Wedding Reception Etiquette: Stuck With Extras We Don't Want?

by The Knot

My fiance and I agree that we do not want an open bar at our reception -- we actually do not want any alcohol at the wedding. The thing is that our reception site requires that you have an open bar and pay for it. And if you don't want a bar they make you pay extra. Do you have any suggestions on what we should do?


This happens sometimes at wedding reception sites that do a lot of weddings -- they've got a "package" that you pay for, which may include stuff you don't really want or need. The first way to get around it is to add riders to your contract that show that you and your site agree they will waive a given cost. Of course, if you've already signed a contract that included this cost, you're kind of stuck. And, especially if you've already made a deposit, it may be difficult to walk away at this point. The lesson here is to make sure you're clear on what all the costs are before you settle on a wedding reception site, and if you're not happy with something, consider whether it's worth it to stick around, or if you'd be better off finding another site. But to deal with the problem at hand -- if you must pay for an open bar, does it have to be an alcoholic bar? Can it serve soda, sparkling water, and virgin mixed drinks instead? Find out -- maybe that's an easy way around this issue.

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