I’ve never been much of a heavy drinker…When it comes to alcohol, I’m one of those people who go straight from slightly buzzed to getting sick, with no happy state in between! Furthermore, I also fall victim to the “Asian flush” , so I usually try to limit myself to only a couple glasses of wine at corporate and social events. Mr. D is usually up for a few good beers and some great wine. For the most part, however, few of our family members drink.
One of the details FMIL and I have been discussing concerns the libations for the reception. Mr. D and I are planning on having a cocktail hour prior to the banquet. Initially, there was a debate between us and FMIL whether to have an open bar, a cash bar, or just a dry wedding altogether. My general impression is that, unless it is due to religious reasons or personal beliefs, alcohol should probably be provided at wedding receptions, if only to lighten up potentially awkward situations for guests who don’t know anyone else or for the old friend who runs into her ex . Mr. D and I also aren’t quite into the idea of a dry wedding…what’s a celebration without some bubbly!
As such, we’ve decided upon having a consumption bar – aka an open wine and beer bar, except our venue will charge us based on what our guests actually consume as opposed to paying a traditional flat open bar charge per head (side note: this is usually a more cost effective option if you know that your guests will consume on average less than 3-4 drinks per person). The length of time the bar will be open is still up for debate. I also absolutely want to provide wine and champagne for all of our guests as well. This is where we need your help…
A legitimate concern that FMIL raised was that she feels like the pouring charges for wine and champagne (which are charged per head) will go to waste, as our families and most of her network would only toast for show and not actually consume any of it. We are trying to come up with a couple of creative strategies to provide plenty of options for all of our guests while maximizing our bang for the buck. We are currently considering a couple of options to propose to our venue:
Option A. Open bar all night, no pouring service
a) Hosting an open bar available throughout the night, with a very high cap (aka unlikely to be reached based on our projections). Guests would be encouraged to go to the open bar if they would like to have wine with their dinner.
b) Leave an open bottle of champagne on each table and have guests help themselves if they want to use champagne for the toast (pay per bottle instead of per glass, by forgoing pouring service)
Option B. 1-hour open bar, with pouring service
a) Host an open bar available only during the cocktail hour. Again, we would encourage guests to get a glass of wine if they would like to have a glass with their dinner.
b) Pay for pouring service for a champagne toast (would be for all tables, paid per head)
Option C. Open bar all night (capped), limited pouring service
a) Hosting an open bar with a cap, available throughout the night (lower cap than option A)
b) Designating only certain tables (for which we know people will drink) to receive wine and champagne pouring service
Option B would be the most expensive, and we would try to make option A and C break even in price. Just how important is the pouring service, and what option would you choose? Remember that only about 35-40% of our guests at the most would be drinking. Would option C be too strange, if we were to informally check with our guests beforehand? I am also open to other suggestions to work around these concerns, as we have yet to negotiate these details with our venue!