Everything You Need to Know about Drinking at Your Reception

For many couples getting married, drinking is a big part of their celebration. Some, of course, choose not to have alcohol at their reception, and in our experience running a wedding venue, we've found that the reasons for drinking or not drinking are as varied as the couples themselves are. Regardless, there's a lot to decide when thinking about having (or not having) drinks as part of your special day, so below are The Savoy's top things to consider.

1. To Drink or Not To Drink--

--That is the question. Often couples choose to not have alcohol at their reception if they are conservative or have conservative family members. Sometimes the couples themselves are too young to drink or simply don't want to mess with it. (Let's just serve a nice fruit punch!) After all, alcohol can be an added expense if you're not doing a cash bar. So this is your first choice--Are we gonna do this or not?

[Above photo and featured photo by Katie Day Photography]

2. Talk to Your Venue (Uh, Provided You Have One)

First, find out if your venue has a liquor license and can handle your bar needs. If you haven't chosen a venue, this could help you decide on one, as not all venues have liquor licenses or fully stocked bars. Either way, most venues have rules about alcohol, so best to find out what they are.

In the event that your venue DOES HAVE a liquor license, realize that means they have to follow certain guidelines dictated by their city, county, and state in order to maintain their license. In Missouri, for example, if a venue has a liquor license, that means that NO outside alcohol is permitted, and THAT means no one is allowed to BTOB (bring their own beer) like they could if the reception were--I don't know--in your backyard.

3. Decide What You'll Serve (and Who's Paying for It!)

Many couples opt for a full bar. Of course, unless you're doing a cash bar (where guests pay for their own drinks), this choice can get expensive. Therefore, plenty of couples go with wine and beer only. This keeps things simple and is a nice compromise. Either way, if you're hosting (or paying for) your guests' drinks, remember that there are A LOT of ways to do it. For example, you can buy ALL the drinks, pay for the first round, pay for wine and beer but NOT liquor, etc. Again, talk to your venue. They should be able to help you find a way to meet your individual needs AND control your budget.

[Above photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels]

4. Think about Signature Dranks (That's Southern for Drinks)

Lately a trend has been for the couple to host signature drinks, which are special cocktails chosen by the couple. For example, one couple had a Groom's Drink (a Jack and Coke) and a Bride's Drink (something that was purple, since it matched her colors) and chose not to provide any other liquor. Some folks get really creative with this. Since our bartenders work with our couples to come up with spealized cocktails, one couple named their signature drinks after their pets, Moose and Goat. The drinks were called Moose Juice (a fruity cocktail) and Goat's Milk (a White Russian)!

5. Wow, Look at the Time!

Think about how long your bar will be open. Some receptions last for seven hours, and that's A LOT of drinking if your bar is open the entire time. Our advice is to align your bar hours with how long your DJ or band will be playing. (For example, five hours.)

[Above photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels]

6. Party Responsibly

Make sure that guests who overindulge have a way to get home. Sometimes party hosts hire a shuttle service or at least provide the names of local rides available for this purpose.

7. A Word about Budget

Of course, with All Things Wedding, you can spend as little or as much on drinks as you want to. Often the best thing to do is decide your budget in advance, then make your selections accordingly (beer and wine vs. top shelf). If you choose to host ALL the alcohol, $25-$30 per guest is a good estimate for how much you'll end up spending, although many factors can affect this (like guest age or military background, fraternity/sorority attendees, and religion of family and friends).

[Above photo by Aydin Aksakal from Pexels]

As always, if we at The Savoy can help you in any way, please let us know!