With the holidays behind us and the season of spring coming around the corner, one distinct sound is chiming in the wind: wedding bells. Ahh yes, spring, the season when brides and grooms adorne their most beautiful attire and declare their love for each other. Then afterwards, all of their closest friends and family come together to celebrate, dance and… drink.
There’s no doubt about it: more often than not, weddings and alcohol tend to go hand in hand. For people who choose to live an alcohol-free lifestyle, this can make celebrating difficult. If you’re alcohol-free and attending a wedding, how can you avoid drinking? If you’re alcohol-free and planning a wedding of your own, should you or should you not have alcohol at the reception? These are important questions to consider when wedding season comes around. Here are some things to keep in mind when having fun at alcohol-free weddings.
First and foremost, if you’re committed to alcohol-free and attending a wedding where you know there’s going to be a large amount of alcohol, plan ahead. Talk with friends or family you know there and make sure they can hold you accountable to not drink that evening. If other drink options are scarce, bring your own beverage to the reception. Or, pair up with a loved one and have a “sober buddy” throughout the evening. Focus the night on celebrating the couple, rather than on worrying about alcohol at the reception. When you plan ahead and put emphasis on having fun, everyone else will follow suit, and the evening will be much more enjoyable overall.
On the other side, if you’re in the season of planning a wedding, consider going alcohol-free at your reception. When most people plan a wedding, they barely even think about whether or not they will have alcohol; the answer is a quick and definite yes. But, there are many other benefits and alternatives to hosting for—and paying for—alcohol at a reception.
For example, if you or your significant other are alcohol-free, an alcohol-free reception is a great way to celebrate not only your love but also your lifestyle choice. Don’t let friends or family members push their opinions on you about what you “need to have” at your reception. The fact of the matter is it’s your wedding, your reception, your choice. If you feel more comfortable without alcohol, then go without alcohol. There are lots of alternative options to compensate for the “fun” alcohol provides.
Even if you and your significant other do drink, an alcohol-free wedding reception can still be a great choice. Most importantly, consider your guests. Do many of them drink, or not drink? Would any guests feel uncomfortable if alcohol was present? Would guests get out of hand with alcohol at the reception? Can you trust the majority of guests with alcohol? For some, this answer may be no, and having a reception get out of hand can be both embarrassing and financially expensive. Secondly, consider the financial cost. Alcohol is one of the more expensive things to budget in when planning a wedding, and going without it can cut out a significant chunk. If sticking to a budget is a priority for you, having an alcohol-free wedding is a great way to save on time and the hassle.
While some may think alcohol is one of the only ways to have fun at a wedding, they could not be further from the truth. If you’re considering hosting an alcohol-free reception, substitute the alcohol for other delicious drinks, such as:
- Unique juices
- Smoothie bar
- Flavored water
- Fruit punch
- Various sodas
- Sparkling cider
- Non-alcoholic mixed drinks
- Non-alcoholic beers
- Non-alcoholic wine
Be sure to include fun, alternative options to alcohol at the reception as well. For example, including a variety of unique games for guests to play and entertain themselves tends to be a less-expensive, yet even more fun, substitute for alcohol. Having items such as a video of the couple, advice cards or simply delicious food are also perfect ways to keep guests engaged without alcohol. And of course, a dance party is always fun, no matter what you’re drinking! At the end of the day, the decision to have or not have alcohol relies solely on the couple. If your guests are worthy of being invited to the wedding in the first place, then they should want to celebrate your love regardless of the circumstances.
If you live alcohol-free and attend a wedding with alcohol this year, take precautionary steps to be prepared beforehand. If you’re planning a wedding this year, do what feels right for you. Going alcohol-free at the reception can be an incredibly beneficial decision, both socially and financially. No matter what you decide, there are plenty of ways to have fun at a wedding, with or without alcohol.
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