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#201 Dry weddings

The dry wedding is the standard sort of wedding in Christian culture. Sparkling cider is all you get. Dry weddings are mind-boggling to Anglicans, Catholics, mainline denominations and Europeans, but to the evangelicals that’s just how it is.




Alcohol often isn’t permitted on church grounds, especially in the Bible belt, so if your reception is in the fellowship hall then it’s out of the question. But even off-site receptions for those in Christian culture serve no alcohol. The devout avoid being photographed while holding tea or cider lest it be mistaken for an adult beverage.



Many who now consider themselves Reformed were raised evangelical and for them drinking is newly permissible. At these weddings there is sure to be a showdown. The evangelical parents of the bride and groom might say they may have wine at the reception if they pay for it themselves, but this holds an unspoken message that there will be a relational price to pay if they defame their Christian reputation by serving wine.

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posted November 10, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Interesting sentence: “The devout avoid being photographed while holding tea or cider lest it be mistaken for an adult beverage.” Maybe they ought to put labels on the glasses saying “tea” or “cider” so there will be no mistake.

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posted November 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm

I’ve only been to two weddings, and they were definitely dry Christian weddings. When I told my secular friends, they were horrified. “WHAT? That’s all I go to weddings for!” Honestly, that kind of makes me want a dry wedding. Not for any Jesus reasons, but because I want my wedding celebrations to only include people who actually like me and know me…not people who are using it as a drunk get together. Also, I think some people have dry weddings because they have relatives who have problems with alcoholism and it seems more respectful. I don’t think it’s fundamentally wrong to serve alcohol though, which is I guess what you’re addressing in this entry. Feeling superior for not kissing until your wedding day and not serving alcohol is at the reception is pretty lame.

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posted November 10, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Every wedding I’ve been to has been a dry wedding. Lord knows if I’ll ever attend a wet one. 😉
captcha: beferabl adjutant (is that French or something?)

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Charles Cosimano

posted November 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I suppose this is one of those, “Thank God I’m not a Christian!” things but I remember a long time ago a girlfriend had a friend who was getting married. Her family was Evangelical, the groom’s family anything but. And a huge pre-in-law fight erupted over liquor at the wedding. The bride’s parents said they would not come to a reception where liquor was served. The groom’s family said that they would not come if liquor were not served.
They ended up having two receptions.
But these stories remind of something Dr. Erwin Lutzer said back in the 1970s about Christians who did not do all sorts of things like dance or go to movies, etc. He said that they thought that their neighbors would not agree with them but would respect them for their feelings when all the neighbors thought was that they were nuts.

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posted November 10, 2010 at 7:50 pm

My dad gets angry and always makes a scene as he leaves receptions when cider is served because ‘it’s like alcohol’. I, on the other hand, hate receptions and think they would be greatly improved by vast quantities liquor! Can’t wait for that fight when I get married.

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posted November 10, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Those pix are from Sixteen Candles, right? When the bride takes too much Midol just before the wedding?

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Rocky Presley

posted November 10, 2010 at 8:15 pm

This is just one of the reasons why I hate weddings. Drive me nuts. When my wife and I got married, we had an open bar, and it was a memorable evening for all involved long after we had left. We took one for team Evangelical! Becky, liquor is the only thing that can improve a reception.

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stephanie drury

posted November 10, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Nobodyssister, yup. I really wanted to find a picture of her flailing down the aisle and taking off her veil but I couldn’t. If someone finds one for me I’ll be your best friend.

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posted November 10, 2010 at 9:14 pm

i think the “dry because we’re holier than thou” stuff is a load of crap. However: I will not have alchol served at my wedding, because it will be MY damn wedding, and I don’t want to be embarrassed by all the drunken family members. Hence, I find whether or not to have alcohol @ a wedding to be a personal issue. I don’t think it is something your church should decide for you though (or your parents, or whomever). Church culture really seems to like shame. It is certainly the way Jesus treated people, don’t you think? He cast shame and blame on that adulterous woman, didn’t he? Or the tax collector who cheated people? Right?? Hm…

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posted November 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Funny, I recall a devoutly religious man who attended a wedding where they served alcohol. When they ran out — he turned water into more alcohol!
I am always amazed how Christian culture can protest things which Jesus specifically took part in — like drinking wine. I don’t actually believe (or think it is even relative, if true) that wine contained a lower percentage of alcohol back then, as pastors somehow claim. If so, just provide wine of similar strength to Jesus’ wine. And voila, a wedding that Jesus implicitly would approve of! But I suppose that would be too logical.

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Stephen Charles

posted November 10, 2010 at 10:40 pm

I married into a fundie family. The wedding was strategically planned in the middle of the day so as to meet the pastor’s legalism and avoid drinking and dancing (don’t forget dancing. But since I am with Jerry Seinfeld and think dancing is for gaywads, this was one unintended benefit of the legalism). I descend from southesatern Michigan Catholics and WASPs, so dad erected a beer tent in our backyard to accomodate those not wild about an afternoon of Scrabble, Tab and a nap.
Not one year later we were invited to my Catholic cousin’s wedding. From the RCC church with a crucifix up front all the way to the reception where the maid of honor got jiggy with four guys, a can of Bud in one hand and ciggy in the other, I think my new wife got a taste of my “what the hell did I just marry into?” feeling I had a few months prior.

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posted November 11, 2010 at 12:33 am

As a veteran attendee of weddings both wet and dry, may I remind prospective brides and grooms of the following:
1. I will schlepp myself, possibly by airplane to attend your big day
2. I will endure the pre-ceremony “entertainment” of Disney Princess theme songs arranged for organ
3. I will listen to your best friend’s sister sing a mostly (but not quite) on- key rendition of either an inappropriately sexual praise song to Jesus, a 70’s love ballad, or Ave Maria. If it is the last, it will be in spite of the fact that you are neither Catholic nor named Maria.
4. I will bite my tongue while the evangelical preacher talks about the “biblical headship” of the husband to be and tells cheesy jokes that engage in outdated gender stereotypes.
5. I will heroically restrain my eyes from rolling out of my head as someone assures me “not to worry- my day will come soon.”
6. I will ignore my pangs of hunger as exactly 12 hors d’oeuvres are passed to 120 people while we wait for you to finish your photo session consisting of every possible combination of bridal party and extended family.
In exchange for all of this, I think it is only fair I be able to get A DADGUMMED GIN AND TONIC! Thank you.

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posted November 11, 2010 at 12:37 am

Also, Stephen- “gaywads?” Really, we’re going there? Oh, well, the gaywads are a lot more fun, and generally good dancers to boot.

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Las Vegas Weddings

posted November 11, 2010 at 5:59 am

It really depends with the couples if they like to serve wine or drinks for their guests or for them too. We just need to serve drinks moderately to avoid being drunk.

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Megan Gillikin

posted November 11, 2010 at 8:59 am

All I know is that dry weddings can definitely save the bride and groom a lot of money!

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Rollo Tomassi

posted November 11, 2010 at 9:56 am

“Funny, I recall a devoutly religious man who attended a wedding where they served alcohol. When they ran out — he turned water into more alcohol!”
Heheh, I don’t usually do this, but, ya gotta keep da pahrty goin’
Silly Evangelicals, what do you think 50ml vodka mini bottles are for?
captcha: clouds legrogy Hahahah!

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Stephen Charles

posted November 11, 2010 at 10:27 am

Bekah, yeah, gaywads are good dancers. That’s what makes them such gaywads. But I’ll be over here with the fun gaywads drinking and making sarcastic remarks about dancing gaywads. We’ll keep your gin and tonic fresh, because you’re right, you deserve one after all that.

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posted November 11, 2010 at 11:17 am

G*D help us……..In my family, by the time we mixed the Jews, Catholics and Presbyterians at the wedding, it was near bedlam, let alone mixing alcohol in with it. Since my family was essentially a microcosmic version of the conflict in Northern Ireland, with a few Jewish folks thrown in just to make everyone uncomfortable, weddings were always tense. I abhor weddings. I would’ve been happy to start my marriage in front of a Japanese Midget Elvis Impersonator in Las Vegas rather than having to stand up front and worry about the impending conflict that was going to erupt thanks to John Jameson and Bushmills. The Paramount confusion came at my cousins wedding where the Hamanist Rabbi, The De-Frocked Priest(cousin of a cousin) and a judge all tag teamed. Who doesn’t need a few belts after that? Dry wedding? Never for My Girls……..

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posted November 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm

(@Bekah- Here! Here!!)
You forgot, in addition to having no booze, Evangelical Christian’s always have a guy playing the guitar and singing. Or someone dances to a praise song.
OR – like in my sister’s wedding – they did a Jewish ceremony although no one in either family is Jewish.
Ugh, ugh, ugh.
Give me a good, Catholic, boring, stand-up, sit-down, for hours, preferably in Latin, YET dignified, ceremony any day.

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posted November 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm

No alcohol *and no dancing.* That’s the policy at my church building anyway. We’re having our reception off site so we can have the alcohol.

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posted November 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Ha. I think we were a little lucky in that we had an open bar and everyone who wanted to could drink; however because so many of my side of the family are tee-totalers, the bill wasn’t that high. The frustrating thing is that no drinking seems to go hand in hand with really short receptions. I know so many brides who didn’t even get to enjoy their own party because people started leaving. They were told if they didn’t leave right then, there wouldn’t be anyone left to throw the rice/petals/birdseed/bubbles. But if there’s no drinking and no dancing (and let’s face it, there will be little dancing without drinking), what’s there to do after you’ve eaten?

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posted November 11, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Did you hear about the wedding where the Baptist Minister and Episcopalian Minister were seated at the same table. The waiter brought around champagne to toast the newlyweds and the Episcopalian Minister took a glass, but when the waiter offered the Baptist Minister a drink he said “I’d sooner commit adultery”! The Episcopal Minister then placed his drink back on the tray. The waiter asked the Episcopal Minister if there was a problem? The Episcopal Minister said “I didn’t know we had a choice”.
It just goes to show you how while the ship is sinking, some prefer to continue arranging the deck chairs.

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Still Breathing

posted November 12, 2010 at 8:04 am

We were the last of a group of friends who got married in our Baptist church and we all had to find alternative locations for our receptions because the church secretary had stated that the church deeds forbade alcohol on the premises. This turned out to be a lie!
My daughter’s wedding was held at the church and the reception in the church garden was anything but dry – although I did refrain from having more than one glass of wine before making my speech!
Since then the deacons have unilaterally decided to ban alcohol so there will be no more joyous celebrations at the church.

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posted November 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I want to hear more about these inappropriate song lyrics to Jesus. Are these derived from Songs of Solomon based on the theory they are an allegory or a new source of scandal altogether?
Just for the record, the last wedding I attended was at a restaurant owned by the Salvation Army so no alcohol. They kept the ice tea flowing though.

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posted November 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Joe- How about this one?
Jesus take me as I am,
I can come no other way.
Take me deeper into You,
Make my flesh life melt away

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Rich Kennedy

posted November 13, 2010 at 2:06 am

OK, I’m, uh, late to the reception here. We had a dry reception in the fellowship hall. My idea. I’ve been a drinker since I was legal. I didn’t want to offend my side of the family, church friends with a bar of any sort, and her side with my horrible lack of dancing talent (no dancing taboo for fellowship hall was more important). However, most folks were horrified at the champagne glasses and checked out the cidar bottles. The thinking was, if anyone was going to violate the no booze taboo for the church campus, it would be Kennedy. I’m STILL pleased that there is no video record of some silly shuffle.

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posted November 15, 2010 at 12:03 pm

you Americans seem to like everything dry, don’t you??

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stephanie drury

posted November 15, 2010 at 2:07 pm

America on the whole doesn’t like it dry, but Christian culture does.

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Still Breathing

posted November 16, 2010 at 6:14 am

Remind me not to order a ‘cider’ in the US – in the UK it is fermented apple juice ranging from beer strength upwards. If you are very lucky in Kent or Herefordshire you may get some ‘rough’ cider which is like a pint of cookking apples with the kick of a mule! Interestingly the word cider comes from the Hebrew word Hebrew š???r meaning ‘strong drink’!

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posted November 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Sorry to hijack the comments, but I had to share this… (I think it’s a Christian Culture thing: “Forgive me for interrupting your Bible Study about the newest Beth Moore workbook, but God laid this on my heart and I just need to share this right now…”)
Best Pat Robertson quote ever…from this morning:
(That’s my Facebook page, BTW, don’t wear it out.)

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posted November 16, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Most of the weddings I have ever been to have been Catholic, or in my own case, pagan. To NOT serve booze would have been seen as a hideous breach of hospitality. It would have occasioned mutiny. My guests would have turned my own ritual sword on me, and they would have been well within their rights!

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Grumpy Old Perrson

posted November 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

“America on the whole doesn’t like it dry, but Christian culture does.”
You paint with MUCH too broad a brush, Stephanie. Shurely that should be ‘SOME Christian culture does’. Clearly, there are many branches of Christianity that don’t have a problem with alcohol. Jesus Himself sure as heck didn’t.
And shurely Fundagelicals don’t define “Christian culture”. Do they?
As for my experience, my parents refused to attend the reception of my middle sister’s wedding since there’d be alcohol served at it. So sad.

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posted November 24, 2010 at 9:42 am

Wow, this hits close to home. When I got married 20+ years ago, I had been living on my own (in sin, no less) in another state. We decided to marry in the groom’s hometown, because his elderly grandparents could not have traveled. As the first daughter after 3 boys, I feared that this decision could hurt my parents. So I enlisted a fundy minister from my childhood church to co-officiate. Big mistake! My far-too-organized fiancée sent out a detailed memo to everyone involved in any official capacity in the wedding, setting out everything. One minor detail was that we wanted the champagne/juice/mimosas (it was an early afternoon wedding) to be served right away so that our guests would not have to wait until we arrived after the pictures in the church were taken. This resulted in a letter from said fundy minister informing us that serving alcohol “is a poor Christian testimony and a time-bomb for marriage failure.” He said that he would understand if we did not want him to participate in the wedding. We should have taken that out, but no. He was accommodated in that my in-laws served no wine at the rehearsal dinner, which they normally would have. We had a meeting with him the day of the rehearsal to discuss this matter. When confronted with scripture, he changed his debating point to the fact that alcoholism is a serious social problem and that thus we should never drink. (Boy did I need a drink after that conversation!). He agreed to officiate but said that he and his wife would not attend the reception because of the champagne. Update: a time-bomb went off, but the marriage was detonated by an addiction problem where abstinence as a cure was problematic to the institution.

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posted November 26, 2010 at 1:49 am

I don’t think this is necessarily unique to evangelical Christian culture. I’m aware of plenty of places (mostly rural and full of mainline Methodists, Presbyterians, etc.) where dry weddings are the norm. In fact, the reception is likely to be simply cake and punch in the church basement. These people wouldn’t consider themselves fundamentalists, but it’s just part of their overall conservative, slightly backwoods culture where drinking (at least publicly) is considered distasteful.

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posted December 1, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Ugh. I’m on the flip side of this one, I’ve never been to a dry wedding. Eh, what can I say were a family that likes to have fun. My cousin had a no drinking no dancing wedding but I didn’t go because I had previous commitments, but I admit I didn’t fight very hard to get out of them.

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posted December 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm

It’s sort of cool that Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding full of already drunk people…

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Hot blondes

posted February 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

It is never too late to learn.

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Tadalis online kaufen

posted February 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I think, therefore I am. (Rene Descartes).

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