My fiance and I have decided not to serve alcohol at our wedding. Both of our families don’t drink and we want them to feel comfortable. However, we don’t want to come off like we are cutting costs on our wedding. How can we serve non-alcoholic drinks in a fun way that our friends will enjoy?
– Cassie, Seattle, WA
First of all, there is no need to apologize in any way for not serving alcohol at your wedding. Many couples choose to “go dry” for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with shrinking a budget, whether that be due to religion, family mores, or simply not wanting to see Cousin Stu re-enact his favorite scenes from Animal House…again.
Although sparkling cider makes a perfectly good substitute for the toasts, I advise being a bit more creative at the beverage table. The best way to avoid looking like you are “cutting costs,” is to incorporate it thoughtfully into the theme and décor of your reception.
If there is a bold and predominant color at your reception, perhaps hire a bartender to create and serve a mocktail in a matching tone. I recently attended a tiki-themed reception that served pina colada and daiquiri mocktails in faux-coconut shells.
Another idea is to serve iced teas, juices, and lemonades in a variety of colors or flavors in large glass jars. Dress them up with fresh fruit or sugar-rimmed glasses.
My favorite option, appropriate for more casual receptions, is retro bottled sodas and seltzers. They, along with fun straws, can add a bit of whimsy and nostalgia that is often remembered fondly by guests.