Be a Friend to Your Friends!
It's time to host a happy occasion: a time to be with good friends and enjoy good food, good drink, and good conversation. There can be a downside though if your guests don't drink and drive responsibly.
Some hosts who provide alcohol at their social events aren't always aware of their personal responsibility to look out for their guests' safety when they are ready to go home. Although each of us is responsible for our own actions, and although we cannot control the actions of others, we can plan ahead and take practical steps to prevent friends from coming under the influence of alcohol. What if one of your guests became impaired from drinking alcohol that you provided at an event and then caused a fatal accident? Not only would you feel awful, but you could also be held liable for the impaired or drunken guest's alcohol-related offense(s) if he or she is a minor.
Consider what you can do
- Limit the amount of alcohol available.
- If an event is held at a city-owned facility, some municipalities have mandated that only licensed caterers, nonprofit organizations, and onsite retailers are allowed to provide alcoholic beverages on public property. It is often against the law for the guests to bring alcohol to such locations. Know the law and communicate it to your guests. Visit the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center.
- Assign a responsible individual to serve alcohol.
- If you have a cash bar, check with the server regularly for potential problems.
- As the host, set a personal example of modest alcohol consumption.
- It is against the law in every state to provide alcohol to anyone under 21.
- Guests need to be vigilant about where half-empty drinking glasses with alcoholic beverages are placed when there are young, curious children at the event.
- Offer a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks, other than just different brands of soft drinks, bottled waters, and coffee. Serve such drinks as fruit shakes and smoothies, milk shakes, fruit punches, and herbal teas.
- Create an atmosphere where no one is pressured to drink. Just one drink can cause disaster for some individuals.
- Smaller gatherings allow the host(s) to be more of aware of what's taking place at their home or at the event location. Also, guests who are parents can better monitor minor children.
Some individuals may not like your decision to control how the alcohol flows at your event. Still others may be disappointed if you decide not to have alcohol at all at your happy event. That's okay. Be a true friend and look out for your friends. Whatever you decide, you want to be able to look back with delight and not regret.