Is It Rude for Guests to Bring Alcohol to a Wedding Reception? 

Apart from the two people getting married, guests look forward to enjoying the reception.

Along with good meals, they are eager to enjoy drinks and dance the evening away.

But who pays for alcoholic drinks at a wedding?

And should guests carry their own drinks? Keep reading to find out.

So, Is It Rude for Guests to Bring Alcohol to a Wedding Reception?

No. It’s not rude for guests to bring alcohol to the wedding reception, provided they’ve discussed this with the host. Remember that with the price of things skyrocketing, many couples these days request guests to carry their own drinks and save a huge deal on this. Therefore, if your guests are comfortable, they can carry their own drinks to your reception.

The only problem is if guests carry alcohol without informing the couple.

That would be not only rude but also inconsiderate.

Maybe the couple wants a non-alcoholic wedding or maybe they already purchased alcohol so when a guest carries his or hers, it may come out like they are trying to undermine the couple’s ability to entertain their guests.

Who Pays for Drinks at a Wedding?

When you invite guests to your ceremony, you are expected to cater to their food.

That includes a three or four-course meal, cake and some refreshments at the evening reception.

Some countries practice open bars where guests only have to show up and drink for free.

However, they are not common in other places.

That’s because some people may take advantage, and it may not make sense if you have a small budget.

What Drinks Do Newlyweds Pay for?

Even in open bars, wedding guests don’t turn up expecting drinks to be free the entire time.

They will have budgeted for some of their drinks.

However, there are some drinks that newlyweds do provide, including:

1. Welcome drinks

Before the ceremony starts, it’s a nice gesture for a couple to serve a welcome drink. Just one per guest is enough.

There are different types you can serve here, but most people prefer to offer a cocktail inspired by their wedding colors.

2. Breakfast With Wine

It’s good to offer wine when your wedding guests are having breakfast. You will offer approximately half a wine bottle to each of your guests that takes wine.

That means around two glasses. Note that some guests will prefer white wine while others will opt for red.

So, ensure you order them in equal numbers.

You can get the staff to add the glasses as needed or just place the wine bottles on the table for everyone to help themselves.

3. Non-alcoholic Drinks

Some guests do not take alcohol. In that case, you should provide them with a non-alcoholic alternative.

Bear in mind that some of your guests may be pregnant, under the drinking age or not big fans of wine. You can offer sparkling water to such guests or juices, especially if you have kids.

4. Toasting Drink

Once everyone is done eating, it’s time for the speeches that usually start with the bride’s father. Each speech ends with a toast at which the guests raise their glasses.

You can buy champagne, prosecco or any other elegant alcoholic drink. For guests that don’t take alcohol, you can offer apple juice.

Your venue will advise you on the bottles you need and how much to budget for.

Drinks at the Wedding Reception

The reception takes place once the breakfast and toast are finished. Most usually have a DJ or a live band entertaining guests.

Many couples host their reception at a place where there is a bar on-site where guests can order drinks throughout the evening.

Usually, guests will cater their own drinks at this point.

Therefore, they will carry cash or a credit card if they want to continue drinking.

But, if your budget allows, you can provide a portion of the drink or all of them.

However, this is optional.

But you can do this by:

1. Having An Open Bar

An open bar means that you will cater to all the costs. So, every drink your invites have will be billed on your tab. Then, you will pay the amount once the night ends.

Open bars are most popular in the U.S. they are a kind gesture if you want people to have a fantastic time without worrying about the budget. But, you should consider the budget.

If you offer free drinks, many people will take advantage and have more than they would if they were paying for themselves.

2. Having A Limited Bar

This means that you will offer some drinks for free and others will be charged.

For instance, you can cater for beer and soft drinks and let guests buy spirits out of their pockets.

So that means people who take shots, tonics, and gin will cater to the charges.

It’s a nice way of reducing the cost you will spend on your guests’ drinks.

Work with the manager and inform them how much you are willing to spend. Once that amount lapses, individuals will start paying for other bottles they take.

3. Giving Out Drink Tokens

These are redeemable tickets at the bar, usually for one alcoholic or soft drink someone chooses.

But if you follow this route, make sure to inform the venue beforehand. So that they will put the ‘free’ drink to your tab, and you will pay for it once the night ends.

Drink tokens help reduce costs like a limited bar.

But, they are fairer since each get will get an equal amount of free drinks instead of choosing a few drinks for them.

What If You Don’t Want to Serve Alcohol?

If a couple doesn’t drink, but their friends and family do, it’s a nice gesture to have some alcohol for their guests.

Even a beer or wine will do. But, sometimes, you may be so against serving alcohol at your party. In that case, you can skip it altogether. However, do not allow your guest to be thirsty.

Offer non-alcoholic drinks like sodas, juice blends and flavored water.

You can also provide hot drinks like milk, syrups, and toppings to make the event more fun.

Chances are that most of your guests know you don’t take alcohol. So they will be prepared before they arrive at the venue.

But it doesn’t hurt to remind them when sending the invitation.

Additional Wedding Reception Topics
Is 3 Hours Too Short for a Wedding Reception?
Is 4 Hours Long Enough for a Wedding Reception?
Is 6 Hours Too Long for a Wedding Reception?
Is It Rude to Leave a Wedding Reception Early (Guests)?
Is It Rude for Guests to Bring Alcohol to a Wedding Reception?
Are Drink Tickets At A Wedding Reception Tacky?
Is It Tacky To Serve Pizza At A Wedding Reception?
Is It Rude to Go to The Reception If You Didn’t Attend The Wedding?
Should You Buy a Gift If You Are Only Invited to the Reception?
Can A Wedding Ceremony And Reception Be In the Same Room?
Can You Have a Wedding Reception Without Food?


It is not rude for guests to bring alcohol to a wedding reception, provided they consult with the couple.

Some people want an alcohol-free wedding. So it’s unwise to bring an alcoholic drink without their consent.

But in some cases where the newlyweds won’t provide free drinks, they can work with the guests to bring theirs.