Successful alcohol free weddings

by Kiss on March 17, 2014 - 10:31am

“Impossible!” would shout the average person who has attended an eastern European wedding. Alcohol is so intertwined with the cultural traditions of Slavs that a dry wedding would be hard to imagine but not for Priest Włdysław Zązel who is the leading figure of the movement “Wedding of the Weddings”.

Priest Włdysław Zązel lives in Kamesznica, Poland. In 1994 he administered 120 dry weddings in his parish alone. His movement started on “Maryja”, a radio show, where he was asked questions on dry wedding and realised that a lot of people were celebrating dry wedding across Poland. That’s what lead him to invite anyone who had marriage alcohol free to an annual party called “Wedding of the Weddings”. Although he promotes complete abstinence I believe it’s important to remove alcohol as a mandatory consumption in social context and show that fun is made with the people and not the consumption.  Such steps would succeed where prohibition miserably failed: to bring back a healthier and safer environment in society.

It’s important to mention that the goal of such groups is ultimately to change the culture of a society without radically affecting it. A lot of people oppose this believing that it steps on their right to decide what they want to consume but that is not the goal. If Włdysław Zązel succeeds in spreading his word abroad and changing the general attitude towards alcohol it will create an unprecedented opportunity at such traditional ceremonies: to refuse without seeming to be impolite or plain rude. Thus as an outcome freedom of choice will increase.

 

Bonus: Here are some non-alcoholic wedding jokes.

Comments

I wouldn’t say impossible in western society, but maybe the word low attendance would be more appropriate. Western culture teaches the principals of excess consumption. Whether it’s environmental, or societal base American culture preaches to an almost cave Manish approach to just about everything. Weddings are more than just a traditional event. The amount of money one spends on a wedding is almost a reflection of your status in society. Therefore excess is the mantra, for example college living, sex, alcohol and STDs shared by the masses. I myself can say I’m guilty of this lifestyle. I say “bravo” to the priest in Poland, but a dry wedding in western culture, would be more of an anomaly instead of way to break the rule of excess in western culture. It does in my opinion seem like a great way to divert from the social norms we adhere to.

Change comes with rebellion

I have never given much thought before to alcohol and weddings, but now that I think about it, I can see how this would be an unpopular change to the tradition of drinking at weddings. Unfortunately today, weddings are more about the guests than they are about the couple getting married--drinking and eating for free and bringing a date have turned weddings into more of a second chance prom for some people. Another way of looking at this is the financial burden that the new couple (or their families) has to contend with from having an open bar or alcohol served at the wedding. Overall, the social pressure to drink is another aspect of this article that I thought was important. We are constantly surrounded with the expectation to drink at certain times, like at weddings, parties, and even other family events. We even drink "to your health". It is important to look at how our treatment of alcohol influences our behavior and beliefs so that we can all be safer and happier without feeling pressured to partake, or not.

I agree with your statement that, "such steps would succeed where prohibition miserably failed: to bring back a healthier and safer environment in society. In this day and age, weddings have become more about pleasing the guests and less about the couple getting married. The Dry Wedding Movement may not be a popular idea among couples who are looking to impress their guests. However, it shows how the social pressure to drink at celebrations and events can influence our ideas and behaviors. Regardless of the wedding having alcohol or not, guests should be able to limit themselves and make smart decisions. Dry Weddings would allow the newly weds and the guests to enjoy socialize and celebrate without the pressure to drink.

This post drew me in because I just recently went to a big wedding. I have never thought of a dry wedding before. I don't agree or disagree with this movement, but I have a feeling it won't become too popular. The reason i think this is because both the guests and the couple getting married want to have a great time. Everyone knows that people are way more social and seem to be having more fun when they drink. At this recent wedding that i went to, I noticed that in the beginning of the reception people were quiet and the place almost seemed dull. As the night went on of course and more people went up to the bar, the place grew with dancing, laughter, and excitement. Nobody want's a boring wedding. I do think it's great if people can pull off a dry wedding, I just think they will be less enjoyable for the guests and the newly weds.

Then don't you think it might be our society in general who has a problem. A conversation with a stranger is easy to start: you walk up to the person and introduce yourself. If people need alcohol to do that then can we assume that society teaches us that casual social interactions are bad and should be done only when half conscious?

I grew up in a somewhat poor farming community, in other words a redneck town. When stereotyping a redneck one of the first things you associate with them is alcohol. Another type of person you think of that connects to alcohol would be the average American. This isn’t a random connection for either cases, it’s just that history has proved itself over and over again. Rednecks like their alcohol, most likely due to the boredom of living in a small town with nothing to do. I’ve witnessed the truth in this because that was my town. We didn’t really have anything near us, or in town that the teens could participate in so they resort to partying. Parties were where my fellow classmates bonded with others and made friends. As for the American connection, we are a nation of all work and no play. At least until it comes to alcohol. The American addiction to alcohol consumption was proven when they tried to make it illegal. This nation went crazy when that happened, which lead to the creation of bootleggers and NASCAR. And you know rednecks love their NASCAR, see the connection yet? So being an American and growing up in a redneck town you can see why my opinion is that an alcohol free wedding for Americans, at least, is crazy. Maybe it is working in Poland, maybe not, I don’t know. Personally though, if you’re having a wedding in America without even the possibility of having an alcoholic beverage, I think I'd just be rude.

Hm. Well, I have never given a dry wedding a single thought. My family has too many young cousins, that I have yet to attend a wedding of my own family. I have been to one involving my boyfriend's family however. It was far from dry. It is interesting to even hear that this is a "thing". I never realized the negative connection between alcohol and a wedding. I always just figured that they went hand in hand. Like I said, I've been to one wedding, and it was most definitely open bar. I wonder, what the wedding would have been like if it wasn't. Your post poses this very interesting question: "Would it have been any fun without the open bar?". Given how much fun I had with it, I'm not sure if it would've been. I remember having a conversation a while back with my boyfriend of several years about our wedding. I had explained that I wasn't sure if I wanted my wedding to circle around an open bar, and my boyfriend stated, "well, the guests have to have fun too." Your post made me think twice about this statement. Is a wedding only fun for those completely emotionally invested in it? Does alcohol make them more invested in it? You sometimes wonder if any party would be any fun without alcohol. Why, as a society, do we need to incorporate alcohol in every social gathering and celebration?
The answer is, we don't need to! We want to. Clearly, the polish priest (Not sure how to make those letters come out of my keyboard to spell his name), made it happen. We need information like this to prove to us that it can happen. We can embrace the celebration of a wedding without needing to eat up the open bar for all it is worth. So when you first hear about a dry wedding, you do think "IMPOSSIBLE!" ,but after reading about how many dry weddings that this priest has accomplished, you think again. Given my only experience with a wedding, I do see how open bar makes people giddy. You will never know though, what the wedding would have been like without it. I know my family in general aren't big drinkers, so hopefully in the future I will have a good taste of a dry wedding.

I hope you will!

The topic drew me into this argument. Your post is a good summary of how alcohol is so intertwined with cultural tradition. I have never really given much thought to alcohol at weddings until I read this and now that I think about it I think that this change wouldn’t be so popular because it is tradition – drinking at weddings. I believe that alcohol doesn’t make or break a celebration and today weddings seem to be more focused on impressing your guests rather than celebrating the two that are getting married. Another thing people don’t take into consideration is how much alcohol costs! Open bar weddings are so expensive and for the newly wedded couple could cause some financial hardships. Of course there will be times that drinking is expected like during the champagne toast of a wedding because that’s more of a built in tradition at most of them. I think that alcohol at weddings is more of a social pressure it’s definitely not a necessity to have a good time. This is a great post I would love to see it taken further by seeing how alcohol served at other events is viewed: socially acceptable or not?

Like with what jamaica42 said, I wouldn't call dry weddings impossible. I'm sure there are probably a small amount of dry weddings out there, but definitely not impossible. Other than that great writing piece, it was brief, but was jammed with information, so well done! And yes, I agree with you in that alcohol has a huge part in Western culture. Some might argue that, but it's easy to see that at almost any big event, alcohol is likely to be present. It has been a commonplace tradition to have a champagne toast and for bottles on bottles of wine and beer to be at the receptions. However, like with what you conveyed through the priest, it would be important to show others that you do not have to drink alcohol to have a good time. The movement I feel, would be futile here in America because it's become such an integral part and breaking that tradition would rub others the wrong way.

Here is a link to show an example of what I was talking about
http://postgradproblems.com/postgrad-terrors-the-time-i-went-to-a-dry-we...

Otherwise, great piece!

Thanks! its always good to receive a bit of feedback on my writing I'm always afraid it might be too confusing to read. Also I read your attached argument and I have to say...The plot twist is comic in a certain way but I also think it might have been rude for the newly wed since he comes to wedding "to get shitty for free". Don't you think it might reflect some deeper problem when such attitudes are integrated in our society?

I found this post to be very interesting because this is an issue that often times isn't given much thought and nor have I heard of this movement that has taken place in Poland. I do agree that alcohol at weddings is very much a cultural tradition and it is a norm that is present in many weddings even in our western culture. As someone who comes from a conservative background and who has grown up in church, I have seen this conflict of dry weddings or weddings with alcohol as actually given more thought to than it would be for people from a different background. I have been to dry weddings and I have also been to weddings that have served alcohol as well and I had a great experience at both. Though I come from a conservative background, I don't necessarily think that having alcohol at a wedding is a bad thing but rather it is when the alcohol is consumed in excess amounts that it can become a problem. Weddings in our current society have come to a place where the after party is given more consideration than the ceremony and making sure that the guests have a good time and this is why many people serve alcohol because they believe this is the best way to accomplish this goal. If I were the one getting married I wouldn't mind having alcohol but I most certainly would not want my guests to get drunk but rather drink responsibly and to be able to remember the night especially if I am going to spend so much money on my wedding. I believe that the priest's efforts to encourage dry weddings is a good thing and is a nice change of pace from what our society today values.

I found this post to be very interesting. I plan on getting married someday and I might be interested in having a dry wedding. I cannot drink do to health issues, so this would be a great outlet for me. If the bride cannot drink, no one should! On a more serious note, I don't like the concept of alcohol anyways. It affects everyone differently, and many people do foolish things when they are drunk at weddings. I feel like it is better to avoid the consequences of alcohol all together at a wedding by having a dry one. I do think that this should be an aspect of American culture, but like you mentioned in the post it should be intertwined within the existing culture so we avoid a culture shock or rebellion. This is a great post that sheds a new light on the topic of weddings and alcohol, but I wish to see you include information about the cultures around the world and how dry weddings would be beneficial or not to those certain cultures. Including the United States would be a great subtopic in this post, because we have tried prohibition in the past and it had failed, but maybe slowly introducing the concept of dry weddings would be a great place to start. I do not believe in prohibition because it takes away our right to choose what we would like to do and consume, but if less people drank and it became less popular it could benefit the country and the culture.

I found this post to be very interesting. I plan on getting married someday and I might be interested in having a dry wedding. I cannot drink do to health issues, so this would be a great outlet for me. If the bride cannot drink, no one should! On a more serious note, I don't like the concept of alcohol anyways. It affects everyone differently, and many people do foolish things when they are drunk at weddings. I feel like it is better to avoid the consequences of alcohol all together at a wedding by having a dry one. I do think that this should be an aspect of American culture, but like you mentioned in the post it should be intertwined within the existing culture so we avoid a culture shock or rebellion. This is a great post that sheds a new light on the topic of weddings and alcohol, but I wish to see you include information about the cultures around the world and how dry weddings would be beneficial or not to those certain cultures. Including the United States would be a great subtopic in this post, because we have tried prohibition in the past and it had failed, but maybe slowly introducing the concept of dry weddings would be a great place to start. I do not believe in prohibition because it takes away our right to choose what we would like to do and consume, but if less people drank and it became less popular it could benefit the country and the culture.

I found this article to be very interesting; it defiantly stood out to me among the other articles that were posted. Alcohol has become a big part of these kinds of celebrations especially in the United States. I have never been to a wedding that didn’t serve alcohol and I think this article really makes me want to experience a wedding that does not serve alcohol. I have never had alcohol since I am under age but alcohol at wedding really does change the environment and behavior of others attending the wedding. I don’t believe that it is impossible to have an alcohol free wedding here in the US, we are really free to do what we wish for our weddings and so I feel it is not impossible it is just rare. I do agree it is important to remove alcohol as a mandatory consumption in social context and show that fun is made with the people and not the consumption. I believe in this because I have been to a few weddings were alcohol was unlimited and it really changed the social interactions and environment in the wedding. There were situations where I found myself uncomfortable to dance with my family and even the environment to be uncomfortable. I don’t appreciate dancing in a group where everyone is participating in inappropriate dancing and behavior which makes these wedding. I think that a wedding with no alcohol would be more fun and that social interaction would be more appreciated and more pleasurable. I also agree with the point you made in which alcohol free weddings create safer and a healthier environment. I believed in this because without alcohol I think that people would be more willing to interact with people and would also be safer when the party is over knowing that everyone will get home safe. I think it is interesting on how they are trying to change this event and making alcohol free weddings more acceptable to their society and culture. One thing I would like to find out is if the alcohol free weddings that were conducted were found to be more sociable and see more statistics on that would prove that weddings without alcohol have created a healthier and safe wedding. This article was very interesting and I enjoyed reading about it.

I really enjoyed reading this article about the shift in culture in eastern Europe. You made some really great points about changing cultures and peoples attitudes towards it. I never gave dry weddings a thought, but i never really gave much of a thought to alcohol at weddings either. It's not in the norm to experience a completely dry wedding, but now a days its getting more common.In December I attended a wedding where there was no alcohol allowed, and i am attending my brothers wedding in April where there is also no alcohol allowed. Both parties decided against alcohol because of the fact that's its expensive and that there is another way of having a good time without being under the influence. people are so dependent on having alcohol to have a good time that they forget that they can have just as much fun without it.

I really enjoyed reading this. I think that it is very rare to go to or have a wedding these days that do not serve alcohol of some sort. With that said, it is not impossible. Guests may not be overly thrilled about it, but they are bound to get over before the night is through. My mother married my stepfather when I was 6. I remember them having 1-keg and once it was gone, that was it. For the toast there was sparking grape juice, and coolers on top of coolers with bottled water and soda. As my sisters and I were growing up, there was never really much alcohol in the house. If my parents made a drink, they would occasionally let us take a small sip, which was generally followed up by “ewe”. When my husband and I married we had 1-12pack, which was enough for each man to have 1 beer and that was it. I think that being able to go out to a wedding or just in general and to hang out with friends or family without alcohol makes occasions much nicer. I have been to several weddings where people are throwing up or starting fights because of their alcohol consumption, which is pretty sad.
With that, I do not think that it is impossible, I think there are probably more people than one would imagine that would be ok with alcohol free weddings or events. I like that the goal of such groups is to change the culture without radically affecting it, I think that works better than radical change, in which people tend to revolt/riot. I think a lot of it also depends on where you are when you get married. In places where tradition is still strongly emphasized, I think you are more likely to see little to no alcohol consumption at weddings. My wedding was in the far South because that’s where my husband’s family was, and they are very traditional people. My sister’s wedding was two months before mine and was in upstate NY and the entire atmosphere was different. The amount of alcohol that was consumed could have brought down an elephant, yet no one batted an eyelash at it. So all in all, I think it really depends on the location and the values of the people.

I enjoyed this article because it shows a new perspective that I had never thought of. It has some great points. An alcohol free wedding could be cheaper and less stressful, but it could also be not as fun according to some people. I did agree that people should socialize at weddings to socialize and not be brought together by the drinks. Unfortunately in today’s society, alcohol is often times what brings people together in a time of celebration or even mourning. This article also got my attention because I have a friend that can’t drink at all due to a liver condition and she often times says that it is not as much fun watching others drink. So should her wedding be alcohol free? This is something I have not thought of before. I believe it comes down to a choice and what the couple had grown up with. If the couple has had positive experience drinking and enjoying them, which is most of the time or if the couple has had negative experiences with alcohol, it comes down to a choice of the couple. I don’t believe that alcohol free weddings will be something to catch on easily but I do think it is becoming more of a possibly for weddings.

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