My boyfriend (now husband) popped the question when I was about one month sober. Even though my husband drinks, I knew that I wanted an alcohol-free wedding.
My husband did not have a strong opinion about it either way. We spent the weekend of the wedding going to bars, dancing, and spending time with our friends and family. Since his family paid for the rehearsal dinner, it was their decision whether to have booze at that event, and they had a bar with wine, beer, and La Croix. It was great! Since my family paid for the wedding, it was our decision to have a booze-free wedding.
Here are the reasons I wanted an alcohol-free wedding:
- Being around drunk people on my big day did not sound fun.
- Saving money by not paying for people to drink.
- I didn’t want to be tempted to drink.
The choice to have an alcohol-free wedding is a personal one, and many people who are sober have weddings with booze and still enjoy themselves! Everyone has their own reasons and I wanted to learn from a professional, who has been to a lot of weddings, as to what she thinks the difference is between the two. I sat down and talked with my wedding planner, Kathleen Davenport of Pineapple Processions, about my big day and dry weddings in general.
Q&A with My Wedding Planner
How much money you can save
Emily G: How much money can you save by having a dry wedding? (100 guests, 200 guests, 500 guests?)
Kathleen Davenport: Trick question! Depends on if it’s a full bar or just beer and wine. Also depends on if the client is supplying their own booze or if it’s through the caterer/venue. Consider two drinks per guest per hour. Let’s say that you’re paying $3 to $5 per drink plus gratuity. Either way, dry weddings are definitely cheaper!
For context, my wedding equation would be: 125 guests x 2 drinks per hour for 3 hours at approximately $4 per drink is equal to about $3000. That is how much money we saved by not having booze!
The Vibe and Details of An Alcohol-Free Wedding
EG: How does not having alcohol change the vibe of a wedding reception?
KD: Depends on the crowd and time of day. I wouldn’t do a dry reception late at night because it would likely be a buzzkill, unless it’s a crowd of known non-drinkers (religious types or folks in a 12 step program).
I think it’s expected that if a wedding is after 5pm, there will be drinking and dancing. In my experience, I find that dry weddings don’t dance much. It’s more of a social hour for visiting loved ones.
EG: What is your advice for a bride and groom looking into having a dry wedding?
KD: Plan a daytime ceremony with light food, cake and punch. Keep it short and sweet, spend that money on the honeymoon or a down payment on a house.
EG: What are your favorite alcohol-free drink options for a wedding reception?
KD: Love a good mocktail in a cute glass. Anything pink and frilly makes my day. I am also secretly a big fan of old school punch. The pineapple sherbet kind with ginger ale is a favorite.
More Thoughts about Alcohol-Free Weddings
EG: What are your thoughts about my wedding being alcohol-free?
KD: I think you put lots of creative effort into making the event fun for all ages. The timing of the day was perfect. I never felt as if it was dragging or “dead air”. I think everyone was happy and social. Those who wanted to “party hard” could do so on their own time later that evening.
I put a lot of effort into having activities and creative touches into the wedding to make sure that the guests were entertained including:
Custom temporary tattoos (Tattletale Tattoos)
Live painter (Dorothy Collier)
Elvis impersonator (Brian Lee Howell)
Pink Cadillac (Rockabilly Rides)
Photo booth (Hot Shots)
EG: What is your personal opinion on an alcohol-free wedding?
KD: I think weddings are expensive and I pride myself on saving clients money. I don’t think there is any shame in having a dry wedding. However, I often see brides who do it at night and then are upset because guests leave early in the evening. I try to warn them, but sometimes my words fall on deaf ears.
At the end of the day, I don’t care either way. As long as my client is happy, I’m happy.
EG: What else would you like to share about alcohol-free weddings?
KD: Space your activities on your timeline so that the guests stay longer. If you cut the cake and do your formal dances in the first hour, your room will clear quickly. Take your time. Make sure you walk the room and engage socially with every guest. Give them good vibes and a reason to hang out.
Why I Loved My Alcohol-Free Wedding
At the end of the day, it is a personal decision whether to have alcohol at your event. For our wedding, I loved every minute of it and did not miss the booze. We had lots of personal touches including an Elvis impersonator as the musical entertainment, a pink cadillac to drive us around, and, of course, our amazing friends and family.
Check out my post all about My Sober Bachelorette Party here!
What do you think about the tips from my wedding planner? Let me know down below in the comments!
All wedding photos taken by Jon Sharman Photography.