I was a bit nervious about commiting to being a sober bride at my wedding, but I did it!
I’ve always had a rollercoaster of a relationship with alcohol. Mostly because do enjoy drinking, but my body does not. Once I hit my 30s, my alcohol tolerance plummeted and I would get terrible hangovers from little alcohol.
In my 20s I could drink a bottle of wine and get up at 8 am, run a 10k and then go to work. These days, I’m not even sure if my body would survive after a bottle of wine.
Then there’s the whole having a baby thing. I didn’t drink during pregnancy, plus I am always exhausted due to said baby waking many times at night. And we bedshare so it’s important to stay alcohol-free.
So, you can see why I don’t drink much these days. Having a hangover when you have a small child to look after is less than ideal.
Deciding not to drink at my wedding
At some point during the planning process of my wedding, I decided that I wasn’t going to drink any alcohol at all. Which is probably shocking if any of you knew me a few years ago. Because back in the day I could DRINK.
The main reason for this is that bubbles knock me sideways. So having prosecco after the ceremony and during the toast made me feel sick at the very thought. I tend to get headaches and feel ill pretty soon after drinking anything with bubbles.
Another issue is that I can often have a ‘once you pop, you just can’t stop’ attitude to drinking. Where I will say ‘Oh, I’ll just have one!’, but then I’ll have two, and then three. As a woman with a two-drink limit if I want to see the next day – this would have been a bad idea.
Although I am pretty good at moderating my drinks these days (since pregnancy for sure!), I was worried that I’d get caught up in the moment on my wedding day. After having one drink and enjoying the day I might be tempted to continue, or someone might buy me a drink that I can’t refuse.
I have a black/white personality.
In many things, not just drinking, it’s all or nothing. If I’m going to exercise, I exercise consistently and never miss a session. If I’m learning piano, I practice it daily. If I’m blogging – I do that daily (well not anymore, because I’m learning to let go of this addictive personality thing I have). I go all in. So it’s easier for me to just say no to drinking altogether than it is to limit myself. It’s clear cut and requires less thinking.
I wanted to remember the day
I wanted to remember my wedding and be present during it. I wanted to speak to guests, hold my son safely and not fall over in my massive white dress!
I also wanted to wake up the next day feeling refreshed and go down to breakfast with my friends and family without a massive hangover.
This is the part I kept focusing on – being fresh the next day.
I kept reminding myself that alcohol is such an in the moment buzz. But it doesn’t serve a great purpose. When I drink, I never wake up the next day and think ‘wow, I wish I drink MORE’. It’s always’ I wish I drank less’ or ‘I didn’t drink at all.
So waking up the day after my wedding, being a sober bride and thinking ‘I’m so glad I didn’t drink any alcohol!’ was something kept focusing on. As I knew if I did drink, the next morning is when I would regret it most.
The last few times I’ve had more than two drinks, I felt horrific the next day! It just wasn’t worth it for me
Getting through the day without a drink
As my wedding came around, I was a bit worried about drinking and feeling ill. But I did my best to prepare. I told the wedding planner I didn’t drink and arranged an alternative drink for after the ceremony and toast.
I also told a few people that I wasn’t drinking which really helped me to stay accountable. Many people were shocked. We live in a society where we are brought up to believe that we need alcohol to enjoy ourselves. It’s almost as if we can’t be social without it. I hate that!
In the morning when we were getting ready, my bridesmaids had a prosecco or two. It was easy for me to refuse as it was too early for me anyway!
As the day just went so fast that I hardly had time to drink.
Being a bride is hard work. I was talking to people constantly. It seemed to go so fast from the ceremony until the meal and speeches. Then before I knew it, it was the evening reception. I stuck to Pepsi and lemonade.
It actually felt quite natural not to drink. As the bride, I was the focus of the day. I felt a sense of responsibility to be coherent, not to mention my baby boy was around!
Waking up the next day
The following morning I woke up around 7:30 am. My husband and baby were both asleep. I ran myself a bath. The hotel had a really deep jacuzzi bath in the bridal suite! I was exhausted! I didn’t get to sleep until 2 am and we had a long day. It was so nice to just lay in the bath and relax, thinking to myself how awful I would feel if I was hungover as well as tired!
I was then able to get up and go down to breakfast with a smile to see my friends and family. Then we had to check out of the hotel and also move things from the venue to our home.
Being a sober bride was the best experience – it allowed me to enjoy the day and remember everything. I was worried that I would end up drinking, but I stuck to it and it was much easier than I expected.
When I sat in that bath the following day, I was so glad I decided to stay sober and I’d do it again!
I’ve really gone off alcohol over the last few years and attending and being a part of big events like weddings always involves booze, but it’s made me realise that I don’t need to drink it to enjoy myself or be social.