I do……oh no actually I don’t.

Dealing with weddings alcohol free or at least not getting hammered.

I feel like all year round is wedding season these days. I’ve never been a massive fan of them, some of them go on so long. It’s all the waiting around for the next thing to happen that gets me

I don’t go to many as I have a mostly alternative friendship group where they are not married. I’m not even sure if we are that alternative anymore as less people are getting married.

I have had a few this year, weddings that is.

All very different, which is nice.

What’s clear is weddings are a massive boozy affair. Some more than others, I would love to see an alcohol-free wedding.  If you have been to one or are planning one let me know.

Anyway, because I have been to a few it’s got me thinking about how to enjoy a wedding without being carried out on a stretcher, and remembering what happened after 6pm.


Alcohol Free.

Let’s tackle the alcohol free one first.  Maybe you have taken a break or stopped completely and you definitely don’t want to drink for the foreseeable future. You are doing really well, feeling good and starting to feel healthy.

Be prepared, particularly if it’s one of those all-day affairs, it’s a long day when everyone is drinking, drunk people are only fun up to a point: 

·       Take alcohol free alternatives with you, or your favourite soft drinks. 

·       If you need a coffee or a tea find somewhere to make one.  I have just been at a wedding and found a kitchen and made my own coffee.

·       Be the driver. Always a winner, I know I say this a lot but it works.  Particularly if there are a few people that need lifts, that also helps to keep you busy. 

·       One of the good things about weddings is there are lots of people there. Uually people you don’t know, or people you do but don’t see very often.  So, lots of people to get to know or catch up with, although this can be hard work and not my favourite thing to do, taking time to talk to everyone can take up a lot of time and make it more enjoyable.

·       Have a job, help out. Keeping busy can really help and can also be fun.

·       Play with the kids. If you like children, hanging out with them and playing games is a great way to stay alcohol free.  Even better if you like babies or little ones, offer to lend a hand, the parents will be so grateful.

·       Remember you can leave. It’s your life, you don’t have to stay until the bitter end. Alternatively, you can have a break half way through, go for a walk, have a rest, take yourself off somewhere, read a book or relax.


The Not Getting Hammered Approach.

This is for you if you have taken a break, drink very occasionally and don’t want to get caught up in the opportunity for a binge session.  You want to remember the wedding and not be dealing with the hangover from hell the next day or suffer those feelings of shame. Not quite sure what you did or worried if you offended anyone:

·       All the above applies to this as well.

·       Say to yourself you are not going to drink, this is the best way to start.

·       Drink big soft drinks slowly for as long as you can, coffee and tea.  Nice fizzy soft drinks can make you feel like you are joining in, they can hit the spot as well with your taste buds.

·       Make sure you aren’t hungry, one of the worst things about long weddings is all the waiting, so make sure you have a big brunch or lunch, this will really help.

·       The longer you can go without having an alcoholic drink the better.

·       If you do have a drink, drink it slowly and have soft drinks in between.

·       Even better restrict yourself to 1 or 2 throughout the evening.  If it’s a daytime wedding, say to yourself can have a drink at different points. 

·       The 1 or 2 drinks rule works and not drinking 2 drinks together either.  This is because after 3 or 4 you start to lose your inhibitions, drink faster, get caught up in it all and get drunk.

·       Again, remember you can leave, take breaks, go for only parts of it, the important bits.  I have just been to a wedding and people wanted to leave after the ceremony and the food.


Your drinking is about you, you will have your reasons for reducing or taking a break, remember them.  If you are a binge drinker, weddings can be an issue, free bars, everyone drinking, people excited, emotional, it’s an opportunity for disaster.  Think it through and be prepared.

Ultimately remember that this is one day, like Christmas, in 12 hrs it will all be over.  I challenge you to find the fun in the day. It’s there it really is.  I have just been to a wedding that was difficult for lots of reasons, I kept saying to myself: “it’s just one day” and “it’s not my day, its someone else’s, so I can do it for them, just for one day.”


Stephanie Chivers is a habit, addiction specialist.  Curator of the Women Who Dont Drink group and creator of https://www.ichange21.com/ the 21 day self help programme.

Contact me if you need help with your drinking, either Facebook or Twitter is best.






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