Let’s be truthful. Thing is, when your wedding invitation finally arrives in the mail, there’s one question: “Is this an open bar wedding, or what?” You know we’re right. Your friends and family love you, but they love the booze, too. Stick with us and learn all the open bar etiquette ropes. (Also, congratulations on getting hitched! Don’t forget to add a Prestige Decanter to your newlywed wishlist!)
1. Offer what you can afford
This is the number one tip for a reason: many ignore this piece of etiquette. And it hurts. You should never approve three drinks for your wedding guests and then display every bottle at the bar. If guests want what you’re not serving (because it’s sitting right in front of them), they have to pay their way.
Keep it classy. Be good hosts. Offer a smaller, affordable selection. Opt to serve beer, wine, and a signature cocktail that’s a symbol of your marriage or simply your favorite. You never want a guest reaching for his wallet or purse, though. They’re a huge part of why your wedding day is a fun party. Let them drink and be merry!
2. Leave your open bar fully open
Of course, you may be tempted to save money by shutting down some options partway through the event. But my advice is that you shouldn’t do it. You may think, “let’s cut the fancy booze and leave the beer and wine up for grabs during the latter half”. Honestly, this is confusing. If I love the signature Mint Julep, don’t confuse me as your guest when I go back for another.
Basically, part of maintaining class comes with keeping guests happy. Mixing liquor, beer, and wine doesn’t always bode well. You could have some wasted and even ill individuals wishing you congrats from the restroom. I know it’s “your special day,” but keep the watering hole fully open for business until the last call.
3. Tip jars are not hip jars.
Say no to the tip jar. That glistening bowl of glass begs for filling, and your guests should not feel like they have to tip. The happy couple or their families should handle it. The caterer has provided the alcohol, you’ll provide the tip, and your guests can simply enjoy.
In any case, if they feel the need to tip your wonderful bartender, let them slip the bill into his or her pocket. People rarely carry cash, if we’re realistic. Your guests have traveled to celebrate your day bearing gifts and good spirits. Allow them to let their hair down and drink for free.
4. Be sure to keep the line moving
We like Wedding Wire’s open bar wedding guide. They’ve brought together the advice of experienced bartenders for couples planning their reception. We especially appreciate the bit about ensuring an adequately staffed open bar.
The bar is a popular place to be during a wedding reception, especially at the onset. The line can grow long quickly. Usually, the prepared staff will keep the line moving while, at the same time, providing quality drinks for the guests.
5. Don’t let the watering hole run dry
You want your guests to feel like guests of honor, right? You want them to talk about your wedding (and that fabulous open bar) for years to come, yeah? Well, be sure you pay for what you need, that way no one is left empty-fisted.
A general rule of thumb for planning your open bar wedding reception is one drink per guest per hour. For example, if 200 people are attending; and the party would go from 9 PM to midnight, you’ll need 600 servings of alcohol!
Love & libations at your open bar wedding
Other than the vows, the open bar is what makes a wedding, well, a wedding. It’s a time to get fancy and celebrate the newlyweds with glasses raised high. We hope these tips have put you one step closer to the classy open bar your guests are anticipating. Best of luck, and cheers forever!
What signature cocktail are you planning to offer at your wedding? Why is this libation significant or memorable? Share it with us in the comments below!