by Mark Kingsdorf, MBC

I’m sure by now that many of you have seen the news of the video from this weekend's wedding disaster here in Philadelphia; involving guests from two weddings, the police and a relative of one of the brides dying.


Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the gentleman that died.

I wanted to address some of the issues surrounding this event as many of the same things go on at weddings every weekend; truthfully I’m surprised we haven’t seen these kinds of issues in the past.

One of the major issues we address is to prep the bridal party and the bride and groom – your wedding day is a very long day and we try to get bridal parties (guys too) to eat something in the morning when they are getting ready, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and try not to start drinking champagne or beer too early and by all means keep away from the hard liquor until after the ceremony.

Most receptions have an hour of open bar during the cocktail reception (some up to an hour and a half) and then four hours at the reception…adding on too much liquor too early in the day is a sure recipe for disaster.

Because of liquor liability many venues will no longer pour shots, YAY! We wish everyone would follow the same policy. Friends pounding shots is one sure way to have your wedding planner in the restroom holding your bridesmaids hair at the end of the night.

For our bride and groom, we recommend that about the time of your cake cutting you switch over to drinking water – you’ve been talking a lot as well as dancing and this will help rehydrate you. You’ll feel MUCH better the next morning at brunch.

We love to slow things down at the end of the night – our preference is not to serve cordials on a dessert display…self-service liquor is a huge no-no and we find that shots of sweet liquor just gets people blasted faster.

We’ve all extended the wedding into a wedding weekend by adding on an after party and a post wedding brunch…we get the idea of wanting to spend time with your friends…

From an etiquette standpoint it is not socially acceptable to invite you guests to a wedding and then make them pay for cocktails – HOWEVER, when it comes to the after party we have to vote against footing the bill. You’ve already wined and dined guests for 5+ hours, they’ve had 5 hours of open bar, wine with dinner, shots and after dinner drinks…you really don’t need to provide more free unlimited booze.

Hosting an after party with non-alcoholic drinks and some snacks and offering a cash bar is a great way to be a good host and to slow the drinking a little bit.

Other things to consider –

Where are you going for you after party? Keep in mind that while the bar in the hotel where you hosted your wedding is a GREAT idea; you must also remember that more than likely there will be guests from other weddings, who may have stayed at that hotel, or who got married in the area there as well.

As the bride, expect that there will probably be another bride in her gown there too; as well as loud guest from their , who might make some comments if they see two of you in gowns…

We’re all in favor of providing transportation for your guests – we NEVER encourage people to drink and drive…just remember in some circles this transportation is now an invitation to drink yourself silly.

Another suggestion for protecting your self and your family is to secure Wedding Insurance – we suggest couples book a one day rider on their homeowners insurance; which also covers liquor liability, in case someone slips and falls, gets drunk and gest hurt or breaks something and decides to sue you or your family.

Hopefully some good, practical advice and prior planning will help keep things from getting out of hand and allow you and all of your guests to enjoy the wedding.