Champagne and the Wedding Car
Many couples are asking why the traditional complimentary bottle of Champagne is not being offered to them when they emerge from the church for their journey to the reception. The simple reason for this is that it is ILLEGAL.
Local councils have recently been clamping down on this practice by wedding car companies.
For a wedding car company to provide the drink on a complimentary basis, in other words FREE, a special licence is still required as the law states that it is an ‘indirect sale’.
No wedding car company is allowed, by law, to provide a complimentary alcoholic drink to the Bride and Groom, unless they have this licence.
The licence is called a Premises Licence but to be able to obtain it, one also would have to apply for another licence called a Personal Licence which would involve gaining a qualification from college.
Most wedding car companies are small concerns that run their business from home, so applying for a Premises Licence would also involve gaining planning permission from the local authority to allow their home to be used to ‘sell’ alcohol. This planning permission would include the drawing up of plans for the house as well as public notices erected on lampposts etc. for the neighbours to view stating that a said property is applying for a 24 hour drinks licence. What would these neighbours be thinking at this point!!
As you can imagine, these licences cost many hundreds of pounds to obtain, if obtainable at all.
Giving alcohol on a complimentary basis is classed as a sale and without the appropriate licence it is an offence contrary to Section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003 and a person found guilty under the said section is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and/or a fine not exceeding £20,000.
No reputable wedding car company would want to risk that sort of fine or imprisonment and that is why many can now only offer a non alcoholic alternative.
We at The Classic Way realise that many people would like a drink of Champagne or Sparkling White Wine after the ceremony. In which case, having made enquiries to the local authority, you would be welcome to provide your own bottle and we would be very happy to keep it chilled for you and open it on arrival to the car after the ceremony. We know this sounds silly but the law states we are allowed to serve drink provided by yourselves although we cannot supply it for you, even though it would be free!