Should we have beverage service before the ceremony?
Many may be surprised to see this question … as surprised as I was the first time a prospective bride and groom asked what I thought about serving alcoholic beverages to their guests before the exchange of vows.
My response was, “Why?” And they responded, “Well, it’s going to be a really hot day and we think that everyone should have a nice cold beer while waiting for the ceremony to commence.”
While this was a very considerate gesture, I offered some opposing thought-starters.
Wedding celebrations are wonderful social gatherings when families and friends get to meet (sometimes for the first time) the person you want to have at your side through thick and thin for the rest of your life. While there will be many opportunities during the years ahead to reunite and attend parties together, the marriage ceremony should be that very special time when you have everyone’s attention to witness you verbalize your commitment to each other for life.
Imagine what can happen (while waiting for the procession to begin) if everyone is offered that special signature drink or unique local microbrew or flute of bubbly. Fairly soon, some of the guests will want a 2nd drink … and then, how much longer will it take to get everyone to take his or her seat? And, once everyone is finally seated, a number of attendees will begin talking (in ever-increasing volumes) and forget to listen to the exchange of vows. Plus no one remembers where they left their drink glass once the ceremony is over.
We suggest offering a small glass (often disposable/compostable) of spring water or a special tropical blended iced tea as a thirst quencher for everyone as they arrive at the ceremony site, before the ushers begin moving your guests toward the seating area. Then, once the ceremony has concluded, everyone can enjoy a refreshing beverage … we think it’s wonderful to have a team of servers waiting at the entrance to the reception area offering assorted beverages to guests as they arrive.
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