Monday, April 13, 2009

Outdoor Wedding Alcohol Etiquette

I officiate many outdoor weddings, and the level of formality ranges from none at all, to "cathedral under the stars." In general, I leave the tone and environmental attitude of the occasion up to the couple. As long as everybody is comfortable, then I'm happy.

However, it is imperative that the bride and groom not be sabatoged by their own vendors -- particularly their bartenders. At a recent garden wedding, the professional bartender plied the waiting wedding guests with mixed drinks and alcohol before the ceremony began, and within seconds of it actually starting. The groom, who was nervous anyway, wasn't happy that so many of the guests were feeling little pain by the time the bride made her way to the gazebo. Fortunately, everybody in attendance was relatively well-behaved, and we got through the wedding ceremony without serious incident.

If you are planning an outdoor wedding but want to prevent the time before the ceremony from becoming a tailgate party, instruct the bartender to serve only water and non-alcoholic beverages until after the ceremony. You have the right to establish some ground rules. It's your day. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

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