You’ve made it through substance abuse recovery, found the man or woman of your dreams, and now you’re ready to get married. Great! It’s the day of your dreams, and you can’t wait to make sure every last detail from the flowers to the music is perfect. You’ve figured out what to serve for the meal that even the pickiest-eating nieces and nephews and your vegetarian sister will be happy with. Then it hits you – what about the bar?

An open bar has come to be something we expect at weddings. It’s half the reason so many people show up, as sad as that might sound. Single people mingle at the bar and scope out the groomsmen or bridesmaid. Two family members that have hated each other for decades retreat to opposite corners with their martinis. And what kind of wedding would it be without the token guest who gets so drunk that they loudly bemoan the state of their work or personal life before bursting into uncontrollable tears?

It honestly doesn’t sound like that great of a time even if you aren’t struggling with sobriety. But the last thing you need is for dozens of people to be drinking around you so that you have to smell alcohol for hours on end on what is generally a pretty stressful day. That’s practically a recipe for relapse. So, what do you do? People are probably going to be disappointed if they show up and there’s no bar, but this is your day, after all.

SOBER WEDDINGS

Martha Stewart tells us to plan to serve one drink per guest per hour of the reception. Your average wedding reception is between four and six hours. Six drinks for one guest in one night meets the Center for Disease Control’s criteria for binge drinking. So not only are those dozens of friends and family members drinking in front of you, they’re highly intoxicated.

First of all, realize that you aren’t going to be able to please everyone. You could keep the top-shelf liquor flowing all night, and there will still be people who find something to complain about. Second, think of ways to fill the time that people would ordinarily spend drinking. It’s your wedding, and if you want to set up a game of horseshoes in the middle of the reception hall, have at it. Consider taking all that money you’re going to save by not having a bar and bringing in a live band rather than a DJ, to get people more interested in the dance floor. You could even think about having the wedding in the early afternoon when people might be less upset about not getting drunk. You could have a smoothie bar or offer a selection of fancy coffees. If you feel like you have to provide alcohol, you can always limit the amount. Making a one drink per person rule could be a good compromise.

If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.