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Just Said Yes May 2020

Thoughts on underage drinking at a wedding

Emma, on October 20, 2019 at 8:55 AM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 1 34
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So my wedding is having a 5 hour open bar, and my venue coordinator is saying it’s my responsibility to make sure underagers don’t drink at the event. I was surprised when she said this because I feel like it falls on the venue. It’s a private event so if they are the ones not okay with underage drinkers, they should be the ones to enforce it with carding. In my opinion, I don’t mind underagers having a few drinks at my wedding. There’s hardly any minors coming to my wedding and the 6 or 7 people who are underage who are coming are family members and they’re all close to being 21 (18 and up). I’ve seen them at other weddings where they’ve drank, I obviously know their parents, and I know they’re responsible kids who won’t go too crazy, and I know most of all that their parents won’t let them go too crazy. Therefore if they drink it doesn’t bother me. What’re your thoughts on this? Is it up to the venue to enforce underage drinking or is it up to parents/the newlywed couple?

34 Comments

  • Future Mrs. Petro
    Devoted November 2018
    Future Mrs. Petro ·
    • Flag
    Not sure what my thoughts on this except it should not be your responsibility. It is your wedding day and you should not have worry and police the underage drinking.
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  • Sarah
    VIP September 2019
    Sarah ·
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    Are you having a bartender? If you are, it’s legally their responsibility to ensure no one underage is drinking.
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  • M
    Expert September 2020
    Marcia ·
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    I agree with you. If they want to enforce the policy, then they can. Otherwise, not your problem. It’s your wedding day and this is something you should not be worrying about.
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  • Megan
    Expert October 2019
    Megan ·
    • Flag
    Depending on your state, it is the hosts responsibility to ensure no underage drinking. If they did, and they got caught, technically you would be liable and potentially charged for supplying to minor.
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  • Brandi
    Devoted November 2020
    Brandi ·
    • Flag
    Like other posters stated, it should be the responsibility of the venue. I agree, those 18+ but not 21 can drink. I remember being in that age group and being in college so, I was drinking. My mom knew and didn’t care as long as I wasn’t drunk around her or family. So, I don’t see why it’s a responsibility for you. That should be up to the group serving them. Is your venue providing a bartender and the alcohol?
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  • Dierdra
    Dedicated November 2020
    Dierdra ·
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    Our venue said they have the right to card anyone they think is under 21.
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  • Jessica
    Devoted July 2022
    Jessica ·
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    Its the responsibility of the bartender/s to ID everyone that looks underage. Just because it's open bar doesn't mean it's free rain for everyone invited. The bartender/s would get a hefty fine and possibly get fired and the venue will be getting a bad rap or closed for giving alcohol to minors if it happens enough.
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  • Melle
    Rockstar June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    Legally I would be responsible and make it 21 for drinking. I don't think you or the bartenders or venue would wanna be liable for anything.
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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
    • Flag

    Regardless of how you feel about it personally, underage drinking is illegal, so whoever is supplying the alcohol is legally responsible/liable. That's why most venues require a licensed bartender, then they (either as an agent of the venue or as an independent contractor) carry the liability insurance and are responsible for "carding" anyone whose age might be questionable. It sounds like your venue does not require a licensed bartender? If that's the case, you might want to consider hiring one anyway, and I'd be sure your wedding is covered by event/liability insurance. As the bride, no, it shouldn't be your job to have to police underage drinking at your wedding, but if something happens, without the required safeguards, you and FH could be on the hook legally and financially. Daughter's wedding was at an all inclusive venue that included the alcohol and bartending services. Were my two underage nieces (in full view of their parents) walking around with glasses of wine? Hypothetically, yes.... (Or, maybe is was soda in a wine glass????) However, that was the bartenders responsibility, not ours.

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  • Beth
    Just Said Yes September 2021
    Beth ·
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    Will you be having a bartender serving the drinks cuz if you do its up to them but if its just free drinks then i believe the venue should. But at the same time its so they dont get in trouble so the guests should know ahead of time.
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  • Cher Horowitz
    Rockstar December 2019
    Cher Horowitz ·
    • Flag

    I really don't think this is your responsibility. A licensed bartender would be responsible for preventing anyone underage to drink

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  • Johanna
    Beginner February 2021
    Johanna ·
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    I think it all depends on if it is their alcohol and bartender or are you supplying your own alcohol and bartended? If they are supplying then it’s their responsibility if it’s you then yes technically it’s your responsibility. All I have to say is read your contract!! It should be in there. I made sure to read over my contract religiously because after it’s signed it’s all on you.
    • Reply
  • E
    Just Said Yes May 2020
    Emma ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    There’s gonna be 2 bartenders
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  • Jessie
    Dedicated June 2020
    Jessie ·
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    It should be the bartenders responsibility to ID everyone.
    • Reply
  • E
    Just Said Yes May 2020
    Emma ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Right? Like I totally understand enforcing it even if I feel different about it personally, but that doesn’t make it my responsibility. It’s my wedding the last thing on my mind is gonna be policing the bar all night long.
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  • Futuremrsmccormack
    Super February 2020
    Futuremrsmccormack ·
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    Read your contract. If you signed it and they have that stipulation, you signed it and agreed to it so you're contractually bound to do so if you want to have it there.
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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Then I'd push back. Depending on your location, I think in most states bartenders have to be licensed and part of their licensing requirements is that THEY are responsible for those they serve alcohol to. If there is some odd circumstance where you are truly going to be the ones liable, then I'd give your underage guests' parents a heads up that their kids are not to be drinking alcohol.

    Because they'd only been to cash bar weddings ( Smiley sad ), some of SIL's friends were planning to bring flasks to daughter and SIL's wedding. I told him we were paying for a premium open bar, and bringing in alcohol could potentially get the wedding shut down. Daughter put him in charge to making sure his friends knew they were NOT to bring any alcohol to the wedding venue.... All was good! Heavy sigh....

    • Reply
  • Florida Marlins
    Expert October 2017
    Florida Marlins ·
    • Flag

    Hard pass. That is their job. I am as free and easy as the next bride but I can not get behind underage drinking and would not have a reception at a venue that left it to me to police. Have your licensed bartenders take care of this task. It is illegal.

    • Reply
  • Jeanie
    Rockstar February 2020
    Jeanie ·
    • Flag

    Checking IDs is the job of the bartender, not the hosts. I also would be wary about openly approving underage drinking. God forbid something happen (such as a car accident, an injury related to drinking, alcohol poisoning, etc) and it comes back that you permitted and provided alcohol to someone underage, you could be caught up in lawsuits. I heard of this happening, and it's an awful way to start a marriage. I'm not saying underage drinking doesn't happen or that I would even care about it, just be careful about promoting it. It's up to the bartenders to check ages and you need to be very clear about that to your venue.

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  • K
    Dedicated October 2020
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    I am appalled at these comments and this post!! It is everyone’s responsibility to stop illegal activity. People should not be drinking underage period and I do not agree with people allowing this behavior. It is the bartenders responsibility to not serve but it is anyone’s responsibility to keep people safe. How would you feel if one of those under age guest drove home and got into an accident and died or killed someone on your wedding night? I have had multiple friends die from drinking and driving; some that had been drinking and others who were the other cars involved with a DUI driver. This effects everyone!! This post should be deleted because it shouldn’t even be a question as to who is responsible.
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