We Have Beds Available! Call for Same Day Admission.855-722-6926
We Have Beds Available! Call For Same Day Admission. 855-722-6926

Attending Weddings in Recovery

attending weddings in recovery

Wedding season is here, and if you’re not sending any invitations, then you may receive some.

Weddings are beautiful celebrations of a union between two people who love each other, but they can also be the biggest party you attend that year. It’s common for people to drink at weddings, and many brides and grooms spare no cost in getting an open bar. If you’re in addiction recovery, this can pose a problem for you. Maybe you’ve been invited to the wedding of a close friend or family member, and not attending isn’t an option. Our Philadelphia addiction center is sharing some tips that can help with attending weddings in recovery.


How to Stay Sober at a Wedding

Attending weddings in recovery doesn’t have to be boring. Although many guests are adamant about the need for alcohol at a wedding, it’s not necessary. In fact, dry or sober weddings are becoming more popular as more people adopt the idea that heavy drinking is not only expensive but often leads to wild behavior that takes away from the purpose of the celebration. Some brides and grooms have also adjusted the details of their big day to accommodate guests who they know have received alcohol treatment. If you’ve been invited to a wedding with alcohol, this doesn’t mean the couple doesn’t care. It just means you have to be cautious. Below are six tips for staying sober at weddings during recovery that can make these memorable occasions for the right reasons.


1 - Only Attend the Ceremony

The ceremony is arguably the most important part of the wedding. Witnessing your loved ones making a lifelong commitment to each other should be the purpose of your attendance at their wedding. With that said, if you’re concerned about avoiding alcohol, then don’t go to the reception. You can let the couple know ahead of time, so they’re aware of why you’re leaving early. It may also allow you to wish them farewell before they head off to the reception.


2 - Bring a Sober Plus-One

If you’ve been given the option to bring a plus-one, then you should bring along a sober spouse, friend, or family member. They can keep you accountable and offer support if you’re feeling triggered or overwhelmed. Having someone attend the wedding with you who is aware of your recovery and knows you well can help you stay away from drinking and de-escalate any potentially dangerous situations. It’s normal to have a sponsor or a point person you can speak to whenever you feel tempted to drink. Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia offers guidance to patients in our substance abuse programs and encourages them to build a support system of people who understand what they’re going through and want to help.


3 - Have an Escape Plan Ready

If you do feel anxious, overwhelmed, or tempted to drink at any point throughout the wedding, make sure you have an escape plan in mind. This can include having someone on-call that can pick you up or taking your car to make sure you stay sober to drive at the end of the night. Driving yourself also gives you the option to leave whenever you want. Planning goes a long way, and you may have to do this for other events aside from weddings, and that’s okay! When you set yourself up for success, you can enjoy the night worry-free.


4 - Eat Beforehand

Even if you aren’t in addiction recovery, you should never go to a wedding hungry. Whether it’s going to the McDonald’s drive-thru or having a quick sandwich at home, eat before the wedding. You never know how long the ceremony will last or when they’ll serve dinner. You can even bring a snack like a granola bar. Being “hangry” and grumpy causes irritation that may tempt you to reduce it with a drink or two. This may have been your go-to coping mechanism for stress before rehab, so you want to avoid triggering this reaction as best as you can. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated, fed, and comfortable in recovery as often as possible.


5 - Always Have a Non-Alcoholic Drink in Hand

Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand, as this can prevent people from asking you if you’d like a drink. Being asked this question can be tempting if you’re recovering from alcoholism because it’s almost like hitting a crossroads and being forced to choose. You may not want to explain yourself, and you probably don’t want to face such a tough question. With this method, you wouldn’t have to worry about either. If someone does ask if you’d like a drink, just hold up your cup, and they’ll probably be satisfied. If people notice and happen to ask why you aren’t drinking alcohol, have an answer ready. This can take the stress or anxiety out of the situation.


6 - Tell the Bartender You’re Sober

If you’re attending a wedding with a bartender or servers who hand out drinks, you can share your sobriety with them. You don’t have to, but it’s an option. If you hit a point in the wedding where you may feel tempted to drink, the bartender can keep you accountable. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then the other tips on our list can help.

Attending weddings while sober doesn’t have to be stressful. Remember, you do not have to stay at the reception. Do not let yourself struggle. It’s okay to leave early. Staying sober is not about testing your willpower. It’s about changing the way you do things and incorporating sober choices.


If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, the best way to support them is to encourage them to get help. Banyan Philadelphia offers several levels of care, including inpatient and outpatient treatment. We also offer therapy and counseling at our facility for both patients and their loved ones. If you’re interested in our services for yourself or a loved one, call us now at 888-280-4763 to speak to one of our team members.


Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.