When is it appropriate to drink or have alcohol available at a party? To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I went to an event or an adult birthday party where alcohol wasn’t served or available, and serving alcohol at a party has become widely accepted in society, and is often expected. Many of our events also include alcohol as a party theme or event at a party, from the toast by a maid of honor at a wedding to a wine tasting themed birthday party, a stock the bar shower or a 21st birthday party. At these events, alcohol does seem to be appropriate to many people. However, is there ever a party where alcohol should not be present? What about a baby shower or a kids birthday party? Would alcohol be frowned upon at one of those events?
The answer to that seems to be very black and white for which side you agree with, with truly no grey area. To be brutally honest, it always amazes me when I see a baby shower invitation that boasts that cocktails will be served – if the honoree isn’t able to drink, at what point is it disrespectful to drink around her? Isn’t the whole point of the baby shower to celebrate the upcoming baby? Since when is it about partying it up with a cocktail in-hand? That’s my take on it, anyways. The opposite side to this is that the mommy-to-be is not sipping on a cocktail because she is pregnant. As a pregnant woman, she accepts the responsibilities that go along with being pregnant, and her guests should not feel obligated to change how they would typically act simply because the honoree isn’t drinking. It’s not my opinion, but a valid point nonetheless.
What about alcohol at a kids birthday party? My family is a bunch of social drinkers, and I honestly can’t remember a family function we last had where the adults weren’t sipping on a beer or a cocktail…however, I can say that at most children’s parties, drinks are not in-hand. Again, it surprises me when we see an invitation come through with a cocktail graphic, which invites guests to a first or second birthday. Is it really appropriate for adults to be drinking at a kids function? Through my research and blog forums, I have found that some people think it is appropriate to have alcohol served at a children’s event, as long as it is served in moderation. However the other side of this seems to be extremely passionate, reasoning that a major part of being a parent is being responsible and setting a good example for your children. What message are you sending your children if you are drinking at their party, or worse yet, driving them home after drinking at a party?
So is there really a time when alcohol is appropriate at a party? There is no hands-down etiquette rule for this one, folks. However, my years in etiquette would advise that alcohol should only be present where the honoree or hosts deem it appropriate. Consider the event you are hosting – an adult birthday party, corporate event or wedding may be the perfect places to sip on a cocktail or drink a few beers with friends, however when your event revolves around a religious event, a child’s birthday or an upcoming baby…make the focus of your event on the child or the event and theme, and check the beer at the door.