At my wedding reception, we had all manner of fancy beers and good champagne in addition to pop, juice, coffee, and water. We also had lots and lots and lots of alcoholic leftovers that we had to find some way to distribute. My conclusion? More people went for the dry drinks than the boozaholic ones.
In my lengthy career as a wedding attendee, I’ve been to receptions with top shelf open bars; receptions where a limited selection of beer, wine, and cocktails was served;receptions with cash bars; and receptions at which each table had been stocked with a few bottles of wine for guests to enjoy. But I have never once attended an alcohol-free reception!
If the first question that popped into your head when reading the previous sentence was “Why would you nix the booze?” consider these points. People tend to drive to and from weddings, and it’s easy to overindulge when there’s a stocked open bar staring you down. At the same time, alcohol is expensive, especially when it’s free and flowing freely. Finally, a lot of people have one or more relatives who tend to end up three sheets to the wind any time there is free firewater on tap.
So, yes, there are reasons to keep your post-nuptial celebration on the dry side, but know that popular opinion really isn’t in your court. People dig the open bar scene, and there are a lot of folks out there who can’t fathom having fun without a little social lube. On a well-known forum, a number of posters responded thusly to a bride-to-be who was considering a virgin reception:
I can’t say I’d go to your reception — you sound like a boring couple! A tight budget through choice and no alcohol? It’s one day, so live a little.
I truly believe your wedding day is to do as you wish, but I wouldn’t personally feel right at a wedding with no alcohol and I’m not a heavy drinker.
Don’t be such a cheap bitch. People are going to be bringing you nice gifts, so the least you can do is give them a drink.
They obviously need an etiquette lesson. One must indeed refresh one’s guests, but the concept of refreshments is wide open to interpretation. Plenty of long-lasting marriages have been ushered into existence over nothing more than cake and non-alcoholic punch. In fact, a quick search brings up scads of booze-free wedding punch recipes for those who’d rather not get their guests sauced up.
Not festive enough for you? Set up a with station with colorful virgin frozen drinks served in pretty glasses or a gourmet coffee tasting bar. You may be surprised to find that your guests are too busy raving about your espresso selection to notice the fact that there’s no bar in sight. If anyone with a problem with it is gauche enough to actually bring it up…well, those folks have a lot to learn about manners.
What’s your take?