Why this couple decided to have an alcohol-free wedding

IS A wedding really a wedding without booze? A sweeping new trend suggests it is, with growing numbers of Aussie couples opting for a “dry wedding” over a more traditional alcohol-infused nuptial celebration.

First published at news.com.au on November 27, 2016 and republished in The Daily TelegraphThe Courier Mail, The Adelaide Advertiser, The Gold Coast Bulletin, The Herald Sun, The Townsville Bulletin, The Sunday Times (Perth).

Photographer James Day has worked at over 600 weddings during the course of his professional career and says he’s been witnessing more and more couples opting for alcohol-free nuptials.

“I’ve shot quite a few weddings where alcohol has been at a real minimum or no alcohol has been served at all and often, at these weddings, there’s so much going on over the course of the day that people don’t need to rely on alcohol to have a good time,” he says.

Christo and Hannah decided to ditch the booze at their wedding, offering guests water and tea instead. Picture: James Day

Christo and Hannah decided to ditch the booze at their wedding, offering guests water and tea instead. Picture: James Day Source:Supplied

“I’m not against alcohol, not at all, but at some weddings where alcohol is a part of the celebration, there can be such a humorous contrast between the start and the end of the event … People spend all year planning to make this a classy affair for it to end in a pile of vomit out the back.”

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

For Port Macquarie’s Christo Wilkin, 24, and his bride Hannah, 23, choosing to host a dry wedding was all about ensuring their nuptials were authentic and reflective of who they are as a couple on their special day.

“We’ve never been real drinkers … I play rugby so I might have a few beers then but alcohol has never been a big part of our lives,” Christo explains.

Christo and Hannah on their big day. Picture: James Day

Christo and Hannah on their big day. Picture: James Day Source:Supplied

So when it came to planning their wedding day, Hannah and Christo decided to do things a bit differently. “The people that were going to come would share what was for us, literally, the most amazing day in our lives. Hannah and I just wanted people who really wanted to be there with us to take part in that,” he says.

Their decision wasn’t necessarily motivated by saving money or teetotalling religious beliefs but because the couple wanted their guests to share in the raw emotion of what the event means to them.

“Not having alcohol there was a preference for us; we knew it was going to be different in that sense but at the end of the day we just stuck by our decision and we just thought ‘you know what, this is what we feel like we want’.”

The guests didn’t need alcohol to have fun. Picture: James Day

The guests didn’t need alcohol to have fun. Picture: James Day Source:Supplied

APPEASING THE CROWD

Christo and Hannah decided to let their family and friends know of their decision prior to sending out their wedding invitations. “We were a bit sheepish at first as we did think some people might not like it … but we actually had nothing to worry about,” he says.

“Before we even sent out our actual hard copy wedding invitations, we spoke to every single person on our invite list about the situation and that there wouldn’t be alcohol.”

Guest’s responses, Christo says, were mixed but generally supportive. “Some questioned us and didn’t understand it at first … they were saying ‘Oh, but you could still have it’. We just said, ‘Look we really want to have you there but these are the terms that we want to have our wedding on’.

“No one actually objected and they still came to the wedding … no one took it badly or said, ‘Look I’m not coming because there’s no alcohol’. Instead most told us it didn’t matter to them at all.”

Guests playing games, instead of drinking booze. Picture: James Day

Guests playing games, instead of drinking booze. Picture: James Day Source:Supplied

THE BIG DAY

On a beautiful spring afternoon in September, the couple hosted 100 guests on the banks of the Johns River, located 40 minutes outside Port Macquarie, on what Christo describes as “the best day of my life”.

“We had the ceremony on this little hill and afterwards the reception of a really big picnic with homemade ginger beer, my grandma’s recipe, which was an absolute hit,” he says.

“Hannah also made fruit infused sparkling waters and lemonades and different types of punches and there was dancing and everyone had a really good time.”

A lack of alcohol didn’t make the speeches less emotional. Picture: James Day

A lack of alcohol didn’t make the speeches less emotional. Picture: James DaySource:Supplied

Photographer James says shooting Christo and Hannah’s wedding was a real highlight for him. “Theirs was one of the most heartfelt weddings I’ve ever been at in my life,” he says.

“When I first turned up to Hannah’s place to photograph her getting ready, I was immediately struck by the incredibly strong relationships she shared with her family, and that was the case throughout the whole day with all their guests who so obviously didn’t need alcohol to loosen up, have an amazing time or tell each other how they felt.

“It was such a beautiful wedding.”

The happy couple. Picture: James Day <a capiid="2a95ed637539e29329f62adfc86bdfa1" class="capi-video">Couples Go Mobile to Plan Their Weddings</a>

The happy couple. Picture: James Day Source:Supplied

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