Fact Three: Weddings Aren’t All About Alcohol

I’ve been waiting a while to blog about this. I actually had a post ready before our wedding and almost shared then, but decided to wait. I’m so glad that I did, because I have a lot more insight on the subject now.

The subject is dry weddings ’cause…uhh…we had one!

Myth: People go to weddings for the alcohol.

Fact: People go to weddings for you!

I was freaking out about the fact that we weren’t going to have alcohol at our wedding for the longest time. It wasn’t that we couldn’t afford alcohol (even though we really didn’t have the budget for it), and it isn’t that we have anything against alcohol being at weddings. In fact, the Brooches used to be big drinkers. Back in college, we spent many a nights going out with our friends and drinking fancy cocktails. But then something changed, and Mr. Brooch decided he wasn’t going to drink anymore. At all. It was a bit of an adjustment for us, but I have to be honest: I love the man Mr. Brooch has become (sober for 3 years now) and I knew our wedding needed to be about “us,” and not what we thought others expected of us. Nevertheless, I worried. We all worry about the way our weddings will be perceived (even those of us who do serve alcohol), and I thought for sure 1) people will leave right after the ceremony or dinner 2) people won’t dance and 3) people will talk behind our backs about how much our wedding sucked because of the lack of alcohol.

Well, I’m here to tell you these were the biggest myths ever! At least for us, nobody missed it! Maybe we just invited the right guests and had a very easy-to-please crowd, but not a single person complained about us not having alcohol. I don’t even think anyone asked for it when they realized it wasn’t being served. If they did, we were unaware. Not a single person bolted after the ceremony and I was shocked to see ALL OF THEM gather in the foyer for our speeches and cake cutting, and then pile into the main room to see our first dance. It was really quite amazing.

I will say that I think the alcohol wasn’t missed in large part because our wedding was on a Sunday. We had to be out of the venue by 7 pm so that it could be cleaned by 8 pm, and that made a big difference. A lot of guests drove from the Richmond/Williamsburg area, too and I doubt any of them would have drank anyway.

It was really important for me to blog about this, though because I know there’s a lot of discussion on the boards about this type of thing. I know a lot of people have really strong opinions, ranging from “dry weddings suck,” to the murmur from folks on the opposite end of the spectrum who say, “I’ve never been to a wedding that wasn’t dry!” Those debates only fueled my insecurities and well, I can’t help but think there are other brides out there nervous about their dry weddings…I just want you all to know: it’s going to be OK. People are going to still enjoy themselves, I promise! Do what works for you and your FI, as this celebration is really about the two of you anyway, and forget what the masses say because sometimes, well, they’re wrong.

Did you have alcohol at your wedding?

If not, were you nervous about how your guests would react?

Miss something? Check out other myth vs. fact posts here and here!


Mrs. Brooch

Arlington, VA
Wedding Date:
April 2011
Hi, My Name Is Miss Funnel Cake!
Mane Tails

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  1. Member
    Mrs Grape 3588 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:39 pm

    We didn’t pay for alcohol at our reception (which was at a restaurant that had a bar, so it was hard to do a totally-dry wedding). No one complained, though a few of my cousins did purchase glasses of wine. I’m inclined to think that if your guests are going to make a fuss over that, they’re probably not there for YOU (and then the question of why they were invited in the first place comes up!).

  2. Member
    crayfish 10384 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 12:40 pm

    I think this argument really depends on the type of wedding you are having. A more afternoon-ish reception? No problem! But if you’re having a late-night Saturday danceing bash, it would probably be a little more missed. I’d still happily go (not a big drinker anyway!) but i’d definitely miss the relaxing glass of wine while wistfully listening to the evening toasts with everyone all dressed up for the party!

  3. Member
    moderndaisy 6691 posts, Bee Keeper @ 12:43 pm

    I’m really glad to hear this worked out for you!! I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the same luck though. My wedding was on a Saturday night and most people were from OOT staying in hotels. My Mom alone for sure would have beat me up the side of the head if I didn’t give her a bottle of chardonnay. Our wedding party probably would have had something to say too!

  4. Member
    haelmai 321 posts, Helper bee @ 12:45 pm

    We can’t afford alcohol for our reception, but we’re having an early afternoon wedding, so I don’t think it will be that big of a deal. Unfortunately, one of my sorority sisters has already complained about it when I told her, but as neither the man nor I really drink that often, we just don’t think it’s worth it for us. So thanks for helping reaffirm it will be fine no matter what. :-)

  5. crepe Member
    crepe 331 posts, Helper bee @ 12:50 pm

    thank you so much for posting this- mine is on a sunday too, and dry because of the venue. i was completely stressing about it at first and worried that people won’t have a good time but i feel better knowing that it was a non issue at yours. i’m hoping that people are arriving to see us get married and not for the booze!

  6. Member
    FireflyT 226 posts, Helper bee @ 12:50 pm

    Our wedding is in the afternoon and I am still trying to figure this one out. For us it mostly is a cost issue since our guest list keeps growing and cutting alcohol seems like it makes more sense than cutting back on anything else. Right now we are just having wine and some non-alcoholic drinks served at lunch. I really hope guests don’t complain :(

  7. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 12:54 pm

    “People go to weddings for you” –This is so true! I’m glad your guests proved this to you at your wedding!

  8. Member
    Kinsey123 69 posts, Worker bee @ 12:56 pm

    We’re getting married on a Sunday too, but our reception starts at 11a.m. We drink, so we had always planned on having alcohol at our reception (his family drinks quite a bit), but when we looked at the time and the fact that it would cost around $1,400 more to do so, we nixed it. I’ve definitely worried and gotten some mixed reviews…but I always just tell people that if you NEED a drink between 11 and 3 on a Sunday, bring a flask. There is an after party where there will be alcohol, so I’ve been thinking that might help. Good to know people don’t totally freak out. Definitely comforting.

  9. Member
    calico61979 495 posts, Helper bee @ 12:57 pm

    Thanks for this post! We are planning a dry wedding and I worry about what people will think as well. We have some alcholic family members and then would have to get insurance. I know some people will miss it, but I hope our guests are like yours!

  10. candy apple Member
    candy apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:00 pm

    I am so glad that your guests were awesome and showed you that weddings really are about, well, the marriage!! And not the alcohol, or lackthereof :) We’re having alcohol, but I definitely would not mind if I were at a wedding where alcohol wasn’t served. Cake is an entirely different matter, though… 😉

  11. Member
    pepsint 37 posts, Newbee @ 1:06 pm

    this is a really interesting topic for me…because my family (and it’s a cultural thing- we’re west indian) fall squarely on the other side of the fence.

    we are actually having a two day event. the (hindu) wedding ceremony on Saturday morning which must be dry- per tradition. And then a reception on Sunday.

    It would have been about 30430984320984x cheaper and less stressful to do everything on the same day. But neither myself, my FI, nor my family would have been happy about that because our religion says that you should not serve alcohol and meat on the day of the ceremony.

    And for us- not partaking in booze or lamb curry is just unheard of of. so much so that we’re willing to shell out an extra 10-15Gs to make sure we can.

    Because of the budget, we considered doing only a ceremony and that’s it. BUt then we thought “people don’t come to your wedding ofr the ceremony- they come for the reception.” we felt it wouldn’t be fair not to give them a crazy rocking party.

    Thank you for the post, I never even thoguht of the anxiety that would be part of having a dry wedding.

  12. Member
    SqueakySquirrel 43 posts, Newbee @ 1:11 pm

    I was nervous, but our venue has a strict no alcohol policy (it’s a historic park owned by the city) so I worried less than if it was in a banquet hall I think. We did make sure to have alcohol available for our immediate family for the rehearsal dinner, and those are the most important people to us anyway so splurging on them wasn’t too hard to do (plus there were much fewer to serve it to).

    I think it’s a personal decision and if someone is coming to your wedding for the alcohol, you could have just skipped having to pay for their food and left them off the guest list completely.

  13. Member
    SerenaSF 681 posts, Busy bee @ 1:26 pm

    A dry wedding wouldn’t have worked for us because it wouldn’t have been a very “us” wedding… two of our most favorite things to do are eat good food and drink fancy cocktails! So in that sense a dry wedding wouldn’t be at all reflective of us our personalities.

    However, I would have no problem going to a dry wedding, and when I do go to weddings where I know the couple doesn’t drink or are not big drinkers, I limit my own consumption out of respect for them. Like you said, weddings are for the people getting married, not the alcohol!

    Great post Brooch.

  14. Member
    rtnofthemack 30 posts, Newbee @ 1:32 pm

    Some of my husbands cousins are Morman and 3 of them are married. I’ve gone to two of the weddings (ok, just the receptions) and they were both dry. But, they did have dancing after dinner available to who ever wanted to. We had fun with the fruit punch and danced at both. It was still fun and I hardly even knew them at the time. They both had Saturday wedding receptions.

    We had a full open bar at our wedding and it was funny since the rest of his family (the non- Mormans) were really excited to get to go to a non-dry wedding and to actually watch our ceremony.

    I do agree, alcohol is not what people come for. It just happens to be the “cherry on top” for some :)

  15. Member
    tea 2414 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:35 pm

    thank you sooo much for writing about this! we plan on having a dry wedding since we don’t drink and probably about 90% of our intended guest list doesn’t drink either. it really bothers me when i hear people saying how dry weddings are boring and torturous and how rude it is to NOT serve alcohol. i’ve been to some really rocking dry weddings and boring weddings with alcohol so it’s not so much the provided beverages but the people/mood of the weddings.

    i just wish people would be more supportive of the bride and groom’s personal decisions when it comes to stuff like this instead of complaining.

  16. Member
    kate02121 3092 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:00 pm

    I do plan to have alcohol but love this post anyway and totally agree with the poster above – be supportive of whatever the bride and groom decide!

  17. Member
    Knubbsy-Wubbsy 2397 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:21 pm

    To preserve my peace of mind we’re not having alcohol at the rehearsal dinner or reception. Some people might complain but those people are few and far between. Hopefully the 3 cakes and whoopie pies and Dublin Doctor Pepper distract those who would complain :)

  18. Member
    KellyBee 61 posts, Worker bee @ 2:36 pm

    We had a “nearly” dry wedding (we had a very short “social” time between the ceremony and reception where we served beer and wine, but most guests didn’t have more than 1). My husband’s family is very anti-alcohol and our reception venue was dry so I figured a short “social” time was a good compromise.

    I worried too that not serving alcohol at the reception would kill the dancing and cause people to leave for bars a block over. This didn’t happen AT ALL! In fact, the dance floor was PACKED the whole night (more than some weddings I’ve been to with alcohol)! Everyone had a blast and not once have I heard anyone even mention anything about not having alcohol there. Plus, we didn’t have to worry at all about people driving afterwards. It may not be for everyone, but it was a great choice for us!

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    KMA, Guest @ 2:48 pm

    I’ll be the outsider here – I like to drink, especially at weddings. I would never say something to the B&G, but I might complain to my husband.

    My friends and family are big drinkers though, so we had alcohol by default. No hard liquor though, which some were confused by – but I thought people could get plenty buzzed in 5 hours off beer, wine and champagne.

  20. Member
    RedRoses2 72 posts, Worker bee @ 2:54 pm

    I think that on this subject (as with a lot of things…), people complain about it “in theory,” but then “in practice” (i.e. at the actual event) it turns out fine.

    Hearing that a wedding is dry might cause the reaction of “oh man, that doesn’t sound fun,” but when they get there – guess what, it’s a fun time for them!

    I have to remind myself of this when I say “I don’t want to go to this conference for work, it’s so much hassle, I have to drive there….” And then what do you know, I end up being very glad I went and learning a lot of things/meeting new people/having a great time. Now if only they let you drink at my work conferences…. 😉

  21. Member
    Crown 578 posts, Busy bee @ 2:56 pm

    Thank you for this post, Broochy. Mr. Crown and I don’t drink alcohol at all either, and have been going back and forth whether to serve it, and if we do, what to serve. Anywho…I will show him this so we can discuss it further. You’re so right…one’s wedding day is about the couple and what is right for THEM.

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    Sarah, Guest @ 3:03 pm

    I’m so glad this worked out for you! I attended a cousin’s wedding last fall and it was dry, so many of my cousins in their 20s brought flasks and tailgated in the parking lot! It was an afternoon wedding on a college campus! Granted, the groom’s (my) side of the family tends to be “heavy” drinkers while the bride’s family doesn’t drink. I was still shocked at how rude my cousins acted!

  23. Member
    futuremrsloveday 518 posts, Busy bee @ 3:15 pm

    Thanks for posting this! We’re also having a dry wedding. Neither of us drink and most of our family/friends don’t either, so it just makes sense.

  24. spaniel Member
    spaniel 6778 posts, Busy Beekeeper @ 3:45 pm

    The best wedding I ever went to was a dry wedding. Then again, I also like to drink. I don’t judge either way, and I’m glad your choice worked out for you. :)

  25. Member
    Miss Tattoo 7521 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 4:23 pm

    Glad it worked out for you!

  26. cardigan Member
    cardigan 8645 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 4:40 pm

    I love this post and I agree 100%!

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    Ember, Guest @ 4:57 pm

    Thank you!!!! We don’t drink as much as we did in college, either, and although I’m hoping our budget allows for champagne toasts, we really can’t afford any other alcohol. I won’t miss it, and I think we invited people carefully enough and if they were only there for the part, we cut them. Ours is in a church that would allow us to serve alcohol, but I personally wouldn’t want people hammered in my parish hall anyway. I want everyone happy, but I also want them to be able to be happy for us without having to drink. Having a 2:00 wedding should make this more palatable, and the fact that we will only have finger foods should make it clear enough that an open bar wasn’t an option. Our church is also in a great location, walking distance from the hotel and the most popular restaurant and bar district, so if anyone celebrates afterward, they’ll be able to avoid drunk driving. Thanks again for affirming my hopes! :)

  28. earrings Member
    earrings 2611 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:29 pm

    We didnt have alcohol at our wedding either- no one missed it at all! It helped that our reception was held a bit earlier in the day as well (we had to be out of the venue by 10pm)

  29. Member
    Lo 538 posts, Busy bee @ 5:44 pm

    I think the time of day effects people’s perceptions. A morning or early afternoon reception would lead to a different set of expectations than a later reception. For me at least, I would expect drinking to be involved in the latter but that could be because I have never attended a dry wedding. Personally, FI and I are drinkers but because of our venue and budget aren’t serving hard liquor just local brews, wine and some fruity sangria.

  30. Member
    miss.qwerty 206 posts, Helper bee @ 12:41 am

    I’m glad that it worked out so well for you! That’s awesome that Mr. Brooch made a lifestyle choice that both of you are so happy with, and that you had a reception that jived with your lives and values. Good points about some of the ways that having an early-ish wedding on a Sunday fit in with that choice, too.

  31. glasses Member
    glasses 2749 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:48 am

    Awesome post! My friends and I like to drink so this wouldn’t have really worked for us, but I’m sure it’ll inspire those that are thinking about it.

  32. ostrich Member
    ostrich 2402 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:57 pm

    it’s so awesome to see/hear/prove that dry weddings are just as amazingly fun as weddings with alcohol. the love in the air alone is such a high!
    as for the ostrich duo, like @SerenaSF, our wedding was definitely a celebration of love..but also our favorite foods and cocktails. we each picked a favorite drink to serve our guests during the cocktail hour, poured our favorite wines during dinner and topped it off with some bubbly for our toasts.

  33. Guest Icon Guest
    beautifulkastrofie, Guest @ 7:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. My wedding is on Friday & because ours is a morning wedding and neither of us drink, we are having a dry wedding as well. I’m worried about it because both our families like to drink. Hearing about how well your wedding went without alcohol is comforting.

  34. Member
    ginnyc 556 posts, Busy bee @ 5:57 pm

    I’m a recovering alcoholic so it’s refreshing to read about someone else who has to plan a wedding with these issues. We ended up having a limited bar at our wedding. However, thanks to the cunning of the active alcoholics in our family, there were a few people absolutely smashed. Fortunately we ended the reception around ten so I didn’t have to deal with them for too long, but i really wish I could have had a wedding day where I didn’t have to deal with the heavy drinkers in my family being drunk and obnoxious. On the other hand, I know that the normal drinkers really appreciated having a glass of wine or beer with their meal. It’s a tough call! Ideally, we would have had it early in the day so it wouldn’t have had to deal with that, but that didn’t work either.

  35. tartlet Member
    tartlet 3227 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:00 am

    I’m glad everything worked out, Brooch! This is a great post to put a dry wedding out there as an option that perhaps couples haven’t considered.

  36. Guest Icon Guest
    almostmrs.v, Guest @ 12:04 pm

    Great post! This is one thing that makes me a little nervous about our wedding. Neither he or I drink alcohol- we’re having a rustic outdoor themed wedding/reception and there will be a keg of birch beer (our favorite), lemonade, and water to choose from. Hopefully our fun guest book/photobooth and games of horse shoes will be enough to distract my extended family (aunts and uncles) from being bothered by the lack of alcohol. We don’t need alcohol to have a fun time and celebrate!! (There will also be Welch’s sparkling cider for the toast)

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