champagne reception / tab behind bar

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Anonymous Posts: 24542
we were thinking of having a champagne reception for guests (80) at our wedding but hotel champers is 85 a bottle plus 15% service charge and bringing our own in wouldn't make much difference as corkage is 40e plus 15 % service charge a bottle!!! i think a champagne reception would be nice but i also know that not everyone likes champagne and people would end up taking a glass to be polite and buying something else themselves. the only winner here is the hotel so wondering whether it's be better to put the money towards a tab bar until the meal time. if we were to put a tab of say 3k on the bar, do you think that'd go far for 80 people? and is it a better idea than a champagne reception?
birdie Posts: 954
I'd say the idea of having a tab at the bar is better, our hotel told us that champagne often gets left behind, like you said people take a glass, have a few sips and abandon it......I've no idea how much you'd need to cover that many people though, could the venue advise?
Anonymous Posts: 24542
thanks birdie. i've emailed the hotel to ask for their advice. i suppose a tab seems more practical, but a champagne reception might be a bit more welcoming? i love having a drink handed to me when i arrive somewhere but then i love champagne so not necessarily the best person to judge this one!! i also wonder whether "free bars", even just for the drinks reception, are a little bit showy? and make people a bit shy about going to the bar and therefore less likely to relax when they arrive?
secrecy_ie Posts: 27
went to a wedding last weekend where there was a champagne reception. There was plenty of champagne and none left over at the end of the night. Very few people dislike champagne, and people drink free drink no matter what it is!
Ca cest moi Posts: 7855
We were at a wedding last summer that had a champagne reception and most people bypassed it and went straight to the bar for their usual, myself and h2b included. :-8 Personally I would go for the tab behind the bar, I would prefer it as a guest anyway. Good Luck with the decision. :wv
mini07 Posts: 282
Will your hotel do a punch reception instead - its normally a lot cheaper - (our hotel charge 3.25 per person) then you could still put a fair amount of cash behind the bar - I think people definitely prefer to pick their own drink and a punch reception is very welcoming and at least if its cheap you won't care if it is not drank.
woltastic Posts: 197
I love champagne but the costs stated sound very expensive. I don't think a free bar would be too showy. You'd probably get two drinks for the cost of a glass of champage at the prices you are saying. Maybe just get it said to bar staff that drinks are singles for spirits and cost shouldn't be exhorbitant. I plan on having sparkling wine (when we do it) but if the costs are vastly different would go with tab. You probably have a tea/coffee reception built in so I think that sounds fine. Up to you though! I was at a wedding reception, some of the older people went for tea/coffe, the lads hit the (not free) bar for beer and the girls were taking a couple of glasses of champagne. There was a good bit left there a while, hence people going for 2nds and 3rds. I'm not sure whether they just had too much available but I was delighted as I love the stuff! The staff seemed to havepoured an awful lot of bottles even when it wasn't going fast so people did drink it as it was poured out.
hobokenbride Posts: 20
... I am in the same boat as you trying to decide about the tab bar or not ... it is the done thing over here in the US for a free bar at the reception all night but I don't think I will do the entire reception as a free bar. I am thinking only the cocktail hour before the meal ... I am not going to do the champagne thing since a good few of my family will want either bar drinks or tea and coffee. Personally I think it is money well spent on the tab for a couple of hours rather than the champagne.
orlann2001 Posts: 146
What about sparkling wine? We were at a wedding last weekend and hardly anyone notice the difference, either that or they were too polite. The bride was in the same boat as you but in the end couldn't afford the champers so on advice of the hotel, she opted for sparkling wine....... it was lovely, and everyone was drinking it because it was free. Might be worth considering.