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Did I get your attention with the title? I should begin by saying, I don’t mean to offend anyone by using the term Alcoholic lightly. I take alcoholism very seriously and have been personally affected by many problem drinkers who I care about. But I am seeing a lot of problem drinking at Weddings these days. There hasn’t been one specific incident that caused me to write this article, but rather a collaboration of numerous occasions where binge drinking at a wedding struck a personal chord with me and compelled me to write about it.
I don’t want you to think I’m a prude, believe me, I am nothing of the kind. However, as someone who has been a part of so many weddings and celebrations, I can tell you that over drinking never turns out well for anyone, no matter what. Even the slightest “overindulging” can really effect the outcome of one of the most special days in a person’s life. As a Wedding DJ in Los Angeles and Southern California, you can imagine I see a lot, especially over the course of a decade and almost 500 Weddings. But the one thing I see over and over again, is the “mistake” of over drinking at a wedding.
When I’m DJing a wedding, I’m stone cold sober, watching everything that happens with eyes wide open. My role as Wedding DJ is to help the people party, but not to “party” with the people. That’s our policy at Elegant Event Entertainment, No Drinking On The Job!
My biggest observation in recent years: It seems that a lot of people don’t know how to simply enjoy a few drinks, and rather, feel the need to binge drink when they’re celebrating.
I’ve seen Groom’s pass out in the stall of a bathroom before the 1st Dance, Father of the Bride falling down stairs, a Bridesmaid attacking another female guest, a Bride throwing up in the planter in front of a nice country club as all the guests were stepping over her to leave, an uncle trying to attack me and my assistant! The number one most common thing that happens at weddings is someone who is drunk will make an inappropriate speech or comment during a toast, which is sometimes funny but most of the time in bad taste. I heard about a photographer who got drunk and passed out in their car while photographing the wedding rings, and the Bride and Groom were sure she’d run off with their rings. I saw a groomsman kick out someone’s windshield. I once had a Groomsman tell me he was having his last hooray as he was knocking back shots, he was heading to rehab on Monday. I was actually happy for him, but also concerned that he wasn’t going to make it to Monday! In all my experiences, Never have I seen something go drastically wrong at a wedding where alcohol wasn’t involved, or wasn’t the Main culprit.
So what can you do as a Bride or Groom or as someone helping to plan a wedding, to limit the possibility of having your event marred by alcohol? Below is a list of things I think you should keep in mind, regarding alcohol, as you plan your most special day.
1. Do not encourage Binge Drinking at your wedding: This isn’t your bachelor or Frat party! Don’t start drinking heavily with your friends before you even arrive at your wedding. It’s tacky, and it’s setting you up for a failed wedding. This is one night where you need to pace yourself and limit your intake. In most cases, your friends and family will follow your lead and will also limit their intake.
2. If one of your Bridesmaids or Groomsmen brings a bottle of liquor or a flask, ask them kindly to leave it behind. This isn’t the time to have a hard liquor drinking competition. Utilize the drinks at the bar, there’s plenty enough there without needing to conceal bottles of liquor.
3. Provide Beer and Wine only: Obviously, serious alcoholics or drinkers will find a way to get drunk no matter what type of alcohol they’ve been offered, but you can limit their inebriation to some degree by not offering hard liquor.
4. If you know someone has a drinking or drug problem, confront them before the wedding day. Ask them to keep it under control or they may be asked to leave, or worse, may not be invited at all. There’s no need to allow 1 person to spoil your wedding, when you’ve spent tons of money and years of dreaming about this day. Stick to your guns!
5. Leave the drugs behind. Why would you even think about bringing drugs to your wedding? Trust me, people do it all the time. This is one day where you can and should lay off! If a venue staff member catches you with drugs, they are obligated to call the police. Want to be handcuffed and hauled away on your wedding day? I didn’t think so.
6. You can party without getting drunk. Limit yourself and stick to it. Limit your Bridal Party and hold them accountable. If one person is getting out of hand, have them removed, or at the least, cut them off! 10 years down the road, you don’t want to still be discussing how “what’s his name made such a terrible scene at our wedding”
7. Don’t Take Shots: Again, it’s not a Frat party. Shots will get you real drunk, real fast. Enjoy a good beer, a great glass of wine, a quality mixed drink, but don’t make the mistake of sucking back shots…Every Bride and Groom regrets this!
8. Eat! Make sure you eat if you are going to drink. This is the common mistake of anyone who has ever had a hangover or gotten too drunk. Remember to eat and pace your drinking.
9. Ask a trusted friend or family member to be an accountability partner. Ask a sober person or Designate someone to remain sober to keep a watch on the drinking at your wedding and to curb someone who is getting out of hand.
10. Give people activities other than the bar alone. Almost every wedding that has entertainment, a photo booth, a slide show, special dances, and an entertaining event seems to have a little less drunkenness…in other words, when people are entertained and occupied, they’re less likely to feel the need to get dog drunk and hang at the bar all night.
11. Do NOT Allow Your Vendors to Drink! If a professional wedding vendor asks you in a meeting if he or she is allowed to drink on the job you better start worrying! What if your doctor or lawyer or accountant asked the same question? You would run screaming. Your wedding is too important to be ruined by a Drunk DJ or Photographer…it looks very unprofessional when a photographer has a Cannon in one hand and a Budweiser in the other! And if a Band or DJ can’t entertain without a drink, they’re in the wrong business, just ask Janis Joplin or Jimmy Hendrix how that worked for them. Let your Vendors know ahead of time, they are not to drink at your wedding.
I could go on and on about this, but I hope you get the idea. Since the beginning of written history there have been weddings and celebrations, and dancing and drinking have been a part of them. But, a great celebration does not require getting blitzed, black out drunk. Hire a great DJ and we’ll at least keep the event moving along nicely and keep the dance floor packed! You CAN have an amazing wedding reception without the drama that comes from getting drunk if you go into it prepared to limit the drinking to some degree. I promise you, one day you will thank me!
Have a Blast and Happy Planning for your upcoming Wedding! Best Wishes from all of us in the Wedding DJ industry.