker). These are people important to FH to invite, I'd rather they not come. We've set aside almost $5k for the bar. Much of our families aren't big drinkers but our friends are HUGE drinkers - ironic since I hardly drink (though much of it is for health reasons being on a restricted allergy and auto-immune diet :-( ) FH is a drinker so maybe that's where that comes in to play. Out of curiosity, what do you think is a reasonable number? We really can't afford much more than this, and we (well at least I) have cut down our invite list ten-fold (FH has a HUGE family (who thinks this wedding revolves around them and consistently forgets that there's a whole other family invited)). FH and I are paying for 95% of the wedding ourselves.

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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    WOW that's actually brilliant, thank you Lauren. He has bad hips so maybe that will help!!!!

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  • Gen
    Champion June 2019
    Gen ·
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    It’s hard for me to say what a reasonable number is because I think what is “reasonable” would 100% depend on your financial situation. Based on what you said it seems like the only people you’d upset are people who don’t seem to care about you much anyway lol so they are definitely not worth all this stress/potentially putting yourself in financial ruin! $5000 is a lot of money imo. Hopefully that limit wouldn’t be met, but if it is and if someone says something to you, you can simply state that you put $5k into the bar and couldn’t afford anymore than that. As a guest, I cannot even imagine being upset that you provided the first $5k of drinks but couldn’t afford more than that. If that really upset someone then that’s further proof that THEY were not worth going into debt over :p
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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    Thanks for the pep talk Gen. When I mentioned the $5k limit to the second friend (not that $ is anyone's business) he's like, well, how many people are coming and that's x drinks per person, and "that'll go fast" and blah blah blah. I'm thinking to myself, well, don't come if it bothers you that much, sheesh.

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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    FH and FH father insisted. STDs have been sent to them already. They are traveling from the other (south) side of the country supposedly. Yes, definitely a licensed bartender, I spoke with him on the phone a few weeks ago about the menu and he said they don't serve shots at all and that he's not about to lose the venue's liquor license over people who can't control themselves.

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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    That's what I'm worried about - that some people will have gone through 8 drinks in the first 2 hours but that Aunt Sally isn't an alcoholic and paces herself and doesn't get much. At that point how does one control that - then we are looking at drink tickets which seem tacky and complicated. And then if we leave beer and wine totally open we are looking at around $10k in just alcohol. We've already cut our list while still inviting people's partners.

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