As Dry January approaches once again, a new survey unveils a noteworthy shift in drinking patterns at weddings, indicating that a quarter (24%) of Brits are choosing to go alcohol-free at these celebrations.
With the #drywedding hashtag garnering over 5.6 million views on TikTok, Samantha Gilchrist, CEO of the UK’s largest wedding venue collection, The Gilchrist Collection, conducted a survey of 2,000 UK adults and found that almost half (47%) of those who had attended a wedding in the last five years didn’t drink alcohol during at least one of the events they had been to.
The Gilchrist Collection can reveal that of those who did not drink alcohol at weddings, 18- to 34-year-olds were most likely (28%) to stay sober at the events they attended. This supports the trend of younger generations drinking less than the ones that came before them.
Sober guests said they were often left feeling uncomfortable at weddings sipping an un-festive soft drink, as 35% of respondents said they were questioned about why they weren’t having alcohol. Sadly, a quarter admitted to drinking alcohol at a wedding just to avoid awkward questions or having to share personal or medical information as an excuse.
Venues however, continue to come up short with their alcohol-free offerings, and 81% of those surveyed said they felt wedding organisers should offer more options to cater to guests who aren’t drinking.
Only 18% of UK adults can recall seeing any non-alcoholic cocktails offered at the weddings they had been to, with even fewer seeing non-alcoholic beers or wines on the menu (16% and 15%, respectively).
Two-thirds (62%) of abstaining guests were stuck drinking soft drinks, with over half (52%) saying the only non-alcoholic drink available at the weddings they attended was water.
In response to the lack of non-alcoholic options available at venues, The Gilchrist Collection partnered with star barman Merlin Griffiths from Channel 4’s First Dates to add to the venue’s existing non-alcoholic menu, providing sober guests with three new grown-up and celebration-worthy drink options.
Each recipe is perfectly suited for different key moments during the celebrations, including:
- Sun & Moon. Featuring sage and pineapple flavours with a hint of lemon, it is the ideal start to the big day as it invokes feelings of calmness and tranquillity.
- Halo Effect. This refreshing glass features notes of pink grapefruit, vanilla, and rose, topped with Sea Change’s 0% prosecco, awakening guest’s senses for an instant postnuptial boost.
- Dancefloor Driver. A Tommy’s-style margarita featuring both smoky and sweet notes with a Tajin-spiced salt rim is ideal for perking and encouraging a night of dancing and celebration after toasting the newlyweds.
Samantha Gilchrist, co-founder and CEO of The Gilchrist Collection, said: “We’ve seen a flurry of enquiries across our 12 venues in the UK and USA from couples keen to embrace the no- or low-alcohol wedding trend in the last 12 months and have hosted multiple dry weddings in that time.
“As a non-drinker myself, I’ve often been at a wedding or event with limited or even no drink options other than water or a soft drink, which is no fun! Worse still, these drinks are often presented in a boring tumbler that highlights the fact that I’m not drinking. I really wanted to put something together for my venues that caters to non-drinking guests, whatever their reasons might be.
“Young people in particular are choosing not to drink for all sorts of reasons, which is why we wanted to team up with the incredibly talented Merlin to enhance our alcohol-free drinks offering for our couples and their guests. Make no mistake, there’s nothing “mock” about these drinks!”