Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sober Fun?


Dear ESB,

My Fiance and I don't drink. It isn't for religious reasons, we aren't straight edge, we aren't a part of some strange cult. We're just late 20's and don't drink. 

Our caterer doesn't even have a license to sell alcohol so having a closed bar is out of the question. They can serve if we buy beer or wine from BevMo (does that sound a little trashy?).

I don't feel like having to find a bartender with the license or shelling out a couple g's to pay for everyone to get drunk but I don't want to be a tacky kill-joy either. In a perfect world I wouldn't have alcohol at the wedding and everyone would be ok and happy with it. Do we live in a perfect world?

I also have the belief that a lot of more distant relatives go to weddings for the open bar. How do I forewarn guests of the alcohol situation?

Thanks,
Sober Bride

*****

You could just write "NO BOOZE WILL BE SERVED AT THIS WEDDING" in big red letters on the invite, and then you'll save a ton of money because nobody will come!

Ilva Hetmann by Markus Pritzi for Sleek Magazine via The Libertine

118 comments:

  1. hmm. i don't use the men's restroom, but i had one at my wedding.

    i don't mean to be insensitive there, or to imply that drinking is as vital as using the loo, but one does expect certain amenities at a wedding in our culture, and a bar of some kind is, i think, one of them. in choosing to upend that expectation, you're calling down a certain amount of awkwardness on yourself, and, like ray in ghostbusters confronting gozer the gozerian, you get to choose the form it takes.

    will you buy a nominal amount of booze at bevmo that you yourselves won't drink? annoying, but not necessarily that expensive and a viable solution at many weddings, per blogland. will you include a cute line on your invite about how your caterer has no hooch, "so bring your flask, uncle steve!"? i mean, i like lines about flasks on formal stationery. will you say nothing and endure the comical double-takes when your guests roll in and realize they're at a dry wedding? i probably wouldn't do that, but it's your party.

    good luck, dry kids. i'm sure you've had to undergo lesser versions of this explanation/situation in your lives already; this one is the same script, just a higher-budget production. just don't think of marshmallows.

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  2. So many preteens' plans of getting slightly tipsy, unbeknownst to their tipsier parents, will be crushed.

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  3. I don't know if it's too late, but I would have a brunch. People will get over the lack of mimosas.

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  4. My friends held their reception at a building run by Quakers and found out a few days before the wedding that absolutely no alcohol could be consumed there. And you know what-- it was fine. It was definitely a more subdued party, but it was still a great time.

    It's your wedding, it's supposed to be a reflection of you. If the people in your life can't spend one night without alcohol then that's their problem. You don't owe people advance notice about it.

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    1. agreed. if they can't handle one occasion with out liquor, not really who I'd want at an important event.
      i do not drink either. my plan is to have virgin drinks that are tasty as is, but will be easy to add booze to...at their expense.

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    2. Agreed! Also having a sober wedding. Half the people invited drink WAYYYYYY too much, the other half DON"T for religious reasons. No alcohol at the wedding... bonfire after party for our close friends later, and we'll have some drinks there.

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  5. Brunch isn't a bad idea, although sober dancing in the middle of the day can be super weird.

    Some of our best friends are teetotalers, and they still had plenty of booze at their Martha's Vineyard wasptastic wedding. It's not just about you and your preferences, but also about having a party where your guests can have fun.

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    1. Yep. I will not sober dance in the middle of the day, even for someone I truly love. It's just too weird.

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  6. For most people, dancing occurs after a few drinks, so if you want a dance-fest, consider what your friends are like!

    That said, if your family/friends are drinkers, and there's no concrete reason not to have wine around (recovering alcoholics, family issues, etc) buying a few cases of wine/beer that you don't have to drink yourself won't kill anyone...

    You can avoid having beer/wine at the wedding, but you can't make everyone be happy with it. It's ok if option A is more important to you than option B, but, y'know, that's what you're dealing with.

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  7. It would be easier to serve alcohol than not, and beer and wine is enough, if you don't want to serve anything harder.

    I went to a wedding where no alcohol was served (for religious reasons), and it was fine, but not as fun as most weddings I've been to. Also, it was in the morning and up a mountain, so the context didn't call for heavy drinking. I think it would be difficult to have a successful all night long party with no booze.

    I really don't think you need a bartender serving fancy colorful drinks with umbrellas, but then I'm usually happy with just a few glasses of champagne. (And caipirinha, but that's just the Brazilian in me talking.)

    At my wedding, we served beer, champagne, sangria and caipirinha.

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  8. Just have something else to act as the social lubricant - yard games, photo booth or something for people to do. Don't expect a wild dance party but you do not have to provide alcohol to have a good time. And, you don't have to explain it to your guests.

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  9. Is a meal being served? Do you serve wine when you host dinner parties? Do you go to bars with your friends? Does everyone know you don't drink?

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    1. Pretty much this. Your guests are your friends? The family will get over it, when turning to your Mum and hearing 'No Uncle Steve, they don't drink. Just walk down to BevMo yourself'. Your friends should know this.

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  10. I agree that you can buy yourself some leeway by choosing a time of day other than dinner, such as brunch or an afternoon tea time. If folks don't want to come b/c there isn't booze, then may I suggest that you probably don't want them to attend anyway? I had my reception in a church, so no booze was allowed. It was perfect for us because we didn't have the budget to cover booze.

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  11. We didn't have alcohol at our wedding, and people still danced, and still had a great time. Guests didn't stay past 10 at the reception, but we were fine with that. If you don't want to spend money on it, then don't. People don't go to weddings for drinks. They go because they like and they're happy for you.

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    1. Okay in retrospect guests leaving at 10 probably sounds lame, but we left for the honeymoon then/were really tired.

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  12. My husband and I didn't have alcohol at our wedding, for cost reasons and because of some alcoholics in the family, and because we hardly ever drink. We had a good dj, so people danced, and brought out a gelato bar during the dance, so that got people standing. People still tell me it was the best wedding they've ever been to. Some of my bridesmaids went out for drinks after the reception, but they respected our choice to not have alcohol and still had a fun time. It's your wedding. People should be there for you, not to drink.

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    1. polite people always say it was the best wedding ever..

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  13. A little factual info: bartenders are cheap (like, $25 an hour) and not hard to find (most states have bartenders guilds). Depending on the venue/caterer/whatever, you probably legally NEED the bartender for his insurance if you are serving any booze.

    Booze is cheap if you get it at somewhere like what I'm assuming BevMo is.

    I'm just saying, it's not overly expensive or complicated if you think that family and friends would like something to drink. I've been at religious weddings that had wine--horrible, horrible wine, but still, I appreciated the effort to be inclusive of other's preferences.

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  14. I had fun at the few dry weddings I've been to. Eating, dancing and catch up with old friends....I don't need to be drunk to enjoy those things.

    However, a friend of mine recently took me and her other bridesmaids to a poll-dancing class for her bachelorette party. THAT I wish I had been drunk for.

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  15. Yeahhhh just because there is alcohol at a wedding doesn't mean everyone is getting 'drunk' ... and it IS your wedding, but those people coming who you have to do all that planning/paying/organizing for? They are your GUESTS -- their comfort and expectations are pretty important. On their end, they are schlepping from all over the country, spending hundreds on gifts/hotels/transpo/etc ... And you don't "feel like" organizing or paying to give them a damn glass of wine or some beer?? I mean.... That just sounds so cheesy to me. I understand if there were some deeper reasons (religion/family issues with alcohol/etc) then of course you could expect people to understand... But don't expect people to be so accomodating if you're skimping on food/drinks for your guests bc of the price tag. Maybe think about eloping?

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  16. When I first moved to the south, I went to a dry wedding. I was shocked, at first, and then just ate the food, chit chatted for an hour or two, and left. I didn't really know the people so it was fine. But....it was something I'd rather not do again, especially at the wedding of someone I do know, with relatives I never see, or people who are joining my family. I want to drink and party and dance and be loose. Sorry. I got dressed up, bought a gift, endured the church service and my reward is a party that makes me and everyone else feel really good about life, marriage, the future, etc. Yeah, there's alcohol in that picture. Not a lot -- I don't get drunk anymore, but a few drinks? Yes and yes.

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  17. We didn't have a bar at our wedding, just bottles of wine on the tables. The venue we were at (a church hall) had a two-drink limit which some people ignored, but which made the whole thing easier. There is a middle ground between a full-out bar and a dry wedding.

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  18. Anyone who's going to stay home because there's no booze can be permanently marked off your friends list. This is YOUR wedding, and they should be going because they support you.

    I grew up with a lot of religious people and so I've been to many dry weddings. A couple were awesome dance party fun time, but most were pretty limp. Most also took place during the day. Like others said, an early wedding and lack of sit-down dinner will excuse the absence of alcohol.

    Another thought: If your wedding party and/or family is really bummed without booze, maybe they should chip in for the extra cost themselves.

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    1. Yeah, maybe they should pay for the food if they're so hungry, or the music if they want to dance so badly.... Really?

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  19. i hate to tell you this, but most caterers are like that, in regards to the fact that they will serve whatever you buy from bevmo. why is that trashy? anyway, just buy the damn booze and suck it up.

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  20. I appreciate that it's the couple's perogative and I go to a wedding to support the couple, but on the other hand.. I would like the option of having a drink, I don't mind paying for it!
    Could you just do table wine, or some beers on the side and people can put a couple dollars in an 'honesty' jar or something to recoup your costs?

    I think whatever you decide you should definitely give the guests a heads up. Either put a note on the invite or website that it will be dry, or that there will only be table wine, etc. You'll have more upset guests if they don't know what to expect. If they get a heads up no booze, they'll be prepared for that and it won't be a nasty shock. Could you get parents and friends even to start spreading the news through word of mouth?

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    1. Please NO honesty jar. And no cash bar at weddings, either. These are your guests, not your customers!

      Opinions may differ on this one, but I think it's tacky for the bar to even have a tip jar (and we were annoyed when we found that ours put one out anyway). We covered gratuity for our wedding vendors. Our guests could tip if they chose without a tip jar to ask for it.

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    2. That happened to us, too. We covered the gratuity (even paid it in advance), and the bartender put out a tacky-ass tip jar. I was so pissed off when I found out.

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  21. I flew across 3 states to go to a dear friend's wedding only to find out it was completely dry. Most boring wedding I have ever attended. It wasn't that everyone was sober, but it removed the reason to get up and mingle.

    I'm also from the bible belt and have attended a ton of dry weddings. Expect people to leave early.

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    1. Agreed it keeps people from getting out of their seats and getting in hilarious drunken/accidental conversations.

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  22. I'm really, totally shocked at this reaction from everyone. Don't get me wrong, my fiance and I love good booze - and there will be plenty at our wedding - but seriously? Let's not forget that ALCOHOL IS A DRUG, PEOPLE. Again, I'm the kind of girl that has a glass of wine or a decent beer every night with dinner, BUT - is it so outrageous that "no one will have any fun" at the wedding of these two people (who the guests presumably love and care about) if they don't have the ability to imbibe?

    Sober Bride, I think if you don't want it, don't have it. If you don't mind having it, and think your guests will enjoy it, you can provide a little - you don't have to have an endless, open bar. But if it bothers you, or the idea that family members / crazy uncles / underage siblings will be drunk at your wedding, A WEDDING INVITE IS NOT A FREE BAR PASS. These people love you and are happy for you. I don't see what the big deal is if booze makes you uncomfortable - you are not obligated to serve it. If I were your friend I would come and dance and eat cake and not blink an eye.

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    1. so...is caffeine? not sure how The Meaning of Alcohol is relevant here.

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    2. yes, but she didn't say alcohol bothers her or makes her uncomfortable, she said she just doesn't feel like getting it for others since she doesn't consume it herself. i think that's different. it's a pain to consider that there might be vegetarians at your wedding if you eat meat, but that's considered common courtesy, no?

      i went to a wedding that had no alcohol for religious reasons, and what happened was that people kept ducking out for a half hour here and there to grab a drink at the nearby bar. i have also known people to bring flasks to weddings.

      ultimately, a lot of this has to do with knowing your friends and family and whether they'll care about this.

      my friends, not to mention my family, after asking why aliens had invaded my body and my husband's, would have been really annoyed and most definitely would have left early. but we can tell from some of these comments that some people really, truly do not care if there is no alcohol at a wedding reception. so just think about how your guests will feel about the alcohol situation and go from there ...

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  23. I've never personally seen this done before for a wedding, but I think it could make for a really great evening. Put "BYOB" (or even "BYOB in lieu of gifts") on the invite. Many of my favorite parties/restaurants have been BYOB, so why can't a wedding be that way too?

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    1. Because it's beyond tacky, that's why.

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  24. I just want to say that BevMo is not trashy. Buying booze from Costco is also not trashy. Why spend more money than you have to on booze when buying booze?

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    1. Exactly! Also, no one knows where the alcohol at a wedding comes from unless you tell them.

      I am getting wine from Costco to serve at the rehearsal dinner.

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    2. Big advantage at BevMo- they let you RETURN anything you haven't opened! We totally over ordered and got 300 BUCKS back after we returned it. An extra $300 in your pocket is really nice the week after your wedding when you finally realize how little you have left in your bank account.

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  25. Most of what I had to say was already covered. I'd just add that if you buy alcohol from a retailer whatever you don't use is generally returnable (check first, but go somewhere else if they say no). That combined with limited selection (which is FINE) should keep the booze cost down. And in the end, it won't cost much more than just the bartender (which you'll need even for soft drinks).

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    1. You often can't return beer b/c they don't know how you've controlled the temperature of it, but most other stuff is returnable.

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    2. FYI - Booze is not returnable in California, I found this out when buying my wedding wine.

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    3. Kate - not necessarily true. TJ's will let you return wine within a week's time. You just have to take store credit.

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    4. This was what total wine told me when we were buying. And from the CA ABC website:

      "A consumer cannot overbuy for a party and then return any of the unused alcoholic beverages. Neither can the recipient of a gift exchange it for other merchandise or be given a credit, because the recipient is not returning alcoholic beverages; if the retailer gave anything of value for the
      beverages, the retailer would be buying from other than a wholesaler. Sales to consumers are final except as previously set forth. The Department and federal law agree in this respect.
      (Sec. 25600(a)(2))"

      I think you just need to be sure to ask if you intend on overbuying and then returning so that you don't end up with more than you wanted in excess. Search 'return' here for the full rule.

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    5. I just posted above before I saw this. We live in California and BevMo totally let us return anything we hadn't opened including beer. Maybe it was the beer that hadn't been refrigerated, I dunno but we got a good amount of money back (see post above).

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  26. I don't see the big deal. When I know there's not going to be alcohol flowing and I want to get drunk, I bring a flask!

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  27. its not tacky to buy beer and wine from bevmo and have your caterer serve it. but yes, you have to have some alcohol. think about the toasts, toasting water is just ...weird?

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  28. wait, do people even dance at dry weddings?

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    1. Oh, hell yeah. If the music is good, no one cares if the bubbly is sparkling apple cider.

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    2. no. any wedding i have been to with no booze automatically means no dancing. day/night. and i've been to a lot of weddings. also, trader joes for average $5 per bottle of decent/good wine- i just did that for my workshop last week & spent around $200 for 20 bottles. plus they are awesome with helping you select good wines in your budget.

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  29. "Nobody will come"... REALLY ESB? Is it really so painful to pass a couple of hours with people you supposedly like without alcohol that you would not even go to a friend or family member's wedding if it was dry?

    That said, I would buy something bubbly for toasts, and a red and white wine option for dinner. It is in no way trashy to buy it without some retarded bar/caterer markup, and the guests won't automatically know where it came from since its presumably being served to them by wait staff and not out of a box with a spout bearing a "BevMo PAID" sticker.

    No need to warn your guests. Personally, if I found out a guest at my wedding was THAT unhappy due to the lack of unlimited vodka/whiskey/etc., I would prefer they just went home.

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  30. Throwing a good party can mean a lot of things. I don't think booze has to be one of them but I certainly don't want to go to a typical wedding with no booze (like, sit-down dinner, dancing, banquet hall). If the venue is interesting or there are other unusual choices, I wouldn't mind.

    I saw a wedding on one of The Blogs where the bride and groom got married at a "ranch" that was a public park. They had a picnic and espresso bar and lawn games and all sorts of jazz (it took place during the day). It looked like a ton of fun. I wouldn't mind not having booze at an event like that (although would always still prefer at least one option).

    I would just think about how your guests will engage with the event.

    Oh, and DO NOT put that there will be no booze on the actual invitation. That is tacky (put it on a website if you have one and spread it by word of mouth).

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  31. First off, if it isn't for religious reasons you must provide SOME KIND of social lubricant. It is just what you do. My dad was currently in relapse after 8 years of sobriety and we still provided beer and wine. No champagne, no hard liquor. He stayed sober, everyone else was able to participate in social norms.

    You can get absolutely tasty wine from Costco and BevMo for $10 and under. Go for foreign wines because they will be less recognizable and a better value. If you don't know what to get because you don't know, just ask someone who works there. Tell them your menu and how much you're willing to spend on how many people to drink for how many hours.

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    1. There are no 'musts' in someone's wedding. It's theirs. That can do whatever they want.

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  32. Not true, IMO. We had a dry wedding, and have heard back from lots of guests that our wedding was the best they'd ever been too, including the guy who told me he didn't know weddings could be fun.

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  33. Put a warning on the invite and if they really want to come they'll just bring their own booze! That's what tiny bottles and bras are for.

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  34. What's trashy about buying wine and beer at BevMo? If you buy trashy stuff it's trashy, if you buy good stuff, who cares where you bought it?

    You should be a gracious host and compromise. Get some beer and wine from BevMo. Everyone will appreciate the gesture.

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  35. I would find any excuse to not go to a booze free wedding. Having to mingle with a strange group of people (you know it's true, old friends, new friends, weird Aunts, family galore, or aka a group of people you would never hang with in any real life situation ever) sans booze sounds like a very special torture device.

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    1. AGREED. On behalf of all introverts, we need alcohol in order to endure your long, overstimulating weddings where you seat us with people we only relatively know and expect us to dance all night long.

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    2. @ESB thank you for that article. It hurts to interact with people.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. @Kelly clearly you didn't drink enough cocktails at your *own* wedding

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    5. Ha, perhaps. I think it was just more exhausting. Trying to talk with everyone, non-stop.

      Sorry for the deleted response I wish you could edit comments sometimes.

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  36. BevMo is actually pretty non-trashy, and they'll let you return unopened bottles!

    I would ask someone who does drink to help you pick out a red, a white and some decent beer and leave it at that. No one requires an open bar, but guests do appreciate a bit of alcohol at a wedding. It's actually a really simple solution and then you won't have to think about it anymore.

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  37. Agree w Hillary. If you are having a booze free wedding make it a booze free format. I have been to booze free dinner + dancing weddings and had a good attitude about it, but the weddings were just not fun. I acted gracious and attended because I cared for the couple...but, the weddings were a bust.

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  38. Does it make me sound less crazy if I admit that I worked at a DUI Program / sobriety program?

    Also, we were planning on serving the beer and wine. But given that most of my friends only drink hard alcohol I didn't know how that would pan over.

    And to answer some of the other commenters: Yes, it's sad. No, I don't go out to bars or serve wine at dinner parties.

    I SAID I didn't want to be a kill-joy! If it really sounds so miserable it definitely won't be dry.

    Thanks for the advice!

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    1. I don't think you sounded crazy, just questioning.

      My feeling is that it's nice to offer *something* but people should take what they can get. You don't need to offer a full bar - if your family really wants alcohol they can suck it up and have wine or beer. If they can't live without their own favorite brand of liquor, let word get out that you won't be serving anything else so that they can prepare themselves accordingly.

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    2. Based on your clarification that you intended to go the beer/wine route - of course it's perfectly fine, respectable, and, yes, even very classy to serve exclusively beer and wine at a wedding. In fact, I tend to regard the wine/beer weddings that I've attended as a little classier and more elegant than the full-on bar/hard alcohol approach. Perhaps it's partially because an elegant French colleague once told me that wine-only weddings are more the norm where she comes from.

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    3. oh jesus, AGAIN with the french.

      @sober bride i can confidently say that your friends/family will be more than pleased with beer/wine. they'd much prefer that over a dry wedding.

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    4. @Celia unless of course they have headache issues with beer/wine like me. i fucking hate beer/wine only events.

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    5. you get to bring your flask, uncle steve.

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    6. hmmm... true story. quite honestly, i have ZERO experience on the subject of dry weddings (never been to one/didn't have one/am shocked they exist), so i'm just happy she'll be at the very least be offering SOMETHING. but yeah, beer/wine/liquor weddings are where it's at., IMO.

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    7. Hi! I just want to say that I had a "sober" wedding in October, and it was fantastic. How I handled the situation: it was at a restaurant, there was a cash bar for people who wanted to drink and I told my low-budget drinking friends to bring flasks. Also, we had a day wedding, which was half the price (of an evening buyout) and made the whole thing more of a non-issue. We had a fantastic time and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, danced, etc. It wasn't really missed. But it is nice to provide SOMETHING for the people that really cannot enjoy a wedding without a little toddy. Hope this helps!

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    8. In the UK it is pretty common for wedding's to only have beer and wine, and some champagne for the toasts. If there are spirits you buy them at the bar. When I hear dry wedding I think of orange juice and lemonade which I would be a bit disappointed by, I don't think we have them over here either!! But Beer and Wine well that's just fine :-)

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    9. Sober Bride, I think the fact that you're taking everyone's concerns into consideration is great but in the end it's YOUR WEDDING. If you find some creative ways to keep people having fun without serving liqueur I'm sure it will be alright. You could do a signature drink on top of the beer and wine if you really feel like being accommodating, or maybe put out a bowl of punch and invite Uncle Steve to spike it.

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    10. As just snother opinion if you are still reading this thread. The Mister and I had our wedding at a restaurant and because we knew we had some pretty bougie guests who really like to drink we did this...

      Beer, Wine, and a couple of specially concocted cocktails were on us. The rest (if they wanted it) they had to pay for. This got us out of possibly having an insane bill at the end of the night with guests possibly having $400 to $500 glasses or the most rare and expensive liqueurs and wine.

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  39. We had a sober wedding - my husband is a recovering alcoholic, and we have many active alcoholics on both sides of the family. We did let people know on our website. We had a full house, a rad DJ, and tons of dancing till early morning hours.

    So, it is possible. People will survive a couple of hours w/ out alcohol.

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  40. we bought wine from Bevmo (5 cent wine sale) for our wedding, and beer and it was totally fine. people opened bottles themselves and poured their own drinks. you don't need a bartender if they're not going to be mixing drinks. we just set up a table and put a "wine" and "beer" sign on it. done!

    maybe you could just buy some proseco or champagne so that people have something to drink to toast you, but buy extra so people can keep drinking it if they want.

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  41. do whatever you want but i would have a lot more fun at a wedding with booze versus one without it. in fact i might not go if it didn't have booze. but i also might not go to your dinner parties and you wouldn't come to my birthday celebrations at my neighborhood bar. but maybe that's why we aren't friends. YOUR friends on the other-hand are probably more flexible and accommodating than I am... which is why they're your friends. if you are that unwavering in your day-to-day life than not having booze at your wedding won't be a surprise to anyone.

    you don't sound crazy. you sound healthy.

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  42. My husband and I don't drink either (like you, not for any special reason really), but we did serve beer and wine at our wedding. That's what most of our family and friends drink anyway, but even if your group prefers the harder stuff, I think most will be fine with beer and wine. If you're particularly worried, just spread the word via word of mouth or your website, if you have one, that it's beer and wine only. That's what flasks are for.

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  43. My husband and I do drink, but to keep costs down we served beer & wine only at our early afternoon wedding. It was only a few hundred dollars (nothing compared to the food, and we didn't even serve a full meal!), and very worth it. People will be wanting to celebrate your marriage, and part of that for a lot of people is alcohol.

    Maybe you could also have a fun mocktail along with the beer & wine so that it feels a little more "you".

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  44. We attended a dry wedding once. Actually- I think they provided a couple bottles of champagne but they were empty in 30 seconds. Honestly, without some drinks to distract the rest of us and get us mingling, the whole thing just felt like one huge, elaborate photo shoot. They had 3 photographers and we were all forced to stand around and watch them pantomime an entire wedding- but it all felt focused on the photos. That felt tacky to me, but all would have been forgiven if they had provided drinks. Weddings are stressful for guests too, and some of us would really like a well deserved glass of wine after all the hustle of getting a gift and dressing up and dragging your spouse. I am sure you will have a lovely wedding with or without, but no matter how lovely, I would most likely leave the dry one early.

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  45. I've known quite a few couples who don't drink for various reasons and they've all approached this issue in different ways. Most had a dinner/dancing reception with a limited bar for guests who were interested, one had a brunch with no dancing, and a few just went for completely dry.

    The only one that was uncomfortable to me was when the wedding was over (from the start of the ceremony to the sendoff) in under two hours.

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  46. God this is my nightmare. I really hope that this bride isn't the one whose wedding I'm attending in June. Please, Jesus, take the wheel.

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    1. Don't worry. I'm not getting married in June.

      Jesus has saved you from sobriety for one event.

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  47. Sadly, one of the best things about a wedding is an open bar & the excuse to get drunk on someone else's dime. I have been to 1 dry wedding (I was sad to learn it was going to be dry AFTER I bought my BM's dress) but I honestly had a great time. The food was good & the DJ was awesome, which didn't cause for any awkward day time dancing. I was there to celebrate with the bride & groom...you can drink any day of the week but how often do you celebrate a loved one's wedding or have a kick ass party with your family and friends? The BM's and I kept the party going after the wedding at a club in NY where we could drink whatever we wanted. Basically, people should be attending your wedding because they love you & the groom, not because you have a freaking open bar/alcohol.

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  48. my wedding was "dry" because me and my guy's parents are a fancy mix of mormons and hardcore alcoholics. however, we got married on an indian reservation and all my college friends snuck in half gallons of whisky from the gas station on the corner.

    no one could figure out how my brother got so drunk at a dry event

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  49. I was really just trying to gauge if it would be awkward to have a dry wedding. I don't WANT my guests to be bored/uncomfortable/awkward! That's why I asked.

    Obviously, a little over 50% of normal (I'm calling you all normal) would be. There's my answer. Now we'll be SURE to have the booze.

    I now consider most of you the mean girls in high school that tried to peer pressure everyone into drinking at prom and made fun of glasses before they became totally cool fasion accessories.

    Anyone know any good mixed drink recipes? Like sangria but not sangria? Easy to make en masse? How do you mix enough of a drink for a wedding?? In buckets?!

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    1. Stand on your own two feet woman and GOOGLE for christ sake. (though I do love the insult before the ask for help.)

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    2. Ha! I love this.

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    3. Well at least you get honest opinions here, even if they do sting a little.

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    4. @anon #1, i don't think @sober bride was being insulting with the "mean girls" comment- she was being honest. this is the esb blog where people can often be mean and i think she handled a good fair share of insults pretty well herself. and she STILL has the ability to take good advice since she clearly listened to us and decided to go the booze route. i think she's rad.

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  50. My fiance doesn't drink, I barely do. We are both ex mega-partiers though, so it's a little different than your story. However, we are still serving booze at our wedding because people enjoy and expect it. It also helps a bunch of strangers talk to one another (as messed up as maybe that is). We just decided not to focus on the booze too much. It will be there, we did it cheaply, but our focus is on everything else. We are doing: no bartender, bottles of wine on the tables for self pouring, a couple of kegs of beer, and mixed drinks in big glass dispensers with pretty slices of fruit and herbs floating around in there. You can easily find some recipes online. We are also having a couple of dispensers of iced tea and cucumber water, plus lots of fancy bottles of soda so we get fun drinks too. Honestly, the kegs are pretty cheap, the mixed drinks involve some reeeeal cheap booze, and the wine we got from a friend who is a wine distributer. It adds up, but I know it's worth it. Good luck!

    Oh, and ps, one thing we thought about but didn't do, was make like 3 different types of delicious lemonade (lavender, pink, mint) and just put iced bottles of vodka next to them. That way, people can add their own vodka if they would like. We thought that would make our friends get shitfaced, but maybe yours have more self-control.

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  51. as someone mentioned early in this thread, i assume your friends know you don't drink so i imagine it wouldn't come as a big surprise if you went with the dry option?
    it sounds like you've made the decision to serve booze anyway and i think beer and wine is perfectly acceptable, probably because Australian weddings usually don't serve spirits and we only served beer and wine at our own.
    Ours was a day wedding so people actually drank a lot less than they would had it been a dinner so if that's the case for you, you won't have to buy too much booze anyway(we waaaaaay over catered). And if people want to drink lots more, there's always the option of an after party, that's what we did and it was great.

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  52. Someone linked to APW above. Recently there was a post abt sober weddings, and commenter LPC had a GREAT comment. Forgive me for not seeking out the link but I know there is enough overlap here to not need it. Anyway, it said something to the effect that it is the bride and grooms' prerogative to not serve alcohol, but to please please "warn" your guests if they choose this. Because yes, it is awkward and out of the norm. And it is an out of the norm that DIRECTLY EFFECTS your guests. In (sweeping generalization) American culture, we expect alcohol at social events, and to NOT have that option, people appreciate a heads up. Does this mean people can't have fun without alcohol? Of course not. But if thats the expectation and then it is not an option, it is frustrating.

    Also, to reader, not the same thing as peer pressure at Prom. Key difference is we (and, presumably, your guests) are all legal drinking age. They don't give a shit if you don't drink. They do give a shit about being judged.

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  53. I went to a dry wedding last year and honestly (to preface: I like a drink or three at a wedding) it was awesome. They had a KICK-ASS mowtown band playing and people were so into dancing that it was impossible not to have fun.

    So I think they key, if you are going to go dry is to balance it out with something that is really engaging for your guests.

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  54. I think you should do whatever you want at your wedding, and if you want no booze, then you should say at the invites that will be no booze at the wedding! However, I think this really only makes sense in a morning or afternoon wedding, if you are having an evening wedding, people may just think you are cheap for not having booze.

    We just had our caterer serve a small sampling of beer and wine that we bought in bulk at the liquor store and it was perfect. I do not think it came off as "tacky," because really, who knows that you bought the beer/wine and not the caterer?

    Good luck!

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  55. It'd be one thing to have a dry wedding because of religious reasons or because one of you is a recovering alcoholic, but you're considering having a dry wedding just because you don't like to drink - I find this tacky.

    Yes it's your day, but really, apart from your closest friends and parents, no one really wants to go to your wedding. To these people, you're throwing a party, a party they're coming to hoping to have a good time. If you were planning an event (and you are) you should be considering what amenities should be included in order for your guests to have a good time - and whether you like to participate or not, drinking is one of them.

    And do not, under any circumstance, do a cash bar. It's cheap,it's tacky and it takes away from the evening. People want to come and have fun celebrating your love without having to worry about heading to the ATM. (After already getting you a gift, taking a night out of their schedule, dressing up, etc...)

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