Should I serve alcohol for an 85th birthday from 2-4 on a Sunday?

Should I serve alcohol for an 85th birthday from 2-4 on a Sunday?

by Valerie
(Canada)

I am having a drop in from 2-4 at the end of May for my father's 85th birthday. There will be sandwiches, pickles a special 3D cake a tower of macaroons and tea coffee and lemonade and punch. I have friends who say that not serving wine sherry or a spiked punch is tacky. This is not about cost but about not wanting the labor involved with glassware-with the other beverages, I have substantial plastic wear and will have Starbuck's coffee cups since the coffee is being ordered from Starbuck's. This is a surprise party and I do have some out of town people who interestingly enough seem disturbed by my non-alcohol approach. Indeed I think my entertaining is known as casually elegant and would not want to appear tacky. What is the right thing to do?


May 09, 2011
Whether or not to serve alcohol...
by: Kevin (Modern Manners and Etiquette)

Depending on who you ask, you will get a lot of different answers on what proper etiquette is on the subject of serving alcohol. With that in mind, let me give you my take on it...

I wouldn't do it for several reasons. I cannot see your father's 85th birthday as a reason for people to become drunk and getting rowdy. This seems more like an occasion to celebrate a wonderful person and the long life that he has lived so far. Remembering him is more important than alcohol.

The other issue here is that you are the host. What you serve is up to you and you alone. Do not let other people tell you what you should be serving at a party that you are planning. If you think about it, they are the ones that are being extremely rude. I cannot imagine being the guest at an event and having the nerve to tell the host what I wanted at the party.

They are the ones that are showing a lack of manners. I would just tell you that the best thing to do would be to plan the party as you were and do not worry about those that are calling you "tacky." It is far more tacky for them to tell a host how the party should be.

I would tell you to stand your ground. If they really insist on drinking, they can do it after the party on their own time and their own money.

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