Since January 31st 2015 the H2B and I have been teetotal. Not a drop of alcohol has passed our lips. Our reasons for putting down the booze are slightly different, for the H2B it is health related, where as my reason is purely to support him.
I don’t think that we will still be teetotal this time next year, but living life without alcohol for the past 4 months has made me wonder about having a wedding without any alcohol. Obviously a lot of couples must choose to have a sober wedding, but you don’t hear of them very often. When I went to view venues they didn’t even ask if it would be an alcohol free wedding or not, the assumption was there would be a requirement for alcohol. At the time an alcohol free wedding wasn’t on my mind at all, but living without it for the moment has made me ponder they venues don’t question this.
How does a teetotal bride and groom have a dry wedding without loosing guests they want to have attend? There must be a number of obstacles to overcome, not to mention what if guests either do not want to come, or do not stay long because they aren’t able to loosen up with a drink?
I’ve never been a big drinker as I dislike the feeling of loosing control, (plus I have horrendous hangovers!) so, the idea of going to a dry wedding doesn’t bother me. For some people attending an alcohol-free wedding would be a complete no no as they would feel like they couldn’t relax, especially when it comes to the evening. Should a couple have to disclose to their guests early on that the wedding will be sober? Should there is a mention to choice on the invites? If you have guests that are drinkers, surely it is only fair to disclose this detail to them, just as you would disclose if you are having a childless celebration.
REASONS FOR DRY NUPTIALS
- You or a close friend/relative are recovering alcoholics
- Religious reasons
- Health reasons
- Financial constraints
- Fear of alcohol causing issues between feuding family members/friends
If you are facing the fear of how some guests will react to a teetotal wedding celebration, or if you are worrying how you can still make the wedding fun without booze, then I have scoured the web, and thought long and hard for the following hints and tips. You can use the tips individually or combined.
Choose Time Wisely
If you are in the early stages of planning then why not plan your wedding for the morning? Have your ceremony at 11AM followed by the wedding breakfast at 12:30PM and the reception could start at 14:30. The whole wedding could be finished at 17:00. This earlier time structure may seem unappealing to many, and admittedly you would probably forego the usual dancing reception, but the day can still be just as magical, if not more so. Most bride and grooms will be up by latest 8AM on their wedding if for no other reason than pure excitement. By having an earlier ceremony, you are reducing the length of time that you are just sat around for waiting for things to get started. Imagine, instead of at the end of a long day retiring to your bridal suite to promptly fall asleep, when the reception finishes at about 17:00, you get changed into your ‘going away’ clothes and drive off to the airport/drive away to start your honeymoon…your first night as husband and wife could be on honeymoon!
By having an earlier wedding people will be much less tempted to drink, and providing non-alcoholic drinks will seem natural to your guests rather than strange.
- Non-alcoholic beers and wines, such as the Sutter Home Fre line of non-alcoholic wines, alcohol free beers such as Becks Blue or alcohol free ciders such as the ones by Kopparberg.
- Hold an afternoon tea reception serving tea, herbal teas, coffee and Iced Tea along with sandwiches and cakes.
- Non alcoholic fruit punch served to guests after the ceremony – jazz it up and make it exciting with umbrellas and slices of fruit.
- Serve Belvoirs Elderflower Presse for the toast
- Have a Juice and smoothie bar where guests can go to choose one of the comically named smoothies or juices
Depending on your venue, you could have the bar open for a short period of time, such as for the hour after the wedding breakfast, or you could have the bar serve low alcohol options only, such as only beers that have a low percentage or half measure mixers. At the venue the H2B and I have chosen the section of the venue we have hired has a bar in it. This bar could be soft drinks only, and the bar that is in the main part of the hotel could serve alcohol for guests that want a drink. The only thing that would put me off of this option is the worry all my drinking guests will be in the main hotel and my wedding would look empty and lifeless.
One way to get people to forget they’re not drinking is to occupy them with something fun. Forgoing the dancing does not mean forgoing fun! Hire a magician to entertain people while pictures are being taken after the ceremony, if you’re having Spring/Summer wedding have fun outdoor activities laid out on the lawn (think coconut shy, sack races, hook the duck, or an “impromptu” game of rounders!).
Lawn activities need not cost much at all! Ask your friends and family with children if you can borrow that hula hoop, or the swing ball, or pop to your local budget store and pick up some outdoor games for less than a fiver.
For the reception why not have casino style tables (if you’re not adverse to gambling), or get palm/tarot readers in for the reception – guaranteed to get your guests talking for hours.
Caricaturists can also bring a real element of fun to the evening and will entertain all ages.
Whatever entertainment you decide upon, whether it be budget friendly lawn games and board games or if you splash a little cash and hire entertainers you can indeed have a successful, exciting wedding without booze!
If you are planning an sober wedding or if you have attended one, I’d love to hear from you. Did you still enjoy the wedding? What did the couple do to ensure people still enjoyed themselves? Are you planning on an earlier ceremony to make not drinking for your guests easier?
What are your reasons for planning a sober day?