Monday, April 19, 2010

Will you be having an open bar at your reception?

(I swear, I'll get back to commentary on my reading list really soon.)

Why have an open bar at your wedding reception?

Well, it will add a certain sense of celebration and community - it is tradition around the world for people to come together to toast the occasion. It will definitely make much of your crowd happy.

But there are a few things to keep in mind besides the monetary expense--

It may set the tone for the entire event - people linger at the bar rather than mingling or getting in the buffet line. There may be some amount of raucous behavior, yes? When the booze is free, people may very well partake of it more than they usually do.

You probably want to have a few trusted family members or friends on hand to help manage people who have had enough. Or will you simply hope that the bartender handles it?

Be respectful as well, to those who may be in recovery, or who choose not to drink for other reasons. Attractive non-alcoholic alternatives are signs of a conscientious host.


Having unrestricted Joys and Sorrows in the worship service is like having an open bar.

Yes, it can add a certain sense of community and it will make a lot of people happy.

But it also sets the tone for the entire worship, and may lead things down unexpected (and sometimes chaotic) roads. It may even make some people uncomfortable.

And just as a reception may need those people willing to be "bouncers", a congregation needs to have elders who will take on such a role, articulating the rules of the tradition and speaking firmly and lovingly (after the service) to those who need clarification.

As in all things, your mileage may vary.