“Don’t do it. Just don’t.”
“It’s disrespectful to your guests.”
“Your wedding will be boring.”
So you’re thinking about having a Dry Wedding.
Good for you! There’s a lot of pressure out there not to have an alcohol-free wedding. It can be confusing, draining, and guilt-inducing, and you’re a champion for standing up to it!
I think that most of the pressure to provide alcohol at your wedding is rooted in two ideas: Firstly, that alcohol is universally enjoyed and necessary in social situations. Secondly, that your wedding is for your guests, not for you. While the second idea is debatable and largely driven by context, the first idea is a false and sweeping generalization.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a personal bias against alcohol. I seem to be hyper-sensitive to the taste of alcohol, and as a result can’t stand the taste of any alcoholic beverage. The faintest smell of it is enough to put me firmly off of even the most diluted drinks. In addition, the idea of drunkenness has never appealed to me- I can’t (and don’t care to) imagine not being sober. However, I’ll also be the first to say that different things work for different people. That’s why I share my ideas every week about how you can do your wedding differently. Everyone should be empowered to make their own decisions about their wedding… even if that decision is an uncommon or unpopular one.
Before I get to the list of reasons why folks may choose to have a dry wedding, I want to address any readers who may be here with the intention of finding loopholes in my argument for something as controversial as an alcohol-free wedding:
This post is for you, too. In an ideal scenario, this would show you most of the reasons behind people choosing to have an alcohol-free wedding, and would make you more open-minded and understanding of that choice. If it doesn’t do that for you? Trust other people to make the decision that’s best for them, and let it go.
Why Have a Dry Wedding?
Religious Reasons. Some religions or spiritual paths prohibit or discourage the consumption of alcohol.
Alcoholism or other Medical Reasons. Addiction is a beast. And there are a lot of medications and medical conditions that don’t play nice with alcohol. Of course, always consult with the person or people in question if this is your concern. But whether it’s you, your partner, a loved one, or all of the above, you should never have to feel pressured to put someone’s health or sobriety at risk. No one has any right to make you feel that way.
Your Venue Won’t Allow It. Unusual? Sure. But if you’re in love with your venue, don’t let the pressure to provide alcohol crush your dreams. Prioritize!
Alcohol Exacerbates Drama. Do you have a high-drama family or a tense relationship with a loved one? Eesh. That’s rough. Unfortunately, alcohol can destabilize an already volatile relationship and create a higher potential for confrontation at your wedding. Maybe you trust the guests in question if they’re sober… But do you still trust them after a few drinks? And if there are children at your wedding, the stakes are even higher. Humans are unpredictable. Cutting alcohol out of the equation may be a means of damage control or prevention.
Drinking Isn’t in the Budget. If you’ve looked into bar packages anywhere, then you know that alcohol costs a lot. Thousands of dollars, easily. And when you have a limited budget to begin with, alcohol just might not make the cut. And that’s okay- you’re doing your best with what you have! Anyone who knows you and loves you will see that.
You Just Don’t Want Alcohol. Hey, it’s your wedding- you’re allowed to make a choice just because you want to. We expect alcohol at weddings because we’re comparing it to other weddings we’ve been to. Don’t get caught in the comparison trap- this isn’t other weddings. This is your wedding!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a dry wedding… But not everyone will be understanding of your choice. It isn’t a good feeling when people you care about are critical of your choices. But it might happen. For this reason, I would recommend that you give everyone a heads-up regarding your choice, so they know what to expect.
If your venue is strict about not allowing outside alcohol (and the vast majority of them are), make sure you mention this to avoid any sneaky flasks or bottles. Many venues will literally shut your party down if they discover any outside alcohol, usually for insurance or liability purposes. You do NOT want this to happen at your wedding. Ounce of prevention, pound of cure, et cetera.