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BYOB wedding reception??

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  • okitt Sep 8, 2008 11:50 AM
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I've read plenty of debate about whether or not to have a cash bar for one's wedding reception, but I wonder what people think about a BYOB wedding reception.

Noooo, not considering it for myself, but was invited to one. The wedding ceremony is in the late morning, followed with lunch (no mention of alcohol). And then several hours later in the evening there is a "party" for which guests are being asked to BYOB.

Calling your reception a "lunch" plus a "party" later on and then asking your guests to bring their own alcohol just seems absurd. I personally find the idea ridiculous, but maybe I'm overreacting.

  1. I'd prefer this option to attending a "dry" wedding reception. Not something I would do(we had an open bar), but better than just soda, coffee, and tea being offered as refreshment.

    1. I think they are hosting the wedding they can afford, and then having an after-party because they want to spend more time with their friends and guests, who may have travelled a long way and be looking for something to do with the group anyway. Perhaps you should RSVP to the wedding only and decline the party if you are not interested.

      4 Replies
      1. re: julesrules

        I absolutely agee.

        Okitt, you are both over-reacting and being inaccurate with your definitions.

        The luncheon IS the reception. The after-party is just friends hanging out. Perfectly fine and great! No need to change a thing. I've actually seen an after-party thrown rather often. The couple changes into their casual clothes, and the closest friends gather together and continue the celebration.

        Besides, you don't know if alcohol will be served or not. I don't believe alcohol should ever be mentioned in an invitation for lunch. If alcohol is not served -- and there is no rule that says alcohol must be served at a lunch or wedding reception -- I'm betting there is an extremely good reason it is not, and I would also bet that it is not about the expense.

        1. re: justalittlemoreplease

          Maybe after parties are a common occurrence for weddings these days, but I'm completely unfamiliar with the concept. I've been attending my peers' weddings for the last 10 years and have never been invited to such a thing, so pardon my ignorance. Also, my confusion about the after party is that it occurs about 7 hours after the luncheon. Many of those invited live within a 3-hour driving distance. I don't understand what guests who drive from out of town to the wedding ceremony that morning are expected to do during that long break of time, but that's a different issue...

          Also, I wasn't suggesting that alcohol should or shouldn't be served at a lunch. I was simply noting that guests were told to BYOB for the party, and that there was no mention of BYOB for the lunch. In fact, as I have posted previously in this thread, I have no problem with a couple choosing to have zero alcohol at their wedding or reception or luncheon or after party or whatever. I do have a problem with guests being asked to provide any food or drink for an event. That is the host's job.

          Yes, people have afternoon pot luck parties where everyone brings food. Yes, people have Friday night beer parties where everyone brings their own alcohol. But this after party specifically celebrates THEIR WEDDING. They are the hosts, so they should provide for their guests. Guests should not have to provide for themselves.

          1. re: okitt

            Then don't go to the party okitt.

            1. re: okitt

              Okitt, are you feeling OK about this wedding in general?

              You seem thrown that this wedding doesn't fall neatly into familar, pre-determined categories for you. This wedding just has a slightly different shape. You haven't seen it before, but I have, even among the most elegant of couples.

              You seem confused that the luncheon invitation doesn't say BYOB (because it isn't) and the after-party that begins 5 hours after the luncheon does. One's a reception -- a luncheon party, and the other is just a party that happens to be on the same day of the wedding. That's pretty easy.

              I think there's a way for you to reframe this. Be happy for the couple. Also be happy that you are SO SPECIAL to the couple that you are being invited to the after-party. Usually only the closest friends are.

              In between the luncheon and after-party, get together with some of the other people from out of town. Take a nap and a shower and change into your casual party clothes. Bring a bottle of something that you enjoy drinking.

              Might be a good idea to check in with the happy people who thought so much of you that they invited you to their wedding. Ask them, hey, what's going on the interim between....? Is so-and-so coming because she's fun to talk to? Is there a way I can help? And congratulations, I'm so happy you two found each other, and all that. Lighten up. Enjoy yourself. Wear a great outfit, and shoes you can dance in.

        2. I have no problem with it. It seems like the wedding/lunch are the "official" events. It's not uncommon for couples to have families who don't drink and friends who do, so this may be some sort of compromise to satisfy both the family and the friends. What I find absurd are people who take out gigantic loans to cover the wedding reception and half that cost ends up being the cost of an open bar. For the guest, I think BYOB is a better alternative than a cash bar because it's less expensive.

          2 Replies
          1. re: queencru

            Good point, one side of the family may come from a religion where weddings are dry. I also have a friend who planned her entire lunchtime, dry event around not wanting her alcoholic mother to get drunk at her wedding.

            1. re: queencru

              I was thinking quite a bit about your second point before I read your post. Would all your guests have twice as meaningful an experience if they were provided with cheap alcohol rather than bringing their own better stuff?

              I must admit that it made me pause, but knowing nothing about the couple, maybe they'd rather have a down payment on a house than a very lavish wedding.

            2. Never heard of such a thing but have been to a few weddings where doing BYOB would certainly have improved things greatly.

              1. i'd agree with the others here.

                there could be several reasons why they've chosen to have a "dry" event but looking at how they've set-up the day, they are just trying to celebrate within their means mostly. if they lavished upon themselves an obscenely priced cake/dress/reception and then asked for byob... well then i'd be bothered. i'm now curious if there's a gift registry and what their expectations there are.

                1. Is the "party" being held in a frat house?

                  No excuses for a BYOB. If one is old enough to be married, then one is old enough to host an adult party. That means you provide for your guests and not ask them to subsidize said party.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: marcia

                    I'm sorry to sound harsh but I agree with marcia. You do not throw an adult party in conjunction with celebrating an important, life-changing event like a wedding and ask guests to BYOB. If you cannot afford to provide for all the people you are inviting, that is a clue that you are having too big of a party for your means, and you should have a smaller, more intimate reception you can afford.

                    Most people think that just about anything is "fine" for a reception anymore, but it's simply bad etiquette. You can have a morning wedding and offer light appetizers, cake and champagne as a late-morning reception or do an afternoon tea reception and have no alcohol at all, but asking guests to BYOB is just not good etiquette.

                    1. re: rockandroller1

                      I agree with rockandroller completely. Provide what you can afford for the number of people you can afford, but don't ask guests to BYOB. It's inappropriate and rude.

                      1. re: Nicole

                        If one of your guests then asks if it is OK to bring a little libation, do you think that is OK? If you say No then many would think that inappropriate, while others who say Yes, may cause some rift frompeople who did not know and would be upset.

                        Jfood is not being snarly, but is truly interested in the answer. Just sounds like it's such a slipperly slope no matter what.

                        TIA.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Nobody would ask this unless they are sneaking in their own flask. Seriously, I can't imagine getting an invitation to a dry reception and then calling the hosts and asking if I can bring alcohol. Your experiences with alcohol drinkers must be very negative. Nor would I ask if I can bring my own food because I don't like what they're serving.

                          It's not an informal dinner party at your house, where, if someone asks what they can bring you can say, oh, bring a bottle of wine if you like. It's a wedding reception. This is a big, special occasion no matter if you have 5 people or 500 people and it's not appropriate to ask people to bring anything.

                          1. re: rockandroller1

                            But who says this is a dry reception? The BYOB applies only to the after party, as far as I can tell.

                            1. re: rockandroller1

                              "it's not appropriate to ask people to bring anything.". Let's see if jfood can be clear...a BYOB is not asking anyone to bring anything. It is a gesture to say that if you want to bring something it is OK.

                              There is a huge difference between the following on the invite:

                              1 - "Since we will not provide alcohol we would not have any issue if you would like to enjoy any libations you wish to bring."
                              2 - "Since we will not provide alcohol it is requested that each attendee supply one of the following, either a 12-pack of beer, a bottle of wine, or a fifth of hard liquor to share with others."

                              Number 1 is a BYOB and offers a clean slate for guests to bring if they so desire. Number 2 is asking people to bring something as you describe.

                              Jfood is totally opposed to Number 2, but has less of an issue with number 1.

                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                Here's a real life example close to what Jfood is asking. I've described my wedding before on a previous reception thread. We self funded but no alcohol (btw, on that thread I was told by some, I had an improper party since I didn't provide alcohol)

                                Anyway, I have several uncles who like to drink. They've been known to bring several bottles of good scotch and whiskey to previous weddings and parties. We specifically put out word through the grapevine that we did not want this happening. We got some blowback saying we were being rude by not letting people bring alcohol even though we weren't providing any.

                                We have no problems with alcohol, I keep my bar and fridge at home fully stocked. But we couldn't afford an open bar and didn't want to put out a couple of cheap bottles of wine. Decided it was best to go dry.

                                We didn't want the uncles to bring alcohol to the party because we felt it would have been rude to the other people who might have wanted alcohol and didn't have any. On top of the fact, we just wanted it to be our reception where we provided everything we could within our budget.

                                This is the same reason we paid for all the tuxes, dresses, etc. Nobody was asked to buy anything, just show up and have a good time.

                                So yeah, jfood's example is close to what happened to me. I don't have a negative attitude towards alcohol or my uncles. Just didn't want them pulling up and carrying a case of assorted bottles just for their tables. Our family gatherings? Go for it! Heck I'll be first in line for the good stuff.

                          2. re: rockandroller1

                            Rock,

                            Ceremony + luncheon reception = adult important wedding events.

                            Wedding done.

                            Party = party.

                            The party could happen on the day after the wedding, but it's happening on the day of the wedding. There is no violation of etiquette or protocol. No guest is being asked to BYOB to any wedding event.

                            This is lovely the way it's set up. Sounds like lots of fun. If it were me, I'd take a little nap in-between, and then get ready shake it loose at Round #2 after the Round #1 Adult Important Events.

                          3. re: marcia

                            Two assumptions on my part: this is a younger couple and the party is for a wider audience.

                            Would you feel better if the party was held a day later? This may be a younger couple and who would typically hold BYOB parties (I certainly did while in grad school and early in my career). Who wouldn't want to celebrate their day with all of their friends? If going into debt for a party (no matter how life changing the event) or having only a few people to share your day (usually the strange cousins you've been trying to avoid all though your life) is being adult - they should stay young.

                            1. re: marcia

                              <<If one is old enough to be married, then one is old enough to host an adult party. That means you provide for your guests and not ask them to subsidize said party.>>

                              The happy couple is following your rule. You're just not seeing it.

                              The adult party is the LUNCHEON. Al hosted, all paid for. Great!

                              The after party is not part of the wedding. It's not. The ceremony
                              and luncheon are the wedding. Five hours later there's a casual party.
                              Not part of the wedding, but on the same day of the wedding. Just like
                              a neighborhood BYOB. We'd love to see you and chat more and get our
                              of our stiff clothes.

                              Is this any clearer now?

                            2. the fact that BYOB will most likely be cheaper for guests than a cash bar is a good point.

                              but truth be told, the couple and their families are fairly serious drinkers, and so are their friends (myself included). under normal circumstances they drink to celebrate, which is why it's surprising that they're choosing not to provide any alcohol. my guess is that they will have alcohol at the party for themselves, but they just didn't want to bother with the expense for their guests. if you tend to socialize with drinkers, but don't want to spend the money to buy drinks for the guests, then why even invite them to a party? why not just have the (non-alcoholic) luncheon and leave it at that?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: okitt

                                Because they're clods. I don't mean to disparage your friends/relatives, but if your assumption is correct in that they're simply too cheap to provide for their guests, then they are clods and perhaps an etiquette book for a wedding present is in order. I recommend Miss Manners because she's quite amusing.

                                1. re: okitt

                                  It is a mystery. My guess is that the couple enjoys drinking but worries that drinking at the actual reception may bring out the worst in some people, and having BYOB at the party will also provide some sort of drinking limit. Certainly with this bunch, it seems like an open bar would be out of the question, and I am not sure beer/wine would necessarily be much of an improvement.

                                2. I too find the BYOB ridiculous, but I can beat that- this summer I was invited to a wedding, and told everyone would be going to restaurant X after the ceremony. There was a set fixed price menu to choose from, and we all ate and had a few drinks. Then after a few hours, the bill came... and it was PASSED AROUND for all of us to pay our portion of the bill! Months later, I am still speechless.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Smorgasbord

                                    !!! i'm surprised they didn't have you pitch in for the ceremony as well!

                                    1. re: Smorgasbord

                                      Wow, you get the prize of the day for that experience.

                                      1. re: Smorgasbord

                                        Wow. I thought I'd heard the height of tackiness for weddings, but that one's unique.

                                      2. While I'm all for the end of big weddings and living according to what one can afford, I think that forcing guests to pay for hospitality (BYOB or cash bar) is in bad taste and mean. I also think that those who try to use a moral argument regarding drinking alcohol are missing or deliberately side-stepping this far more important point about providing hospitality.

                                        1. Well, at least they told you on the invitation (or by some means) ahead of time what to expect if you came to the wedding, the lunch or the byob party. For some reason they chose this way to host their party, and one can only speculate why they chose this -- without actually going and asking them point blank. But, it is their party, and you know their rules, if it offends you more so than you would value their friendship and want to celebrate with them, then don't go. Or go to the wedding or the lunch, and then call it a day.

                                          1. Jfood is almost embarassed reading that people would rather have booze than friends. And no good deed goes unpunished.

                                            A wedding reception celebrates the wedding, not a saddle up to the bar and get trashed.

                                            Choice A - invite 50 friends to celebrate your big day, no booze
                                            Choice B - invite 25 friends and 25 6-packs of Bud

                                            There should be NO question on which is the correct choice. And to avoid all doubt the answer is "A".

                                            And jfood would love to hear a citation from ANY etiquette book that states that it is proper etiquette and you must serve booze at a wedding.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: jfood

                                              Again, a misdirection. No one is saying anything about getting trashed, We are asking about the generosity involved in charging your guests for their hospitality. It's offensive to suggest it's about getting trashed.

                                              Turning this into an accusation of friends or alcoholism misses the point about creating an entrance fee (or morality tax) for a party that is supposed to celebrate something or other.

                                              (Sorry, I can never finish that bit because I find massive weddings off-putting. I know I'm a rarity in these parts!)

                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                not such a rarity lizard - i find most weddings off-putting (especially the ones that waste more than i make in a year for a few-hour event!)

                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                  "We are asking about the generosity involved in charging your guests for their hospitality" - No one is "charging" the guests, if you do not BYOB, then no problem, no cost, no nothing. Could you imagine the threads here titled "How Dare They Did Not Serve Booze at Their Wedding." A wedding is a celebration. Since when is it a Tri-Party affair...Bride, Groom, and Bud

                                                  OK let's rephrase

                                                  Choice A - 50 friends and no booze
                                                  Choice B - 40 friends and one drink per person

                                                  Still a no-brainer for Jfood. Leave the Bud at home and invite the Buddies.

                                                  "It's offensive to suggest it's about getting trashed" - you're kidding yourself or have not attended a lot of weddings if you have not seen the line at the bar when it is an open bar.

                                                  And to your second paragraph, that's EXACTLY the choice and jfood is NOT missing the point. This is NOT a "morality tax", but a budgetary choice on behalf of the couple footing the bill.

                                                  Jfood sponsored little jfood's 21st b'day party and anyone over 21 received 2 "drink" tickets, not for morality, not for choice, not for budget but for RESPONSIBILITY.

                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    I appreciate the measures you take, and that you want as many guests as possible. It makes you feel good to see the numbers. That's lovely. Go to it. But please stop using such hostile language whenever someone considers adding drinks to the menu. I'm not demanding anyone add liquor to the menu, I don't think anyone is. I do, however, believe in giving to my guests and not asking them to pay. I do also believing in giving to my guests in a way that does not suggest I am judging them for what they consume. At least not in advance-- stories can come while I clean up afterwards.

                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                      I don't think it's about having as many people there as possible to make you feel popular (ie. see the numbers). For many people weddings are expenses that can be hard to swallow and people you are close to inevitably get left out.

                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                        And what about when your guests over consume? Are you going to be willing to take responsibility for them when/if they get a DUI or get in an accident? Or when they cause a big scene? Giving 2 "drink" tickets is not judging your guests, like jfood said it's being responsible.

                                                        Not saying that anyone here is doing it, but I have to agree that I don't understand why people would choose/suggest alcohol over extra friends/family. I'm sorry but when people do that it does come across as sounding like alcoholism.

                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                          It's not always just about the couple. A lot of my female friends would LOVE to have a tiny wedding, but their family really wants to invite a lot of people. In order to preserve the family relationships, they invite more people and usually have to cut back elsewhere. I know if I were in that situation, I would probably prefer to invite more people and have a cash bar/BYOB than have a big blowout with my parents and/or grandparents.

                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                            Indeed, which is why I eloped. I think a lot of posters are missing the fact that this BYOB event is not the wedding reception itself.

                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                              Oh, so true about it not always just about the couple. It should be about the couple, but ends up being about family obligations. We actually had four wedding celebrations -- main one in NY, two in California and one in Washington. There were some things that were out of my hands for the NY wedding -- just dealt with it the best as I could. And my relatives planned all our other parties -- where we would eat, where we would sit, what we would order, what we should wear, etc (and we paid for everything with the exception of the Washington one where the relatives insisted as we were in their home turf). MMRuth, while I absolutely loved my wedding (well, my NY one where I had most control), you did a very wise thing by eloping.

                                                              Yes, I think a lot of people don't get that the OP is talking about the after-party here, not the wedding reception. After-parties are more casual affairs, and I don't think the "rules" for wedding receptions apply here.

                                                              That said, I agree with those who say a wedding is about celebrating the union between two people, whether it's a dry wedding, cash bar, BYOB, a quick affair at City Hall, a lavish 6-figure seven-day wedding, whatever. It seems that a lot of people view weddings as a place to get really drunk in America. I think that you're past a certain age, some people need an event like a wedding to give them license to drink until they pass out (probably out of fear of being labeled a lush or somebody who needs to grow up or something like that). And way too many people go into debt for their "one" (or two or three or four) special day(s). I feel that people should do what makes them happy and what is within their means.

                                                      2. re: Lizard

                                                        It's not an entrance fee to the party.

                                                        The food, the place and the reason are being provided. But if you want to drink alcohol you'll have to bring it yourself.

                                                        Why does "hospitality" have to include liquor?

                                                    2. Wow some of the people on this board are insane. I am happy for you that you and all of your friends and family are in such good financial circumstances, sadly not everyone is. One of my cousins literally had to have her entire wedding for her 300 dollar economic stimulus check a few years. She has 3 young children and she and her husband both work near minimum wage jobs.

                                                      She bought her dress for 99 dollars are David's bridal, They had to pay 50 dollars to rent the hall. The last 150 or so went into a few other assorted expenses. So they had everyone chip something in. Someone fried some chicken. Someone else made potato salad, and of course it was a BYOB reception.

                                                      I can promise you no one there was offended because they had to help out someone they cared about. We were there to celebrate their wedding with them. It was fun. I drank room temperature screwdrivers out of red plastic cups with my father and had a good time doing it. A wedding is about celebrating your marriage surrounded by those you love and care about. No one should ever feel bad because they cant afford someone else's idea of what a wedding should be.

                                                      54 Replies
                                                      1. re: nightflower

                                                        Amen. I will never understand how people get so bent out of shape about if someone threw a 'proper' party. Weddings are about celebrating a new life together with the people who love you and share your life.

                                                        1. re: pollymerase

                                                          My brother and his wife did the exact same things a few years ago and they were both pushing 40. It was a potluck, BYOB wedding. Everyone knew ahead of time so contribute if you want, don’t if you don’t. I have to say it was one of the nicest weddings I have ever been too. They did hire a “caterer” to set up, clear plates, refill things. But because it was potluck you got an assortment of food you normally wouldn’t get at a wedding. No one had a problem with BYOB, everyone had their own coolers near their tables. AND there was also a party afterwards at the same location. Bonfire, hotdog, hamburger type thing and that was also a huge success.

                                                          And I have to admit I was one of the “nay-sayers”. I thought how rude of them to ask people not only to bring a gift but also to bring the food and drink. But as I reported above I was pleasantly surprised to be proven 100% wrong. It was truly a lovely event.

                                                          1. re: jesoda

                                                            Actually, I find this a completely different thing. I've been to such casual weddings and like them better than the big todos that people describe here.

                                                            The difference is this: Your brother and his wife were not going all out for massive wedding event, part of which was a BYOB function. I do think that asking for a gift in such cases is a bit much. If you're going to go off book and just have a fun party,

                                                            1. re: jesoda

                                                              Whoa ... They ASKED people to bring a gift???

                                                          2. re: nightflower

                                                            "A wedding is about celebrating your marriage surrounded by those you love and care about. No one should ever feel bad because they cant afford someone else's idea of what a wedding should be."

                                                            I totally agree. When my daughter had her wedding, we were not in a position to be able to help out very much. So they had to do it on their own for the most part. Since she had been a bartender her employers donated beer and wine for the reception, but she let people know that if they wanted something other than that, then BYOB. It was a nice wedding, not very big, but full of friends and family and no one minded at all.

                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                              I guess, after reading this thread, that I'm with nightflower, polymerase, Mrs Hole, and others with similar opinions. Thanks, you three

                                                            2. re: nightflower

                                                              Whenever I hear "no one was offended" I think "how the heck do you know?" Perhaps they were offended but were too polite to say anything.

                                                              Anyway, as for your cousin's wedding, and all weddings done on a very tight budget, you pay for what you can afford. You do not ask your guests to subsidize the reception. Period, full stop. The idea that one is owed a big white wedding on the guests' dime makes me crazy.

                                                              This subject has come up on this forum time and time again and I always feel I'm losing the battle and my forehead is bruised from smashing it on the desk. Hospitality means you treat your guests and not ask them to pay their portion, be it in cash or goods.

                                                              Yes, weddings are about celebrating with your friends/family, but there's nothing wrong with doing so without booze, limited booze, etc. Additionally, a full meal is not required either unless the reception is held during the traditional meal time. Having an afternoon wedding is perfectly acceptable.

                                                              1. re: marcia

                                                                In many groups of families/friends, it is less about asking guests to subsidize your big day than it is about the community contributing to a wonderful life event. I've been to (and hosted my own wedding as) an all-expenses paid event for my guests. Yet I've also been a guest at weddings where everybody brought something (including booze to a post-wedding party, as the OP mentioned). The notion that society should reject this way of doing things b/c a handful of folks might get their knickers in a twist is ludicrous.

                                                                Live and let live. Period, full stop.

                                                                1. re: Cachetes

                                                                  Many people think proper etiquette is ludicrous, but it doesn't mean it's right, or make it proper just because you think it's wrong.

                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                    My gripe is less with etiquette, than it is with the harsh condemnation cast upon those who purportedly breach some fixed conception of it. Perhaps it is because I have a diverse background, but there is a breadth of different but, in their own context, culturally-accepted practices that surround me. That doesn't mean that everything goes, but it does mean that perceptions about what is 'appropriate' need be much more fluid. So, I'll stick with Live and Let Live.

                                                                  2. re: Cachetes

                                                                    Never mind. Apparently your mind is made up, as is mine.

                                                                    Incidentally, it's more than a handful of folks who think like I do.

                                                                    And I find it ironic that this is the same forum where people complain about minute service errors in restaurants yet think it's perfectly acceptable to shake down one's guests by instructing them to bring booze, food etc because otherwise they can't afford it the shindig they so righteously deserve. The entitlement is mind boggling.

                                                                    And now I must go untwist my knickers. Good day.

                                                                    1. re: marcia

                                                                      I do have to agree with you that the sense of entitlement apparent in some posts is, to quote you, "mind boggling". In defense of my friends who've done varients of above-mentioned practice, entitlement is not the factor driving these events.

                                                                      If I could, I'd invite you out for a drink to help you untwist and deboggle! :)

                                                                      1. re: marcia

                                                                        Marcia - repeating what I said elsewhere - it doesn't seem like the wedding reception itself is a BYOB. It's an after-party. Not the wedding. Not the wedding reception. So I do believe your knickers are twisted for no apparent reason.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          This topic has come up before regarding wedding receptions.

                                                                          Anyway, unless a party is designated to be pot luck, BYOB is still tacky unless one is still in college where this is the norm. Just because it's an after party does not change my opinion. The host provides for his/her guests, whatever the occasion.

                                                                          Apparently I'm a dinosaur. With twisted knickers.

                                                                          1. re: marcia

                                                                            Having a BYOB partying is not something that I would do. But, in my opinion, if the couple getting married can't afford to host both the wedding lunch and an after party (which, after all, is, to my mind, something completely separate from the reception itself) and they want to offer the opportunity for everyone to get together that evening, and the only feasible way for them to do it is BYOB, then I just don't have a problem with it. As someone else said, it seems like a nicer alternative then all hanging out at a bar. And, I am one who can often get her knickers in a twist about how things should, and should not, be done.

                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                              I love the low-key relaxed wedding with your loved ones celebrating, and for some that may mean a BYOB potluck. But isn't it insulting to be invited to a bridal shower, then a large wedding for someone you only sort of know, only to be asked to BYOB, or fork over cash at the bar? This is what gets me. If you have limited means, cut your guest list. Are you really THAT close to 250 people? We paid for our wedding in full, by ourselves on a single income (hubby was in grad school). It meant we could only invite 100 guests, but each got a full dinner, a full open bar, and a wonderful night of socializing - it was a relatively small wedding and we really got to spend time with those we love. But a relative of mine "hosted" an evening wedding for 300, with only finger food and a cash bar. There was no intimacy or celebrating with loved ones, and at the end of the night, about 50 of us ended up in a fast food place, getting dinner! And no one got thank yous for the gifts!! Anyway...that's where I take issue.

                                                                              1. re: bflocat

                                                                                Well, the thing is that one doesn't have to go to the after party if one chooses not to. To me, that is just another opportunity to mingle with other guests if one wants to.

                                                                                Trust me - I know about having a small wedding and limited means - we chose to "almost" elope at a friend's apartment, with our parents/step parents, and a witness each, and the hosts, as well as one other couple (15 including three children) and had a catered lunch, a case of Veuve Clicquot and a wedding cake. I bought the flowers (other than my bouquet) under the bridge from Miami to Key Biscayne and brought them with me on the plane to New York. That was it. My husband's parents took us out for dinner that night, and we each had dinner with our parents the night before. This worked for us, even though we didn't even invite our siblings (something I do regret, but my husband has so many, including step- and half-siblings).

                                                                                1. re: bflocat

                                                                                  The after party is an entirely optional addition to the main event. No one is obligated to attend if they do not want to. Presumably at the main reception, everyone is getting food and possibly drink (that is unclear). Lunchtime weddings aren't necessarily the best occasion to have a party and linger on late into the evening, but the after-party may be a good way to continue this celebration.

                                                                                2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                  Well, if they need to have all of ftheir friends celebrate...for heaven's sake, why not just hold a potluck ---
                                                                                  CALL it a potluck - and have it after they get back from their honeymoon. You don't hold a celebration for yourself and ask everyone you invite to "bring a dish and a bottle." Why???? Because it isn't hospitable, that's why! You ask people to come and celebrate with you - to share your joy! - and you provide as best you can for those you care about. Anymore and....eh. I'd say barbarians but someone would accuse me of being insensitive.

                                                                                3. re: marcia

                                                                                  I'm with you marcia.

                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                    I guess I just wonder, at the end of the day, what does it REALLY matter? If the bride and groom are happy with the situation, then who am I to criticize them. If I find it too tacky to go to, then I can stay home. If I'd rather go and join them, and bring along something of my choice to drink, then off I go.
                                                                                    Same way with people who ask for money only as a gift for a wedding. I find this very tacky and offensive, but they probably have some reason known only to themselves to do it. If they are people I care about, I'll try to honor their wishes. My etiquette may not necessarily be the same as theirs.

                                                                                  2. re: marcia

                                                                                    You are not a dinosaur, I am a young married person and I still agree with you completely. I think part of the problem is that people are getting hung up on the fact that not everyone can afford to provide alcohol...what they are missing is that you are not telling them to go into debt, you are telling them to throw the kind of wedding they can afford. And for some people it may be a simple cake and punch reception, and that's fine.

                                                                                    By the way, one thing that hasn't been mentioned is that BYOB or potluck can be a complete nightmare for out-of-towners...I traveled all day, spent $1000 for airfare and hotel for 2 (plus a gift), I might not spring for a rental car, and now I feel like I have to go track down food and/or drink to bring to your wedding? Very ungracious hosting.

                                                                                    1. re: Nicole

                                                                                      I know I keep harping on this (and keep telling myself that I won't keep posting about it) but it seems to me that, despite the title of the thread, the BYOB part is for an after party, not the reception itself, which is a lunch.

                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                        Sigh -- based on some of the posts here, I still think that some people don't understand that this is an after-party.

                                                                                        For those of you who are sticklers for etiquette, theknot.com says:

                                                                                        "The best thing about planning the after-party is that traditional wedding etiquette need not apply"

                                                                                        "Do you have to have an open bar? Well, that's up to you and your budget. Open bar is always appreciated, but the decision also depends on where and what kind of after-party you're throwing. If you've rented out a room or a suite at your reception site, yes, open bar is essential. If you've rented out a private space at a bar, it's a generous and appropriate gesture. If it's a less formal, let's-hit-this-bar type of event, it's not necessary."

                                                                                        "So, who's paying? Chances are there will be many a guest offering to slap down their credit cards at the bar. Because the after-party is a relatively new wedding trend, there's no set etiquette for who traditionally pays."

                                                                                        http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-pl...

                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                          There is no other reception, so this is the party after the wedding, which, whatever you call it, is the reception. It's not an "after party" unless it's after the reception. You can call it a hoedown if you want, or an art happening, but if it's a party after the wedding where all the guests are invited, it's the reception.

                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                            Here is what the OP wrote:

                                                                                            "The wedding ceremony is in the late morning, followed with lunch (no mention of alcohol). And then several hours later in the evening there is a "party" for which guests are being asked to BYOB."

                                                                                            I interpreted the lunch, immediately following the wedding, to be the reception.

                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                              READ the original post, as MMRuth posted. There's a wedding. There's a lunch immediately following the wedding (a.k.a. "reception"). Then there's the after party "several hours later in the evening". Way beyond a time when a reception would be held. It's an AFTER PARTY to which people can bring their own alcohol...I just don't get how hard this is to understand!

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                LindaWhit and MMRuth, you two are bring too much common sense and reading comprehension into a this thread. There are too many posters who seem to want to be offended to actually read the original post.

                                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                  :::Sigh::: Doncha hate it when common sense and reading comprehension gets in the way? ;-)

                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  Jesus people, calm down. The title of the OPs post is what's misleading, SORRY I missed that little phrase "followed by lunch" but it doesn't change my opinion. This to me sounds like a slippery way for them to throw the party they "really want" and get out of the host obligation of providing for people. If everyone at the wedding is invited to the after-party, it's just a 2nd reception and they are having people BYOB because they can't afford alcohol at their reception and invited too many people. As I understand it, an after-party is usually just a small group of people, such as family and friends who had to travel from out of town and who wouldn't otherwise have anything else to do with their time that evening. If it's everyone that's invited to the wedding, it's just another reception and their way of getting out of providing alcohol.

                                                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                    To be fair - we know nothing one way or the other about what this lunch will be like or whether or not it will include alcohol. For all we know, it's a four course meal for 200 served with Veuve Clicquot, in which case it would be hard for me, at least, to argue that they were trying to get out of the obligation of providing for people.

                                                                                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                      Jfood does not care what you call it but it's "their way of getting out of providing alcohol" is ludicrous. Since when is providing alcohol a "must-have"?

                                                                                                      The total entitlement of guests expecting steak, alcohol, creme brulee, and a centerpiece to take home has surely taken some of the wonderulness out of this special occassion. How sad.

                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                        If you've ever read an etiquette book, you would know that it's proper etiquette to provide alcohol when hosting a party like this. Not REQUIRED. If you don't, then it's 100% not served or provided, and that's PERFECTLY OK too. But you don't ask people to BRING it.

                                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                          Wow, for someone who started their last post asking people to calm down, sorta like calling the kettle black here double R.

                                                                                                          Jfood has read both etiquette books and more importantly this thread. And he is curious for one cross-reference or citation that states that it is proper etiquette for a wedding to serve liquor. You're kidding yourself on that point RR1.

                                                                                                          But noone has asked anyone to bring it. Similar to a restaurant that is BYOB, it is allowed, not encouraged, asked, demanded, requested, sought or anything other than passive acceptance.

                                                                                                          Jfood is not advocating the practice but there are situations where this may be the necessary outcome to satisfy the various contingents.

                                                                                                          But, unlike like you who threw the poor lad and lass under the bus and called them all sorts of names, jfood is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in trying to make the best of the situation. Opinions are opinions. 2 + 2 = 4, that's a fact. Everything here is an opinion, no need to get the old knickers in a wringer because many of us disagree.

                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                            You seem to miss the fact that no one is insisting alcohol is served, but that asking guests to bring something to what appears to be the grandiose celebration you favour is a bit unhospitable. If contingency suggests that a person cannot afford the wedding s/he wants without help of the guests, the person really needs to rethink the kind of wedding they plan to hold.

                                                                                                            Weddings have gotten out of control for many and it seems to me that asking people to rethink what they offer as opposed to what they demand of their guests may be in order.

                                                                                                            I also think, jfood, that as a person who repeatedly suggests that alcohol=alcoholism, you may wish to rethink who is calling whom names. The hysterical approach to alcohol is not helping calm the conversation.

                                                                                                            Oh, and PLEASE stop using 'throw under the bus'-- ugh, consider this a public service to everyone: Let's avoid clichés that have the distinction of becoming clichés courtesy of reality tv.

                                                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                              L

                                                                                                              "You seem to miss the fact that no one is insisting alcohol is served" - others have stated that it is unhospitable not to offer alcohol, jfood has never used the word and he has been the loudest advocate of noone is insisting alcohol or anything else is brought
                                                                                                              "asking guests to bring something to what appears to be the grandiose celebration you favour is a bit unhospitable" - noone is asking anyone to bring something in a byob, see first response
                                                                                                              "Weddings have gotten out of control for many" - agree
                                                                                                              " also think, jfood, that as a person who repeatedly suggests that alcohol=alcoholism" - absolutely NEVER made that equivilency and do not believe it does. he has seen too many open bars at weddings leading to drunken behavior though
                                                                                                              "Oh, and PLEASE stop using 'throw under the bus'-- ugh, consider this a public service to everyone: Let's avoid clichés that have the distinction of becoming clichés courtesy of reality tv" - sorry if it bothers you but jfood has never heard it on TV but hears it all the time at work. sorry if it strikes a nereve.

                                                                                                  2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                    Rockandroller1,

                                                                                                    There's a graduation ceremony, and then a formal luncheon honoring the graduates. Later that night, the students party.

                                                                                                    Is that a violation of etiquette in your book?

                                                                                                    Is it so difficult to understand that the luncheon IS the reception.

                                                                                                    Probably a beautiful afternoon luncheon reception.

                                                                                                    The after-party is not part of the wedding. It's just a party. Yes, it happens to be on the day of the wedding. But it's much later in the day.

                                                                                                    Absolutely no violation of etiquette whatsoever.

                                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                      You don't have to keep explaining it. To me, or the others. I just disagree with you. My POV is as obvious to me as yours is to you, we just disagree. If we disagree, surely we aren't the only ones who will be invited who will have different opinions about what exactly this 2nd reception is, I mean, "party that just HAPPENS to be the same day as the wedding with all the same guests invited to it who were invited to the wedding with a tacky BYOB suggestion." We disagree, and several other people on the thread agree with BOTH our points of view, so we will continue to disagree. As sure as you are of your POV, I'm equally sure of mine. So perhaps stop explaining.

                                                                                              2. re: Nicole

                                                                                                jfood keeps saying, like MMruth, he won't post, but his fingers are not listening. Noone is asking anyone to do anything, but the hosts are stating that they would not mind if any guest so chooses to byob.

                                                                                                Jfood attends many "let's try a new cuisine" gatherings where people are assigned to bring a particular recipe. Here, they are told you can bring bud or barq's. likewise you can wear white after labor day, one blue sock and one black sock or sneakers if that is what you would like.

                                                                                                It's an option not a requirement.

                                                                                                jfood eats at many byob restaurants and he brings absolutely nothing. Same here. Others choose differently.

                                                                                                1. re: Nicole

                                                                                                  now I feel like I have to go track down food and/or drink to bring to your wedding? Very ungracious hosting.
                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                  NOT the wedding. The after-party to which people can go or not go. And BYOB should they want alcohol. Please read the OP. They say "The wedding ceremony is in the late morning, followed with lunch (no mention of alcohol). And then several hours later in the evening there is a "party" for which guests are being asked to BYOB."

                                                                                                  It's NOT BYOB for the wedding.

                                                                                            2. re: marcia

                                                                                              Thank you, Marcia! I love what you're posting. People shake down guests and then either pretend to hate/love etiquette, declare how a massive wedding is somehow mandatory, or direct vitriol towards alcohol consumption (that is, I might add, really American-- something US hounds will disavow in all other fora).

                                                                                              But maybe I'm typing all this because there's no oxygen coming to my head, what with the tight knickers impeding the blood flow. Best go untwist and charge someone for the pleasure!

                                                                                          2. re: marcia

                                                                                            What subsidy? if you want some scotch, bring it, a little vino, in the canvas bag, some diet mountain dew, along it comes. Who are you subsidizes, not the bride, not the groom, not the best man. It is there for personal consumption. The alternative is to say there will be no liquor provided. Could you imagine the Thread "How Dare they Throw a Wedding with No Liquor"?

                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                              jfood, is that a joke? Please tell me it is.

                                                                                              1. re: marcia

                                                                                                Jfood stared at your and his post for a few minutes and then read the two words "what subsidy?" out loud a couple of times with different inflections. If you inflect on the "what" you get a different connotation than inflecting on the "subsidy".

                                                                                                So to try to clear the doubt. Jfood does not believe there is a subsidy by allowing the guests to BYOB. They are bringing it for their own enjoyment or to graciously share with others.

                                                                                                Sorry for the confusion and hopefully this is not the "joke" position you alluded to.

                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                  I don't understand why providing for your guests must include booze. Are people really that addicted to booze that they can't imagine a celebration without it? I agree with jfood, I'm sure there'd be a threat on the wedding or afrter party with no booze and how cheap and tacky the hosts were for that.

                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                    jfood, we've discussed this before. Guests are guests and should be treated as such. I know that in your home people will bring wine, etc, as they are more knowledgeable about such things and if I remember correctly you do not imbibe.

                                                                                                    But whatever. At events such as wedding receptions, the host pays for all provisions. If the host chooses not to provide alcohol, so be it. No harm done. I'm not of the opinion alcohol must be provided, but if it is, the host pays for it. The guest, in turn, accepts what is offered with grace and doesn't bring out their own stash. It's rude. It's akin to telling the host what they are providing isn't good enough.

                                                                                                    And with that, I'm done because I can't fight this uphill battle anymore. People complain about lack of etiquette on this forum but apparently don't know the basics of being a proper host or guest. The irony is very amusing.

                                                                                                    1. re: marcia

                                                                                                      M

                                                                                                      jfood thinks you and he are on the same page with the first position is the bride/groom choose and providfe what they can and the guests should accept that position.

                                                                                                      But if the only way to satisfy the various contingent for a wet wedding is a byob, then jfood has less on an issue with this than many.

                                                                                                      But the choice between friends and booze is an easy one always go with friends. And then the second discussion is provisions. The bride/groom provide what they can, but a byob is an OK compromise at the end of the day, not perfect.

                                                                                                      Have a good one.

                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                        I think situations have changed dramatically from when the original etiquette was in place. Today the average wedding costs over $27K. In addition, the bride's parents are no longer expected to foot the costs of the wedding. At bigger weddings, having an open bar can run well into the 5-figure range. The couple has to try to satisfy their respective families and friends while trying not to put themselves into unrealistic debt.

                                                                                                        Even when the couple is paying, the parents can still be very demanding about what type of ceremony the couple should have and who the couple should invite. For a lot of couples, preserving family relationships takes precedence over limiting the guest list.

                                                                                                        In this situation, you also have guests that are serious drinkers and may drink to excess at a wedding where free booze is provided. Etiquette goes both ways and it's harder to be a good host if your guests are just waiting to take advantage of your hospitality (as many are more than willing to do).

                                                                                                        1. re: queencru

                                                                                                          Q

                                                                                                          Jfood would comment that etiquette is etiquette. jfood has also attended wedding with a minimal budget and those that are well into 6-digits. you do what you can. Likewise jfood cringes when he hears people who go into debt for the wedding.

                                                                                                          And absolutely agree that in every group there are the heavy drinkers and the tea totlers and people who respect the host and those that take advantage of the hosts.

                                                                                                          So the hosts should do what they can to satisfy the various contingents with the bride/groom having the last vote, and the guests should do likewise.

                                                                                            2. re: nightflower

                                                                                              Nightflower ,

                                                                                              Ethnic weddings are all about family and friends from my experience. This topic and the following discussions reminds me of a Wedding Celebration a good friend of mine went to for one of his employees. My friend has arguably one of the most successful and highly acclaimed restaurants in Northern New Jersey. His employee is the Valet Parker for his restaurant.. When the Valet Man got married, he held his reception at a local Chinese All You Can Eat Buffet restaurant, even though my friend offered to throw him the party free of charge as a wedding gift to him and his bride at his restaurant. The Valet Man insisted he wanted his boss to be a guest and not have to work on his special day. Guests brought their own liquor to consume.

                                                                                              The first time I saw my friend the Restaurant Owner after the Wedding Reception, I asked him how he enjoyed the day. His response was it was one of the best weddings he had ever attended and the Bride and Groom were the happiest couple he had ever seen......... and I believe 100% he was genuine in his comments and feelings.

                                                                                              My friend was happy his employee invited him to share his special day. The food and refreshments were nary a thought.

                                                                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                What a wonderful uplifting tale. If this doesn't end this discussion, nothing will.

                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                  Again, no complaint about that. I was all about the Russian dinner theatre that involved bringing bottles of vodka. But that's not the case when someone has a formal reception that is cash bar.

                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                    Mr. Fujisaka,

                                                                                                    Please read my edited version above....somehow it was incomplete in the first post, and I have corrected it's content

                                                                                                    BTW, the couple mentioned were Brazilian.

                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                      I hope they remain happy and together forever.

                                                                                                      [calling me "Mr" is like putting an elevator in a s^&%house {add smiley icon here}]

                                                                                              2. I read it as the reception is the lunch after the ceremony- the point at which all the usual post-wedding stuff happens. We did the early wedding/lunch order for our wedding and ended up using the conference center on a dry college campus because it was the nicest venue that met our size requirements (I'm the person with 37 different first cousins, and weddings are one of the few times we can fit everyone in the same room to socialize together) and price point.

                                                                                                The formal part of the weekend over, I don't see anything wrong with having a casual BYOB or potluck affiar up at the cottage at some other point during that time frame. You could be getting people who aren't back in town very often and it give them another chance to reconnect with old friends, and with the big gap between lunch and evening, it comes across as a totally optional event that can easily be skipped without it seeming like a slight to the bride and groom.

                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                                  That's exactly the way I read it. The wedding reception is the luncheon. And the fact that there is nothing mentioned about alcohol at the lunch reception isn't at all unusual - how many wedding invitations have you ever received that also said "HEY, you REALLY want to make sure you come to the wedding - we're going to have an open bar!" on it?

                                                                                                  The party afterwards is for anyone who wishes to attend (an after-party that is not usually considered part of the "official reception"). LIke getting together back at the bride's mother's house after the reception. The bridal couple seems like they would like to extend the time spent with anyone attending. It is for that party ONLY that guests are asked to BYOB. I don't see any harm in that. As it doesn't seem to be part of the official reception, no problem in asking those who wish to attend to BYOB.

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    That's the way I interpreted it as well.

                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      That's how I read it as well. The lunch was the reception and the "party" is an after party. I see it as a chance for friends and family to continue on with the celebrations after the traditional wedding events. Instead of passing the word around during the reception about an after party they are giving advance notice. The only difference between BYOB and meeting at a bar/hotel after is that instead of paying $10 for a couple beers, you can pay $8 for a six pack and have exactly what you want.

                                                                                                      It is possible that the couple is concerned with price. They are doing what many Chowhounders suggest to lower costs by having a lunch reception and not a dinner. I don't see why we need to be criticizing a couple who is trying to get the most out of their wedding day and who are trying to spend as much time as possible with their friends and family.

                                                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                        I'm totally unfamiliar with the concept of an "after party" as an informal part of a wedding celebration, so thank you for explaining it.

                                                                                                        However, I still think that if I'm a guest being invited to a party, I would find it less offensive if they provided cheap alcohol rather than asking me to bring my own. It's the gesture of a host. When I invite people to a party at my house, I provide food and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). I can't serve a 7-course dinner with an open bar, but I do try to offer an appropriate amount of food and drink to constitute a "party." That's what you sign up for when you host a party. I also don't invite 100 people if I can really only handle the expense of 10.

                                                                                                        The couple is not fresh out of college - they're over 30. They're financially stable, but certainly not rich. When they go out to a bar, they don't hesitate to buy plenty of drinks for themselves. When they attend a party with friends, they have no problems indulging in the food and alcohol that's provided either. But yet when they throw a party to celebrate their own wedding, they ask their guests to bring their own drinks?

                                                                                                        I'm fine with the couple only spending what they can afford for a wedding. If a luncheon sans alcohol is within their budget, then great. But I think the whole BYOB party is an awful idea and will probably bow out. In this case, I happen to think meeting at a bar would be a MUCH better solution. Why - well you eliminate the role of host and the expectations that go with it. Everyone buys their own drinks as you would at any other time, and it's not perceived as a wedding event, so no one feels obligated to attend.

                                                                                                        1. re: okitt

                                                                                                          Frankly, upon reading your OP again I'm wondering if this "after party" is merely a euphemism for a reception. Do you know if it's just the same people from the luncheon who are invited or is it a larger group? Are the guests bringing wedding gifts to this after party?

                                                                                                          1. re: marcia

                                                                                                            I believe everyone invited to the ceremony/lunch is also invited to the after party, but I wouldn't be surprised if a larger group is invited to the after party (i.e. maybe some people who weren't invited to the lunch). I don't know for sure. As for wedding gifts, I'm starting to think a keg of beer might make a fine wedding gift... :-/

                                                                                                            1. re: okitt

                                                                                                              "As for wedding gifts, I'm starting to think a keg of beer might make a fine wedding gift... :-/"

                                                                                                              It's funny you should say that, because that is more or less what we got for wedding presents! We Decided on Labor Day that we would get married the next weekend, so there wasn't much time to get ready, or to invite people. So our wedding was very small. Just some family and a couple close friends. The "reception" was going to his parents house for some wine and cake. The next evening we had a party for the friends that we didn't get to invite to the wedding. It was a bit impromptu, and instead of traditional wedding presents, our friends brought beer, food and party favors, if ya know what I mean. We hadn't been dating very long, so it was sort of an introduction party so I could meet his friends. It was a real shock for most of them, since he had been dating someone else for 5 years, and then VOILA, here's Dani! They kept looking for the other girl, lol! I was 19 and he was 22. That was 32 years ago, and today is our Anniversary! A big wedding does not a happy marriage make!

                                                                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                Happy anniversary! I hope you celebrate it with good food!

                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                  Happy anniversary! And add a beer keg for reminiscing's sake! LOL

                                                                                                                2. re: danhole

                                                                                                                  Oh wow! What a wonderful story. Happy Anniversary. My wedding reception also small and casual --mostly because that style suited us and it's what we thought our guests would enjoy the most. I'm glad to know that such a start can be a recipe for success.

                                                                                                                  Congratulations!

                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                    Thanks to all for the Anniversary wishes. We are going to celebrate with some good food and margaritas! Can't wait! Too old for that keg of beer!

                                                                                                                  2. re: danhole

                                                                                                                    Biggest of hugs to you and Mr Hole!!!!!! Happy Aniversary!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                      Thanks Sam! As we enjoy our dinner I will think fondly of all of my Chow buddies.

                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            Indeed, I would find it to be VERY tacky to get a wedding invitation that said, "Oh and there WILL be alcohol at lunch, in case you were wondering". The fact that there is no mention of alcohol at lunch is meaningless: they may have it, they may not.

                                                                                                            I think afterparties are fairly common; I've been to several. After my first wedding, some friends had an afterparty that was very casual, a byo type of affair, at one of the guests homes. We (bride and groom, we paid for our own wedding) had hosted a luncheon reception (with plenty of food and champagne), and I see nothing tacky about guests getting together afterwards to extend the celebration.

                                                                                                        2. This tacky. Will young males be showing up coolers filled with beer, will the provide olives and a shaker, and I only need to bring Kettle One?

                                                                                                          There are plenty of affordable options for wine and champagne out there. Trader Joes is a great option.

                                                                                                          You have to create the party within your means. If you want to invite all of your friends, but can not afford too, well thats life, and have a small reception with family.

                                                                                                          Asking people to bring liqour to a party of truly a party foul!!!

                                                                                                          1. I'm always amazed at how weddings can bring out the cheapskate in people!

                                                                                                            This one looks like "BYOF" - bring your own fun.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: HSBSteveM

                                                                                                              I'm always amazed at how weddings can bring out the cheapskate in people!....

                                                                                                              How right you are about this statement....but my observation is it is from the guests behavior. Like many here participating in this discussion, I have been to my fair share of weddings and receptions. I can further take it up a notch by saying I was a manager for one of the more exclusive caterers in Northern New Jersey, from the early 80's through 2002..... where the average cost per person was near or over $300 for much of that time until the mid 90's and over that amount afterwards.

                                                                                                              Whenever I attended a reception personally, I always enjoyed the cocktail hour, but rarely ate dinner....whenever I did not eat the entree, the people at the table could never understand why by saying they could not believe I would turn down a Filet Mignon or Prime Rib.

                                                                                                              While working parties, you could not imagine how many time I heard the guests saying they were going to eat and drink their money's worth for their $75-100 gift as a couple. Needless to say, there were times people over indulged and made spectacles of themselves.

                                                                                                              1. re: HSBSteveM

                                                                                                                Interesting view, because in my experience a wedding is pretty much the only time most people will host a party costing $10K and up for the reception alone. The expectation is often that people throw parties way beyond their usual social life - written invitations, provide full meal for dozens of people, etc, etc. So if people opt out of that, or try to find more creative ways to do it, I don't consider it to be cheap. Maybe it's just more in keeping with their goals, priorities and values.

                                                                                                              2. Sure it may seem cheap or less fun to have a BYOB wedding, but you know what, I respect them for that. I'd rather spend what I can afford than go into debt for an expensive wedding just to impress some people. If you don't like it, don't go.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                  Plus, it doesn't sound like the wedding reception itself - i.e., the lunch - is BYOB.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                    Who knows, the BYOB after party could be more fun. I'm sure that those who frequent the Beer board would love to be able to bring a six pack of their choice. I like the idea of asking guests to bring a bottle or six pack of their favorite wine/beer/alcohol. Kind of like a cookie/gift swap ice breaker. And your right, I would rather the inconvenience of a BYOB to asking my host to go into debt for an expensive wedding just to impress some people.

                                                                                                                  2. I have to say, rudeness towards/lack of consideration for one's own wedding guests and attendants has been much on my mind lately, so, my (very likely crabby) response will probably reflect that, but, I have to say, as with many matters of etiquette and social practices, my answer is "it depends".

                                                                                                                    If it's a young couple, just starting out who is having an overall thrifty celebration including a modest honeymoon, etc. I wouldn't mind if the wedding were the most casual of events, even a potluck in somebody's backyard. The point is to celebrate with those who cherish them, the union of these two people, their futures and their families. Who really cares about all the trappings (even though I do think all those things can be tasteful and lovely.)

                                                                                                                    On the other hand, if it's an established, dual-income couple who has spared no expense to lavish attention and finery on themselves including on a desigher wedding dress that costs more than my entire wedding and on hair and make-up and fine jewelry and limosines and an exotic overseas honeymoon, I'm going to grumble at being asked to pick up the cost for anything, even an unofficial "after event" kind of thing.

                                                                                                                    More typically, the scenario will fall somewhere in between these two extremes and I suppose it just depends on how extravagant they are with the things they've elected to pay for.

                                                                                                                    It's not universally true, of course, but I think a lot of weddings are spiraling out of control these days, with the "It's your special day" mantra being pushed by the wedding industry. I think a lot gets lost in the (very expensive) details. Your guests are not to be treated as "extras" in your wedding day movie starring you and your fiance; they are the living, breathing people people you love the most with whom you wish to celebrate and share your future.

                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                    1. The idea of this seems tacky as hell. Although I remember going to a friend's wedding the year after I got out of high school, at which alcohol was available at the ceremony. That's right. During the ceremony, I was drinking a Bud Light. Hilarious. I attribute it to one if the silly decisions we all make in our youth (both them having it available and me partaking). They are great people, though. I can't help but bring this little tidbit up to them every once in a while. Once again, hilarious. Though I guess it could have been worse. There could have been a pay bar at the ceremony.

                                                                                                                      1. I would much rather be invited to a byob party that advertises it up front, than a party that sticks you for the bill after as they had on cnn.com this morning.

                                                                                                                        http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayofl...

                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                          I'm just flabbergasted reading all three of the stories at the CNN link!

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            Horrifying, yet all true! We went to a birthday party at a restaurant for a dear friend. We were given a set menu with only 2 options, neither of which my DH really liked, but we were told we could not order off the menu. Well, that's fair, because they were hosting the dinner, right? Nope. At the end of the meal we were all given separate checks. We were shocked, and it wasn't cheap. It wasn't a $500 tab, and there was no alcohol involved, but it was more than we were prepared for. Another friend of ours was totally broke, and nearly in tears, so we not only paid for our meal, but hers as well. Now I ask lots of questions before accepting any invitations to a restaurant for a celebration!

                                                                                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                              Wow. Just wow.
                                                                                                                              Give me an invitation to a byob party that is upfront about it anytime before getting ambushed by one of those.

                                                                                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                As Firegoat said, Wow. Just wow.

                                                                                                                                Did *anyone* in the group ever say anything to the "dear friend" about how this was handled? Or is that person no longer a dear friend?

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  Well, I didn't say anything to the birthday girl, but I did to her husband. I asked him why didn't he let us know it was dutch treat, and his response was that this place was her favorite, and there was no way they could afford to treat us all, and he thought we would know that! I just told him, in the nicest way I could, that if he ever decided to do that again, please don't invite us. He was kind of a doofus anyway. She is still a dear friend, and divorced from him.

                                                                                                                                  BTW, it was a swiss restaurant and if we had known about the separate checks, we sure would have passed!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                    Definite doofus on the former DH's part.

                                                                                                                                2. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                  danhole, I can't tell you how many bday dinners we've been invited to--and that were initiated and thrown by the bday girl or boy in question--and when the bill came, the bday boy/girl didn't offer to pay. This trend has been going on for a while, and I don't get it. Some people in the party would even pipe up and say, "No, no, it's your bday, we're getting it," and after some lackluster protests, the bday girl/boy always gives in.

                                                                                                                                  I think it's so distasteful and have stopped going to these kinds of group celebrations. I just say to the bday girl/boy "I'd love to take you out to dinner one-on-one so we can catch up."

                                                                                                                                  1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                                                                                    It's that darn entitlement issue. You have a good response that I will be using.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                      Once again, I'll always take a "tacky "offer that is up front about what I need to do, over an obscure offer that leaves everything in chaos at the end of the night.

                                                                                                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  Happened to me too. The hostess was throwing a b-day for her boyfriend at the restaurant she partially owned. She proceeded to order tons for everyone, insisted on dessert and brandy and then, when the bill came, evenly divided the bill - without any discount. Ouch - had to eat pasta for more than a month.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                    Wait. She is a part OWNER and insisted on dessert and brandy and then charges everyone? That is just appalling!

                                                                                                                                    Were others in the group just as shocked as you were at having to pay? And again - did no one say anything, even after the fact, at how rude it was for her to invite people - leading them to believe they are guests of hers, with the assumption that by being guests, she was paying?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      Everyone was shocked - the table got very quiet, wallets were pulled, and everyone left. Most of us ended up at the corner and confirmed among ourselves that it really happened - and that we thought we were guests.

                                                                                                                                      (And despite the cost, it wasn't a very good restaurant.)

                                                                                                                                      I didn't talk to her (he was my acquaintance) but I did notice that she was not included with him in invitations to other parties and dinners.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                        crazy stories like that.... and I'd like to say I hadn't heard any or been invited to any in real life..... but... those are the reasons I say give me a plain black and white invitation. You come, you get this, you bring that.

                                                                                                                              2. Maybe this was already mentioned, but what if instead of "BYOB" for this after-party, it was phrased "non-alcoholic bevvies provided"??

                                                                                                                                This lets those who feel a need for booze to bring some without sounding as much like they are asking people contribute alcohol if they don't plan on having any?

                                                                                                                                1. It depends on the type of wedding, and reception.

                                                                                                                                  If I (we) should ever tie the knot, it would definitely be a low-key, cheapo affair. I'm not young. Neither is he; he has a kid in uni. Either a small supper with a few friends, or a slightly-bigger event in a rented hall in a community centre or picnic, weather permitting. And yes, of course they'd spontaneously volunteer to byob. Depends on your group culture.

                                                                                                                                  jfood, you do sound a bit moralising to put it mildly. TWO drinks???? (I don't drive, and live in a major city with good public transport and lots of taxis).

                                                                                                                                  I have friends who'd say, that isn't a party, it's a business meeting. ;-)

                                                                                                                                  Yes, of course I've attended a Muslim wedding with no booze whatsoever and had a wonderful time, but that is a matter of respecting people's religious beliefs, not cramming morals and "responsibility" down others' throats.

                                                                                                                                  1. Count me as one who considered this inoffensive. Just because alcohol wasn't mentioned in regards to the lunch, doesn't mean it won't appear. But assuming that it's a dry event, I see the luncheon as perhaps something for everyone, including kids or those with religious or personal observances to do with alcohol. Maybe it's to appease a family member, who knows.

                                                                                                                                    As for the BYOB "party", I don't really see anything wrong with this either, depending on how it's phrased. You're simply telling your guests you won't be providing alcohol, but if they'd like some, they're WELCOME to bring it. It's not as if they're charging admission at the door or expecting the guests to comp up THEIR alcohol that they plan to drink that night.

                                                                                                                                    Besides which, even if it's an open bar, or even a cash bar, it's not always likely that they'll have the magnificent selection of all sorts of things to appease everyone. Has anyone else ever been to a reception of any sort and not had the experience like that in Hot Fuzz:

                                                                                                                                    "Nicholas Angel: Mr. Porter, what's your wine selection?

                                                                                                                                    Roy Porter: Oh, we've got red... and, er... white?

                                                                                                                                    Nicholas Angel: I'll have a pint of lager, please."
                                                                                                                                    (love that movie btw)

                                                                                                                                    I'd rather have the option of bringing something that I like, particularly as a lot of places where receptions would be held, won't allow you to bring your own stuff if they have a cash bar on site, and if you're going to have a wine fountain or bottles at the table, they have to come from approved sources. I went to one once and the bar had only beer or hard liquor, no wine at all.

                                                                                                                                    I'll also note that I don't understand the whole "rich bride, poor bride" people you see in that very show, and out in the real world. I'm pretty sure Disneyland already has enough princesses. Live within your means.

                                                                                                                                    I've been to both backyard byob weddings and potluck or family provided food, type weddings and all were enjoyable (although the backyard one was a bit odd to me...but hey). No one was expected to bring anything, but it was appreciated that they did. Family members cooked for a few days prior to the wedding, and I can say that the food at these events far exceeded any of those catered plates of flabby meat, scoops of mashed potatoes and peas and carrots i've seen at a few that probably cost the couple a fortune.

                                                                                                                                    And i'll certainly respect anyone's choice to have a dry wedding.....but really....if you expect me to sit through an hour of speeches and wait while you go off for two hours to get photos done...please give me a glass of wine.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                      Hear hear!

                                                                                                                                    2. I don't think there's a right or wrong here, but I'd much rather bring a couple of bottles to the wedding than feel bad for the father of the bride for whom I've just bought a drink (true story).

                                                                                                                                      1. I've been thinking about this a lot. I realise that BYOB doesn't really bother me, but it depends... I guess I just have a few thoughts:

                                                                                                                                        1. People have different ways of celebrating weddings. I find that a lot of people opt to go very big, and then cut corners in way that strike me as charging for hospitality. This goes against my principles, personally. I would like to be able to be as generous as possible to guests who wish to celebrate my good fortune, and would want to give to them. Just me on that end, and what I would do.

                                                                                                                                        2. The Big Wedding plan combined with the more folksy option of BYOB casual affair seems odd to me. I'd go one way or another. That is, I've been to big casual gatherings (in which the bride walked down 'aisle' with pint in hand) but even those offered basic hospitality and weren't BYOB per se, although we all brought things anyway. I've also been to big Russian dinner theatre events where people brought bottles of vodka to supplement what was already on offer by the hosts. There are ways of celebrating, but going standard formal and then asking people to supplement the charge seems mean to me. I would never do it myself although.

                                                                                                                                        3. I continue to be shocked by the moralistic attitude towards alcohol. I've grown up with wine as a standard part of a meal and champagne as part of a celebration. The claim that this would be part of a wedding only for those who seek to get mullered isn't quite correct; more to the point, it seems an aggressive posture to take to defend charging guests for refreshments.

                                                                                                                                        4. I appreciate the number of people who point out the need to indulge family members. I guess this goes to show the very different people who inhabit this site, and what very different cultures we all come from. I love big exciting fun parties, but I also believe in living within one's means. And I guess, my personal distaste for the big wedding as seemingly mandatory inflects my feelings.

                                                                                                                                        Given that many times, these big to-dos involve guests traveling miles and putting themselves up in hotels and such, I think that making the guests comfortable is a nice gesture. But then, people's comfort differs radically so all one can do is be generous, not only to one's guests, but to one's hosts who may not be thinking things through always.

                                                                                                                                        That said, in a wedding where there are so many obligation invites as to force a cash bar, I'd rather skip that and be invited to the fun after party-- a casual, less stressed celebration with the people I love. And I'd happily bring the drinks...

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                          Lizard, for me too, table wine was a normal thing ... on the table. A party without wine would be very strange, unless you mean a tea. (A tea can be a lovely way of receiving, by the way). And nothing to do with getting hammered. (People who want or need to get hammered will ALWAYS find a way, alas).

                                                                                                                                          I have been to byow weddings, but they were extremely casual affairs, not quite pot lucks but almost, with some food catered or prepared by friends (or often catered by friends who did that), and certainly not weddings where lots of family would converge from abroad or the other side of the continent.

                                                                                                                                          I've also been to incredibly overblown Italian-Canadian weddings (and much more modest weddings in Italy). Of course the vino was furnished, as well as far too much food in the Canadian version.

                                                                                                                                          And a Moroccan Muslim wedding where there was no wine of course but an incredible array of tiny pastries and delicate tagines made by the mother of the bride who was flown in and spent a couple of weeks making the spread...

                                                                                                                                          The very casual weddings tended to be among middle-aged people who had lived together for years and had some practical reason to tie the knot, or couples of different nationalities wedding to facilitate immigration (I'm not talking fraudulent marriage, these were very real couples but probably they would not have bothered getting married otherwise - Québec has one of the lowest marriage rates in the world.

                                                                                                                                        2. You are right, that is the cheapest most ridiculous red neck thing I have ever heard of in my life. If you cant afford to have 100 people at your reception then just have a small reception with 10 to 20 of your closest friends/family members, at the very least wine and inexpensive champaigne.

                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: malibumike

                                                                                                                                            Would your opinion change in reading that there is a lunch after the wedding (no mention of BYOB) and that this party is later?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                              :::::thump::::: :::::thump::::: :::::thump:::::

                                                                                                                                              And the answer is:

                                                                                                                                              What is the sound of Linda's head banging against the table at yet *another* misread of the original post or any other follow-up posts throughout this thread before responding with a stunningly misinformed response? (Not you, Ruth - obviously. ;-) )

                                                                                                                                              Ow. I have a headache. ::::::::Sigh:::::::::

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                You bang your head, but perhaps eliding the two parties isn't so surprising given that all this comes on a single invitation.

                                                                                                                                                Given the obsession with the post-wedding brunch (which can also appear on the invite), what if that, too, was now declared potluck? I'm not saying this is the case, but instead of hurting your head and intimating that other posters here are ridiculous (and stupid), perhaps you can consider what it means when all this comes together in a single invite? If one disarticulated the casual event from the formal event more clearly, perhaps this wouldn't even be a question?

                                                                                                                                                And also, it continues to appear to me that people are really going nuts with the wedding stuff. Many people are just creating some lengthy and increasingly unaffordable sets of self-celebrating events (lasting for weekends-- but not those fun weddings of constant party, but one 'event' after another) that they are no longer able to manage, and for that are now looking for alternatives that are perhaps not working so well. i.e. I really want a casual fun party, so I'll make that one of my wedding 'events'-- as opposed to say, rethinking the whole plan? Or, perhaps acknowledging that having people subsidize a celebration isn't considered as homely as others might?

                                                                                                                                                But it does take all kinds-- just because I can't imagine ever asking things of my guests whom I've invited to be witnesses to my union, doesn't mean that you can't ask of your guests whatever you want.

                                                                                                                                                ETA: I keep writing lengthy replies to somehow create a rational, yet socially open, explanation of my feelings. But here's the problem: It is an emotional response I'm having. I couldn't ever invite people to a party and not be able to provide. (That said, I've been part of some very impoverished collectives and we've had gatherings where a person cooks and all others bring wine, but that's different, and casual, and also an act of gratitude for someone else to take on cooking, cleaning, etc. But even that is different-- a non formal invitation context.)

                                                                                                                                                So, knowing now how radically tacky I feel it is to ask guests to provide for themselves, I must bow out of this conversation as I will not be remotely helpful (not that I've ever been).

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                  The problem is that the wedding isn't just about the couple. It's about fulfilling family obligations that may exceed the couple's budget unless they cut costs somewhere. I had one friend who did her own thing for the wedding (very small, non-church) and was not on speaking terms with her mother for months as a result. Others get stuck with the big church wedding because that's what their family wants and that's the type of weddings they've been invited to for years. Some would rather provide a little less to avoid months or even years of wrath from uninvited relatives or displeased parents.

                                                                                                                                                  Obviously there are people who go overboard. I had one neighbor (debutante type) who had a wedding so huge (500-600) that the venue literally did not have space to serve a sit-down dinner. Everyone had to stand at little bar tables and have hors d'oeuvres instead. The woman I talked to who went was in her 70s and not at all pleased about having to be on her feet the whole time, to say the least!

                                                                                                                                          2. I drink, but would not be affronted to attend a noonish wedding reception with no alcohol. No one needs to drink in the middle of the day, and I've been to too many receptions that were spoiled by drunken, rambling speeches and other inappropriate behavior.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                              But we really don't know that there won't be alcohol at the lunch. I think if the bride and groom called the lunch a reception the OP would have had less of a reaction regardless of the fact that the post reception party was a BYOB affair. But I can't know that for sure.

                                                                                                                                              To the OP, I think many of us would like a follow-up to know if any alcohol was served at the lunch.

                                                                                                                                            2. Probably a budget thing, open bars can be quite expensive let alone very wasteful. I went to a reception once where not only was it dry but, you had to purchase tickets for your soft drinks, this was definately a budget thing. I'd just bring a bottle of grape that you like with a little extra to share, I mean it's a party. BTW is this mid West or Canadian? Some of my Canadian friends do this because liquor can be very expensive.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: cstr

                                                                                                                                                I consider the bringing of personal alcohol to be about the tackiest thing imaginable. What? You can't enjoy the wedding of your friend/relative without the help of booze? Skanky, folks.

                                                                                                                                              2. Sigh. Humpft. I think the BYOB for an "afterparty" should not have been stated on the wedding invite. Yes, tacky. They made the mistake right there. At most weddings I've been to, there always seems to be an unspoken "get-together/afterparty" after the main event where BYOB is the norm. Nobody expects the newlyweds to pick up the tab for such an event. The fact that they called it a lunch and then a party later is what is getting people's undies in a bunch. They should have never mentioned a party later and at the lunch, spread the word about a casual affair at a local bar or something. Just my .02.

                                                                                                                                                1. It seems like everything that can be said on this subject has been covered and we're now repeating ourselves and getting testy about it, so we're going to lock this and ask that people get back to discussing chow.