Jessica
Dedicated September 2019

Open Bar Anxiety!

Jessica, on May 15, 2019 at 10:59 AM

Posted in Wedding Reception 33

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"...

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

  • B11
    Super May 2019
    B11 ·
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    How many guests are you expecting? $10k for open beer and wine seems like a lot! We have about 125 adults with 5 hours of open premium bar (beer, wine, and liquor) for just under $6k.

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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    Oh! And also, when I spoke with the bartender he said, with a group that size, that we definitely will go through it and if drinkers are moderate it can last most of the night, but that if they are heavy we are looking at around a little after dinner time.

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  • Gen
    Champion June 2019
    Gen ·
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    That's super easy for someone who isn't paying for it to say! $5k is a lot to spend on other people's drinks imo...

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  • Gen
    Champion June 2019
    Gen ·
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    Ok but if it runs out a little after dinner time then that means people have drank a ton already and should be drunk enough to get them through the rest of the night lol. That actually may be good, maybe they'll sober up before driving home Smiley tongue

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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    About 155 guests expected to show up. Is your bar priced per head? Ours is consumption, that could be the difference. See how I'm at a loss though? Like, can't afford more than $5k mayyybee $5,500 (we are paying ourselves), we'd love for drink distribution to be fair, but it might be worse going the drink ticket route.

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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    So true. It really is.

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  • B11
    Super May 2019
    B11 ·
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    Ours is priced per head. For the consumption bar, can you calculate out how many drinks $5k will be and then divide that by 155? If it comes to say, 7 drinks per person, that will likely be ok. You'll have a few people that drink more than 7 drinks during the night, but then you'll have some people that only drink 1 or 2, if any, so it usually evens out. Can you have the bartenders let you know when you're approaching $4k in consumption, and then if you're almost at the end of the reception you may be ok.

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  • Hannah
    Master July 2019
    Hannah ·
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    Some people will close the bar during the speeches and dinner service and have waiters come around with bottles of wine or have wine placed on the table for that period of time. Maybe doing something like that can help ease the restriction? I do agree though, $5k should buy a lot of alcohol.
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  • J
    Master October 2019
    Jolie ·
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    You can tell your bartenders ahead of time to keep an eye out for certain people as well as the DOC if you have one. Also don't be afraid to tell a family member whether it be a mom or dad that can watch people to ensure no drama ensues. Yes, it's a party but my Italian mother was like I am not getting drunk I need to make sure people are acting right. I was like thank god. Honestly parents expect an elegant, clean fun time for such an expensive event. For my friend's wedding, one of our friends pants'd the groom's brother.. well I wouldn't want to piss off their dad ever. He literally took him by the neck pulled him aside and reprimanded him and told him to leave, and this was a more laid back barn wedding. Smiley surprise Don't stress it too much! I am confident people will be handled and at least try to carry themselves better at such a formal affair.

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  • Kelly
    VIP October 2020
    Kelly ·
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    I'd put a cap on the open bar. It's not worth going into debt over or the safety risk.
    You could also only serve signature drinks or wine/beer and have "tickets" for each guest to get X many drinks. Run out of tickets, run out of alcohol.
    Definitely talk to your venue and warn them you have a rowdy drinker.
    I'm doing a dry wedding, for many reasons, so don't be afraid to save money and go that route if it keeps you up at night.
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  • Haley
    Dedicated April 2020
    Haley ·
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    Yes! This is the best advice. "Sorry sir, we have a strict XX limit per person (insert the terms "policy" "rule" "non-negotiable" as necessary)".
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  • Jessica
    Dedicated September 2019
    Jessica ·
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    I've received the best advice from this thread, and I'm a little embarrassed that I hadn't thought of these things myself, but I guess that's the purpose of the forum! Thanks guys!

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  • Cristy
    Master May 2021
    Cristy ·
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    You have nothing to be concerned about, etiquette wise. You're not the only one to have these specific concerns, and not the only one who will do this.

    We are putting a dollar limit on our open bar, and then it turns into a cash bar once the dollar limit is reached. I have no problem with my guests partying, and drinking as much as they want. But I'm not footing the bill for a bunch of people to get trashed! We have a few guests who are really heavy drinkers, and they will drink more knowing the booze is free. There will be enough for every guest to have 2-3 drinks, and then they can buy more if they want more. The way it works out is that some people don't even drink, so their share of the bar (2-3 drinks) will get used by others who do. Consider doing something like this considering some of your guests. We're also talking to our venue about security, in case any of these folks get so drunk they become a problem.

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