Wedding receptions are joyous events, and the most anticipated part of them is the toast. Raising a glass of bubbly to the bride and the groom is exciting both to the newlyweds and to the guests. It’s at that point where the cocktail bar gets open for everyone.
And when parties meet alcohol, the fun never stops. But what if you’re looking into a non-alcoholic wedding toast? Does that kind of toast even exist? And if it does, how can you go through it without upsetting most of your guests?
It’s Not Unheard of Actually, non-alcoholic wedding toasts do exist. There’s even a name for it: dry weddings. So if you’re worried about the possibility that your guests will raise their eyebrows at your “weird” toasting choice, relax. It’s been done before. Brides and grooms can have lots of reasons for wanting everyone to stay sober. The most common reason is that their reception venue doesn’t allow liquor. Public spaces need liquor permits. This is true for most cities in the world. If your intended venue doesn’t have one, you’ll be forced to go dry.
Some of these possible wedding reception venues include: beaches, lakes, recreational parks, public squares, and natural preserves. Another possible reason why either the bride, the groom, or both can’t consume alcoholic drink is because of medical issues. Some diseases or medical conditions call for no alcohol consumption, such as liver or kidney disease. Some medications also cannot get mixed with liquor.
Health always comes first, so if this is the case, going dry is absolutely necessary. One more reason is if the couple (and the majority of their friends and family) are religiously obligated to abstain from drinking any alcohol. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are prohibited from drinking liquor. Muslims and Buddhists are also discouraged from doing so. So if you’ll be hosting or attending a wedding reception for a religious couple or family, expect the drinks to be alcohol-free.
How to Keep Your Guests Happy While weddings are completely the day of the bride and groom, it’s also impolite to ignore your guests. They did clear their schedule and go to the trouble of attending your event, after all. It’s also quite important to make sure they enjoy themselves even without the alcohol. One of the things you can do is to offer limited alcohol to the adults who want to drink.
This is great if you have a mixed crowd, with one part who wants to drink alcohol, and another who doesn’t. An added bonus to this arrangement, is that a limited alcohol bar is drastically cheaper than a full cocktail bar! If only the bride and groom are restricted from alcohol, or if they’re the only ones who don’t want to drink liquor, the couple can just choose another drink for their toasting. Traditional wedding toasts usually use bubbly champagne or white wine, but couples have started using their own preferred beverages these days.
If the couple chooses to toast using water while everyone else has alcohol, don’t worry – no one will notice! But if you really want to go all-out dry wedding, where alcohol is absolutely prohibited, the best way to keep your guests happy is to provide a wide selection of tasty drinks. Simple water, juice, and soda are okay, but this is a wedding! You have no reason to not get creative!
Choose a Drink Based on Your Wedding Theme
A lot of weddings use a theme. Examples include fairytale weddings, boho beach weddings, and even game or fantasy-inspired ones, like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones weddings. So if your wedding has this particular feel, you can try matching your drinks to the theme. Here are a few examples:
1. Garden or Park Weddings For outdoor garden weddings where everything’s a bit relaxed, you can opt for a high tea toast. You can use matching teacups and saucers and offer tea or coffee for the guests. You can also offer sweets or bite-sized sandwiches to go with the drinks. This will work best if your wedding is scheduled for early in the morning or in the afternoon, when guests are more likely to ask for tea or coffee instead of booze. If your wedding is set in summer, you can even try using iced tea or iced coffee for your toast. If you’re feeling a bit more unconventional, you can even try bubble milk tea, complete with a bubble milk tea bar for your guests!
2. Beach or Lake Weddings Beaches and lakes will often prohibit alcohol at the venue, so you’ll really have to do without alcoholic drink for your toast. A great alternative is to have virgin piña colada, served in coconut shells. A virgin piña colada is made with pineapples, coconut milk or cream, and ice.
3. Fantasy or Game-Inspired Weddings This is where your creativity can shine! Try looking for a drink that ties in with your theme. For example, you can use Butterbeer or Amortentia for your toasting drinks for a Harry Potter-inspired wedding. There are plenty of non-alcoholic butterbeer recipes online, and you can use any pink or red-colored non-alcoholic drink for your amortentia love potion. You can also use a red-colored “life potion” and a blue-colored “magic potion” for your game-inspired wedding. The best part is you can concoct any, or even your own, alcohol-free drink for these.
4. Seasonal Weddings Another option is to tie your drinks in with the season when your wedding is set. For example, a pumpkin spice drink would be perfect for an autumn wedding, and a non-alcoholic eggnog would be perfect for a winter wedding.
Other Non-Alcoholic Drink Ideas for Dry Weddings
Of course, not everyone has a garden wedding or a Star Wars themed wedding that can be used from which to craft a toasting drink. If your wedding is a traditional one, but you’d still like to do it dry, here are some more suggestions:
1. Mocktails This is the best alternative you can get if the majority of your guests know their liquor. Mocktails try to copy the original look and taste of cocktails, but without any alcohol. Mocktail bars are also available nowadays, so you can get one for your event and have everyone enjoy them, even the teens and kids. Here are some examples of mocktails (aside from the virgin piña colada mentioned above):
- Agua Verde – A green (verde) alcohol-free version of the Bloody Mary. It’s made with celery, cucumber, tomatillos, and green Tabasco sauce.
- Red Apple Sangria – This non-alcoholic version of Sangria uses four fruit juices. It has apple juice, lemon juice, orange juice, and sparkling white grape juice.
- Pink Grapefruit Margarita – This is a version of the margarita that even kids can enjoy. It’s made with pomegranate syrup, grenadine, lime, and pink grapefruit juice. Instead of salt for the rim, it uses colored sanding sugar.
- Mock Mimosa – This virgin version uses ginger ale and orange juice.
- Lemon Berry Mojito – This refreshing drink is perfect for a laidback garden or backyard wedding. It’s made with lemons, strawberries, mint leaves, and agave nectar or sugar cane syrup.
- Virgin Moscow Mule – This version uses ginger ale, lime juice, and club soda.
2. Sparkling Drinks If you want to go dry but also want the look of a traditional bubbly champagne, your best bet is a sparkling drink. These drinks are usually made with carbonated or seltzer water to give that distinctive fizz. Some examples include:
- Shirley Temples – This is an iconic drink that looks “grown-up” but is actually without alcohol. It’s made with ginger ale, grenadine syrup, and lemon-lime soda.
- Sparkling Grape Juice – This is a great alternative to traditional red or white wine. Just choose between sparkling red grape juice and white grape juice.
- Mock Champagne – You can try this if you don’t want your guests to think you’re not drinking alcohol. It’s made with white grape juice concentrate and chilled ginger ale. You can garnish with frozen raspberries.
If you want to have a dry wedding for any reason, go for it! There are hundreds of options to make sure your guests will have the best time while celebrating the happiest day of your life!