Published: Monday, Jan. 21st, 2019
Of all the big decisions a couple has to 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 families and couples in recovery from alcoholism, to other medical reasons. And sometimes the couple just doesn’t drink, or they don’t feel like paying for that open bar.
To these couples, we say:
Remember, it’s your wedding, so celebrate it your way! 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!
To help you on the way, we reached out to a couple who had a blast planning and throwing their own dry weddings, to see how they did it and what their experiences were like.
Emily and Aaron O'Neill 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.”
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.
They chose a caterer that had plenty of experience with dry weddings and was supportive from the beginning. Despite going alcohol-free, there was still a bar and a bartender, who served a variety of fancy soft drinks and creative mocktails 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!”
Here’s the deal, as the happy couple getting married, your only responsiblity is to have a wonderful time. Guests always have the option of stopping past the bar on the way to the reception, and a few rebellious guests might sneak a nip from a flask to loosen up.
Choosing a dry wedding can give couples the opportunity to focus less on how the bar's holding up (or if anyone's getting out of hand...), and more on other parts of the ceremony and reception: such as the vows, the reunion of old friends, and the incredible food or potluck.
If you're 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. There’s so much more to an enjoyable wedding day than getting loaded, so don’t worry about what you're guests will think if that’s the route you decide to take.
Plus, dry wedding save lots of money and may make it safer for people to drive home afterwards!
Updated July 1, 2021
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