Cheers, you’re getting married! But, what if your preferred beverage to cheers with is alcohol free? It’s totally possible to have a fun dry wedding if you don’t want alcohol at your event. It’s also possible (and encouraged in 2023) to have a “traditional” wedding bar that is intentionally inclusive to non-drinkers and includes delicious, amazing non alcoholic or mocktail options for everyone to enjoy.
No matter your reasoning for abstaining from alcohol, we have some tips for creating a wedding bar that will serve up a good time, alcohol not included.
Continue reading for our tips on having a successful dry wedding, and to learn about our favorite, elevated non-alcoholic beverage options made here in Vermont!
Worried About How Guests Will React to a Dry Wedding?
If you’re considering hosting a dry wedding, your top concern is likely how guests will react. First, like any choice with your wedding, it’s up to you and your partner. This is your day and it’s up to you both how you want to celebrate.
That said, because drinking at weddings is very common, we recommend communicating that it will be a dry event. If your community isn’t big on drinking, or if it’s known you and your partner don’t drink, it likely won’t be a very big surprise in the first place.
If your wedding is larger, or if you think it’ll be a surprise, share that you won’t be serving alcohol on your wedding website. Something simple like “We will be serving a variety of our favorite mocktails and nonalcoholic beverages at the reception.” Keep it upbeat; you don’t need to apologize!
(Note: if you’re planning to provide extensive non alcoholic options in addition to a traditional alcohol bar, there’s no need to call this out on your website.)
Secondly, there are plenty of ways to make your wedding fun! 2021 Vermont bride Jessica shared that while they had some alcohol at their wedding, it was largely a dry event. “It’s entirely possible to enjoy a wedding celebration without drinking!” says Jessica. “It helped me stay very present throughout the wedding, and I was really able to enjoy every detail.”
The team at TÖST, the Vermont company behind delicious, sparkling non alcoholic beverages, agrees. “There are plenty of ways to celebrate your wedding without alcohol. The rise in delicious, celebratory non alcoholic options in the past couple of years makes it easier than ever to host a sober wedding.”
The Importance of Offering Non Alcoholic Options at your Wedding (Even if You Drink)
Even if you plan on hosting a “traditional” alcohol bar, we highly recommend offering a variety of non alcoholic options. “Lots of people enjoy alcohol and alcohol-free beverages together, so having options for people to make their own decisions can be a successful strategy,” says the TÖST team. “Over 80% of non-alcoholic beverage purchases are made by people that drink, and 58% of global consumers are drinking more non alcoholic beverages in the last year alone.”
Those numbers tell us that it’s important to provide a variety of ways to celebrate. We strongly encourage couples to think beyond soft drinks and offer more options such as signature mocktails and elevated non alcoholic beverages (our picks below).
Tips for a Successful Dry Wedding
Communicate Expectations with Guests
As mentioned, our first tip is to communicate with guests that no alcohol will be served. This sets the expectation ahead of time so nobody is surprised on the day of the event.
While you don’t need to justify your decisions, if you feel called to share more information behind your choice, you can. Jessica said that was helpful in her planning process. “Alcohol will come up a lot during your planning process. It’s popular for a lot of people, but it may not be a part of your story as a couple, and that is ok,” she says. “Communicating that will help loved ones and friends get a better understanding of where you are coming from and what to expect on your wedding day.”
Communicate Expectations with Vendors
Alcohol often works its way into other aspects of the day, such as ceremonial rituals and photo opportunities. Communicate with your vendors about your plans so they are on board with your vision. Be sure to chat with your DJ (or whomever is emceeing the event) if you’re skipping toasts or to avoid any popular songs that promote drinking, such as “Shots”. Also speak with your clergy member or officiant about alternatives for any ceremonial alcohol if needed (ex: an alternative for Communion wine).
Offer Delicious Non Alcoholic Drink and Mocktail Options
It’s 2023 – a “dry bar” does not have to mean a boring one! There are so many delicious, elevated non alcoholic drink options to choose from – including several made right in Vermont!
In addition to a variety of beverages, we suggest working with your catering team to create a signature mocktail or two. Like a traditional bar, this can be a fun way to showcase your personal tastes. Want some inspiration? Check out the TÖSTED Cranberry Apple and TÖSTED Grapefruit Fizz.
We also recommend providing real glassware, a variety of garnishes, and the other “extras” you’d anticipate seeing at a wedding for your non alcoholic bar. They truly elevate the beverage experience!
Offer a Variety of Other Activities
Lastly, a wide range of activities to keep guests busy and engaged keeps anyone’s mind off of drinking. Think: lawn games, a great DJ, a late night fire pit with s’mores, a bounce house, an ice cream truck, etc.
Our Recommended Vermont Non Alcoholic Beverages
Vermont is known for delicious craft brews, so it should come as no surprise that our little state makes a ton of delicious non alcoholic options as well. Our Vermont-made favorites include:
Zero Gravity’s Rescue Brew Club
Citizen Cider’s All Times Sparkling Cider
Cheers to Hosting a Dry Wedding On Your Terms
Whether you choose to not drink because of health, religion, or personal reasons, hosting a wedding that honors that choice is completely possibly with a little planning. There are so many delicious, celebratory non alcoholic options to choose from which can create a fun dry bar experience – or enhance a traditional wedding bar. No matter what’s in your glass, we hope that you feel inspired and empowered to choose options that allow everyone to participate in your wedding.