Hopiate
Dedicated May 2018

Has anyone had a POSITIVE dry wedding experience?

Hopiate, on June 2, 2017 at 4:19 AM

Posted in Etiquette and Advice 138

After searching these forums pretty thoroughly, I'm genuinely curious - has anyone ever enjoyed themselves at a dry wedding? Most posters just talk about all the negative things about a dry wedding i.e. poor hosting, cheap reception, boring, etc. But have there ever been any positives? We are going...

After searching these forums pretty thoroughly, I'm genuinely curious - has anyone ever enjoyed themselves at a dry wedding?

Most posters just talk about all the negative things about a dry wedding i.e. poor hosting, cheap reception, boring, etc. But have there ever been any positives?

We are going to have a dry reception because of a variety of reasons (religion of guests, medical reasons for myself and guests, AA guests, etc.) and I come from an area where dry receptions are pretty common (LOTS of Mormons) so I'm not worried about my guests giving me side-eye. I just would like to know if anyone here has had a good time at a dry reception, and if you did, what made it fun, despite not having the typical party atmosphere? Was there really good food, a fun non-alcoholic drink bar, or something else?

(I'm not looking for the typical "No. Just don't have one." responses. I've already read plenty of reasons not to have a dry reception.)

138 Comments

  • Ella
    Super August 2017
    Ella ·
    • Flag

    I went to a dry wedding and had a good time. it was during the day so the lack of alcohol wasn't a big deal. their cocktail hour food was some of the best i have ever seen. the reason for no alcohol at this wedding was definitely not cost as the food and rest of the wedding was obviously quite costly (parents of both bride and groom did not drink for religious/cultural reasons).

    • Reply
  • N
    Master December 2016
    Nancy ·
    • Flag

    If the invitation states "Cake and Punch Reception following in the Parish Hall" at least guests will have an idea of what to expect. They can plan on stopping for dinner on the way home. No cocktails, or dancing? I think I'd put a tiny clown with balloons on the bottom of the invite. Sounds like a child's party.

    • Reply
  • Nonna T
    Master April 2014
    Nonna T ·
    • Flag

    I had fun once I left.

    And at another, when my trunk held an enormous cooler with beer, wine and liquor, ice, glasses, openers and garnish. Oh and some fancy napkins.

    • Reply
  • Shaya
    Devoted March 2018
    Shaya ·
    • Flag

    My sister had a dry wedding for religious reasons. I wouldn't do it personally but I did enjoy the day and it worked for them. People mentioned to me that they had a good time, but it's not like they'd tell the bride's sister if they hated it!

    • Reply
  • Heidi
    Dedicated August 2017
    Heidi ·
    • Flag

    There is a bar at our venue, the bar is also a lot cheaper than the usual bar. However, we are not paying for alcohol for religious reasons (family is Mormon)

    • Reply
  • Leelee
    VIP September 2018
    Leelee ·
    • Flag

    I think this boils down to personality and preference. I'm highly unlikely to have fun at a dry wedding, ever, because I like to drink, drinking is very much a part of my social life and family culture, and I have a touch of social anxiety so it really helps me in situations likes weddings.

    But there are plenty of people who claim they can have a great time without alcohol. Just find those people and invite them to your wedding Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • Lindsey
    Super August 2022
    Lindsey ·
    • Flag

    Never been to a dry wedding. I have been to a cash bar though, and we ended up still leaving pretty early. FH and I each had about 1 beer. There was a 2 hour gap while the BP drove around going from bar to bar on a party bus. Meanwhile, guests were at the "cocktail hour" with no food and the groom told the venue not to tap the kegs (that you had to pay for anyway) until the BP got there. When they finally did serve food, it was catered by Famous Lee's Chicken... This was FH's sister...

    I know people say you don't need alcohol to have fun, but it sure helps. I'm a HORRIBLE dancer, but after a few drinks, I'm able to let loose and get out on the dance floor. Definitely makes it more fun IMO.

    • Reply
  • michelle d
    VIP January 2018
    michelle d ·
    • Flag

    I have been to a few. The bad ones also have awful food and dj. The good one I went to had games, a photo booth, prizes, scavenger hunt. You can make it fun. Have it during the day. Less expectations to drink. Good luck

    • Reply
  • pammat
    VIP October 2017
    pammat ·
    • Flag

    I'm getting kind of annoyed by the you MUST have alcohol postings.

    We're having an open bar -- because our friends and family (and the FH and I) are all drinkers.

    If they weren't...we might not.

    I've been to a couple afternoon dry weddings and they were just fine.

    I've also been to some fully suckass evening top-shelf liquor flowing into the gutter weddings.

    You gotta know your audience.

    I do think a heads up that a wedding will be dry is probably good -- that way people who need that glass of wine or five won't come. (Or will, apparently, from what I've read here, penalize you in the gift-giving department.)

    But to assume that your way of hosting is the only right way, without knowing the local standards (which vary more than you might think), the bride/groom's situation, or, probably most importantly, the guests' expectations, is a little high handed.

    • Reply
  • J
    Super September 2017
    Jenny ·
    • Flag

    Yes. I went to a Muslim wedding in the Middle East. It was so cool, they had a khanjar/sabre dance, a whole roast lamb, the bride was decked from top to bottom with jewels, guests were served on literal bended knee, I got hennaed all over by an artist they hired, are you having that kind of wedding?

    • Reply
  • RZ_ToBe
    Master July 2018
    RZ_ToBe ·
    • Flag

    I went as a plus 1 to FH's friends' wedding. It was dry other than the champagne toast, and it was still just as lovely. The whole thing was done cheaply, but not in a bad way. Just simple and pretty fun while we were there. We left rather early though, as we didn't know anyone and it felt like it was ending shortly anyway.

    • Reply
  • Future Mrs. L
    VIP June 2017
    Future Mrs. L ·
    • Flag

    Dry weddings are common in our area too. I have actually never been to a wedding with alcohol. If there is music playing then I am going to dance and have a good time. Lack of alcohol has never held me back lol! However, most receptions in my area are laid back cake and punch receptions in the church. Very few have DJs and things like that.

    • Reply
  • Nonna T
    Master April 2014
    Nonna T ·
    • Flag

    Jenny I went to a Persian wedding that was similar--so cool with all the traditions!

    The bridal party had vodka at their table, the guests had none Smiley sad

    • Reply
  • Heidi
    Dedicated August 2017
    Heidi ·
    • Flag

    @pammat

    Thank you for making me laugh this morning! I love the (getting penalized in the gift department) by how your wedding is. Also how if you don't host "their" way, you are not hosting properly. Love it!

    • Reply
  • #MscoopedL
    Devoted October 2017
    #MscoopedL ·
    • Flag

    I have a lot of experience with mormon weddings and dry weddings. I feel like you just have to keep these short. Like a 2-3 hour reception at the most....BUT you know your crowd better than we do. Will people be dancing? I have been to one dry wedding where the crowd was young and danced for a couple hours! I have been to fun dry weddings, you just need to keep things moving so people don't get bored.

    ETA: If you aren't going to have the expense of alcohol maybe you could add some cool food/dessert/snack stations, hire a caricature artist, have a slide show made and projected, things to keep the eyes busy and people talking.

    • Reply
  • VC
    Master May 2017
    VC ·
    • Flag

    @pammat - You know alcohol isn't just DRY or OPEN. Consumption Bars are also an option so if you have 5 drinkers and the rest don't a consumption bar works because hey, you are only charged for what is consumed. You don't pay per head regardless.

    We had less than 50% drinkers and did consumption because it made sense. Those who want to drink can drink, those who don't wont.

    • Reply
  • Keisha
    Master September 2018
    Keisha ·
    • Flag

    @VC Its not about the money spent to host alcohol remember.

    • Reply
  • J
    Super September 2017
    Jenny ·
    • Flag

    Persian doesn't necessarily mean Muslim so they may not have had the same prohibitions on alcohol. Also, more modern city folk even in Muslim countries where alcohol is prohibited still find a way to purchase it. The one we went to however the bride was from a tribe in the interior. I give ethnic weddings a lot of leeway because it's much harder on a young couple to modernize in their cultural context than it is for most people in the US

    • Reply
  • augustlawbride
    Expert August 2017
    augustlawbride ·
    • Flag

    @Hopiate, it's also relatively normal in my area. It's kind of a don't assume either way thing.

    Most were in the afternoon where folks were done in time to go out to dinner/have a night out after if you wanted to.

    Most were intended to be short receptions in a church hall or maybe a secondary location, but with little gap.

    There was little to no dancing and basically the usual steps and done (couple arrives, first dance/father daughter dance, a little mingling cut the cake, bouquet toss, garter toss, couple leaves).

    I've never seen food run out (dry or wet) at a wedding I've attended and been to dry weddings with action stations (the ubiquitous mashed potato bar, sundae bar, etc.) and just cake and punch.

    The dry weddings I went to were fine/good because expectations were set appropriately based on time, location, and communication about area norms. Also, because they didn't try to last 6 hours like some wet receptions. The longest one was probably 3 hours.

    • Reply
  • Kmess
    Master October 2015
    Kmess ·
    • Flag

    I've been to 1 dry wedding. It wasn't that bad because it was an afternoon wedding. If it had been an evening one I think it would have been incredibly boring. Probably the most off-putting thing about it though was that they had filled champagne flutes on the tables for the toasts. I took a sip assuming it was champagne and almost did a spit take because it was sparkling apple cider and I hadn't expected the flavor.

    • Reply

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