Liquor Service & Drinks at Your Wedding

A Toast to Happiness!

Liquor laws and liability
With today’s strict liquor laws, it’s always advisable to check into who assumes the liability for any alcoholic beverage service. Although the event facility and/or the caterer may carry liability insurance, the host or coordinator of the function may still be considered liable. Make sure all parties involved with the event are properly insured, and consult with an insurance agent to make sure you have appropriate coverage for yourself.

Banquet permits
In Washington, functions with private hosted bars featuring hard alcohol, beer, and wine are required to have a Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Banquet Permit. Many banquet sites are already registered with the State to serve alcoholic beverages, while others are not. If your banquet site requires you to purchase a liability waiver or banquet permit for the day, do it! It’s for your protection. Remember that only WSLCB licensed food and beverage establishments can provide no-host bars. For more information, see (Banquet Permits can be obtained one week in advance of your function online only at

Hotels and off-premise licenses
Most hotels do not have off-premise liquor licenses, and their on-site licenses do not apply to events held on other properties. When planning an event at another site, make sure to obtain a one-time only license for any off-premise event.

Private hosted bars
If you are serving hard liquor (alcohol other than beer or wine) at a hosted bar, you should consider having a state-licensed bartender. Licensed servers have a permit from the WSLCB.  

If you have a no-host bar where money changes hands, the law requires that you have a server with a permit from the WSLCB showing the completion of alcohol-server education.

Advantages of hiring professional beverage servers.  Beverage or catering service companies provide professionally trained staff who can handle complete bar services at your event. They take care of the purchasing, bar setup and setup, serving, and liability. It may be worth the extra cost to ensure that the bar will be handled in a professional and legal manner. These people are trained to detect if someone should not be served more, or if someone is underage. This service also allows you to enjoy the event without worrying about your guests.

Beverages in bulk or case discount
How do you get a good selection of beverages on a budget? Distributors, wine shops, and some stores offer variety and savings when you purchase in bulk. In some instances, unused beverages may be returned for a refund.

Area wineries 
Touring Washington wineries can be a great place to find wines and champagnes. Spend a Saturday touring some of the wineries near the Seattle, Bellevue, Woodinville, and Tacoma areas. You’ll be able to sample the different varieties and select one that you and your fiancé will both enjoy.

Beverage-service equipment rentals 
Rental stores carry a variety of beverage-service equipment, including portable bars, kegs and taps, champagne fountains, and coffee makers.

Tired of punch and soda?
Try alternative beverages with a flair. Espresso bars feature a variety of drinks that you and your guests are sure to enjoy. They are also very “budget-friendly” in comparison to alcoholic beverages. Juice or smoothie bars feature a wide selection of fresh-squeezed or specially mixed juices, everything from orange juice to exotic tropical concoctions.

Fun Game 
Every time one of your guests taps their glass with their fork as if they are going to give a speech, the bride and groom must stop what they are doing and kiss. It is a cute tradition that keeps you by your partner’s side!

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