Going to a Wedding - Any Tips?

Old 04-20-2017, 02:08 AM
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Going to a Wedding - Any Tips?

Hi friends. I'm coming up to a year sober and I have a wedding to attend at the weekend. I've been in bars and to places where alcohol is being served or drunk since I got sober, for legitimate reasons and with varying degrees of difficulty, but this will be the first time I've been to an event with an open bar.
Does anyone have any tips on how to get through the day? I'm honestly not sure exactly what I'm afraid of, I just know that I've never been to an event like this sober and I've no idea how to get through it without a drink, let alone have fun.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:52 AM
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Hey mad,
I went to a wedding the first month or two after quitting. My wife was with me. I told her if it gets bad we are leaving. Had a canned excuse ready and kept a non alcoholic drink in my hand so no one would ask to get me one. Left as soon as they cut the cake. It wasn't that much fun but putting a plan together is very important.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:17 AM
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I have been to a wedding sober. It was no problem for me. I just kept a non-alcoholic drink in hand. No one noticed I was not drinking. Wishing you the best.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:21 AM
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Weddings don't have an open's the reception with the drinking.

My advice, attend the wedding ceremony, skip the party.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:28 AM
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Lots of good advice here already madnellie. Carl's suggestion to attend just the ceremony and not the reception is a very good one - at the end of the day that's the most important part of the day anyway, right?

If you do go to the reception, remember that just because there is an open bar it doesn't mean you have to utilize it. I would assume you drive by liquor stores every day, and you don't have to stop at each of them and buy alcohol right?

Also know that there will be lots of people there who are NOT drinking, and not because they are alcoholics - but because they simply don't drink. It's a common trick that your addiction tries to play on you that EVERYONE will be drinking just because it's a wedding and an open bar...but it's quite the opposite. Sure there will be some who are hanging out by the bar the whole time, but you don't have to be one of them, right?
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:32 AM
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I went to a wedding at a day shy of one year sober. When you get there, grab a nice pellegrino with a lime from the bar. At the table, put your wine glass face down....they will know you are not drinking and won't fill it (and usually remove it). I was careful always to look at my hands when I grabbed my drink off the table (since there were so many wine and champagne glasses around me). I had fun and no problem!
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:31 PM
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Thank you so much everyone for the great advice. I wish I could just attend the ceremony but the bride is my girlfriend's step-sister so I'm at the top table with the family, many of whom enjoy a drink or five lol. You're right though, I will look for the people who are not drunk and stick near to them. My girlfriend isn't going to drink so that's at least one person, although she says she will find it hard not to drink so I feel kind of guilty about that.
Bunny - oddly enough, I think accidentally getting my glass filled and somehow managing to accidentally drink it is one of my fears, which I know sounds daft but it's there in the back of my mind despite rational me knowing I have full control over my limbs and mouth lol. I had never thought of something as simple as just turning the glass face down! Thank you

Last edited by Madnellie; 04-20-2017 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Hit 'post' by accident - doh!
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:50 AM
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I think the best advice ever is attend the ceremony, make a brief appearance at the reception if you feel you must, then high tail it out of there..definitely no later than the bride and groom, and preferably a quick exit well before that.

You'd have to go home if you were feeling unwell for example, or any one of a hundred other valid reasons, so it always baffles me a little why people see this differently to be honest

If you must go this is a pretty good link of stuff to consider:

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Old 04-21-2017, 01:01 AM
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Thank you Dee, that's really helpful
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Old 04-21-2017, 05:31 AM
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I quit drinking for 4 months back in 2013 and during that time I attended a wedding with an open bar. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to the event - mostly fearing what others would think because I wasn't drinking.

But nobody cared and I got through it fine. If your mind is made up that you do not want to drink, you won't.

I am not tempted to drink at all. I have worked too hard to get to where I am and I respect my sobriety too much to blow it all.
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Old 04-21-2017, 05:46 AM
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Every wedding reception I've ever been to also served soft drinks. If you do feel overwhelmed, just leave a little early.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:40 AM
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I will say that I left the reception about an hour after dinner. Once people started to get liquored up I knew it was my time to leave.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by doggonecarl View Post
Weddings don't have an open's the reception with the drinking.
good point.

when I go somewhere alcohol is served, I have 3 criteria:
1- right motive
2- be in fit spiritual condition
3- have an escape route
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:10 AM
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I attended a nieces wedding out of state and over Memorial Day with backyard BBQ's etc at around a year sober.

I made sure I had a car and the keys. I stayed for quite awhile, didn't struggle really but was fairly bored. I was sort of out to prove I could have fun without drinking. Turnout no one cared if I was having fun or not - I wasn't the one getting married. Good lesson for me.

I learned some truths that night, one of which was simply I didn't like to be around those who were chronic in their drinking - just vile frankly. No telling how many I offended over the many, many years of drinking.

I enjoyed the weekend sober interaction with relatives, mostly. I went in determined that a party wasn't going to trip me up.

Pretty simple -
don't take the first drink

You know you - are you ready to make this step?

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Old 04-21-2017, 11:29 AM
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I find a good tool for getting through events and actually enjoying them, is shifting my focus to other people. No one is really looking at me or caring whether I drink or not. I get a club soda, put a smile on my face (even if I don't feel like it, initially), then look around for someone who might need company or encouragement. Is someone's grandma sitting there alone? go talk with her and ask her about her grandchildren. If it's a low budget party, do they need help with setup or cleanup, or keeping the buffet stocked? You can ask ahead of time for an assignment.

The funny thing I notice now about work parties and weddings, etc, is there are actually a lot of people there not drinking, or only having one. I see them now that I'm sober, and they're usually the ones I talk with. I talk with the drunk people too, but only briefly ... reminds me why I don't drink.
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:48 AM
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Thank you everyone, I appreciate you taking the time to help so much. I will let you know how it goes
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Old 04-25-2017, 01:11 AM
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Hi everyone!
As promised here's my post-wedding update And yes, my sober date remains unchanged

The ceremony was lovely, short and very sweet. However in the time it took for the photos to be taken and for everyone to make it to the reception there already a few rather tipsy people, compounded by the free shots at the end of the reception line. My step-mum-in-law was there to give me a heads up about the shots so I could just avoid any awkwardness and head into the hall, which was wonderful.
The reception itself was very boozy, my girlfriend went to the bar for me and the barman was quite taken aback at the order of two Pepsi's, joking that they were the only soft drinks he'd served so far that day. He was an absolute Godsend for the whole evening, making the best virgin Caesars I've ever had and not once did I have to worry about him making me an alcoholic drink by accident I did ask my girlfriend to taste my drinks if neither of us had watched them being made, just to be safe and I was very careful to keep my drink in my sight at all times so as not to confuse it with an alcoholic one belonging to someone else.
As challenges go, I don't think I will ever go to a wedding with more alcohol consumption than this one lol, so I'm actually glad it came along when it did as despite my fears beforehand I made it through the night with no disasters. It was a longer day than I was hoping for as there were activities and speeches between each course of the meal so the reception ran from about 5pm but pudding wasn't served until around 10pm followed by coffee and the first dances. We left after we'd had a little dance, at around 1030.

I wouldn't say I had fun, but it certainly wasn't the hell I was expecting. I was mostly bored as I was unable to take part in some of the silly games and a lot of the conversation was drunken nonsense of the kind I used to be a master of (and miss very much now I'm all sober and shy), but it was all very good humoured and pleasant. I just kept reminding myself that I was there for the bride and groom who had been kind enough to share their day with me, and that it was only for a few hours. I had my escape plan ready and I made sure to get outside for walks in between courses - the smokers were heading out regularly too, so no one even noticed. I was concerned I would come over as much too quiet and introverted as I'm quite shy when I don't drink but as the night wore on I was reminded that drunk people mostly just want to talk and have someone listen, so I was more than happy to be a sounding board and be of service that way.

It was lovely to come home and not just pass out and it was even lovelier not to wake up hungover the following morning. I did find the whole thing very exhausting mentally, but I'm OK with that, if it takes me a few days to feel 100 per cent again then so be it. If I'd still been drinking it would take me a lot longer to get over it.

So, in conclusion (or the TL/DR version):
There's a wealth of helpful tips on this thread, they really helped me and will hopefully help others too.
Being around very drunk people actually reduced my desire to drink. It was sobering (pun fully intended) to see how I used to behave and not just on special occasions like most of the people at the wedding, but just because the day ended in 'y' or some equally daft 'reason'.
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