Celebrating without alcohol: How to de-centre alcohol from your wedding

May 2024 | 9 minutes

While wedding traditions vary from country to country, as well as between faiths, it’s certainly the case in the UK that you’ll find in many weddings seem to revolve around alcohol. So, what to do if you’re cutting back on, or cutting out alcohol, and you want to move the focus away from booze on your special day? Get our take on decentering alcohol from your wedding day.

Firstly, we think congratulations may be in order, as you’re probably reading this blog with upcoming nuptials in the diary – how exciting!

Even more congratulating may be on the cards as seemingly you’re looking to break with the norm and try something different for your big day by exploring how you move the focus away from alcohol at your wedding. That’s not easy, and we’re happy to be here to help you with some handy suggestions.

Why you might want to move the focus away from alcohol at your wedding

There are many reasons why you might want to take this approach on your wedding day; maybe you or your partner are alcohol-free yourselves, perhaps you want to help support a guest/guests that lead alcohol-free lifestyles, maybe it’s for religious reasons, maybe you’re the designated driver, or perhaps you’re simply trying to keep your costs down. And the best part is, because it’s your and your partner’s special day and no-one else’s, the two of you get to decide what’s most important to you as a couple.

Stay in the present

Whether you’ve heard about (or experienced first-hand) the stress of organising a wedding, you’ll be familiar with how, at times, it can be easy to lose perspective and sweat the small stuff. With the gargantuan amount of effort and planning that goes into most weddings, you and your partner aren’t going to want to miss a second of the day itself. Wouldn’t it be a shame to find yourself with patchy memories (or maybe more embarrassing memories than you would have liked!) or what is set to be the best day of your life? Staying in the present with loved ones will give you the best chance of making it a day to remember.

Give yourself and your guests options

If you or your partner have been on an alcohol-free journey yourselves, you’ll have a good idea of what your favourite boozeless tipples are by now, so you can get the bar stocked with some really good options. As we touched on before, there are many reasons why yourselves or your guests may not want to, or may not be able to drink, on your wedding day. Or guests may simply want to have some great alternatives to fall back on if they’re planning to drink a bit less. Having a good stock on alcohol-free beer, wine or cocktails gives people choice and makes it feel like much less of a ‘big deal’ to opt for. In fact, we’d wager that if you tasked your bartender to muster up creative alcohol-free cocktail creations for your drink’s menu, it’d take off quickly with your guests. No one likes to miss out after all!

Money, money, money

Let’s not beat about the bush, most weddings are expensive. Even if you’re sticking to a budget, we’ll bet costs have mounted up. Not spending a packet on booze could be a real saving. And if you’ve decided not to drink or to drink less, you’ll have more time to enjoy all the other things you spent money on for your big day.

Drinking less at your wedding will also leave you with a better chance of letting your best self-shine through. As we all know, the best wedding speeches are the ones from the heart - not the incoherently drunk ones (which often feature your loved ones’ retelling of your most cringe-worthy moments, which given a few less drinks, they wouldn’t have dreamed of airing in public!). So, if you’re planning on making a speech yourself, cutting back on the booze on your wedding day might just be the key to really smashing it.

And when the festivities are all over, and it comes to your wedding night, having a bit less booze in your system might just help you feel your best for the experience. (Check out our factsheet on alcohol and sex for a little more info on this one!).

The golden oldies

You might be thinking, well this is all well and good but what will my parents/ grandparents / aunties/ uncles/older relatives make of all this? It’s true enough that attitudes towards alcohol and celebration can vary a lot between generations. You may feel a sense of expectation from some older members of the wedding party about the role alcohol will have to play in your big day. If you think this is going to be a dynamic of your wedding, it might be a good idea to address this with loved ones before the event. If you haven’t sent your invites out yet or have a space online for FAQs, you could even add a note about your approach to drinking during the event into there. Managing expectations ahead of time not only gives people a chance to get used to the idea, but it’ll also be one less thing for you and your partner to field during your day so you can focus on the fun stuff. Win win!

Just try to keep in mind that how you celebrate your day is up to you and your partner. Your guests are there to celebrate you both, and that includes your choice regarding the role alcohol will play (or not play) at your wedding. We hope you have a wonderful day!

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