Can You Have a Non-Alcoholic Wedding Reception?

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Having a wedding reception without alcoholic beverages can be a priority for some couples for many reasons.

Someone close to the couple is a recovering alcoholic. A friend or relative has been hurt or even killed by a drunken driver. The bride and groom simply aren’t drinkers or they frown on drinking for religious reasons.

The wedding or reception site doesn’t allow alcohol on the premises. The families don’t want to deal with possibility of someone being hurt or killed following the reception, and the couple wouldn’t want their wedding date to forever commemorate such a tragedy.

Maybe the wedding budget simply can’t handle the added expense of serving alcohol.

Whatever the reason, it is totally acceptable to hold an alcohol-free wedding reception.

One of the most common questions asked by couples when planning a non-alcoholic reception is how to let their guests know. When sending out your invitations, don’t feel obligated to include the fact that alcohol won’t be served. Your guests will realize, once they arrive at the reception, that alcohol isn’t part of the celebration.

This won’t be a big deal for the majority of your guests. Simply have plenty of other beverages to serve before, with and after the meal.

Sparkling juice or cider is often used when it’s time for toasts. Iced tea and water are standard options to serve with the meal. Coffee, of course, can be served with the meal and following the meal.

Today’s couples are opting for creative beverages as well, including parlaying their love of java into a coffee or espresso bar. How about providing a station to whip up their favorite fruit smoothies or childhood favorites such as hot cocoa or milkshakes?

If you like the trend of having a signature cocktail for your reception, but want to skip alcohol, there’s no need to feel deprived. Serve mocktails instead of cocktails. Search online or in books for non-alcoholic drinks, choose your favorite, and give it a fun name to reflect the theme of your wedding.

What makes a good mocktail? It’s not as easy as following the recipe for a cocktail minus the alcohol. In fact, if you merely delete the alcohol from a cocktail recipe, odds are your guests will leave the event with an odd taste in their mouths due to the balance of flavors being off. Your best bet is to search specifically for mocktail recipes rather than making adjustments to a cocktail recipe.

The simplest of wedding receptions would be the cake-and-punch reception, which often includes mints and nuts. Many cake-and-punch receptions also include light appetizers such as a deli platter, tea sandwiches, and a vegetable tray. If this is the type of reception you’re planning, alcohol won’t be missed at all.

RASPBERRY LEMONADE
Not too sweet and very quenching. Serves 36.

2 (12 fluid ounce) cans frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate
6 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
2 (12 fluid ounce) cans or bottles lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
2 cups crushed ice
2 cups fresh raspberries, garnish

Combine raspberry lemonade concentrate, water and lime juice in a large punchbowl. Stir in lemon-lime soda and crushed ice. Garnish each glass with a fresh raspberry.

FAUX CHAMPAGNE
For a hint of fruity flavor, use strawberry flavored carbonated water. Serves 15.

5-1/2 cups carbonated water, chilled
5-1/2 cups ginger ale
4 cups and 2 tablespoons unsweetened white grape juice

Refrigerate club soda, ginger ale and grape juice overnight. In a large punchbowl or pitcher, combine club soda, ginger ale and grape juice. Serve immediately over ice.