We're Having a Wedding Luncheon—Do We Need to Provide a Full Bar?


An afternoon wedding reception is a great idea, especially if you're going for a more casual and relaxed feel. But when it comes to alcohol, should you still provide a full open bar? There are customary and budgetary concerns related to alcoholic beverages in the afternoon, so our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your reception questions in our daily post.

Our ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m., followed by a lunch wedding reception. Do we need to have a full bar for an afternoon event?

If your budget allows for it, it's never a bad idea to offer a full bar (especially if your guests are the kind of crowd who would really enjoy it!). But foregoing the full bar, especially for an afternoon reception where guests may not take full advantage of it, is always appropriate—it's completely up to you how much and what kind of alcohol you serve at your wedding (if any). If you decide to scale back on the alcohol options for your luncheon (bonus: This will also save you some cash!), considering offering champagne during cocktail hour and for toasting, along with wine during the meal. For more variety, you could serve one or two kinds of beer, a red and a white wine, and a signature cocktail. Lastly, you could set up a drink station, like a mix-your-own Bloody Mary or mimosa bar with all the fixings, which would complement the afternoon atmosphere and highlight the interactive experience, not variety.

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