Reception Ideas

alcohol-free wedding reception

It's our choice to have no alcohol served at our reception.  Many guests (including me!) are in recovery, and we are choosing to celebrate the entire event with no wine/beer/liquor.  My question is, do the guests need to be advised of this before hand?  I admit that a part of me is uncomfortable with the idea, but we are firm in our decision.  Thoughts?

Re: alcohol-free wedding reception

  • I think you can do it a little more subtly than "no alcohol."  For example, if you have a wedding Web site, you could post the menu, including "soft drinks and nonalcoholic punch," or whatever you are serving in the way of drinks.

    I don't think it should be expected that there will be alcohol at a wedding.  Lots of people don't have it if they are in recovery, or if their religion forbids it, or if their venue doesn't allow it, or just because they can't afford it.  However, something like what I suggested would at least give people advance notice that if they really can't do without alcohol for a few hours, this is not the place for them.
  • My wedding is also alcohol free (we wanted this for LOTS of reasons) plus the venue is a park that is also alcohol free (huge help). You will lots of mixed responses on here about no alcohol. 
    I find it ok to have it that way myself and to tell guest ahead of time.  I would do a reception card and include that information there.  And if these are your friends and family that truly care about both of you, they will not care about the no alcohol part.
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  • I like the idea of putting the "menu" on your website.  I think you can also enlist the help of some "key communicators" in your family:  maybe mom, dad, grandma, favorite aunt, etc. to spread the word that it's an alcohol free reception.

    And ditto the pp who said that if people can't manage a party without alcohol to celebrate with you, then they won't be missed.

    Congrats on your sobriety.  Good for you and good luck with your planning.
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  • I don't think guests need to be notified there won't be alcohol.  That shouldn't have an influence in their decision on whether or not to attend.
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  • LasairionaLasairiona
    500 Comments
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    edited March 2010
    No, guests do not need to be made aware of that before they arrive. They should accept your gracious hospitality when they show up at the reception, but unfortunately, people nowadays have expectations that seem to cloud their ability to enjoy themselves if certain things, especially those that are entirely optional such as alcohol, are missing. If someone can't or won't celebrate with you unless you have alcohol, they should stay home because they are attending for the wrong reasons: the free alcohol rather than celebrating with you.

    In your situation with so many recovering alcoholics, anyone would have to be quite dense to not realize or accept that you have a very valid reason to not serve alcohol of any kind.
  • Thank you all SO much!  I think I reallly need the validation on this one.  Even though I know the decision is the right one, I needed a little help from "my friends"!  Thank you!
  • Congrats on your recovery! I agree with PPs. You can put it on a website, but in the end, it shouldn't matter much. And if your family knows about your struggle they will probably assume there won't be any alcohol.

    Are you having an evening reception with dancing? Sometimes a brunch or afternoon reception without alcohol goes over a little better than a late dinner. Good luck!
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  • LasairionaLasairiona
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    edited March 2010
    Time of day/night should not matter. Otherwise the impression is given that as an recovering alcoholic or someone who has never touched a drop of alcohol in their lives, that all activity ceases after lunch and you don't do anything remotely fun in the afternoon or evening. That is not true at all since many non-drinkers have a ton of fun in the afternoon and evening. But drinkers seem to think that you can't do anything or enjoy yourself at all unless you serve alcohol at any hour of the day or night and can't seem to wrap their heads around the other line of thinking, which is why so many non-drinkers have to ask if such and such is acceptable, because they are constantly being told "no, you also must provide alcohol because folks will be bored to tears without it and everyone drinks it after 11am" so they really don't know what to believe. You need to decide what works best for your group and let other people do their own thing at their own weddings.
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  • I wouldn't worry about putting it in writing anywhere, on the invitation or the web site. If you want, you can casually mention it to people who you think might want to know in the lead-up to the wedding. But it's not necessary.
  • You don't need to tell them there won't be alcohol.  Anyone who has a problem with it shouldn't be at your wedding anyway.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    no you do not need to advertise there is no alcohol.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Word of mouth would be nice. People do expect alcohol at weddings (or at least in my part of the country). I'd be fine without it, but I often make plans to have a few drinks at a wedding because weddings are a nice night out (I arrange alternative transportation, a hotel room etc). I wouldn't do all that if I knew there wasn't alcohol. I would also be disappointed if I didn't know ahead of time. I'm not a bad person, just being honest.

    And without alcohol, you can expect a shorter reception (again, just the reality based on all weddings I've attended, not trying to say you shouldn't do what you want to do). Maybe one hour after the meal.
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