How to Navigate an Open Bar Wedding: 5 Foolproof Strategies

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It's September, which means we have at least a few more solid weeks left of wedding season. And what two words are synonymous with wedding season? Open bar.

When it comes to an open bar, I am, for lack of a better term, an animal. Cue standing memoir title: I'll See Myself Out. But let's be honest, being sloppy on the dance floor and making out with the bride's brother just isn't cute anymore. (Was it ever cute? Ah, digressions abound.)

If you're like me, you love some day-drankin' and on the cheap. But if I've learned anything from my days waking up wearing a shirt as pants (thank you, Mr. Cuervo), it's this: your reputation can, and will, follow you. That certainly doesn't mean we should all turn into soggy cornflakes by 25, but it does mean that we should learn our limits — or at least be aware of them.

Here are my five go-to strategies to help you navigate a celebration of love and marathon drinking, while holding on to (shreds of) your dignity.

Strategy No. 1: Keep a drink count

Weddings are great for providing drink transition markers. By dinner time, you should only have about two drinks in your system. Stick to beer and wine. Have no more than two drinks with dinner. Again, beer and wine. Save the whiskey sours for the liquid courage you'll need to throw down your Taylor Swift-like moves on the dance floor later. Shoes optional.


Strategy No. 2: Establish a reputation to live up to

There's far too much safety in anonymity. Make yourself known. Talk to aunts, kiss babies, and flirt with the waitstaff. If you have a reputation to live up to, you just might try to live up to it. It's one thing to be the drunk girl everyone's talking about during brunch the next day — it's another to be remembered for being the ultimate life of the party.

Strategy No. 3: Liquor before beer, have no fear. Beer before liquor, never... oh who knows, just remember to drink water

It's almost impossible to avoid mixing liquor, wine, and beer during an open bar, so by dessert time make sure you're drinking at least one full glass of water in between each vice of choice. This way, there's no need for Uncle Jim to hold your hair back as you pray to the porcelain god in the wee hours.


Strategy No. 4: Shake what your mama gave ya

Don't dance? Don't care! Just get on out there and shake it. Dancing will force you to put your drink down and sweat off some of those toxins. Besides, if your 4-year-old second cousin can break dance in Crocs, you can find the chutzpah to tootsie roll.

Strategy No. 5: Don't. Drink. The home brew.

Bathtub moonshine, lemon elderflower sangria, kitchen sink IPAs — I've seen (and sampled) them all. They're unfiltered, unregulated, and unbelievably high in alcohol content. Stick to the store-bought brands, and you'll prevent your moon from shining later on when you take a spill running to the dance floor in 4-inch heels at the start of Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It":

SaltNPepaVEVO on YouTube

If you stick to these five strategies and make it a point to indulge in the stuffed mushrooms, mini quiches, and wedding cobbler, I promise you'll wake up the next morning with all shoes, earrings, and memories in place. Here's to eternal love, and self-respect.

Images: Giphy (3); #myfriendsaremarried/Tumblr