Author Topic: Cash bar and invitations  (Read 6490 times)

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magzilla

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Cash bar and invitations
« on: October 04, 2012, 12:07:51 PM »
Now, I am completely aware of how inappropriate it would be to have a cash bar - let alone mention it on the invitations - for a wedding or similar event.  My question relates to invitations for a Memorial/ Celebration of Life gathering. 

My mother recently passed away and, as she followed a rather unique religious syncretism, a traditional church or temple service isn't appropriate. Instead, we're having a small family ash scattering at dawn followed by a larger reception at a beautiful restaurant on the beach.  My mother was a vegetarian who only ate fish and poultry at the beginning and end of her life.  She was also a teetotaler.  To honor her memory, we're serving vegetarian and pescatarian hors d'oevres at the reception.  However, to honor my siblings and my desire for a glass of wine before facing down the hordes of extended family who didn't have a kind thing to say about my mother during her life but are suddenly grief-stricken by her passing, drinks will be available for purchase at the restaurant bar.

Because the reception will be held from 5pm-7pm I want to make sure that guests know what to expect in the meal department and what options exist to handle the notoriously appalling parking of our crowded beachside community.  Would it be a tremendous faux pas to mention "Hors d'oevre served. Cash bar. Valet parking available for $6" on the back of the invitation?  Would it be a worse transgression not to? 


Redneck Gravy

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 12:28:29 PM »
Now, I am completely aware of how inappropriate it would be to have a cash bar - let alone mention it on the invitations - for a wedding or similar event.  My question relates to invitations for a Memorial/ Celebration of Life gathering. 

My mother recently passed away and, as she followed a rather unique religious syncretism, a traditional church or temple service isn't appropriate. Instead, we're having a small family ash scattering at dawn followed by a larger reception at a beautiful restaurant on the beach.  My mother was a vegetarian who only ate fish and poultry at the beginning and end of her life.  She was also a teetotaler.  To honor her memory, we're serving vegetarian and pescatarian hors d'oevres at the reception.  However, to honor my siblings and my desire for a glass of wine before facing down the hordes of extended family who didn't have a kind thing to say about my mother during her life but are suddenly grief-stricken by her passing, drinks will be available for purchase at the restaurant bar.

Because the reception will be held from 5pm-7pm I want to make sure that guests know what to expect in the meal department and what options exist to handle the notoriously appalling parking of our crowded beachside community.  Would it be a tremendous faux pas to mention "Hors d'oevre served. Cash bar. Valet parking available for $6" on the back of the invitation?  Would it be a worse transgression not to?

Mention the hors d'oeuvres, I would not mention the cash bar.  It would be polite to warn them of the $ 6 valet parking being available but I wouldn't mention anything else.

I'm confused about scattering at dawn, then they come back at 5:00 for a reception?  Or the scattering is just for family and the reception is for everyone? 

magzilla

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 01:02:28 PM »
Mention the hors d'oeuvres, I would not mention the cash bar.  It would be polite to warn them of the $ 6 valet parking being available but I wouldn't mention anything else.

I'm confused about scattering at dawn, then they come back at 5:00 for a reception?  Or the scattering is just for family and the reception is for everyone?

Apologies for the wordiness of my original post.  Thank you for your wise advice.  It may even be better if some don't realize alcohol is available.  I don't expect anyone to overdo it but there's no reason to advertise the opportunity.

You are correct that the small scattering is just for immediate family.  The larger reception is for extended family and old friends/ acquaintances.  For those attending the dawn scattering, I'm hosting a breakfast and hope that we can spend the intervening hours before the reception catching up in small groups since, in many cases, it's been decades since we've seen each other.  Nevertheless, I'm in my early 30's and admit it's my first time hosting such an event - and hopefully my last for some years.  I appreciate any advice others can offer.

Oh Joy

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 01:03:47 PM »
I'm sorry for your loss.

Will you be hosting any non-alcoholic beverages?

And welcome to the forum!

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 01:14:10 PM »
I am sorry for your loss also.  Losing your mother is just hard no matter what the circumstances are. 

I hope everything goes smoothly. 

hobish

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 01:33:32 PM »

Hello and Welcome,

Please don't apologize for wordiness. I actually had to look up "syncretism" and that never happens. I like it :)

I thought i had a great idea about putting the website of the venue on the invitation, but then i realized after typing it all out that it wouldn't tell people if it was a cash or hosted bar. Hmm. I have to think a little harder.

I am sorry for your loss.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 02:01:32 PM »
I think that as long as you have beverages available - soda, punch, water, etc. - there is no need to even mention the bar.  People will figure it out, if they want a drink.

I wouldn't even worry about mentioning that the hors d'oevres will be vegetarian/pescatarian.  Again, people will figure it out and eat those items that appeal to them, avoid those that don't.

I would mention the valet parking, though, since some may want to avail themselves of that option.

I'll give it a go:

Please join us from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at X location for a celebration of Mom's life.  Light refreshments will be served.  Valet parking is available, if you wish, at a cost of $6.

I'm sorry for your loss.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 02:25:21 PM »
I generally don't expect alcohol at a memorial dinner.  I like it if its there, but its a bit different then a big happy celebration (yes its a celebration of life, but well, its still different).  So I think you are fine to not mention it. 

One thing though - if you plan to drink make sure you don't run a tab and get waiter service for your drinks - go up to the bar and be seen paying for your drinks.  And maybe even have them in non-traditional glassware (like a highball glass instead of a wine glass).  Because if people see the host drinking wine, they will assume wine is available for all.

sparksals

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2012, 02:41:33 PM »
I'm sorry for your loss.

Your reception is smack dab in the middle of dinner hour, so it is imperative guests know only h'ds will be served.  Honestly, at that time, I believe etiquettely speaking, you should provide a meal or have the reception outside of a mealtime. 

I also agree if guests see you drinking wine, they will assume it is available for free.  I suggest you do include on the invitation drinks will be available from the bar.  You could even state since your mom was a teetotler, that drinks will only be available for purchase.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 02:45:27 PM »
Lets see if I have the mental picture right. The reception is in one area, with soft drinks, and the restaurant bar is in another, somewhat removed area? If that's so, you're fine. No mention necessary.

If however you are setting up a bar in the room with you, and drinks only available if you purchase them, that's a little different.

magzilla

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2012, 02:49:58 PM »
Thank you all so much for the kind words and advice. 

Oh Joy and Outdoor Girl, Iím mortified to say that in all the detail wrangling and fretting over alcohol, I didnít give any thought to non-alcoholic options.  This board has saved me!  Iíll make sure to arrange for hosted soft beverages right away. 

Thank you, Hobish!  I thought it was a detail worth including to explain why I wasnít holding a traditional service at a place of worship where guests would better know what to expect. 

Willy Nilly, thatís wonderful advice to make sure guests understand the bar situation!  I usually wouldnít mind hosting drinks at all but the cost of her final arrangements was a bit of a surprise.

I wish Iíd been able to consult this board before I began making plans. 

magzilla

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2012, 02:51:32 PM »
Lets see if I have the mental picture right. The reception is in one area, with soft drinks, and the restaurant bar is in another, somewhat removed area? If that's so, you're fine. No mention necessary.

If however you are setting up a bar in the room with you, and drinks only available if you purchase them, that's a little different.

Gosh that's a great point. The reception will be in a private room but I believe they're planning to set up a bar for us.  Do you think I should decline that option and ask that guests leave the reception to get drinks? Perhaps limit the in-room bar to soft beverages if possible?

Hmmmmm

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2012, 03:01:50 PM »
Lets see if I have the mental picture right. The reception is in one area, with soft drinks, and the restaurant bar is in another, somewhat removed area? If that's so, you're fine. No mention necessary.

If however you are setting up a bar in the room with you, and drinks only available if you purchase them, that's a little different.

Gosh that's a great point. The reception will be in a private room but I believe they're planning to set up a bar for us.  Do you think I should decline that option and ask that guests leave the reception to get drinks? Perhaps limit the in-room bar to soft beverages if possible?

I think your fine with having the cash bar in the same room.  I also don't agree that 5-7 is dinner time.  Our norm is that is cocktail hours and dinner is after 7pm, but that I think is pretty regional. 

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2012, 03:07:24 PM »
Please join us from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at X location for a celebration of Mom's life.  Light refreshments will be served.  Alcoholic drinks will be available for purchase, if you wish.  Valet parking is available, if you wish, at a cost of $6.

I added the bolded - I think it makes it pretty clear that if you aren't going to partake of alcohol or valet parking, you don't need to bring any money.  It is also clear that you aren't serving a meal.  But depending on how heavy some of the appetizers are, I probably wouldn't need to eat when I got home.
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Deetee

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Re: Cash bar and invitations
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2012, 03:20:36 PM »
I think a heads up on a cash bar is a good idea. I don't always have cash and I like to know when I need to bring a few dollars with me. Even if they take credit cards, I prefer to pay cash at the bar.