A wedding is mainly broken up into two parts, the ceremony, and the reception. A wedding reception means something different for each couple. For some, it’s a chance to share their love with family, while others see it as a chance to party with friends. During our years photographing Toronto weddings we know that there is no right or wrong way to have a wedding reception.
One hot topic that often comes up though is whether or not to serve alcohol at the wedding. A dry wedding is a wedding reception in which there is no alcohol served. So what exactly are the pros and cons of a dry wedding?
Pros of a Dry Wedding
Pro 1: Less Money
Anyone who’s ever gone to a bar in Toronto knows that liquor isn’t cheap. In fact, one of the highest costs for weddings is booze. Having a dry wedding allows couples to spend less money overall, or to spend more on areas they care about more like the wedding dress, the wedding photographer, or the venue.
Pro 2: No Drunken Drama
Alcohol can make events more fun for sure, but it can also make things messy. Our wedding photographers have been lucky enough to not witness any drunken brawls, but we’ve heard our fair share of stories. Alcohol can bring out the worse in some people. If a couple is concerned about anyone overdoing it they may want to consider a dry wedding, or at least not opting for an open bar.
Pro 3: Avoid Temptation
If the bride, groom, guests, or family members is or has struggled with alcohol in the past, it may be worth it to just not have it at the wedding. A dry wedding will remove the temptation for anyone at the reception that may be struggling.
Pro 4: Religious Reasons
While alcohol is very socially acceptable these days, many religious prohibit it. If the couple getting married is religious, or certain family members attending are, it might be more appropriate not to have alcohol at the reception. In certain cultures or religions, a dry wedding is actually the norm!
Pro 5: Alternative Reception Ideas
These days, most wedding receptions are hosted in the evening or nighttime. Drinking alcohol is typically done at these times. Did you know that historically many weddings were done in the morning though? Opting for a dry wedding means the couple can look into alternative wedding ideas such a morning brunch or afternoon tea. These are times of the day when drinking is less acceptable, so the alcohol won’t be as missed. Our wedding photographers would love to shoot a high-tea style wedding, and guests would love it too!
Cons of a Dry Wedding
Con 1: It Goes Against Expectations
The reality is that most people expect alcohol at a wedding reception. Couples that opt for a dry wedding will likely have many people questioning their decision. If a couple is planning on a dry wedding they should communicate this to guests ahead of time to curb expectations.
Con 2: Less Lively Party
This isn’t always the case, but our wedding photographers find that dry weddings tend to be less lively, especially on the dance floor. Dancing in public can be awkward, and alcohol makes people loosen up. When drinks are flowing people tend to socialize more. This isn’t always the case, but it’s something to consider.
Cons 3: Guests May Not Come
It might sound bad, but some guests may choose not to attend a wedding if there isn’t alcohol served. Weddings can be expensive for guests as well. They have to financially plan for outfits, accommodations, gifts, and travel if they’re from out of town. In return, they expect a good time, and for some people, that means having a few drinks to celebrate a happy new couple.
Con 4: Nothing to Toast With
There are lots of key moments during a wedding reception, and many of these include speeches. Wedding speeches, often from the maid of honor, best man, the couple themselves, the parents of the bride or groom, or even a welcome toast, is common. Toasting is usually done with alcohol, traditionally champagne at a wedding, and it may feel weird to toast with juice.
Con 5: They Don’t Always Work Well
Every wedding is different, and a big factor is the expectations of the guests. Many wedding guests tend to report having less fun at dry weddings though. Words such as “boring”, “cheap”, and “poor hosting” often get tossed around. It’s ultimately the couple’s choice, but if they opt for a dry wedding make sure to provide entertainment in other ways!