So, you’re contemplating a wedding without booze, hey? First of all, let me say “HURRAH”! Whether your decision is because you have quit the sauce yourself, doing it to save on the extortionate bar prices, for cultural reasons or for any other purpose, you can still have an absolutely belting big day. Furthermore, in my opinion, your day will be even better without alcohol. Imagine being able to remember ALL the details of your beautiful wedding and no cringey flashbacks. Wouldn’t it be amazing to start your married life or honeymoon without a hangover? Not to mention the amount of money that would be still in your bank as people won’t be taking full advantage of the “free bar.”

But where do you start with planning all this? Until recently, sober weddings were pretty much unheard of. Now there has been a major shift in the way people, especially young adults, view alcohol, with many never touching a drop (NHS, 2018). This means there is plenty of opportunity for people get their heads together and come up with alternative ways to bring the party feel and celebrations to a wedding without the “need” for the alcohol. Below, I have tried to answer some common questions you may want to consider when planning your own sober wedding.

All the weddings I have been to have included booze and I’m worried my guests will be bored without it. What can I do to entertain them instead of supplying alcohol?

When I first quit drinking I was actually amazed by how many people don’t even care if there is booze or not. It transpired, that it was more of an issue for me, as a people pleaser, to make sure everyone else enjoyed the day. I now know that the people of highest importance at a wedding are the happy couple and guests are there to watch you both commit yourselves to each other and share in your special day. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to add a little sparkle to your day and make it memorable. As a Celebrant, I always advise couples to think outside the box and to celebrate their day in a way that represents them as a couple. This can be as elegant and sophisticated or as fun and quirky as you like.

How about a ceremony in your favourite park followed by afternoon tea on blankets? Maybe with a live band and an ice cream van? How about a sun drenched beach ceremony followed by a BBQ? Celebrants are not tied to a specific time of day so consider having an evening ceremony by candlelight in a place of your choice (how romantic does that sound?) For the more adventurous and fun seeking individuals, how about hiring inflatables for you, your guests and any children? You could even use an assault course inflatable as your aisle and race to the alter with your spouse-to-be! (Sign me up now). In short, just have a think about small ways you can inject some of your personality into your day. Alternative weddings can be so much fun without booze and you will be able to reminisce and smile about it for all your years together as you will be able to recall it all! Win win!

What will I do about the toast if I have no booze?

There are so many alternatives to alcohol these days. Most supermarkets stock delicious alcohol free prosecco, beers, gins and so many more. You can hardly tell the difference in their taste. Mocktail anybody? You and your husband/wife to be could create your own signature mocktail as part of your ceremony. Your celebrant will be able to help you plan this but it is so much fun and an impressive visual representation of the joining of two people. Your guests will love it and you could make enough for them all to sample it.

What can I give for wedding favours and gifts if I don’t want to include anything alcohol related?

There are so many good quality and personalised wedding gifts on the market nowadays. How about personalised glasses, wildflowers seeds, specially blended tea bags to represent any fellow tea lovers out there, chocolates, bobble-heads for themed weddings, personalised candles, flowers, and so many more. Again, think about what makes a statement about who you two are as a couple. What defines you? What makes you unique and then think about how you can give away a piece of that in a gift. As a celebrant, I hand craft your ceremony by spending lots of time getting to know you, which means I am in a good position to offer suggestions for things like this.

What about my evening do? Won’t people be expecting a bar to get booze from? I’m frightened people won’t dance.

At the end of the day, it is your wedding. If you want to include booze then do! You could always have just a couple of hours where guests can buy their own alcoholic drinks. Alternatively, be firm in your decision. You will find that conversations are more meaningful and memorable, your guests with laugh louder and more genuinely and that everyone will be surprised at how much fun they can have completely sober. As with your ceremony, try to think of alternative ways of entertaining your evening guests. Consider a Mr(s) & Mr(s) style quiz, sweet stalls, a hog roast. How about a casino, or 80’s style games (think pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs but for grown-ups)? If it’s a summer wedding you can do so much in outdoor space, such as space hopper races, live bands or toasting marshmallows on a BBQ. Let your imagination go wild.

I’m worried people will leave early if there is no alcohol available.

I won’t sugar coat it, there is always a possibility people will leave early because they need/want a drink. However, my argument would be that with no booze they will have been fully engaged and present for the entire time they have been there. If booze had been present they would have mentally checked out hours before when the alcohol took effect. How much does someone leaving early really matter? You will have had a fantastic day and will probably be exhausted and ready to spend time alone with your husband or wife anyway. If it is really worrying you though you could always include an evening bar, as suggested above.

On a final note, planning a wedding DOES NOT need to be stressful, whether it is a sober wedding or one brimming with alcohol. I believe, the major hurdle for any couple planning to be dry at their wedding, is stepping away from the norm and you have already done that, well done! The next steps just take planning and every step should be exciting as there are a world of possibilities at your fingertips. I’m so excited for you and wish you every happiness in your married life together.

If you would like to discuss your ceremony with me feel free to give me a call or to send me an email. I’d love to hear all about your plans.

Laura x

Photo Credits

  • @Omar Medina Films
  • @lubovlisista
  • @Anna Morais
  • @Stocksnap
  • @alvaro-cvg
  • @Kobby-Mendez
  • @Analise Benevides