Serving Food and Beverages at a Wedding Event in Washington DC: What You Need to Know

Planning a wedding event in Washington DC? Learn about temporary food service operations, self-service bars, alcohol sales & more! Get tips from experts & know about liability issues when serving alcoholic beverages.

Serving Food and Beverages at a Wedding Event in Washington DC: What You Need to Know

Planning a wedding event in Washington DC? You'll need to be aware of the special rules and regulations regarding food and beverages. To ensure that your event goes off without a hitch, it's important to understand the requirements for temporary food service operations, self-service bars, alcohol sales, and more. When it comes to temporary food service operations, vendors participating in the event must adhere to special event guidelines. This will help ensure that all safety and hygiene requirements are met.

If you're planning on having a self-service bar, you can stock up on drinks and let your guests serve themselves. This is an ideal option for small weddings held in private spaces. Do you have to sell alcoholic beverages at a licensed event for a special occasion? Yes. The nonprofit organization must sell all alcohol, including tastings and samples. Alcohol sold at a ticket before the event must be sold by the nonprofit organization that holds the license.

This includes alcohol purchased or donated. Alcohol must be sold at or above cost. Can you consume alcoholic beverages at an event if you're a nonprofit organization and haven't obtained a special occasion license? Yes. Non-profit organizations can consume alcoholic beverages at events without the need for a special occasion license if you hire a provider licensed to sell alcoholic beverages at events. Revenue should go directly to the catering company, not to the nonprofit organization. The catering company must notify its local alcoholic beverage control officer and inform him of this activity.

Can you auction alcoholic beverages at your event? Yes. If you want to auction alcoholic beverages at your event, you must request permission in the special occasion application. Your special occasion license will indicate if you can hold an auction. Can you host an event with a special occasion license at a venue licensed to sell alcoholic beverages? Yes. You can have a license for special occasions in a place licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.

However, you must obtain a signature from the license holder or the manager of the authorized establishment to show that they understand that the liquor licensee cannot sell alcoholic beverages at the event. The signature must appear on the request for a special occasion. Can you sell bottles of wine to consume during the event? Yes. The nonprofit organization can only sell wine (per bottle) for consumption at a special event. Open bottles cannot leave the event venue.

Spirits and beer must be sold by the person serving them for consumption at the event. Can you sell beer, wine, or spirits to take away? Yes. In addition to on-site sales, you can get prior permission to sell sealed bottles manufactured for attendees to take home after a special event. The event will not be able to open any alcoholic beverage sold to take away.

How To Ensure Your Wedding Event Meets All Requirements

With your permits and licenses in place, you won't receive unwanted attention from the authorities or risk being arrested on the day of your scheduled wedding. It's also important to learn exactly what event organizers are looking for in a place to meet and exceed their expectations.

Sponsors are people or organizations that pay part or all of the costs of an event in exchange for the right to advertise during the activity. These guidelines will help ensure that vendors attending the event know and meet all requirements. You must attach an additional form for outdoor events on special occasions for all ages if you want minors in closed service areas. State rules vary, but generally you must request it in your state at least 30 days before the start of the event and you'll need to have the copy in place during the event.

The Food Safety and Hygiene Inspection Services Division (FSHISD) will have on-site inspectors during your special event to ensure that all requirements set forth in the DC Food Code are met throughout your wedding celebration. You should also make sure that couples and sellers have their own liability insurance in case they cause property damage. We spoke with wedding experts and professional waiters who shared their tips on how to create an ideal setup for wedding guests to serve their own drinks.

Liability Issues When Serving Alcoholic Beverages

In some states, if newlyweds serve alcoholic beverages at their wedding or reception, they may be liable for injuries and property damage caused by their drunken guests.

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