Of all the big decisions a couple must make when planning their wedding, one of the most difficult is whether or not to have an alcohol free, or “dry” wedding. There are many reason that couples might choose to have an alcohol free wedding, from religious prohibitions to a history of alcoholism in the family, to medical reasons.
Sometimes the couple just doesn’t drink and they don’t feel like paying for that open bar.
Remember, it’s your wedding, so celebrate it your way. And just because the booze isn’t flowing doesn’t mean that your wedding has to be boring. In fact, dry weddings can be downright exciting!
We reached out to some couples who’ve had positive experiences with planning their dry weddings, to see how they did it, and what their experiences were like.
Emily and Aaron O'Neill's decided to have a dry reception pretty early on in the wedding planning. Emily explained that, “Aaron doesn't drink alcohol and my side of the family also doesn't either, so for us it was honestly a pretty easy decision.”
Emily and Aaron lookings sharp and sober...
Except for a subtle note on their wedding website, the couple didn’t make a big deal out of their decision. Emily said, “I felt like the focus of the event was to have our friends and family together in order to be able to celebrate, so it didn't feel like we needed to add that caveat to our invitations explaining our choice. I kind of figured that if we didn't make a big deal out of it, other people wouldn't either.” She was right.
The caterer that they chose had plenty of experience with dry weddings, and was supportive from the beginning. There was still a bartender. But he served a variety of fancy soft drinks instead of slinging booze. Aaron told us that, “We went to a local European importer and found some really unique and tasty non-alcoholic beverages there. The fact that we still put in the effort made for a great vibe and was more interesting than just serving something like Coke and Sprite. Mocktails can be just as tasty as boozy drinks!”
Emily and Aaron on their wedding day on Lake Union, Seattle
Here’s the deal, if folks want to drink, they will find a way. There’s nothing wrong with stopping past the bar on the way to the reception, and some guests simply need a nip from the flask to loosen up. But if you’re the couple, that’s not your problem.
Designating your wedding as “dry” doesn’t mean there’s a prohibition on, it just means you plan to focus on other parts of the ceremony and event, such as the vows, they reunion of old friends, perhaps the incredible food or a potluck. There’s so much more to your big day than getting loaded, so don’t feel bad if that’s the route you take.
If you are planning your wedding and thinking of going dry, remember that the wedding is your day and you shouldn’t feel pressure to have it any other way than your own. If nothing else, it saves lots of money and may make it safer for people to drive home afterwards.