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Is It Rude to Not Serve Alcohol at a Wedding?

Deciding whether to provide alcohol is sometimes a touchy subject. If you search online, you’ll find a lot of opinions on is it rude to not serve alcohol at a wedding. However, there are a lot of things to take into consideration before you make a decision. You certainly don’t want your guests to think you’re rude if you don’t serve alcohol, but you also don’t want to do something you wouldn’t enjoy.

So, is it rude to not serve alcohol at a wedding? The decision is entirely up to the bride and groom. There is no clear-cut answer, but there are several things to take into consideration. Do you drink? How many of your guests drink? Are you prepared to deal with guests who drink too much? Does your budget allow for alcohol?

Before you make your decision, here are some things to think about that will help you with your decision.

Can You Afford the Cost of Alcohol at Your Reception?

According to The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study, the average amount of money spent on a reception bar/liquor was $2,300. It might seem like a big chunk of change, but most couples deem it as a worthy expense, especially after they see their guests sipping signature cocktails and having fun on the dance floor. (source)

There are options outside of spending over $2,000 on alcohol. You can cash bar where guests pay for their drinks so that you don’t have to. Or, you could decide to pay for only the wine and champagne and have a cash bar for guests to pay for any additional drinks.

Many people have the opinion that even if you don’t drink, you are obligated to provide your guests with all the drinks they want. However, you should never feel obligated to do something at your wedding that you can’t financially afford. There’s nothing like starting off your married life with new debts and massive bills to pay.

Do You or Your Guests Enjoy Drinking?

If a majority of your guests don’t even drink, then why would you offer it? Secondly, if you don’t drink, you shouldn’t feel obligated to serve it to your guests.

When a majority of your guests won’t even drink alcohol if it’s offered, then it’s not rude to exclude it from your wedding reception. You could get creative and offer something different instead: coffee bar, hot chocolate, smoothies, ice cream stand, etc. You could offer a simple menu of light refreshments where alcohol wouldn’t be expected.

If you’re unsure, you could add this quesiton to your wedding RSVP card and see how many of your guests would drink alcohol if it was offered.

Are You Prepared to Deal With Guests Who Had a Little Too Much?

Maybe you are a drinker… maybe you’re not a drinker, but either way, are you prepared for some guests to have a little too much fun?

Not all happy couples want bad memories from their wedding reception. If you know that some of your guests might take the fun a little too far, then maybe offering alcohol isn’t a good idea. You will want to also determine if kids will be at the wedding and how out of control things might get. You may want to consider saying no kids at your wedding reception.

Something else to consider here is that many venues require that you hire security if there will be alcohol present, just in case anything gets out of hand. This should be considered in case you need to add more money to your budget to cover the cost.

What Do You Think? Is it rude to not serve alcohol at a wedding?

The decision is yours. If you decide not to offer alcohol, you shouldn’t be afraid of offending your guests. It’s your wedding after all! In fact, you could simply put on your RSVP card that you are having a dry wedding reception so that your guests will know what to expect.

I hope this article has helped your make your decision! If you have any further comments or ideas, please feel free to share in the comments below!

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Hi, I’m Kristin. While I haven’t found my Prince Charming yet, I’ve been dreaming of getting married for a long long time. I started this site as a place to record all the things I’ve found and researched in preparation for my own wedding someday. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

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