From signature cocktails to flutes of Champagne, alcoholic beverages flow freely at most wedding receptions. But some couples may forgo the booze and have a dry wedding instead, often for religious, financial, or personal reasons. Luckily, you and your guests don't need adult beverages to have a great time. Here are five tips for throwing a memorable, lively, and wedding reception sans alcohol.
Inform Guests Beforehand
Since alcohol and weddings often go hand-in-hand, guests will likely expect boozy beverages at your reception. As a courtesy, give everyone a heads-up about your alcohol-free policy before the big day, either with a note in the invitation or a small mention on your wedding website. Knowing about the dry wedding in advance will keep guests from being surprised when they arrive.
Plan Entertaining Activities
Alcohol is dubbed "liquid courage" for a reason—it gives people the confidence they need to do things they ordinarily wouldn't, like bust a move on the dance floor. You can still hire a DJ to create a festive party atmosphere, but consider having other forms of entertainment as well, like lawn games, a prop-filled photo booth, or even trivia.
Throw a Themed Wedding
Think about planning your wedding reception around a particular theme (like "pool party") and hosting events related to the theme (like swimming, a barbecue, and a bonfire with s'mores). The activities will keep guests busy and social, and they probably won't miss the alcohol.
Offer Non-Alcoholic Mocktails
Having a dry wedding reception doesn't mean that guests should sip on water and soda all night. Work with your bartender or caterer to create signature "mocktails," which closely resemble the real deal. As an added bonus, all wedding guests—including children and non-drinkers—can enjoy the tasty creations!
Plan the Timing Accordingly
If you're worried that guests will react negatively to a dry reception, consider scheduling your wedding for the morning or early afternoon. Offer coffee, juice, smoothies, iced tea, or lemonade for guests to drink, and serve a delicious brunch during your reception. Chances are, guests will be less disappointed by the lack of alcohol early in the day, and they'll still have the evening free to party.