Hosting an alcohol free wedding reception doesn’t have to be “Dry!” Maybe certain elements of a traditional wedding just don’t fit you and your fiance. Maybe neither of you are big drinkers, or perhaps the two of you live a sober lifestyle, or maybe you simply want to avoid the extra expense of serving alcohol for your reception. Whatever the reason(s), having a dry wedding is increasingly popular, as couples defy traditions and expectations and plan nuptials that truly reflect who they are and what they stand for.

While most guests attending your wedding celebration will be happy to be a part of your big day, alcohol or no alcohol, it is helpful to set the expectation ahead of time that your wedding is going to be dry. Maybe even include a mention of your no-alcohol policy on your invitation. It can be as simple as including “We are delighted to share this special day with you and we kindly ask that no alcoholic beverages are brought to ensure an enjoyable celebration for all.” You might also want to incorporate some additional information about the non-alcoholic beverages and mocktails or perhaps the food selections you will be providing to give your guests a little something extra to look forward to.

Can I Bring Alcohol to a Dry Wedding?

Regardless of the reason for the alcohol policy at a wedding, it would be considered rude to bring alcohol unless it was specifically noted that you can. If a wedding is dry and it was indicated to guests well in advance, it would be very rude to bring alcohol to a dry wedding. 

Tips For Hosting a ‘Dry’ Celebration:

The Right Venue

The right venue can make a huge difference when it comes to hosting a dry wedding celebration, as it sets the tone for your entire event. Perhaps a relaxed setting, like a park or garden, may be more fitting than a banquet hall. But approach this subject with your planner and venue, as some venues may have their own rules regarding alcohol. It can be helpful to broach the subject right off the bat upon considering venues.

Set Clear Expectations

It is important to be upfront about your plans for a dry wedding right on your invitation. Remember, there is nothing wrong with having a dry wedding, but it is your responsibility to convey this message to your guests.This will also help avoid any awkward or uncomfortable moments and conversations on the big day. 

Put On A Show

If possible, think about investing in high-quality entertainment experiences to get people up and moving who might otherwise feel that they need a little liquid courage to hit the dance floor. This might mean working with your DJ or band to come up with a few songs that are guaranteed to get your crowd going. You could also add a musician or two to compliment your DJ, such as a saxophone player, electric violinist or percussionist!

Mocktails?! Yes Please!

Work with your bartender to create special drinks and experiences.

Just because you’re not having alcohol, doesn’t mean you can’t have a bartender—or some fun drinks. Beautiful glassware can also level-up the bar experience when hosting a dry wedding.

Delicious Eats!

If drinks are not an offering on your big day, then more attention will likely go to the food! This Might mean working with your caterer to add a couple more items to your cocktail hour canapes or maybe including special chef stations that you usually wouldn’t see at a wedding. Or perhaps this means bringing in a food truck at the end of the night that just serves your favorite soft-serve ice cream or your favorite late-night snacks! 

Consider shifting your timeline.

A sober wedding might be more conveniently held during the daytime, because it’s likely less expensive, for one, but also because guests may be more comfortable with the not-drinking aspect of the event. The expectation of a daytime or brunch wedding removes the expectation of a rager. Or you could simply host a 3 or 4 hour celebration, instead of the standard 5 or 6.