Weddings are the best place to celebrate beautiful relationships. No, I’m not talking about the happy, wedded couple. I’m, of course, talking about the pairing of alcohol and the reception. Peanut butter and jelly, Oreos and double-stuffed filling, people who can’t dance and “Shout,” drunks and open bars–the list goes on. It is part of the natural order of the universe that immediately after saying “I do,” the newlyweds should surround themselves with as many belligerent friends and family members as humanly possible.
There are three ways to be a wedding guest, and each way necessitates copious amounts of alcohol. You can show up with your long-term significant other and be subjected to a night of total randos claiming, “Looks like you two might be next!” Cue the need for booze. You can show up with someone you recently started dating but risk spending the entire reception making introductions and saying, “Oh, yeah, he’s a different person than the last guy I told you about.” Honestly, can you even imagine having those conversations sober? Last but not least, you can show up single and alone. In this case, the need to drink does not deserve an explanation.
I understand some people host alcohol-free weddings for religious or personal reasons. These sober receptions do not come as a surprise to the guests who often share and respect that lifestyle. The real tragedy of a dry wedding occurs when the bride and groom hit the guests with a dry wedding out of left field. I grow queasy recalling this memory, but I recently attended a dry wedding. A couple I knew in college finally tied the knot, and despite partying back in the day, they threw an unexpected dry wedding. I had to do “The Wobble,” soberly, as part of a flash mob. It was terrible and emotionally scarring.
I don’t want anyone else to experience the madness of an unforeseen dry reception, but on the off chance you attend one, heed the following advice if you want to survive.
Step 1: Don’t go.
Do you really have to go to this wedding? Are you in the wedding party? If not, take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are willing to spend an evening bored out of your mind in semi-formal attire. If you’re a masochist, then by all means, attend. Maybe you consider the reception some form of penance. If you value joy and happiness, then avoid this wedding like the plague.
Step 2: Hold off on dancing.
I know what you’re thinking: “Dancing will help pass the time and distract me from my sobriety.” Yes, it will, but it will have other disastrous consequences. Hitting the dance floor will immediately make you the life of the party. The rest of the guests, who are all from the town in “Footloose,” will see you as their new hero. Once you start dancing, you won’t be allowed to stop. The 40-year-olds in the crowd will hold you captive on that 8 by 10 plot, and it will be impossible to keep up your repertoire of dance moves for three hours. You will be the only thing that the reception has going for it, and if you stop, you will kill the entire vibe. Do you want the wedding fun to die because you didn’t feel like hopping back in the dance circle? No, you heartless weirdo. Wait to dance until there is an hour left–no more, no less. Learn from my “The Wobble” flash mob mistake.
Step 3: Avoid the bouquet toss.
There is nothing more pathetic than a collection of sober, single women unenthusiastically attempting to catch a bouquet. You all look at each other like the bouquet will kill you upon contact as a remix of “Single Ladies” plays. It’s even worse for men with the garter. The entire process of a groom pulling off a garter with his teeth and then tossing it to his pals is impossible to feel comfortable with when you’re sober. Good luck not cringing when you make eye contact with his grandmother.
Step 4: Leave immediately after the bride and groom.
The second the party ends for them, it also ends for you. The only redeeming thing about the stone cold sober reception is that you can drive home. You don’t have to spend money on a cab or an Uber, and you don’t have to wait around for a ride. You are free to leave the second your departure becomes socially acceptable, which, for a dry reception, means you are free to leave around 9 p.m. This leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy your evening at the nearest bar.