Alternative ways to celebrate at an alcohol-free wedding

21 Mar 2022

If you're forgoing alcohol for a dry wedding, there are plenty of ways you can still make the day enjoyable for your guests

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One in ten couples chose an alcohol-free wedding in 2021, according to a recent survey. Whether a couple has reconsidered their lifestyle choices as a result of lockdown, or their cultural or religious beliefs don't allow for alcohol, there are more reasons than you might think as to why a bride or groom would consider a teetotal wedding. 

However, that's not to say that your wedding can't still be celebratory. All it takes is some imagination and creativity to make your big day memorable in different ways. Plus, you can spare your guests a hangover the next day by doing so. 

Here are some ideas to incorporate into your wedding to make it a day to remember for all in attendance. 

1. Swap cocktails for mocktails

The easiest alternative is to swap cocktails for mocktails as your wedding reception drinks. The lack of alcohol is almost undetectable as guests will enjoy the taste sensation of botanical blends and invigorating flavours.

Consider mocktails themed on the time of year; a fruity bellini or bramble for a spring or summer wedding, or an apple and ginger mojito or white Russian for autumn or winter – all of the virgin variety. Ensure plenty of garnishes such as fruit and flower petals for the final flourish. 

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2. Have a hot drinks station

For an autumn or winter wedding, a hot drinks station works perfectly when the day is an alcohol-free zone. Centre your station on hot chocolates and coffees with various toppings that guests can help themselves to, such as whipped cream, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and sweet syrups. 

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3. Serve afternoon tea 

When it comes to your wedding catering, think about food that doesn't rely on wine or alcohol as a pairing. An afternoon tea wedding breakfast is ideal, as guests won't expect alcohol to be served. Offer a range of teas for guests to try and plenty of finger food to satisfy hungry stomachs. Serve on stands or from picnic baskets for a quintessentially British touch. 

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4. Stock up on dessert

Indulgence can take on a different form in desserts, so avert your guests' attention to the absence of alcohol with a dazzling dessert display. Put your wedding cake centre stage or opt for a macaron tower, and surround it with bitesized sweet treats such as miniature pavlovas, tempting cake pops and artisan cupcakes. 

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5. Use ice-breaker activities

Many wedding guests can find social gatherings such as weddings awkward and uncomfortable when they don't know other attendees. In this instance, alcohol is usually used for a generous dose of Dutch courage. At an alcohol-free wedding, ice-breaker activities at the wedding reception tables will help guests to communicate more naturally.

You are the thing your guests will have in common, so consider quizzes based on yourselves which everyone can input on, and with the highest scoring table announced the winner. Similarly, a game of Guess Who, also based on you as the happy couple, will be well received and keep conversation flowing. 

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6. Choose interesting alternatives for the toasts

Traditionally, the speeches are marked with several champagne toasts, but instead you could serve a signature mocktail with a personal story behind it. Alternatively, a sparkling non-alcoholic drink such as sparkling tea will satiate guests' appetite for bubbles. 

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7. Go big on your entertainment

Your guests don't have to drink to have fun, so provided there are plenty opportunities to enjoy themselves you need not worry about them having a good time. Calming musical entertainment will bridge the gap during the quieter interludes of the day, while a rodeo, casino set-up, bouncy castle, magician or gaming pod will warm guests up ahead of an evening filled with dancing. 

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Are you having an alcohol-free wedding? Tell us about your plans; email sarah.harris@archant.co.uk

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