bringing own alcohol to reception?


neither me nor hubby to be are big drinkers and we are getting married on a small budget in a village hall where there aren't facilities for a pay bar... We don't have the budget to provide alcohol for our 60 day guests or additional 30 evening guests so were just wondering how people would feel if they were asked to bring their own alcoholic drinks to the reception - would you be offended at this if you were a guest? Xxx


  • VodVod Posts: 507
    Not sure about offended, but I'd be quite bemused at being invited to an event as a guest which didn't have provision to serve any drinks. I think given the prices supermarkets charge nowadays it would be reasonably cheap to buy enough for a group that size. You could ask a friend to run a 'bar' and charge say £1.50 a can to recoup some of the outlay costs. You could also make giant bowls of punch or sangria which wouldn't take much alcohol but will 'feed' a lot of people?
  • cinders25cinders25 Posts: 183
    Hi, we are in the same boat as you, we have changed our venue to a village hall and we dont have bar facilities either. we were worried about people thinking this was odd and cheap of us but everyone we have spoken to is fine as it is less money for them and with the wedding being between xmas and new year people are in favour.
  • we would be providing some alcohol - a few crates of beers, a big bowl of my nan's famous punch and some bottles of wine but not spirits... There would be lots of soft drinks too...

    Its a bit difficult as some people we know are heavy drinkers and we also want to avoid some of the things that have happened at friends weddings when people get drunk! Xxx
  • Why don't you get in a portable bar and that way guests can buy alcohol if you want and you could provide soft drinks?
  • BrideyBooBrideyBoo Posts: 524
    We're doing free bar as we're having the reception in a field, we're providing Prosecco, white wine, red wine, beers and maybe cider (as well as soft drinks) but are going to say to guests if they want spirits they'll have to bring their on otherwise the budget would be insane! I wouldn't be offended if I was invited to a wedding and told if I wanted a particular drink I'd need to bring it, particularly to a wedding with no bar.
  • we have 200 day guests and about another 50 evening guests. Our caterer is giving us wine at cost which is only £2 per bottle. If you're on a budget then i would just stick to wine and beer to keep it simple and keep costs down. Another way to 'ration' the drink is to have it served by the glass rather than leaving bottles on the tables. Have your waitresses go round once at the start of the meal, once towards the end of the main course and then serve some sparkling wine for the toasts. If you have 60 day guests you shouldn't need more than about 40 bottles of wine and of course you'd then need extra for the evening guests. Majestic do a great guide on how much booze you will need depending on your numbers. Keep your eyes peeled for offers at the supermarket and stock up gradually if you can.

    We went to a wedding where the invite said 'Please bring your own alcohol'. I thought it was very odd and we turned up only to discover that they had loads of alcohol and everyone was carrying round cool bags for no reason!
  • jolajojolajo Posts: 177
    I toyed with this idea for my own reception, as we're in a marquee at home. I worried that people wouldn't have enough variety if we did this- lots of my friends are vodka drinking students. We decided on hiring a paid bar. We only have to pay for the cost of the license (£20 something) as the bar make enough profit at the event. That way we don't have to fork out on supplying drinks, no one gets absolutely trashed (people tend to drink a bit less when buying them) and the guests can drink whatever they like x
  • mrsrhmrsrh Posts: 433
    Just be aware that you'll need to get a licence to be able to sell or serve alcohol at the village hall/your venue, whereas if guests bring their own you don't need to.

    I asked guests to bring their own when i had a do for my 30th a couple of years back. No one was offended and it made those not drinking more at ease. On the plus side, guests do save money by buying their drink at the supermarket rather than paying bar/pub prices. Only issue is keeping the drinks cool/cold.
  • hi everyone

    well as mrsh2b2 says we would need a license to have a bar set up in the venue - when we enquired about this we were told that the local council had not granted anyone a license for a pay bar at our venue before despite several applications. Also as we are only having a small wedding most of the pay bar companies we have had quotes from want us to pay £400-500 to hire them as they can't garuntee they will get a good income from our guest's buying drinks!
  • BambagirlBambagirl Posts: 7,506
    We had our reception in the Church Hall. Our vicar (he married us in the same Church attached to the Hall) said we could serve Alcohol but couldn't sell it as we didn't have a licence. We bought loads of wine, a few cans of beer and bubbly for the toasts - plus plenty of soft drinks. If anyone wanted spirits or liqueurs, then they would need to bring their own. I don't think this is cheeky at all, to be honest. Most weddings have a pay bar and bringing your own drinks along with you is always going to be cheaper than buying them from a bar. Otherwise, why would some the "Bouncers" at some pubs and Clubs frisk people? And why would people bother to smuggle drinks into places (especially nightclubs?)? I think your guests will be a lot happier to bring along their own drinks than having to use a pay bar!!

    Bamba xx
  • MrsHtoBMrsHtoB Posts: 29
    We're in a similar position. We are getting haveing our reception at a venue where they use their allocation of licences for fundraising events, which is fair enough.

    So we will have Pimms and lemonade on arrival, Prosecco for the toasts, and as much red wine, white wine and beer as we can buy on our budget. We'll get some mixers and soft drinks too.

    We are asking one of my brother's friends to be 'barman' for the evening, hiring glassware for free from the local supermarket(s) and buying in a load of ice. To keep drinks cool I am going to borrow a few baby baths- and fill them with ice/ cold water!

    We will let people know on our info sheet that whilst we will, of course, be providing some drinks, they can bring spirits or whatever else their preffered tipple is. Everyone I've spoken to this about is really happy about it, as it works out much cheaper for them than having a pay bar!
  • Hi, I wouldn't be offended about this but it would probably be useful to know that it is instead of there being a cash bar so that they know they don't have to remember to bring cash. Maybe also let them know there will be glasses available and chilling facilities, albeit it just a bathtub full of ice, so that it's clear that you have thought about the guests' needs and you're not just doing it this way because you can't be bothered - it would be obvious to me as a guest but some people get bizarre bees in their bonnets about things!!
  • Hi, we're getting married in a marquee and providing a lot of alcohol ourselves, but am thinking of putting on the website something saying that we are providing a selection of alcohol, but heavy/fussy drinkers may wish to bring their own - I need to think of a nicer, slightly funny way of wording it. I think we'll be fine and have plenty, but its in the middle of no-were so if we do run out it would be pretty embarrassing. We've got most of our alcohol when on offer and is working out at around £15 a head for bubbly (allocated a bottle per guest image ); wine with meal and evening (1.5 bottles per guest); spirits (gin, vodka, whisky, rum); soft drinks; beer; water. I think for the amount of drink price wise its not too bad. We've gone for pretty decent stuff as well.

    As a guest I think I would find it odd to be asked to BYOB for the whole day, but for just the evening reception thats fine - better than paying extortionate rates at a cash bar!!
  • Thanks for your opinions everyone - we are going to explain to guests that we are providing wine, beer and punch however if they have a particular drink they like or will be wanting spirits then to bring their own as we don't have a cash bar on site.

  • Ms_NatalieMs_Natalie Posts: 1,997
    Wow, I never considered this before. I think it is a good idea to ask guests to provide their own alcohol for the evening.

    However, if you are going to chill things in a community have to consider the fact that other people may drink alcohol that doesn't belong to them...which may upset others.

    Although most people aren't heavy drinkers, a wedding gives an idea of a celebration and many people do like to have a good drink...

    Unfortunately, anyone found bringing alcohol into our venue will be escorted off the this is a no go for us.

  • amyyearleyamyyearley Posts: 3,442
    we're in the same boat as you - from a personal point of view I think the price of drinks at weddings can be disgusting I went to one last year and it was £18 for four drinks so we left the reception and went into town!

    I would much rather be allowed to bring something to drink than have to pay around £4 for the average drink we don't want our wedding to be expensive for our guests so its win win image
  • I have to admit that not anly are our guests expected to bring their own alcohol, but contribute towards the food too, we are having a bring and share as we are completely broke but don't see why that should prevent us getting married. Everyone appears completely happy to do this and they are all looking forward to a good party.

    I have been to a wedding like this before and it was a great day, plenty of food and everyone enjoying themselves.
  • thanks everyone! We will definately be going down this route! Tantrums uk - we have asked a couple of close friends to make something forour cake / dessert buffet so we are having most of our dessert options donated - pavlova, brownies, trifle, different cakes and an apple crumble are all being given by friends! I think we are providing enough alcohol to cover the basics - its only a small wedding so hopefully the people we are inviting will understand! Xxx
  • MrsM3MrsM3 Posts: 138

    Hi, sorry I know this is an old post, however I have just posted something similiar myself.  We are having our wedding in a field.  120 days guests and extra 60 in evening.  If alcohol runs out we are going to have a problem, and in all honesty, we cannot afford to cater alcohol for everyone.  i wanted to supply champers to toast and wine and beer (as much as we can) but was thinking of asking people to bring thier own bottle.  Did this work out well at your wedding?



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