Nothing says celebration like the pop of a champagne bottle, but keep in mind that the service of alcohol opens the door to some legal issues.
One of the more frequent questions about weddings and other private events is whether the hosts need to acquire a license or permit to serve beer, wine, and spirits. Well, the good news it that if your event is truly private, you will not need to provide a license or a permit from the California Dept. Of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The Business & Professions Code covers this in section 23399.1 as follows:
No license or permit shall be required for the serving and otherwise disposing of alcoholic beverages where all of the following conditions prevail:
1. That there is no sale of an alcoholic beverage. (Wedding Lawyer Note: this covers direct sales and indirect sales via cover charge).
2. That the premises are not open to the general public during the time alcoholic beverages are served, consumed or otherwise disposed of.
3. That the premises are not maintained for the purpose of keeping, serving, consuming or otherwise disposing of alcoholic beverages.
All three of the above elements must exist. If a proposed event meets the statutory definition of a “private party,” then no ABC license is required. Bus. & Prof. Code 23399.1. Emphasis added.
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