Boozing it up at weddings

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from venforknot. Show venforknot's posts

    Boozing it up at weddings

    Ok, time for another one of my rants on these boards. My question today: When did weddings become all about boozing it up for the guests?

    Here's the story: Friday night FI and I were out with a group of people who are invited to our wedding. These people are in their 30s. As the topic of conversation turned to the wedding the pressing question from these guests became "So is it open bar? Because if it is I want to be sure I can get home." Now on the surface this seemed like the responsible thing to ask, right? "I don't want to drive drunk" But what bothered me about this question was the implication that yes, they are PLANNING to get drunk and resulting the follow-ups of "Yay open bar! I'll be trashed by 7 p.m." "I'll just order like 12 beers right away and keep them at the table" etc. etc. It soon became clear that "I want to be sure I can get home" comment was more based on the fact that these folks are already planning how wasted they'll get at the wedding just because it's an open bar and not their concern for the safety of others on the road. The implication was that it if it wasn't open bar, they'd be inclined to drink less because they're paying for it, but hey, as long as it's coming out of someone else's pocket, let's get trashed!!! Once they were infomred that there was a shuttle that would take folks to and from the venue to the hotel, the cheers of "I'm gonna be so blitzed" went even higher.

    This is not the first time I've heard these kinds of remarks when people are planning weddings. The first question is always, is it open bar? And at every wedding there is inevitably that one table that clearly took full advantage of the bar. But it makes me wonder when weddings became just another "excuse to get tanked" like St. Patty's day and every Boston sports win. Shouldn't a wedding be a little more about spending time with your friends and the couple and less about who can do more shots in 20 minutes before the bar shuts down? I'm not saying people shouldn't drink at weddings, they should by all means, but why are weddings suddenly treated like frat house keggers when it comes to the bar? Why do people know 3 months in advance of an event that they'll be so intoxicated they can't drive? Does self-control just not exist? Not to mention, open bar does not mean free bar. Someone is paying for all those drinks. As the person paying I would have hoped that folks would drink and have fun, but not necessarily be planning out which shrub they'll vomit in at the end of the night on my dime. The purpose of the open bar is to thank guests for sharing our day and to make the night fun and carefree for them, but not to be used and abused for self-induced alcohol poisoning. It just seemed, well, classless.

    It made me wonder if cash bars aren't the smarter way to go when clearly guests have little respect for the event and the bill. I hear so much about how as the hosts you should not expect your guests to pay for anything, however when your guests clearly don't seem to be inclined to show any self control, should you impose some on them by way of their wallet? Just some food for thought.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from RedFishBlueFish. Show RedFishBlueFish's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    I do that it's somewhat person-specific (or groups-of-persons-specific). Most of my friends in the same age group aren't huge drinkers and the thought of shots at a wedding wouldn't even occur to them. We outgrew that by our mid-20s. I would have the same reaction as you to those comments.

    Personally as a guest, I have a pretty good idea ahead of time whether I intend to drink or not at a given wedding and make a plan to get home accordingly. It's unrelated to whether or not it's an open bar. Sometimes I'm the DD and stick to soda water. Sometimes I enjoy my champagne and/or cocktail. However, I never forget that someone is paying and I make a point to thank the hosts, but I can only speak for myself.

    You may want to consider taking shots off the bar menu. Most places should let you make whatever limitations you want. One of my good friends did that (and put a lid on straight-liquor cocktails), because she knew some of her guests had self-control issues, and no one dared complain to her.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    Just talk to your venue and tell them you do not want them serving shots.  We had an open bar but hte venue had a policy that did not permit people to order shots. I was glad for the policy b/c it had never occurred to me that my friends or family would act like 19 yo frat kids and start doing shots to get drunk.  If they don't have the option of shots, and they have to drink mixed drinks, then it takes a bit longer to get soused. 

    If you are friends or relatives w/ piggish people, there really isn't much you can do about it.  A cash bar is not the way to solve the problem.  We had people who imbibed heavily at our wedding, but they would have done the same had they been paying for the alcohol so their behavior was expected.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ajuly09. Show ajuly09's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    Ven, it is definitely an age thing, to late 20's, 30 somethings weddings have turned into binge fests on someone else's tab. For them, gone are the days of frat parties and keggers, and it's the next best thing.  People make fools of themselves and you wonder why they were ever invited them to your wedding in the first place.  Thankfully for the bride, you are so wrapped up in your special day that you prob. won't notice how drunk others are, at least this was the case with me.  
       I've never asked someone if their wedding was open bar, but  have ended up at weddings w/ no cash and no atm in a 5 mile radius, so it would have been nice to know i'd have to pay $4 for a club soda. Though, i know this is not why your guests were asking. 
    It's sad that this is what weddings have come to for the younger generation. It should be ab being happy for the B &G, not getting sh!tfaced. 
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    I feel you, but it's kind of just the way things are.

    well, in my experience, a lot of people think getting really drunk is celebrating. Like the two go hand-in-hand and can never be parted. And whether or not they have to pay for it doesn't really change anything.

    When I go to weddings or get together with friends to celebrate a new job or a birthday- we drink. Regardless of if we're paying out of pocket or not.
    I keep it to a reasonable level so that I'm not embarrassing myself or anyone else, but not everyone has that kind of self-control. The ones who really have a problem aren't stopped by having to shell out for drinks themselves, because they're used to spending that much at a bar.

    And one look at most alcohol ads, or any celebration depicted in pop culture for that matter, people are celebrating by drinking. Maybe it is tied to college days where the only way you partied was if there was booze, but I think it's social ties run deeper because this has been going on for decades.

    Really, I think if people want to prevent this from happening at their weddings they should do what I did-
    Have a stern conversation with the venue that servers are to use their best judgement and discretion when serving alcohol and make sure that no one who is already clearly drunk be served.

    It worked for me. A lot of DH's friends are known for getting horribly drunk at parties, and they all behaved respectably. DH even said a friend came up to him and said "The bartender said I can't have another beer." and DH said "Then that means you've had enough." And the guy took the hint, he laughed and said "Ah, you're probably right!" and went on having a good time


    ETA: I just read Alf's advice and agree that a "no shots" policy is also wise.
    And FWIW, I've never seen someone make and @ss of themselves at wedding from drinking (although I'm sure it happens), but I've seen plenty of that at birthdays and other celebrations. I think the knowledge that you're around someone else's family, or your own, and don't want to be remembered as "the drunk one" helps temper things a bit. DH was "the drunk one" at a family wedding over 10 years ago and he still gets teased about it.


    Also- open bar was a flat fee for me. It didn't hinge on how many drinks were consumed.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from venforknot. Show venforknot's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    I didn't mean for people to hung up on the shots thing. That was just a saying. it doesn't matter if it's shots, beer, wine, or tom collins - the idea is people drinking to excess just because they're not paying and actually gearing themselves up months in advance to do so. Maybe our friends are just a bunch of binge alcoholics. It was just so stupid to me. I'm with ajuly09 - its just sad that someone's wedding substitutes for college keggers these days. I'm obviously still having an open bar because the many shouldn't have to suffer for the few troublemakers, but where I was adamant about it before, I'm now more reluctant knowing the attitude that these people have toward it. And like I said, I'm not saying don't drink. I wouldn't be serving alcohol if I didn't want people to drink- much less having an open bar, but my God. Just show some restraint and some class. It is still a wedding, not a 21st birthday. By 30 you should know your limits and the fact that people are PLANNING on going beyond their limits just because speaks volumes about them. And I know I'm not the first to have heard this from guests, friends, etc. So so sad.  I know my venue will keep a lid as best they can on it, but I also know where there's a will there's a way. It won't ruin my day. If these people make fools of themselves, that's their problem. I'm just amazed that not only do they not seem to care that they're going to make fools out of themselves but they're actually PLANNING on and looking forward to doing so. And on top of that they're so ok with letting us pay for it. I would never abuse an open bar for that exact reason: one of my friends or their parents are paying for it. Be respectful.  For people to get openly excited about basically saying, "hey we're gonna blow as much of your money as possible so that we can make fools of ourselves and not remember it the next morning" is just...well, yicky.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    I know we had guests who were psyched it was an open bar, and it came up in conversation after hte invitations had gone out.  I think it was just a happy surprise to them b/c they'd been to some weddings recently where it was not open bar.

    I wasn't getting hung up on 'the shots thing'.  My venue told me that they had discovered that not serving shots cut down dramatically on drunk scenarios like you mentioned at weddings.  Thus, they did not serve shots, or drinks that did not include a mixer or some kind, even it was just water or ice.  It never occurred to me that people would behave like idiots so I'm glad the venue cut this off at the pass for me. 

    Most of our guests were w/in walking distance to their hotel, so I know they took advantage of that. I was glad they had a good time. Our bar bill was not over the top either and it was by consumption.  People are going to do what they are going to do not matter what you do or say, so the simple thing is to do is to use it as comic relief.  Just laugh at them. GL.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from RedFishBlueFish. Show RedFishBlueFish's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    Celebrating by having a few drinks and bringe drinking oneself into a stupor are two different things. While the open bar may appear to encourage it, I doubt it makes much of a difference. You can invite the same people to two different events, one open bar and one cash bar, and I would bet the amount consumed by each person would be pretty much the same.

    It's also a lot easier to get sloppy drunk on shots or straight cocktails than beer and wine, especially when food is being served. If you take those options away, it takes much more time and effort. People will still get trashed if they choose (and would have anyway), but at least it takes a while.

    This might be an eye-opener about your friends, too. If their comments horrify you, then that might be a sign that your social priorities aren't on the same page.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    Ven - do these people have children?  If so, I can understand their response to open bar!  (just kidding... sort of)

    I don't think it's necessarily rude to get drunk at a wedding (unless it causes you to act in a violent/damaging way), however I do think it's rude to talk to the bride and groom about how drunk you're going to get on their dime.  I agree with you that the whole conversation was tasteless.

    You'll have to follow-up after your wedding to let us know if they behaved.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    well, hopefully it's just a lot of big talk and joking.

    I know that I certainly can't drink how I used to in my early 20s or I won't be functional the next day, that or I'll just get tired and go to bed early.

    That's what happened at my BIL's wedding. Everyone was talking up how much they were going to drink, but since they'd just drank and celebrated the night before, they didn't get wrecked.

    I hope you said something to them like "Well, don't over do it. I want you to be able to at least remember it!" That's not too much to ask.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from plasko. Show plasko's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    Has nobody seen wedding crashers, or any other wedding movie?

    I agree with Pink that alcohol is associated with celebration in many life-events.
    In fact drinking is, uh-hum, de rigueur  to be honest, at weddings (otherwise why have the open bar in the first place?). This might be due to the fact that weddings are a great event for women (lots of dressing up and pageantry) but for guys they suck suck suck. Damn right guys deserve a drink and for the chance to hit on the hot bridesmaids, after being forced into a monkey suit and told what to do all day. That said, people do not tend to go way overboard except for older relatives who can't hold their alcohol as they usually do not drink - those part-time drinkers are the ones to watch out for. 
    In the days of digital cameras on all cell-phones and the popularity of twitter and Facebook I bet public drunkenness at events has actually gone way down than in the past. 

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    In Response to Re: Boozing it up at weddings:
    Has nobody seen wedding crashers, or any other wedding movie? I agree with Pink that alcohol is associated with celebration in many life-events. In fact drinking is, uh-hum,  de rigueur  to be honest, at weddings (otherwise why have the open bar in the first place?). This might be due to the fact that weddings are a great event for women (lots of dressing up and pageantry) but for guys they suck suck suck. Damn right guys deserve a drink and for the chance to hit on the hot bridesmaids, after being forced into a monkey suit and told what to do all day. That said, people do not tend to go way overboard except for older relatives who can't hold their alcohol as they usually do not drink - those part-time drinkers are the ones to watch out for.  In the days of digital cameras on all cell-phones and the popularity of twitter and Facebook I bet public drunkenness at events has actually gone way down than in the past. 
    Posted by plasko


    That's a good point! No one wants to end up on Youtube.

    funny story: my mom's friends and family are known to be drinkers. My mom is not. When she had her second wedding we all went out of our way to not drink too much because we knew it was a consumption bar and that  she wouldn't really be drinking.
    30 minutes before their time at the venue was up my mom was going around to people and saying "Please drink more! There are still 6 cases of wine I already paid for and I have no way of getting them home!"
    We all picked a DD, drank our fill, and went back to her house for the after-party much drunker than any of has planned or expected. My mom even got a bit tipsy that night.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from 2ada63d622e89774a9fdcbc90527ab8e. Show 2ada63d622e89774a9fdcbc90527ab8e's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    A lot of people don't drive after only one or two drinks, so they were partly asking for information on whether there's alternative transport, like a shuttle.

    I think an open bar works best if it is time-limited and accompanied by significant appetizers, and is then followed by only wine served at the table, along with the meal. Perhaps a few folks will actually get up from the tables and go over to get a mixed drink from the bartender but that'll be the minority.

    And why would anyone serve shots at a wedding?
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from NYEBride2010. Show NYEBride2010's posts

    Re: Boozing it up at weddings

    In Response to Boozing it up at weddings:
    I hear so much about how as the hosts you should not expect your guests to pay for anything, however when your guests clearly don't seem to be inclined to show any self control, should you impose some on them by way of their wallet?
    Posted by venforknot


    I hear you Ven, and I struggled with this with my DH when we were planning our wedding.  What we did for ours was we didn't decide until last minute that we were doing open bar but we also decided not to tell anyone.  The only people who knew were my parents, and this really seemed to help as everyone of course was planning on drinking (esp since it was NYE!) but they all had $$ to spend their own money.  Most didn't figure out it was open bar until dinner when they realized they could still get free drinks after the cocktail hour. 

    But more on topic, I think (don't hate me) some people don't enjoy weddings but feel guilty declining so knowing its open bar; then its a reason to get free drinks, to get through the wedding.  It sucks and its wicked disrespectful to couples who put great thought and effort into making it a great night/day for everyone.  Age definitely plays a factor as I had some cousins in that age range who definitely boozed it up at mine but no one was driving cause we also did a shuttle to the hotel to keep everyone safe.  Age and maturity are always going to be an issue with friends/family and weddings, just a fact of life and make a decision that works for you and your FI not to make friends or family happy.
     
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