Tips for Having a Sober Wedding

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Welcome back one of our favorite guest bloggers, Chelsy! Today, she’s talking all about how to have a sober wedding. Enjoy!

Wedding receptions are commonly referred to as a party, and in a lot of ways, it is. Parties are all about celebrating and a wedding reception is supposed to celebrate the love and marriage of two people. However, parties make people think about alcohol. Weddings make people think about champagne toasts and open bars. For some people, though, alcohol is not an important aspect to their celebration.

It can be tricky not to feel like an outsider or like you are letting your guests down by not including alcohol in the mix. In a society where drinking at weddings is common, sober couples can have a hard time portraying their dry wedding in a positive light. Whatever your reason is for having a sober wedding, there are some tricks to help make you and your guest feel comfortable without alcohol.


Decide on Transparency

Each person’s decision not to drink is their own. Some people have issues with addiction, some have issues with their health, and some couples are just not into drinking. Each couple’s reasoning is their own, but it’s a good idea to talk with your partner and decide on how forthcoming you’d like to be with your decision to have a dry wedding. Some would rather not have that information on an invitation, but it may be alright to have it on the wedding website. Perhaps you’d like to tell a few family members or bridal party members and have them spread the word to guests. You don’t have to address it at all, but it’s important to note how many guests might be expecting drinks to be available. Your decision on transparency is completely up to you and your spouse.


Consider the Timing

Weddings are usually evening events accompanied by a cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing. If you are having a wedding without alcohol, you have the freedom to pick a location and time of day that doesn’t normally coincide with drinking. Deciding on a morning or afternoon wedding will help guests feel more comfortable without a drink in their hand, which will help you feel more at ease. Having a wedding at a zoo, amusement park, or nature reserve may also be a fun option for a wedding venue that doesn’t allow alcohol. By choosing a non-traditional time of day or location, the novelty will help offset the expected availability of alcohol. Plus, your wedding will stand out and be more original that way. A morning wedding with a brunch menu and non-traditional location offers more dynamic photos and alternative entertainment for your guests.


Make Your Own Bar

In a social situation, many people find it uncomfortable not to have a drink in their hand. It’s just a commonality that many have grown accustomed to. Instead of offering the traditional bar, make your own bar. Create some fun mocktails for your guests to carry around, use sparkling cider in place of champagne, or create a completely different kind of bar. A s’mores bar, popcorn bar, lemonade bar, or hot chocolate bar are all fun ways to incorporate your own twist on the traditional bar that weddings usually have.


Put Yourselves First

Your wedding is for you and your spouse. Planning a wedding is extremely stressful and it’s natural to want to be a good host to your guests. However, don’t stress yourselves out too much by thinking about how others will react to your decision to exclude alcohol. Especially for those who are sober due to issues with addiction. It’s important to understand the triggers associated with relapse and keep yourself as comfortable as possible. You get to choose what type of beverages you offer at your wedding. You also get to choose whether or not to explain your decision to have a dry wedding to your guests. It’s easy to get lost in expectations, so remember to take a step back and put your wishes first.


Entertainment Alternatives

At a traditional wedding with flowing booze, alcohol sort of serves as entertainment in itself. Drinking is an activity for guests and a crowd usually ends up gathering around the bar. Alcohol helps many people to let loose, be social, and take part in dancing. In order to distract guests that may be used to socializing with alcohol, consider offering the following alternative entertainment:

  • A fun theme
  • Backyard games
  • A live band
  • Karaoke
  • A photo booth
  • Ad libs
  • Coloring placemats
  • Caricatures
  • Food trucks
  • A magician
  • Fire dancers
  • A bounce house

A dry wedding really isn’t that odd and many brides are opting exclude it at their weddings. Take solace in knowing that you’re not alone. Your wedding is about you and there are many ways to make your day memorable without alcohol. Your reception will be your own and your loved ones will have a great time celebrating you, no matter what type of drinks you choose to serve at your reception. Decide how transparent you’d like to be about your decision, consider a different time of day, make your own bar, put yourself first, and consider alternative entertainment. Your wedding may not have alcohol, but it’ll still be an amazing event filled with the people you love to celebrate your marriage.

doeeyesphotography-1Author bio: Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. Chelsy also enjoys traveling with her fiancé, David, drinking white wine, and throwing a Frisbee for her dog. She and David are getting married in October (congrats!). Don’t forget — you can follow her on Twitter!



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Happy Planning!

– The Gala Pal Team





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