• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Etiquette

Are Dry Weddings Unfair to Guests?

Hello! I'm new to this site but I have partaken in other sites' forums. My feedback there and what I've found perusing these boards is conflicting advice. I'm posting my question again here, along with the information I've thus gathered. I've separated it into QUESTION and BACKGROUND for your convenience. Thank you in advance! Please help me understand what actually is within etiquette: 

QUESTION
Is it poor etiquette for us to not host our guests with an open bar (as opposed to a dry wedding)? 
I certainly wouldn't want our guests to miss out. If I don't do an open bar, would it be acceptable to just provide a nice bottle or two of wine in the appropriate parties' welcome baskets? As an apology for my wedding not having the opportunity for them to indulge?

BACKGROUND
My fiancé and I are of a religion that prohibits the consumption of alcohol. However, we are also not to mandate our practices on those who don't share our beliefs. That said, we are, with our families, hosting a wedding of ~350 people. Of those people, <60 are open to drinking alcohol. We will have freshly made juices, blended beverages, teas and coffees, and carbonated drinks available. 

Note: Between my FH and I, we do actually have a personal and intimate relationship with each and every one of these people. 
I know the ones that don't drink actually don't drink because of one or more of the following: religion, being sober for personal/health reasons, having a career that has them on call and/or requires sobriety, being underage.

Note 2: In my culture, wedding toasts are not a custom. We celebrate the B&G in other ways. 
(An example, because I was badgered about this being possible on one of my other posts on another site: people come to the B&G and feed the couple traditional sweets and fruit with their hands as a way of passing blessings. Please don't shame this custom as it's special to us and I respect it if you're not into it. I wouldn't force anyone to partake.)

Here is the advice I received on my posts about this on other sites:
• I cannot guarantee that people don't drink even if they're members of a religion that prohibits it.
• > Thereby I shouldn't assume they wouldn't like to drink and should offer them an opportunity to drink because that is their right as a guest. 
• People will want drinks to toast. (Please see Note 2)
• Weddings without alcohol are not fun. 
• > Since it is rude to not entertain guests, an open bar is necessary for everyone.

My culture that I was brought up with is that of my parents' homeland, although I've been raised in the States - where my wedding will be held. I figured that the above advice was the norm in the States. I just began looking for how to arrange an open bar despite contentions from my FH. Then I stumbled here and now I'm confused. Thanks for helping me out!


Best Answers

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Accepted Answer
    It's totally fine to have a dry wedding! I've been to them before and had a great time. You do not need to serve alcohol for your guests to have fun, and that notion is ridiculous. 

    What's considered rude would be to have a cash bar. Your guests shouldn't have to open their wallets for anything at your hosted event. 

«1

Re: Are Dry Weddings Unfair to Guests?

  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited February 2017
    A dry wedding is not rude at all. Just make sure you offer a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks (which it sounds like you're doing).

    P.S. Can I crash your wedding?  :)
    SP29CMGragainNiceKindaSpice
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I've been to plenty of dry weddings.   No biggie.
    NiceKindaSpiceKnotYetTieddanamw
  • Hello everyone! Thanks so much for your responses. Sorry, I'm a bit clued out on the alcohol scene. I've been fretting over this for a couple of weeks now and I feel so relieved.

    Honestly, I too thought exactly what you are all saying above. It wasn't until I addressed another dry wedding post on another forum that I was told alcohol is a must. Those forums are pretty USA-centric and seem to have a distaste for dry wedding. Hence I thought it was a culture issue.
     
    @charlotte989875: The wastefulness was my biggest issue with the open bar. It's one of the main reasons why I wanted to verify.

    Thank you again! :)



    charlotte989875SP29
  • 100% ok to have a dry wedding. 
    *********************************************************************************

    image
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Have to say, I think I know what site(s) you're referencing when you say dry weddings are frowned upon. There's a difference between what guests may prefer and what's actually rude/not rude. It sounds like a lot of your guests don't drink anyway and the remaining would understand. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having a dry wedding. 
    Sure, there are lots of people out there who equate a celebration with alcohol. But nobody is entitled to alcohol for celebratory purposes. 

    I think there's more negativity with the people who are like, "I don't want people getting drunk on my dime!" versus people who actually have religious reasons or simply just don't drink. 
    ________________________________


    short+sassyOliveOilsMomOurWildKingdomMairePoppy
  • Have to say, I think I know what site(s) you're referencing when you say dry weddings are frowned upon. There's a difference between what guests may prefer and what's actually rude/not rude. It sounds like a lot of your guests don't drink anyway and the remaining would understand. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having a dry wedding. 
    Sure, there are lots of people out there who equate a celebration with alcohol. But nobody is entitled to alcohol for celebratory purposes. 

    I think there's more negativity with the people who are like, "I don't want people getting drunk on my dime!" versus people who actually have religious reasons or simply just don't drink. 
    This is where I am:

    If you are having a dry wedding because you're religious or it's not part of your  practice I understand that far more than when a couple opts for a dry wedding to cut costs or to try to parent guests by deciding how much alcohol they can consume.


    STARMOON44ahoyweddingOliveOilsMom
  • A dry wedding is perfectly within etiquette and given that you know the majority of your guests don't drink  it seems like the best option for you. Having an open bar everyone just because a small portion of your guest list drinks seems a little wasteful to me.

    Also just because someone may want an alcholic alcoholic beverage doesn't mean you have to provide them. Think of it this way, if you were part of a culture that didn't eat pork, but a small fraction really did like pork and were used to eating it at weddings, would you feel obligated to serve something you and the majority of your guests don't eat, just to satisfy someone's preferences when your provided them perfectly fine beef?  

    I think your plans sound lovely and that you are providing many different beverages for guests to choose from.  
    I love this analogy. I've been to a Mormon wedding without alcohol and it was totally fine. The few of us who DO drink understood the B&G don't (and why), and no one expected it. Religious beliefs are a totally legit reason to not serve alcohol. Also, if you're close with all of your guests I assume they know you don't drink. It sounds like you're hosting them just fine otherwise!

    (Also seconding that there's no need to provide wine in a welcome basket!)
    charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Dry weddings are completely fine etiquette-wise, as long as you have enough non-alcoholic drinks for the time of day for your guests.

    While I appreciate your desire not to force your beliefs in your guests, your guests are not entitled to alcohol.


    SP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    banana468 said:
    Have to say, I think I know what site(s) you're referencing when you say dry weddings are frowned upon. There's a difference between what guests may prefer and what's actually rude/not rude. It sounds like a lot of your guests don't drink anyway and the remaining would understand. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having a dry wedding. 
    Sure, there are lots of people out there who equate a celebration with alcohol. But nobody is entitled to alcohol for celebratory purposes. 

    I think there's more negativity with the people who are like, "I don't want people getting drunk on my dime!" versus people who actually have religious reasons or simply just don't drink. 
    This is where I am:

    If you are having a dry wedding because you're religious or it's not part of your  practice I understand that far more than when a couple opts for a dry wedding to cut costs or to try to parent guests by deciding how much alcohol they can consume.


    Actually, since no one is entitled to alcohol at a wedding, the couple/hosts don't have to provide a reason why they're not offering it.
    SP29
  • Jen4948 said:
    banana468 said:
    Have to say, I think I know what site(s) you're referencing when you say dry weddings are frowned upon. There's a difference between what guests may prefer and what's actually rude/not rude. It sounds like a lot of your guests don't drink anyway and the remaining would understand. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having a dry wedding. 
    Sure, there are lots of people out there who equate a celebration with alcohol. But nobody is entitled to alcohol for celebratory purposes. 

    I think there's more negativity with the people who are like, "I don't want people getting drunk on my dime!" versus people who actually have religious reasons or simply just don't drink. 
    This is where I am:

    If you are having a dry wedding because you're religious or it's not part of your  practice I understand that far more than when a couple opts for a dry wedding to cut costs or to try to parent guests by deciding how much alcohol they can consume.


    Actually, since no one is entitled to alcohol at a wedding, the couple/hosts don't have to provide a reason why they're not offering it.
    She didn't say they have to provide the reason, just that she finds some reasons better than others. I agree. Having a dry wedding to save money is not rude at all. I just don't like it. 
    PrettyGirlLostMyNameIsNot
  • We're always suggesting that couples cut out the "extras" (ie things that are nice but not necessary) if they're struggling with their event budget. Things like favours, photo booths, ice sculptures, and alcohol are all "extras" in my book, so wanting to save money seems like a perfectly good reason to host a dry wedding.

    The reasoning of "Our guests turn into buffoons when they drink too much and they'll drink too much if there's [an open bar / liquor / any alcohol]" does come across as patronizing.

    Of course none of this applies to OP, just my two cents.

    ILoveBeachMusicSP29cowgirl8238
  • Jen4948 said:
    banana468 said:
    Have to say, I think I know what site(s) you're referencing when you say dry weddings are frowned upon. There's a difference between what guests may prefer and what's actually rude/not rude. It sounds like a lot of your guests don't drink anyway and the remaining would understand. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having a dry wedding. 
    Sure, there are lots of people out there who equate a celebration with alcohol. But nobody is entitled to alcohol for celebratory purposes. 

    I think there's more negativity with the people who are like, "I don't want people getting drunk on my dime!" versus people who actually have religious reasons or simply just don't drink. 
    This is where I am:

    If you are having a dry wedding because you're religious or it's not part of your  practice I understand that far more than when a couple opts for a dry wedding to cut costs or to try to parent guests by deciding how much alcohol they can consume.


    Actually, since no one is entitled to alcohol at a wedding, the couple/hosts don't have to provide a reason why they're not offering it.
    JM&J!  Do you wait until I make any comment about alcohol to come on and comment about the pure etiquette associated with it?




  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Jen4948 said:
    banana468 said:
    Have to say, I think I know what site(s) you're referencing when you say dry weddings are frowned upon. There's a difference between what guests may prefer and what's actually rude/not rude. It sounds like a lot of your guests don't drink anyway and the remaining would understand. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having a dry wedding. 
    Sure, there are lots of people out there who equate a celebration with alcohol. But nobody is entitled to alcohol for celebratory purposes. 

    I think there's more negativity with the people who are like, "I don't want people getting drunk on my dime!" versus people who actually have religious reasons or simply just don't drink. 
    This is where I am:

    If you are having a dry wedding because you're religious or it's not part of your  practice I understand that far more than when a couple opts for a dry wedding to cut costs or to try to parent guests by deciding how much alcohol they can consume.


    Actually, since no one is entitled to alcohol at a wedding, the couple/hosts don't have to provide a reason why they're not offering it.
    She didn't say they have to provide the reason, just that she finds some reasons better than others. I agree. Having a dry wedding to save money is not rude at all. I just don't like it. 
    It's no one's business why a wedding is dry. People can be as disappointed as they like that there is no alcohol being served, but that's their problem, not the hosts'.

    Sometimes, even in circles where it's the norm, the hosts might choose for whatever reason not to provide it. Guests who miss it that badly can have an after-party of their own where alcohol is served, but if it's rude for guests to criticize the hospitality for other non-violations of etiquette, isn't it just as rude to do so for the lack of alcohol?
  • STARMOON44STARMOON44 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited February 2017
    Jen4948 said:
    Jen4948 said:
    banana468 said:
    Have to say, I think I know what site(s) you're referencing when you say dry weddings are frowned upon. There's a difference between what guests may prefer and what's actually rude/not rude. It sounds like a lot of your guests don't drink anyway and the remaining would understand. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having a dry wedding. 
    Sure, there are lots of people out there who equate a celebration with alcohol. But nobody is entitled to alcohol for celebratory purposes. 

    I think there's more negativity with the people who are like, "I don't want people getting drunk on my dime!" versus people who actually have religious reasons or simply just don't drink. 
    This is where I am:

    If you are having a dry wedding because you're religious or it's not part of your  practice I understand that far more than when a couple opts for a dry wedding to cut costs or to try to parent guests by deciding how much alcohol they can consume.


    Actually, since no one is entitled to alcohol at a wedding, the couple/hosts don't have to provide a reason why they're not offering it.
    She didn't say they have to provide the reason, just that she finds some reasons better than others. I agree. Having a dry wedding to save money is not rude at all. I just don't like it. 
    It's no one's business why a wedding is dry. People can be as disappointed as they like that there is no alcohol being served, but that's their problem, not the hosts'.

    Sometimes, even in circles where it's the norm, the hosts might choose for whatever reason not to provide it. Guests who miss it that badly can have an after-party of their own where alcohol is served, but if it's rude for guests to criticize the hospitality for other non-violations of etiquette, isn't it just as rude to do so for the lack of alcohol?
    And? I wouldn't ask, nor would I complain to them. No where did I say it was their problem. I just wouldn't like it. I also don't like it if you serve only vegan food or breakfast for dinner or only sweet wine or have your wedding outside. It's okay to have preferences. No one is saying a couple who doesn't serve alcohol is wrong. I feel like you're either deliberately missing the point or arguing that we can't have our own preferences which is just absurd. 
    PrettyGirlLostcharlotte989875MairePoppyMyNameIsNot
  • Jen4948 said:
    Jen4948 said:
    banana468 said:
    Have to say, I think I know what site(s) you're referencing when you say dry weddings are frowned upon. There's a difference between what guests may prefer and what's actually rude/not rude. It sounds like a lot of your guests don't drink anyway and the remaining would understand. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having a dry wedding. 
    Sure, there are lots of people out there who equate a celebration with alcohol. But nobody is entitled to alcohol for celebratory purposes. 

    I think there's more negativity with the people who are like, "I don't want people getting drunk on my dime!" versus people who actually have religious reasons or simply just don't drink. 
    This is where I am:

    If you are having a dry wedding because you're religious or it's not part of your  practice I understand that far more than when a couple opts for a dry wedding to cut costs or to try to parent guests by deciding how much alcohol they can consume.


    Actually, since no one is entitled to alcohol at a wedding, the couple/hosts don't have to provide a reason why they're not offering it.
    She didn't say they have to provide the reason, just that she finds some reasons better than others. I agree. Having a dry wedding to save money is not rude at all. I just don't like it. 
    It's no one's business why a wedding is dry. People can be as disappointed as they like that there is no alcohol being served, but that's their problem, not the hosts'.

    Sometimes, even in circles where it's the norm, the hosts might choose for whatever reason not to provide it. Guests who miss it that badly can have an after-party of their own where alcohol is served, but if it's rude for guests to criticize the hospitality for other non-violations of etiquette, isn't it just as rude to do so for the lack of alcohol?
    Who said it's OK to criticize?   We all agree that you don't *have* to have alcohol but the point is whether or not it's missed.

    @STARMOON44 makes great comparisons with the breakfast for dinner option or other alcoholic options.   You could also argue that a dessert reception should have more than dessert but a couple doesn't HAVE to provide it.  

    In the OP's case, alcohol isn't consumed and it's not a big deal to omit it.
    charlotte989875PrettyGirlLost
  • banana468 said:
    I do think in some circles/families/cultures (mine included) alcohol is not an extra. It would never be an option in any function we hosted (even our baby showers, Christening/Baptisms have open bars). 

    That's clearly not the case here, and I obviously think dry weddings are perfectly within etiquette.
    That's sort of my point.   
    I know. I was hoping that by re-stating it we would avoid this thread continuing down the "not having alcohol isn't rude" spiral that has occurred in spite of my reiterating your well made point. 

    No one has said not providing alcohol is rude. No one said it's acceptable to criticize couples that don't provide alcohol. 

    The point some of us are trying to make is that alcohol is a norm in our circles/families/culture and not an extra. That's it. 
    STARMOON44banana468MairePoppyPrettyGirlLost
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited February 2017
    Fair enough.

    But do most hosts of dry weddings voluntarily indicate the reason there isn't any booze or even announce before the wedding that it's dry?

    If it's because they're worried about drunkenness, yeah, I can see how announcing that would be offensive. But how would anyone know what the reason is if the hosts don't volunteer that information? Is it even polite to ask why there isn't any alcohol?

    No snark or criticism intended, just curious.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards