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Secretly Sober Bride Called Out For Not Informing Guests About Dry Wedding On Invitations

Bride holding a champagne glass filled with water
stoffies/Getty Images

When it comes to big events like weddings, it’s wild to think of how much say guests think they have in the festivities.

From the food choices to the decor, there’s always someone coming forward with an opinion, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

In the days leading up to her wedding, Redditor Ok_Cartographer_7439 started to respond to questions from her guests about what to expect at the wedding.

But when the subject of drinking came up, the Original Poster (OP) was uncomfortable with the wedding her guests expected from her.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for not allowing alcohol at my wedding and not telling people why?”

The OP and her fiancé decided to have a dry wedding. 

“I (28 Female) am marrying my fiancé James (25 Male) in September.”

“We sent the invites out in January and made no mention of the fact we won’t be serving alcohol at the wedding, but we won’t.”

“We will only be serving non-alcoholic options, and there won’t be any available for people to people to buy at the bar.”

The OP didn’t want to share why the wedding would be dry.

“I’m a recovering alcoholic (sober for four years and seven months), but if I’m out socially and a discussion about having alcohol comes up, I always lie and tell people I’m seriously intolerant to alcohol and it makes me very sick.”

“I just don’t want people to know about my sobriety, it’s none of their business.”

“Only my best friends and immediate family know (and my fiancé, obviously).”

Questions about the wedding recently came up.

“James’ birthday was in early April and we rented the room above a pub (yep, big fun for the recovering alcoholic as you can imagine) to celebrate.”

“Convos about our wedding came up and I don’t remember exactly how, but I ended up talking to a group of not-so-close friends (more so James’ friends and my acquaintances) about the wedding.”

“I said it was going to be an alcohol-free wedding and they were pretty incredulous, especially as James’ birthday was not alcohol-free.”

“They asked why and I said I wasn’t giving a reason, there’s just no alcohol.”

“They asked if I was pregnant, and I said no. I just don’t want alcohol at my wedding.”

The friends were critical of the OP’s decision.

“I was called a buzzkill and told that people go to weddings to drink and that it’s polite to put money behind the bar for your guests, particularly if they are evening guests.”

“It ended up in this big debate about drinking at weddings.”

“One of our much closer friends joined the convo and asked why I didn’t just tell them all why I don’t drink.”

“I said it was none of their business, pretty rudely to be honest, but I was getting p**sed off at this point.”

“One of James’ friends said being honest about it was the least I could do, and it was wrong of me not to at least explain myself.”

“One of them also made a fairly unpleasant joke at my expense, basically suggesting I’m the ‘ball and chain’ now for James.”

The OP was still reluctant about telling the truth.

“I took myself out of the conversation because I was upset, but I still don’t think I owe anyone an explanation despite what they say.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some supported the dry wedding but recommended better communication.

“NTA. You are not obligated to have alcohol or to explain.”

“You are the a**hole for not putting it on the invites. Weddings aren’t fun for a lot of people, and they need the social lubrication to get through.”

“This isn’t because they are alcoholics, just some people aren’t comfortable in large social gatherings and, realistically, they are celebrating you, but they don’t get to socialize with you much at a wedding.”

“Completely your choice to explain why, but I think you’d find a lot more support if you did give the reason. Right now, without explaining, you run the risk of people bringing their own alcohol.” – Slight_Necessary8246

“NTA for not wanting to talk about your personal reasons, but if you don’t want people to react on the day of your wedding, you need to manage expectations and make it known to your guests.”

“If you don’t tell them, everyone will assume there will be drinking at the reception.” – champagneformyrealfr

“NTA for choosing to have an alcohol-free wedding and for not telling people the reasoning behind it. You are free to choose what you want and do not want at your own wedding. You don’t have to share your personal information or history with anyone that you don’t want to.”

“Keep in mind if you don’t have alcohol, people are going to talk about it and either make up reasons why you didn’t have it or someone will know and word will get around through gossip.”

“However, I would say that you might be slightly an AH for not indicating on the invites that the wedding would be alcohol-free. Not having alcohol might influence a guest’s choice to attend.”

“Also, people who are annoyed there is no alcohol will be more annoyed if they discover this at the wedding rather than beforehand. Expect scenes like the one at your fiance’s party to repeat itself at the wedding.” – someperson717

“You don’t owe anyone a reason why you’re not having alcohol but you should’ve put that it would be an alcohol-free wedding on the invite.”

“NTA.” – No_yogurtcloset_1020

“NTA, but not telling people kind of isn’t cool. People make plans around the idea of potentially getting drunk. Babysitters are hired, hotels are booked… the assumption is typically that there’s going to be alcohol.”

“I don’t think you’re an AH for not telling people in advance, but it is the polite and adult thing to do.”

“Yes, some people might try to sneak some in, but I highly doubt it would be a very big issue. Most people will respect a dry wedding if they’re told ahead of time.”

“Alcohol changes the circumstances of attending a wedding. I remember my fiancé and I booked a hotel room for a wedding an hour away from our house so we could drink. If I showed up and it was a dry wedding, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it would be a little frustrating. I’d be a little irritated, not because I NEED alcohol, but because it’s safe to assume weddings will have alcohol and I planned accordingly.”

“Typically you should put on the invitation if there is a deviation from the norm. It’s like having a dress code but not telling people… kind of unfair. I wouldn’t get that angry or call the couple getting married a**holes, but still, I’d be irritated.”

“I don’t think you’ve considered that most adults have to plan their nights around the ability to get drunk. They’re going to expect alcohol, and they’re going to make plans around that.” – Zula13

“You can go to a bar to drink whenever you want. You go to a wedding to celebrate the people getting married. Yes, there is usually alcohol as part of that celebration, but it shouldn’t be your main reason for attending a wedding.”

“Honestly, anyone turning down an invite because they can’t have a drink after the ceremony are not the people I would want at my wedding. It’s not a frat party. OP is NTA here.” – Iamthedargon

Others insisted on disclosing the dry wedding, to the point of being angry about it.

“YTA: Honestly, you might have an actual riot on your hands if people show up to a wedding and there is no alcohol if you don’t warn people beforehand.”

“People get p**sy when they are surprised by something negative. Every culture is different, but I go to a wedding to drink. I wouldn’t travel and spend hundred of dollars to go to a wedding that was dry.”

“You aren’t the AH for not providing booze, but you are for not warning people. I think you know this and keep it secretive because you know you’ll get a lot of no RSVPs. People will leave early to go to bars together FYI.” – Additional_Day949

“Why didn’t you simply state in your invite that it will be a dry wedding and that there will be no exceptions and it will be strictly enforced? Seems simple enough.”

“People expect to drink at weddings. It’s a cultural norm. It’s totally up to you to have a dry wedding but you need to make that clear upfront when you invite people.”

“YTA. You are under no obligation to serve alcohol at your wedding or to explain why your wedding is dry, but definitely YTA for not telling people up front.” – Plonted

“YTA. Not for not having alcohol at your wedding perse BUT you seem to be going through an extreme amount of steps to try and make sure there’s just not any alcohol. It comes off as extremely judgemental and pretentious.”

“Like it or not, alcohol at weddings in Western cultures (even if a cash bar) is the norm.” – JSmith666

“YTA. I’m fine driving to a dry wedding ceremony and staying for the important parts of the reception, dropping off a nice gift, then going home.”

“I am not okay spending money on transportation or possibly a hotel, on top of the gift, in preparation for a party and finding out I can have a soda.” – Immunocompromisedale

“You aren’t TA for not having alcohol at the wedding.”

“And while people don’t have to hear your story, when you host other events that include or are even centered around alcohol, you can understand why your friends would be confused.”

“I think you need to be more consistent in your approach to hosting events with alcohol and/or better communicate so that your friends know what to expect from the get-go. That’s where you verged into YTA territory.” – Bookssportsandwine

Later, the OP responded to the feedback to add “BYOB” to her wedding invitations. 

“A few people have brought this up, so I thought I’d address it. We didn’t put ‘BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer)’ on the invitations, because BYOB isn’t really a thing here with these kinds of venues, so we figured people won’t (if they do, I can’t stop them from drinking it, but I’d rather they didn’t).”

“However if we put that it’s a dry wedding more people will try and bring their own.”

“And because we’ve told the venue there’s no alcohol, we have to pay a very steep corkage fee if people bring it and the venue staff notice.”

“So we’d have to pay a considerable amount if someone was really obvious about it, and we all know drunk people aren’t great at secrecy!”

After reading more comments, the OP shared an update.

“All of my comments are being downvoted (so I guess I know how this judgment will go!), so I’m not sure if people will see my comment below on this, but I think I’m just going to mass email our guests telling the truth.”

“It makes me feel awful to tell people I’m an alcoholic, but then I can say that it’s a dry wedding and ask them not to bring alcohol.”

“Then the bandage is off, and if they judge me, then they judge me.”

“That’s probably better than lying anymore seeing as the lie never made much sense anyway.”

While the subReddit could understand the OP wanting to have a dry wedding, and reassured her that she didn’t have to disclose her story if she wasn’t ready, they all agreed that she needed to disclose something.

Some were furious about the idea of discovering a dry wedding upon arrival, while others were simply annoyed, but all could guarantee the OP would be asking for trouble if she didn’t inform her guests of the dry wedding conditions before their arrival.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.