Hi and Dry: Alcohol-Free Receptions

Lemonade StandDry weddings aren’t just for alcoholics anymore. It used to be that “dry” was synonymous with problem drinkers, and while it’s true that many people with alcohol-related issues don’t want liquor served at their weddings, others are adopting the idea as well.

For your gay reception, the advantages of a dry wedding are numerous. For starters, you’ll save a bundle of cash. Liquor is a huge budget buster, even if you’re just serving wine, and cutting it out of your affair entirely will make your wedding much more affordable.

If you’re worried about unruly friends or relatives, and think alcohol is going to help them spoil your day, a dry wedding alleviates that fear. Also, you won’t need designated drivers or hired taxis to shuttle inebriated guests home.

For your own pleasure, a dry wedding keeps the temptation to overindulge out of sight and mind. Most of us have been to parties where we don’t remember a thing the next day, and, chances are, you’d rather not forget when your dad toasts to your life partner and talks about how proud he was on the day you came out.

If you or your partner do have a drinking problem (or if a close relative does), a dry wedding is perfectly acceptable, and not something you don’t need to apologize for. However, even if you and all of your wedding party are in AA, you should inform guests on the invite that it will be a dry reception.

(The downside of a dry wedding? No one drinks, no one gets smashed, and there’s no Champagne toast. If those ideas really bother you, put the liquor back in the budget.)

If you decide to have a dry wedding, brunch or lunch affairs are terrific ideas. Most of your friends probably don’t enjoy drinking at noon, so it fits the occasion. You can have coffee drinks, dessert trays, or, for morning, donuts or a waffle station. Personally, if I go to an afternoon affair, I’m far more interested in the cupcake tree than the wine varietals.

If you want to hold your reception at night, a dry wedding is particularly well suited for a weeknight. Your friends and relatives will thank you the next day (not just for the fabulous affair, but for keeping them from having to go to work with a massive hangover).

Remember, it’s your wedding, your reception, and your decision. If you and your partner don’t want liquor served at your ceremony, the only voice of reason you need to listen to is your own. Cheers!


Photo credit: Bright Bird Photography


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David Toussaint is the author of the Gay Couple's Guide to Wedding Planning, Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony, and TOUSSAINT!.