The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

Popping the Cork!

The Correct Procedure in providing alcohol at sorority functions.

A Guide to Beta Sigma Phi Etiquette

By Olive Aldous Garrett
The Torch - June 1984

When you pop the cork, you must also pop this question: What is the correct procedure in providing alcohol at sorority functions?

To answer this one (and from the standpoint of etiquette, rather than morals), I think we must face up to the fact that alcohol is part of the social scene, whether we like it or not. Therefore, it is proper to serve alcohol when circumstances permit.

Social events that lend themselves to honoring someone seem to need a bottle of wine to add importance to the event. Toasting with tea, water, juice or rum and coke doesn't have the impact somehow that, say, a bottle of champagne does. We all know that it can be a masterstroke to begin proceedings with an exciting pop of the cork!

However, lest every sorority meeting become a cocktail party, let's first say that alcohol is generally not served at regular chapter meetings. However, many chapters traditionally toast a new grandmother (or whatever the members of the chapter deem appropriate) with wine served at the discretion of the hostess. Other special occasions can discreetly call for one glass of wine, especially if business must carry on afterwards.

But sorority functions can mean large or small conventions, Mother's Day events, luncheons, brunches, garden parties, dinner dances, and of course, parties just for us. They can all be non-stop entertainment, even without the joy juice. No artificial stimulant is needed to make our parties go! At dinner dances where a bar is provided, it is usual procedure to close the bar during dinner. It's a courtesy to the head table, and to the speaker.

At other sorority functions where meals are served, it is considered good taste to have pre-dinner cocktails. This is the well-known Happy Hour, or, as some clubs have tagged it, the Attitude Adjustment Hour. Used in moderation, alcohol is a vasodilator. It increases the blood flow, helping one to relax and unwind after a trying day.

If the Beta Sigma Phi dinner is being held in a hotel or restaurant where the meal is being served by a waiter, the bottles of wine will probably be sold to each individual table. The head table, however, should be served wine without request for payment.

When in doubt about alcohol, remember that it must be managed. You can manage it with love -- love for your sorority sisters -- love that looks after their needs so that it is used as an appetizer and not an intoxicant. With this in mind, you won't have any problems -- and your party will be a resounding success!

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