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an alcohol-free Wedding [Page 1 of 1]

Does your squash partner become a wedding crasher after a couple shots of gin? Have you been a member of "that table" at a recent wedding? Did alcohol made your family life difficult growing up and you fear might spoil the wedding? Problem drinkers abound in your family? Maybe your wedding should be an alcohol free (aka dry) one. What are the implications of such a decision? How do you fend off pressure to reverse your stance?

Alcohol free wedding - as opposed to a 'Free Alcohol' Wedding...

An open bar or cash bar wedding is a great occasion with the right crowd. Having liquor flowing with a bartender serving up beverages can be fun, easy, and bring the good of humanity to the forefront. That said, for some people, an alcohol-free wedding may be a good idea if you want to avoid any issues, are in a cash crunch or don't actually drink in the first place. You should not feel obliged to have booze at your wedding. And as for toasts, apple cider non-alcoholic champagne is equally festive and equally bubbly.

Some Alternatives

Having the wedding early in the day is one easy way of avoid confrontations about your choice. You can also substitute alcohol with a coffee bar serving up espresso, cappuccino and mochas. Or, have an ice cream or gelato bar. Or fondue. Be creative. There are certainly lots of ways to have fun without booze. You're going to face a bit of ribbing from your beer drinking college friends, so you may wish to float the concept before the reception.

Remaining Resolute

Once you and your bride both agree to have an alcohol free wedding, you'll need to quell any dissent in the most diplomatic manner. In some families, you may need to deal with pressure to reverse your decision. (And as funny as it sounds, someone close to you could protest the decision precisely because they are alcoholics.) Even if 95% of your guests can handle liquor, Uncle Larry may remain a distinct liability during the wedding toasts. (ed. - And by the way, it's the Best Man's duty to avoid Uncle Larry from making a scene.)

How to Spin & Win

You don't have to be a political operative to spin your anti-alcohol stance and keep the guests happy. Here are some arguments you could use to justify your non-alcoholic position:

  1. Religious customs of the other spouse (existent or not!)
  2. While you drank like a fish in college, you and your new wife now drink in moderation (or don't drink at all).
  3. Some guests have requested a non-alcoholic reception (or course, never provide names or which side of the family.)
  4. Alcohol simply costs too much or the venue doesn't allow for cash bars, and you can't afford to splurge.
Ultimately, a wedding belongs to you and your bride; "we decided it wasn't necessary" is a perfectly acceptable reason for a dry wedding.

Knowing When to Meet Halfway

Alcohol at your wedding may not prove be a black and white issue. A cash bar can be a compromise, though you may have "corking" fees or need to pay for supplies. Further, you and your bride can stipulate that only low content alcohol be served. To keep it light, have the bartender implement a 2 drink maximum.

Ultimately, staying resolute is an indication of integrity that will serve you well at your wedding and in your new marriage. You own this event and this experience, and if you'd like to have a dry wedding, those sharing in your joy will have to summon up some respect and self-control...at least until they get back to the hotel.

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Fri, Jul.5th 2013
Me and my fianc are getting married next May. We have to pay for a wedding and purchase a house at the same time. For that reason, we are choosing to keep our wedding as cost effective as possible, meaning "if you need liquor that bad the. Buy your own". Unfortunately, satisfying other peoples drinking habits is the least of our financial worries. I drink about twice a year and my drink consists of a glass of wine. My fianc doesn't drink at all and he really dislikes hanging out in locations that serve alcohol because people have a tendency to act up after taking a few back. And our closest family and friends don't drink either. As far as we are concerned, our home purchase is a priority not pleasing others. Our thank you lies in the dinner, dessert, and beverages that we're providing. Here's a side note: If you cant go to a wedding without requiring alcohol, then keep your happy behind home and drink yourself into a stupor there. Trust me, the bride, groom and there budget will thank you.
Tue, Jul.2nd 2013
Alcohol free weddings are the worst of all time. If no one drinks or enjoys drinking then it's ok. But rarely is that the case. A good amount of people will be bored and leave early. Weddings are boring for the majority of guests and giving them something to drink that they prefer is the least I could do to thank them for coming to the most special day of my life.
laura milton
Thu, Jan.3rd 2013
me and husband to be are also very religious, I don't see why people need to have alcohol to have fun, why would you want to forget any single moment of such an amazing day, and why would you drink to either make a fool of your self or waste money that could be spent on family or education or travelling ect or to just constantly go for the toilet and just be disrespectful. it is everyone choice of path. I pray one day everyone will take the path towards jesus, repent and hopefully in jesus name you will be accepted into heaven. you can only speak to god through jesus, you can only get accepted into heaven by christening and then baptism. i hope everyone will see the blessings and lessons that come through god. amen. I pray for the alcoholics and all of you that are finding it hard to have an alcoholic free marriage. seek God.
M'Kayla Renee
Thu, Nov.10th 2011
There won't be any alcohol at my wedding. Neither I nor my fiancee drink and out of respect for us and OUR wedding, we are asking for no alcohol.
Mon, Oct.31st 2011
I told my kids we'd play after I found what I ndeeed. Damnit.
Sun, Jan.30th 2011
my groom is paying for our whole wedding. after getting engaged we quickly agreed on a date, estimation budget, wedding party and many more things. with out questioning we both assumed that it would be a dry wedding. my groom knows that my grandpa is a recovering alcoholic that has not has any to drink in over 5 years. but more importantly we are both form a big family (he is the oldest of 8 and i am the youngest of 7). our guest list is less than 200 people and over 50 are kids under the age of 15. we do not want to have a bunch of people drinking at our wedding and then driving the 1hour to 3 hours back home with their kids. the hwy is dangerous enough without adding drinking to it.
Sat, Jan.15th 2011
I'm really glad you posted this article! For me, i have a few reasons not to have alcohol at my wedding. For one, I'm very religious and so is my fiance. Another reason is that we don't have the most money, and it's expensive to have alcohol at a wedding. But the biggest reason is that my father is a recovering alcoholic and everyone else on his side of the family are alcoholics in denial. So i just feel like it could be a disaster is i were to have alcohol there. However,. i was really worried about how my father's side of the family would react when they found out i won't be having alcohol at the wedding. Now i have some good ideas about how to gently let them down. Thank you!
Thu, Nov.18th 2010
Clearly "Sam" and "me" are alcoholics and not married (a. because they cant go one night, the most important night of two peoples lives, without a drink and b. because they don't realize that it is completely the bride and groom's day) and alcoholics. If you don't drink for personal preference, there is a huge chance you don't like its effects on other people rather than yourself. The fact that you are telling someone to wait to get married because they cannot afford an expensive open bar which you won't even be using proves your alcoholism; choosing alcohol over love. That is the most pathetic and desperate thing I have ever heard. I hope no one ever has the misfortune of you attending their wedding. No one deserves to have their special day ruined by a selfish person like you. This article was amazing. It definitely helped me come up with some ideas of how to explain why we won't be serving alcohol and some good alternatives to it. To all you couple about to be married, congratulations!
Fri, Jul.30th 2010
I used to work catering events at weddings and have noticed a general trend: no booze, no fun (although there are exceptions, of course). Dry weddings tend to be a lot shorter, have less conversation, and seem a bit more awkward. However, in cases where the bride or groom are recovering addicts, it makes sense that no alcohol should be served.
Mon, Jul.12th 2010
Me and My fiance just begun planning our wedding for next summer and my family are strongly agnostic and usually wont even go to places that promote alcohol. We had planned on having an after-party for those who feel the need to drink but because of costs we decided not to. After really thinking about it personally, i agree with those above who have said that you shouldnt 'need' alchol to celebrate a marriage .. and if you do then just dont come,or bring your own drink. I have gotten drunk but really rather remember my wedding and have others remember it also.
Thu, Jul.1st 2010
My fiance and I are getting married in 7 months and we won't be serving alcohol. Not for religious reasons, or because of alcohics, or even because of cost. Simply because we don't want to. We don't drink (our choice), and yes, while all our guest are 'adults', we have decided that anyone that cannot go for a couple of hours without a drink to help us celebrate our wedding is not worth inviting. You get invited to weddings because the couple consider you to be emotionally important to them. You don't deserve a reward for showing up. If that's what you think, then don't bother going. People that are only out for what they can get are worthless!
Mon, May.24th 2010
,, my uncle is a recovering achoholic,,,, no achohol.. my cousin is a vegitarian,,, no meat..... my grandmother has alergys... no flowers the maid of honors ex-boyfriend was a guest of the groom,,, he's scratched from the invite list....give me a break! i'm hosting a wedding for my daughter, who's fiance tells her he wants a dry wedding, because no one on his side of the family doesn't drink. not because of any pre-existing issues, he just doesnt weant beer bottles on the tables in the wedding pictures. this is 3 months before the wedding, after guests have committed to a 2 night minimum stay, 120 miles from our town. i'm sorry, but i've put down $15,000 so far, and my adults relatives and friends will enjoy adult drinks at the reception. i've arrainged for the bartenders to pour the beer into pilsner glasses, so there will be no bottles in the hall, at an additional cost. had this been brought up when he asked for her hand in marrige, i would have let him pay for the wedding and obliged, but it's my call now.
Tue, Apr.13th 2010
I feel it is the bride and groom's day. It should be their choice on whether or not to have alcohol st the reception. If the people they have invited don't respect their wishes then maybe they should go to their favorite bar and celebrate.
Thu, Feb.25th 2010
I am getting married in three months and we are not having any alcohol at the wedding. For one, as the bride I do not drink just due to personal preference. My parents don't drink. Instead it's a family joke that we have 2 liter bottles of Coke (we include many types of Soda and water is available) on the tables and we use carbonated apple cider for toasts. There are a lot of children at my wedding and I would not exclude them by havin gdrinks they cannot consume. Also, as a great tip, we put up a kids table full of paper, crans, and stencils at my sister's wedding and it was a hit!
Tue, Feb.2nd 2010
As soon as I am invited to a wedding, I feel "honored" and "appreciated", by the simple fact that I was invited to share their special day with them. I don't care if they want to go mountain biking and eat power bars for their reception! Or if they want the "same ol' chiche" wedding and reception. Its who you are with that makes it fun and memorable.
Sat, Nov.7th 2009
Me and Sam: You are definitely very ignorant. In my particular case, Me and my fiance are paying for the wedding and we do not drink, most of our guests do not drink either, so we decided to invest in other things. Food, cake and favors will be our way to demonstrate our appreciation. They should come to celebrate and share this important day with us, not to get drunk. Besides, most of my guests have to drive back home and can't afford the luxury of staying nearby the reception area. I don't want to attend anyone's funeral or learn someone got arrested after my wedding just because we were irresponsible hosts and they were drinking and driving. If you two need alcohol to feel appreciated,maybe is time you start looking for help (AA perhaps?)
Groom to be
Fri, Jun.12th 2009
Sam and Me: Somehow you you've managed to lose sight of the fact that the wedding is COMPLETELY about the bride and groom - not about the guests. To ascert that it is "in bad taste" for a couple to choose not to serve alcohol (for any reason) is to mitigate the guests of honor: the bride and groom. This would be like having a Christmas party that foresakes everything that Christians hold to be sacred. An invited guest is welcome to share in the bride and groom's wedding reception, not a "thank-you-for-gracing-us-with-your-presence" reception.
Sat, Jun.6th 2009
I don't understand how people NEED alcohol to have fun?. I don't drink anymore, but even when I did drink, the thought of my friends and family sloshed at my wedding is embarrassing enough, even if I am drunk! If they are only coming to get drunk, then they shouldn't come at all. They should love you WITH OUT alcohol, sheesh. My fiance doesn't want ANY alcohol but I think a toast would be nice. That way they can't complain that there wasn't ANY alcohol, just enough for a toast and a tiny buz, but still preventing the embarrassing trashed friends and family. Sounds good to me but he's still not a fan. Plus, if the bride and groom don't drink, how enjoyable will it be for them if everyone else around them is wasted? Really?
Wed, May.20th 2009
Your Comments Me and Sam obviously know nothing about recovery from addiction. It is not in poor taste to not serve alcohol at your wedding and it is the choice of the bride and groom alone to make this decision. And if your guests are not respectful of this decision, in my opinion, then they are attending your special day for the wrong reasons anyway. There are tons of ways to celebrate and have everyone in attendance share this meaningful day with you without having to serve alcohol.
Mon, May.11th 2009
i'm really glad i came across this article. the venue where our wedding/reception is doesn't allow alcohol. my fiance and his parents (even tho they don't drink) found this 'offensive" because some people would want to toast us with alcohol. my thoughts...if you can only toast us with alcohol, and not a glass of fruit punch..then don't bother coming. alcohol isn't to show appriciation to your guests..(thats what the meal and FAVORS are for!) your guests are there to show THEIR appriciation and love for you (us) as a couple. and if they need to drink that bad..drive into town and find the nearest bar. because i am not paying for you to get drunk at my wedding. people should be coming for us..not the liquor.
Wed, Jan.28th 2009
I was actually browsing for games but ran across this article and I found that having alcohol at a reception isn't at all needed. It IS up to the bride and groom whether or not alcohol is served. My soon to be hubby and I are having alcohol at our wedding in November, but there are a few people that we will have to watch due to the fact that they used to drink heavily. You don't have to cut your guest list, (especially if one of those that used to drink Alcohol is your father. How Rude!) or wait to have more money. If you don' have the money, you don't have the money. Plain and simple. Alcohol is not served to "show appreciation" of the guests coming. We invite the guest because they are special to us and we want them to be a part of our special day. Regardless of if they have a drinking problem or not. Maybe it is YOU who should be cut from the list as you obviously aren't supportive of what the Bride and Groom want at THEIR wedding. If you want to dictate what should be done.. Maybe it is YOU who should be getting married.
Thu, Jan.22nd 2009
Try asking your caterer good alternative beverage suggestions. Sometimes they can present regular drinks in exotic ways. I think there are a few guys on http://www.gatheringguide.com/ec/caterers.html that have cool drink fountains and such. Just because you skip the booze doesn't mean you're any less trendy or expensive or elegant.
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Sun, Jan.11th 2009
I am getting married sometime next year dose it bad that I not able to give Alcohol because I can't drink because I am Handicapped? What you all think about what saying on this?
Yay for forward thinkers!
Sat, Jan.10th 2009
Good on you for this article! We are having an alcohol-free wedding and reception primarily because of religious reasons. But also because most of my friends don't drink anyway. The tricky thing is convincing everyone not to have a toast. I very strongly feel that we don't need alcohol for it to be special and festive and I don't think we need to have "pretend alcohol" either. ie. sparkling juice, non-alcoholic wine etc... The idea of toasting is linked to drinking for me and unnecessary... and boring! Speeches will do. WE know everyone is happy for us or they wouldn't be there. We will serve hot chai as it is winter.
Sat, Jan.10th 2009
I drink but listen: to "Sam" and the others that seem to not be able to attend a wedding without a drink listen: How sad! If you attend weddings and expect to be compensated for your time with drinks? That's so very selfish. The Bride & Groom invite you to share their special day with you, and they typically provide a appetizers and/or meal and that alone is quite costly. If you think the wedding will suck without booze... THEY have the problem. NOT the bride & groom. They don't have to cut their list or wait til the have more funds for the booze. Geez people! Seriously!
Sat, Jan.10th 2009
I disagree with it being up to the parents if they are paying for it. Mine aren't but I choose a dry wedding because both my fiance and I are recovering alcoholics not due to money. This is our day and while we appreciate friends and family attending, if they need booze to be accomodated, they should just not attend. There should be a level of respecting the wishes of the bride and groom.
Sun, Oct.12th 2008
I was initially considering a champaign toast at our wedding, however I discovered after requesting our family church for the ceremony and reception that they don't allow alcohol. Then I thought about it and realized I probably didn't want anyone at my wedding who couldn't live without a drink for a few hours anyway. Weddings are hard on the lonely, and strong alcohol is not how I want to comfort the friends I'm inviting because I love them. I'm thinking now of having a quiet early evening gathering after the reception with my closest friends and a few nice bottles at a local wine bar. That to me is a better way to blow off the stress, and I have to thank my church for making me think about it in the first place. Now the party will continue elsewhere in the right setting, while my husband and I can slip away and get ready for our honeymoon unimpeded for a hopefully memorable party for everyone.
Thu, Sep.18th 2008
I think there are reasons other than religious that are acceptable. I'm having a dry wedding because my grandfather, with whom I'm very close, is a recovering alcoholic and I would not be able to bring myself to put him in a situation where everyone around him was drinking. I hardly think alcohol is the only, or the best, way to thank a guest for coming to your wedding.
Fri, Sep.12th 2008
"Me" is right on this one. It's in very poor taste to not serve alcohol at your wedding to save money. The only reason I accept a dry wedding is if it's for religious reasons. Other than that, your reception is your "thank you" to your guests for attending, and that means you have an open bar with at least beer and wine. If you don't drink, then don't drink! If you can't afford to serve alcohol, then cut your guest list or wait to get married until you can afford to make your guests feel appreciated. However wrote this article has no clue what they're talking about.
Fri, Aug.22nd 2008
Hi I am getting married on August 23. Its a morning wedding, and although we are having an open bar, we choose to use apple cider as the toast to the bride and groom. It's mostly to save money on buying expensive champagne. After the toast there will be plenty of alcohol anyway. Thanks alot.
Sat, Jul.19th 2008
Not all reasons and not all methods for non-alcoholic wedding are here. See e.g. en.weselewesel.lap.pl to see how it is handled in Poland. A professional entertainer and a good selection of guests let the reception run smoothly, even without wine nor champaigne. Religious motivation is another important point.
Fri, Jul.18th 2008
my cousin got married last summer and had an almost alcohol free reception (there was a bottle of wine per table for toasts) but once the dance floor opened people hardly noticed the lack of a bar, we were requesting songs from the dj, not booze from the bartender. it worked spectacular and everyone could drive home that night. I plan to do the same thing for my wedding
Fri, Jun.27th 2008
It is the bride and groom's wedding nonetheless, and many weddings are no longer paid for by parents. It is the couple's decision. If they can't have a wedding how they want it, what kind of gift it would be from the bride's parents anyway?
Wed, Apr.9th 2008
Me - If the bride's parents cannot respect your wishes for no alcohol, then maybe eloping is the best bet. The B & G may not be drinkers but some of their friends coming to the wedding may be big drinkers and ruin the night. This is the B & G's day, even if they aren't paying for it.
Wed, Mar.26th 2008
It is not the place of the bride and groom to make this decision. This is hosted and paid for by the brides parents. If you don't want the alcohol, don't drink the alcohol.
Mon, Dec.24th 2007
I would suggest a alcohol-free wedding with an exotic tea bar. These guys have good blossoming teas and even caffeine free teas and I think they are all organic.
Fri, Nov.30th 2007
No booze? Oh man.

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