Dry Weddings: 10 Tips to Get You From Invitation to Reception

Expand your options by exploring the modern dry wedding phenomenon.

Published May 10, 2023

It's customary to having a wedding toast over a bubbly beverage. Weddings have turned into massive open bar parties; yet, drinking isn't something that has to be present for people to have a great time. Whether you or your partner are sober, it's too expensive, or you just don't want to monitor your rowdy cousins with the delicate decorations, there are so many valid reasons for having a dry wedding. From letting your guests know ahead of time to planning an alcohol-free reception, we've got all the tips you could need.

It's Courteous to Let Guests Know Ahead of Time


If you're planning on having a dry wedding, then the biggest mistake to avoid is not letting guests know before they RSVP. It's courteous to let everyone know that alcohol won't be served (and perhaps not permitted) on the invitation so that they can weigh the pros and cons before making their decision.

Thankfully, chances are low that the important people in your life won't accept your invite with a dry caveat attached. But like with travel expenses, no plus ones, and no children allowed, a non-alcoholic provision needs to be listed on the invite, as well as on your wedding website if you have one.

How to Tell Guests You're Having a Dry Wedding


On your invites, after including the necessary date, time, and location information, you can add a sentence at the bottom explaining the situation. This doesn't have to be as dry as the wedding; you can put a fun and positive spin on it!

Consider writing something upbeat like, "We can't wait to celebrate this special day with you in an intimate and clear-headed way." And then you can include a clearer line on the actual RSVP card.

Or, if you're not one to mince words, you can say something like, "We've made the decision to have a dry wedding, meaning that alcohol won't be served or permitted. Thank you for wishing to celebrate such a momentous occasion with us."

Respond to Guests Asking to Bring Their Own


The hardest part of committing to a dry wedding is dealing with disgruntled guests. If you have any guests reaching out to you ahead of time to ask why you're not having alcohol, don't feel obligated to explain your reasons to them. They probably haven't questioned you about why you chose hydrangeas instead of roses, so the same goes for alcohol choices.

However, if guests ask about being able to bring their own alcohol, let them know your policy. If you want a BYOB situation, then state that on the invitation or RSVP card. If not, tell them you want everyone to be fully present on your special day and that if they come inebriated, they'll be asked to leave.

Remember, these people may be your loved ones, but they are still guests at an event and need to respect the host's rules.

Keep the Drinks Flowing With Tasty Mocktails Instead


Having a dry wedding doesn't mean you're offering water carafes only; there are far too many amazing mocktail recipes out there that you can have made for family and friends to enjoy. You might even surprise them with a new favorite.

Thinking of adding mocktails to your wedding menu? We've got endless lists of mocktails perfect for every summer, spring, winter, and fall wedding.

Sparkling juice, water, or mocktails make the perfect substitute for champagne toasts, too.

Spend Your Alcohol Budget on a Delicious Spread


When you're not having alcohol for guests to pump up the jams with, they're going to expect that you really bring home the other aspects. One way to satisfy them is with a delicious spread. Think about allocating the money you expected or thought about spending on an open bar on a star-rated meal. Years later, people might not remember how many drinks they had, but they'll definitely remember how good the food tasted.

Depending on Where You Live, Substitute With Cannabis


If you're not serving alcohol for religious or addiction reasons, then you might consider having different substances available. For instance, 22 states have legalized recreational marijuana use. So, instead of hosting an open bar, you could put together a cannabis-infused dessert bar. Guests could tailor pick how much they consume depending on their experience and still get that distinctively nonsober buzz.

Consider Having a Morning or Midday Wedding


Without having alcohol to help guests let loose and get ready to party, don't expect to have them stay for hours into the night. If you want to discourage guests from bringing flasks or bailing the minute dinner's been served, consider having a morning or midday wedding. Most people aren't pounding back beers at 9am, so it's a great way to build in a deterrent from anyone not following your rules.

Host a Non-Traditional Reception With Unique Events


Keep your guests entertained with unique events so they're having too much fun to miss the alcohol. You could hire different food trucks to come and set up shop outside of your outdoor venue or bring in carnival rides or bouncy houses for the adults to feel like kids again. Make a super fun affair by guiding guests from event to event, and they won't even notice that they haven't had a sip.

Expect Kids & Teens to Tag Along


One thing you should be prepared for is that if you're not having alcohol at the wedding, this will encourage people to bring their children. Since neither parent has to decide who has to drive that night, they'll probably forgo having to pay for a babysitter and bring the kiddos along.

Encourage Guests to Plan Their Own After Parties


Just because you want to have a dry wedding doesn't automatically mean that you're discouraging others from celebrating the day with drinking. Another great way to deter them from drinking at the wedding and reception is to encourage those who want to drink to plan an after party at a bar or club where they can drink to their hearts' content.

Dry Weddings Can Be Just as Fun


After spending thousands of dollars and months planning a wedding, it's understandable to want everyone invited to remember everything that happened. Instead of having friends and family rely on the photographers to reassemble their buzzed memories for them, use these tips to put together the perfect dry wedding for you. Remember, this is your day, and it should be celebrated the way you want it.

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Dry Weddings: 10 Tips to Get You From Invitation to Reception