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More and more couples are steering away from wedding receptions with alcohol. There are concerns over liability, but more important, friends and family drinking and driving. Other reasons for not including alcohol might be based on religious beliefs, health, and moral lifestyle. Regardless of the reason, not having alcohol at your wedding reception does not mean your guests will have a boring time.

If you have decided that the benefits of not having alcohol at your reception far outweigh serving it, then you can provide some excellent alternatives. First, choose to have your reception at a time when alcohol would naturally not be a consideration. For instance, if you have an afternoon wedding, choose your reception immediately following, perhaps at 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., and then have it end around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. That still provides many opportunities for guests to go out and have cocktails on their own if they like.

Instead of serving alcohol, get creative with the non-alcoholic beverages. For example, whether having a formal sit-down reception or a casual affair, you could serve sparkling wine juice, and several specialty punches that are unique, creative, and delicious. In fact, offer several different types of punch. You know the old saying, Variety is the spice of life. Another excellent option is to serve a variety of tea and coffee. Great choices include raspberry tea, Thai tea, mint tea, Cuban coffee, Columbian coffee, and so on.

If you are having your reception at a major hotel or country club, you should talk with the caterer to choose selections that do not include alcohol. Some great ideas to consider that have actually become increasingly popular include the following:
  • Bottled water Both flavored and mineral with labels that introduce the bride and groom

  • Non-alcoholic wine and beer They taste like the real thing but are minus the alcohol

  • Set up a smoothie bar You can have someone manage this table where specialty drinks are made from fruit, juices, and soda. Some of the favorite include drinks make with apple cider, ginseng, orange or pineapple juice, and pink lemonade. These are delicious and the guests will have a blast trying the different options.

  • Punch While most wedding receptions offer one, maybe two different types of punch, set up a punch table that offers as many as six different types

  • Soda Keep a nice variety of soda on hand to include diet, regular, and decaffeinated

  • Milkshakes and Malts Just like with the smoothie bar, set up a table just for milkshakes and malts and offer guests a huge array of choices

  • Virgin Drinks Many alcoholic beverages can be made without the alcohol. Some of the choices you might consider are Strawberry Daiquiris, Pina Colada, and Bloody Marys
Even when you need something for toasting, many different types of beverages are available. For instance, sparkling cider, apple-grape, or apple-cranberry are perfect choices. Your focus is providing an atmosphere for your guests, which is festive and fun. This is the time of celebration, conversation, and dancing. The most important thing is that you do not want anyone to leave drunk. Therefore, be creative and you can still have an incredibly fun reception without the need for alcohol.

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