Do I Need to Apologize after Getting Way Too Drunk at a Wedding?


Girl, it happens

by Amy March

colorful drinks at a wedding

Q: A few weeks ago, I attended a wedding and let’s just say… I kind of fell apart. I’m under a lot of stress at work and in my personal life, and against my better judgment, I let the wedding (specifically: the open bar) become an excuse to get wasted.

I didn’t go into the party planning to heavily imbibe… it just happened. But it turns out that I made a bit of a scene, accidentally knocked into decor, and… mildly verbally harassed a few of the male guests.

What’s done is done, and I know that, but how can I make this up to the couple?

XO,

Super drunk

A: It’s easy to complain about badly behaved brides. We have a whole special word for them, which I refuse to use. But the truth is, anyone can behave poorly at a wedding. After all, as Dumbledore says, “Sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often.” And I think we can all agree to respect Dumbledore as an etiquette expert. Since ideally we are all only attending weddings of people we, at a minimum, do not actively hate, maybe you’d like a way to make it right when you screw up.

I’m Team Never Drinks The Water Makes You Order French Champagne all the way at a wedding. I don’t think weddings require perfect sobriety, and one drunk guest really isn’t ruining the night. But it is certainly possible to cross the line. Do not show up already tipsy to the ceremony. Do not pass out at the reception; do not get sick; do not fall in a way that requires medical attention. Do not, absolutely not, attempt to speak into a microphone when you are over the limit to drive. Hold it together if you are giving a toast. And, you know, probably don’t harass the other guests. (Whoopsy on that one.)

But inappropriate drunkenness happens even with the best of intentions. Especially if you are in the wedding, mimosas getting ready, no lunch because photos, champagne before the ceremony, and then a quick drink or three at the cocktail hour, and all of a sudden you’re gazing into your reflection in the window repeating quietly to yourself, “I am SO PRETTY right now.” Ahhhh, the blissful glow of a wedding. And really, you are so pretty right now.

In short, you know your people. You know if the bride and groom view your antics as a funny story or serious disrespect. To repair the damage, it will be essential to text everyone you know in an absolute panic to casually figure out exactly what went down. Then assess how much of an ass of yourself you made. Bottom line question: Did your behavior inappropriately take attention away from the bride and groom? You owe them. Send a bottle of champagne to their honeymoon hotel. Or, actually, maybe avoid any mention of any kind of booze and send expensive chocolate. Invite them over to dinner and suggest that they bring all two thousand wedding photos because you are dying to look at all of them. Next time you’re out with them make drinks on you—and spring for the good stuff.

But you know, not too much of the good stuff. This time.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE EVERYWHERE YOU TURN, MORE PEOPLE ARE GETTING MARRIED? LIKE ATTENDING WEDDINGS HAS SOMEHOW BECOME YOUR HOBBY? IS “EXPENSIVE CRAP FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S WEDDINGS” A BIGGER BUDGET CATEGORY THAN “MANICURES, BOOKS, AND CHEESE”? EMAIL ME: AMYMARCH [AT] APRACTICALWEDDING [DOT] COM.

 

Amy March

Amy has loved weddings at least since the second grade when she made an epic diorama of Charles and Diana’s wedding for “important historical event” day. She has purchased every issue of Martha Stewart Weddings ever published and will happily talk to you for an hour about the relative merits of blush and bashful. Her happy place is poolside with a glass of rosé and a good book. 
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  • Emily

    Ahhh, I have been this human (uh, maybe more than once in my younger days). At least in my crowd, if you say your sorry and like actively acknowledge you were a little out of hand no one can be made forever. Ymmv, but by the time the couple is back from the Honeymoon and you’ve apologized 10-25 times it’ll be fine. Until the next wedding comes around, and your friends make you carry a sippy cup instead of a champagne flute all night and the bride has told you that you have to wear the darker bridesmaid dress because spills.

  • idkmybffjill

    My question would be – are you for sure the bride and groom know? If not don’t tell them! Done! If so… Amy’s advice is perfection obviously.

    • Lisa

      Also, if she personally knows the men she harassed, I’d reach out to them with an apology as well.

      • idkmybffjill

        Ooh yes – good call.

      • rg223

        Yeah, I think she owes an apology even more to the men (who certainly knew the extent to which she was drunk) than to the couple (who may or may not have been bothered by the behavior.

    • Another Meg

      A friend got super wasted at my wedding, hit on my 14-year-old cousin (!) and vomited into the shrubbery at the entrance of the reception venue. I didn’t know about any of it until other people told me. I almost wish I hadn’t been told…

      • idkmybffjill

        Yeah for real. That’s something the bride doesn’t need to hear about.

      • Lawyerette510

        Oh yes, better to have never known about that.

  • Alex K

    So this happened at my wedding. A friend of mine seriously harassed my husband’s brother. It got weird fast. It is kind of a funny story, but it definitely would have been nice for her to acknowledge it in some way (to us or the person she harassed). But it did not ruin our wedding or anything.

    • sofar

      A guest of mine drunkenly hit on our wedding planner. I had no idea at the time, but another guest told me about it the week after. The drunk guest eventually apologized to me. I still feel AWFUL for the wedding planner, who essentially got harassed AT HER JOB. She’s a friend-of-a-friend, so I will likely pass the guests’s apology on next time I see her. In the meantime, I wrote her a glowing review on every wedding website I could find, specifically citing her “ability to deal with difficult guests.”

      • idkmybffjill

        I first read this as “Hit our wedding planner”. Hit on isn’t great either but alot better than hit! ha

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Awwwwwwkward for her, but likely not the first or last time, in that line of work.

  • Sara

    I would add – don’t keep apologizing. Make an effort to do it once, with the chocolates or the dinner if need be. But don’t bring it up again, especially if the couple says ‘oh, its ok, no big deal’. If the couple is really mad about it, you’ll see it and you can work it out. But if they weren’t that bothered, they don’t need to be reminded about it. Let yourself off the hook. My friend was a disaster at a mutual friend’s wedding and he still feels guilty about. But the wedding was 5 years ago – its just a funny story now, not a sore spot for the married friend.

    • idkmybffjill

      Also – if it is a sore spot – this gives them the chance to react gracefully once and let it go. Too many apologies becomes, “god, you made a scene at my wedding and now you’re annoying me.”

      • CMT

        Yeah, too many apologies makes it about you and not the actual apology.

        • idkmybffjill

          Yep! Reads as “absolve me of my guilt”.

        • Jess

          This is a good rule to live by in general!

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    • rg223

      OMG yes.

      Similar situation – I have two friends who were late for my wedding. It was not a big deal at all – they sat down in the back after I had already walked down the aisle, I don’t really remember it causing a disruption, and I honestly would have forgotten all about it except that at least one of them brings it up basically every time the three of us are together. And it HAS gotten to the point that it’s not an apology anymore (and it wasn’t the best apology in the first place because they said, “Sorry… but your wedding started early!” which I don’t have an answer to because I don’t think it did. I didn’t check the time, just got married when my coordinator said it was time! But no one else was late or commented on the timing).

      So yes please – just bring it up once and move on.

      • idkmybffjill

        I had a very different circumstance with a girl from high school where she would often post on my Facebook apologizing for something. I eventually had to be like, “I didn’t really care about the thing, but you constantly bringing it up actually makes it worse. Please stop.”

        • rg223

          Oof, making it “public” by putting it on Facebook is worse!

          • idkmybffjill

            Totally worse! Like…. stop bringing up this thing!

    • AmandaBee

      This is a great point. Over-apologizing can actually be really frustrating when something was truly not a big deal.

      And keep the apology about them, not you. You may be super embarrassed, but the key point they need to know is that you’re sorry if this impinged on their enjoyment or that of their guests. Dragging out the apology or focusing on your own feelings about the situation makes it all about you.

  • CMT

    I was The Drunk One at a friend’s wedding last summer and I wasn’t sure the next day if I should feel bad for it. Turns out my friend was happy that I more or less got the party started. I think I stayed on the right side of the line between Fun Drunk and Annoying Drunk, thankfully.

    • idkmybffjill

      Yeah I liked the drunks at our wedding! I was like, yay people are having a great time!

      At a friends wedding a girl straight up OD-ed and had to go to the hospital (after grinding on strangers on the dance floor and fighting with the bartender) and that was scary. While it happened late in the night (so didn’t fully ruin their wedding), it will never be something they forget.

      • emmers

        That’s terrifying! But I also liked the drunk folks at our wedding. Some fond memories looking at those pictures.

      • Jess

        Yikes. Our friends are happy drunks. So they dance and they hug you and they tell you how much fun they’re having over and over. But obviously, not everybody is like that (I am not like that all the time).

  • Megan O’Hearn

    I feel a little bit like if the couple is offering alcohol at their wedding/reception, they should be expecting some minor shenanigans. Obviously you shouldn’t be getting obnoxiously drunk, especially if the night is still young (because respect the grandmas), but people drinking usually results in a few mishaps.

    You should also have an idea of what “too far” is– if there’s an open bar with all the things and they’re big partiers, too far at that wedding is going to be different than the social drinkers offering just wine. Either way, go too far and acknowledge/apologize.

    If you’re obviously drunk at a dry wedding? Apologize, buy them an extra gift, and offer yourself up as an indentured servant for the next year.

    • Another Meg

      Obviously drunk at a dry wedding is a special kind of classy.

      • Megan O’Hearn

        right? Obviously drunk and stage whispering about the liquor in your trunk? Even better. Great job, guy at a wedding I went to a couple of years ago.

      • Laura

        Hahaha, I once attended a dry wedding in which my entire table was accused of being drunk. We hadn’t had a drop! Apparently the mother of the groom felt that we were having an unseemly amount of fun. I guess we’re too much to handle while sober, much less drunk :)

    • toomanybooks

      “I feel a little bit like if the couple is offering alcohol at their wedding/reception, they should be expecting some minor shenanigans.”

      Not that I disagree with your points, but every region I’ve lived in or heard of a wedding in pretty much strictly requires alcohol, in the form of an open bar, lol. (I always kind of wanted a dry wedding but it was not to be because I’ve been told by everyone online/IRL that that would be the worst thing a bride could do.)

      • idkmybffjill

        Yeah – nothing quite inspires the wrath of strangers like the mention of a dry wedding.

      • Antonia

        Not true! Nothing wrong with a dry wedding. Couples have them for a variety of reasons – cost constraints, religious reasons, liability issues, in recovery, etc. (And this is coming from someone who is in no way a teetotaler and had the alcohol freely flowing at her own wedding.) I worked for a number of years for a regional wedding magazine, and the editor only had two hard-and-fast wedding “rules”:
        1. No registry info on the invite, and
        2. No cash bar (she equated cash bars with charging guests for drinks as if they were visitors in your own home).
        If a dry wedding works for you, go for it and make no apologies.

        • idkmybffjill

          I mean… I think there’s nothing wrong with them, and they’re definitely not against the “rules”, but some people WILL be ticked (unless you’re in a recovery or observant religious community). It’s always a know your people situation…. but people get mad about dry weddings.

          • AmandaBee

            I mean, people get mad about just about anything. Sunday weddings, weekday weddings, dry weddings, potluck weddings, wedding in which the bride wears pants. People are just weird about weddings.

            Whenever others ask me “Do you think people will get mad if (insert literally anything about a wedding)?” my answer has become “yes but how much do you care?”

            So this is to say – yeah, some people will be miffed about a dry wedding but that’s not really unlike any other aspect of a wedding.

          • idkmybffjill

            For sure! I suppose, in my experience, the level and overall ubiquity of irritation is somewhat higher about a dry wedding. But this depends on one’s crowd!

          • Jess

            This reminds me of the incredibly great “The people want options!” essay by Rachel.

            Link: https://apracticalwedding.com/wedding-guest-expectations/

          • AmandaBee

            YES. I didn’t see that before our wedding, but it’s so freaking easy to go down the rabbit hole of what the “people” want. Who are these people? Do we even care if they’re mad?

          • emmers

            Truth. And alcohol is expensive, so sometimes even if you want it, you can’t have it. And I agree.. you do what you do, and you know some ppl just gonna be mad.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            I think if people are “ticked” about there not being alcohol at your wedding, they’re there for the wrong reasons.

          • idkmybffjill

            Okay! I’m not gonna keep going into this anymore. My experience of reality is that people complain about dry weddings more than they complain about any other singular aspect of any wedding. I’m not going to put any judgement on that one way the other, nor am I going to put any judgement on people who want to have one.

        • Megan O’Hearn

          I so agree! No alcohol or free alcohol.

        • Janet Hélène

          Curious about cash bar issues – we had our wedding at a banquet hall with a restaurant/bar attached. We had a dry wedding (on a Sunday, in the morning, because it was cheaper, worked better for out-of-towners schedules, and just wanted that date), but some of our guests found the cash bar upstairs and went to get drinks and brought them to our reception.

          It didn’t bother me, but was it a ‘de-facto’ cash bar? We specifically didn’t have cash bar in our reception hall, but they did just go upstairs!

          • Megan O’Hearn

            I don’t think you can be held responsible for a “cash” bar in another part of the building!

          • Jess

            This… doesn’t sound like you purposefully arranged for a cash bar? Just that people found a way to carry drinks into your reception.

            Other than that, I don’t have anything against cash bars as long as I know in advance.

          • emmers

            I wouldn’t be bothered by that. I’m not even really bothered by a cash bar, as long as I know in advance and can bring $$.

          • Amy March

            I absolutely loathe cash bars (what’s next? You going to charge me for the wedding chicken?) but if they left the reception, had to go somewhere else, managed to find alcohol, purchased it, and brought it back, I don’t think you did anything wrong.

          • Katharine Parker

            I understand that everyone has different priorities and budgets and so on, but I still think a cash bar is the worst. Even if I know ahead of time, I’m not happy about it. I don’t pay for drinks when I go to your house for dinner; I don’t want to pay for this middling glass of chardonnay.

            Once I went to a wedding where the bride wore Vera Wang, but had a cash bar.

          • laddibugg

            ” I don’t pay for drinks when I go to your house for dinner”
            this may be a ‘know your friends’ moment, but we bring bottles to each others house for dinners or parties. So you’re kinda paying for your own drink.
            I’d rather have more folks at my wedding than alcohol, so if cutting out the bar makes it possible, so be it.

          • Katharine Parker

            Bringing a bottle of wine in my mind is bringing a gift, not bringing my own booze. I’ll bring a gift to dinner or a party, whether it’s wine, or flowers, or an objet d’art (I haven’t ever brought an objet to someone’s house… but I could). But I’ve already given a gift at a wedding. Paying for drinks at a wedding is not the same as bringing a gift.

            In my mind and in my social circles, hosting includes providing drinks. If there is a need for a dry wedding, that is one thing, but choosing to have a cash bar means prioritizing something else over hosting people with drinks.

          • laddibugg

            again, it’s a know your friends thing. In our circle, the bottle of wine or vodka or rum is not a gift for the host, it’s so the host doesn’t have to buy alcohol, and so you can bring what YOU want to drink as well. We specifically say ‘bring a drink’, and it’s known that the drinks will be open and consumed at the party or dinner. We’re not “Oh what a nice bottle, let me put this up” crowd.

        • Katharine Parker

          I fully support these as one’s two wedding rules.

        • I find the cash bar thing interesting because they’re the norm in the uk (we considered an open bar, but apparently we’d be looking at a 1/4 of the wedding budget again just for wine and beer). However, I wonder from the comments if there’s actually a difference between a UK cash bar and a US one. Here, the cocktail hour, dinner drinks and toasting drinks are all paid for by the couple, and the cash bar only kicks in during the evening, after cake cutting etc. The evening part of a UK wedding usually lasts four or five hours, and includes guests who haven’t attended the ceremony or reception, so assuming one – two drinks an hour at a wedding of 100 guests you’re looking at up to £5k at most venues, probably more, on top of your reception drink costs. Also, very drunk guests!

      • Lisa

        I see no issue with a dry wedding as long as you make it clear beforehand that that’s what it will be!

      • Megan O’Hearn

        I’ve been to quite a few dry weddings, alcohol-free for a variety of reasons! My wedding philosophy: it’s my wedding, and I’m calling the shots based on what’s important to me. if you don’t want to come to my wedding to celebrate my marriage unless there is alcohol, then maybe we’re not close enough that you should be invited.

        (You know, hypothetically. My own wedding had plenty of affordable-but-not-bad wine and craft beer my husband picked out. No liquor. Nobody complained.)

      • Amy March

        I think guests have a very different reaction to a dry wedding if you, the people getting married, don’t drink yourselves versus if the nuptial couple drinks all the time but isn’t having alcohol at the wedding.

        • lamarsh

          Yes, this is exactly right. When we went to a Hindu wedding that was dry and only served vegetarian food, we didn’t complain at all because the couple doesn’t eat meat and doesn’t drink, so why would they do those things at their wedding?

          Also, I think the time of day matters here. People will have way less of a problem with a morning or afternoon dry wedding than one that lasts from 6 till midnight.

        • idkmybffjill

          Ooooh this. Nailed it.

        • S

          I don’t know, I agree with this in theory, I also just don’t think it’s not uncommon for a couple to drink all the time to have relatives with severe addiction problems, for instance, or a close friend whose partner just died in a drink driving accident, or something, and I also don’t think that couple is in any way obligated to have to reveal those incredibly personal things to people to explain why the wedding is dry? I personally as a drinker wouldn’t have a dry wedding, though absolutely it would be on the table if someone close to me would struggle with it, but I don’t know that we should rush to think the worst of a drinking couple who wants a dry wedding. We all know there’s a million great, personal reasons to have a dry wedding – shouldn’t we assume the best in people until they give us a reason not to?

          • S

            Oof, accidental double negative in the first sentence. I need a coffee.

          • idkmybffjill

            I definitely don’t think anyone should rush to think the worst of anyone. I just think this is one of those choices that alot of people are for sure going to talk shit about. If the couple doesn’t care, awesome!

          • S

            Yes, I suppose this is just wishful thinking on my part, isn’t it? Obviously we don’t live in a world where everyone is inclined to merrily accept things, give people the benefit of the doubt, and move on graciously!

          • Amy March

            What’s merry about there being no wine thoughhhhhhhh #teamwine

          • S

            I mean, as a drinker, I feel you, make no mistake. I guess I’m the type of person to shrug and assume people have their reasons. Now if the food isn’t good…that’s when I get cranky ;)

          • westofhere

            I have a relation who is planning a “beer-only” reception. And while it’s her wedding, her MOH has — with my full support — pointed out that is a very limiting drink choice, including for accomplishing her stated goal of having a big dance party. To your point above, I will happily come celebrate your marriage and enjoy the reception. But I don’t drink beer, and I won’t be dancing stone-cold sober seven hours after the ceremony. I’ll be at a bar in town. #teamwine

          • Katharine Parker

            That is an odd choice, too, in the context of saving money. At any event I’ve thrown, there is barely a difference between beer and wine, cost-wise, unless the beer is Miller Light. Is she having beer-only for aesthetic reasons?

          • westofhere

            I think there is a perception of cost-saving, which I don’t have the information to evaluate. The beer may very well be kegs of ML. But I had not seen the separation of beer and wine before, though I have certainly been to dry weddings.

          • rg223

            Well, I almost didn’t have beer at my wedding (it was originally going to be wine and champagne only) – it was a brunch wedding and beer just didn’t seem to match the food and the timing. Plus most of my friends and family are wine drinkers, and my husband’s family doesn’t drink at all, so it just didn’t occur to me that anyone would be upset with the drink choices… until my dad requested we add beer to the tab! Which we did happily. To sum up: for me, it was essentially an oversight – beer just wasn’t a priority in my mind (while alcohol in general was).

          • idkmybffjill

            And for almost everything else about a wedding (my hard rules are: dates if it’s a big wedding, feed people at meal times, tell people what to expect) choices won’t have such a unanimous irritation factor. Dry weddings just happen to have a large amount of people who will say, “dear god why would they do that to us.” in a way that say… wearing pants as the bride or serving vegetarian food won’t.

          • Amy March

            They certainly do not have to reveal any of their thought processes, but a couple who never socializes without alcohol until their wedding? Yeah. That may be a great choice for them, and no one should complain to them about it, but I think they need to expect that guests will be confused and disappointed.

          • idkmybffjill

            “but I think they need to expect that guests will be confused and disappointed.”

            This. I think this whole discussion is sort of more about being realistic about the bride & groom’s expectations. A dry wedding (for drinkers with friends who drink) is one of those things that many people are going to complain about – and honestly something I’ve heard people mention as the singular talking point about a wedding for years to come. Maybe that’s not right – but it is sort of the situation, so like… brace yourself.

          • Jessica

            I think if I had advanced notice (warning?) that it was a dry wedding I would be much more inclined to not whine about it. But if I’m going to a high school friend’s wedding and have to see an ex and talk to people who bullied me, I’d like to know if I’m going to do that sober or not.

            I think there was an APW article about determining what weddings to go to, and there was a line that said “If you would go to this wedding if it was cake and punch in a church basement because you want to see the couple happy, go to the wedding. If you are only going to the wedding because you know it’s an open bar, maybe decline that invite.”

          • idkmybffjill

            This is really spot on! I’ve been to two dry weddings, I didn’t actually mind either of them much. But basically lots of people left early and went and got drinks. They also both happened when we were all 21-22, so that effects things. Now that I have a husband (so built in wedding date) and am usually largely going to weddings of people I really care about, I don’t particularly care about alcohol. (Other people do though, bring up a dry wedding in just about any social situation with even light social drinkers and people LOSE THEIR MIND).

          • Jessica

            To be fair, I’m regularly more dramatic about the idea of something than the actual reality of it.

          • idkmybffjill

            Totally! Same. I have a friend who had a dry wedding and still gets her feelings hurt when dry weddings come up in conversation because people are so dramatic about it. I just always think about it when people are considering it – like you might here casually that your wedding sucked by association with “dry weddings” more regularly than maybe any other wedding choice. You’ll know better and if you don’t care about that stuff then do you!

          • Amy March

            If you’re thinking people will stay til midnight and dance up a storm without alcohol, maybe think a couple more times about that.

          • idkmybffjill

            Lol – yep. PARTICULARLY dancing. Unless there are a TON of kids, or you are friends with a bunch of sober people who love to get down…. it will probably not happen.

          • Cay

            I’ve actually been to two dry weddings (one with dancing) and I left around 10:00pm because it was a 2 hour drive for me, and the party was still in full swing. There was a pretty diverse age range, and the dance floor stayed packed. I think it depends on your crowd. Everybody doesn’t need alcohol to get to dancing. It was actually one of the most fun weddings I’ve been to.

          • idkmybffjill

            Also – for the record.

            My advice for a guest to a dry wedding: You don’t have to accept an invitation if you won’t enjoy it! Go and be there for your friends, maybe it’ll be more fun than you think!

            My advice for the bride and groom who are drinkers planning a dry wedding: People are probably gonna talk shit on this on a larger scale than probably any other decision you might make about your wedding. Do you care?

          • S

            Oh yes, I definitely agree that if you’re not going to provide something you know your people expect, clueing them in before the wedding is key. I mean, sure, I think it’s incredibly ridiculous for people to be genuinely upset and gripe-y about something that is all too often the result of a close family member of the bride or groom having addiction problems (I feel like this is a very common reason and would be the first conclusion I’d jump to, at least?), but I also think, perhaps contradictorily, it’s perfectly reasonable for people to be sad to arrive at a wedding they were looking forward to getting loose at, to find out it’s dry. Warn your people!

          • idkmybffjill

            Also the reasoning for almost all the dry weddings I’ve ever heard of is family religion. Like… mom & dad are baptist and won’t pay for this if there is booze.

          • S

            I mean, another super great reason though? Annoying, sure, but respecting someone’s religion is important. Also keep in mind that addiction can be horrifically traumatising and embarrassing for some people and I’m sure there have been a not-insignificant amount of dry weddings where if people asked, the couple said the wedding was dry because of money/religion/because it’s a morning wedding/insert other reason, because they’re too ashamed to say, “I’m so afraid of my dad when he drinks” or “I don’t know what my mum would do if the wedding wasn’t dry.” There’s so much real shame surrounding the issue. Even just opting out of the pervasive drinking culture our society expects can be embarrassing. I’ve had close family members stop drinking after the alcohol-related death of a loved one, and not tell anyone that they were sober because of the stigma and harassment attached to that. My partner doesn’t drink and gets asked why literally every time we’re at a social event. This stuff is HARD and people don’t get it. I’m not saying every dry wedding is secretly about addiction. But I bet more of them are than we know.

          • idkmybffjill

            Absolutely! I completely agree and think people shouldn’t be shits about it. For all the guests my advice is always – don’t go if you’d hate it! My only point is that it this is an oft complained about thing, and I think it’s better to brace yourself for that!

          • Abby

            Definitely went to a wedding like that. Lots of fun despite (or maybe because?) not knowing anyone, but it was one definitely of those surprise! this is super-religious ceremonies I was not expecting for my yoga bestie.

        • nutbrownrose

          So am I good with my champagne-toast only afternoon wedding since FH doesn’t drink? We legit can’t afford to pay the bartender or for more than champagne (which would involve bartending licenses and higher deposit fees). We have a hard end time, so no dancing all night for us, and while I certainly wouldn’t mind alcohol, it’s just not a priority for us. Honeymoon on the beach, though? absolutely a priority.

          • Lisa

            I think you’ll be fine. If you have a wedding web-site, you could always put up the menu with the drink selection and say something like, “Cake and Champagne will follow.” People will get the hint from there.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            It’s your wedding. You are good with whatever you want to do, and if anyone tells you otherwise they are just plain wrong.

      • Danielle

        I mean, we had a “limited alcohol” wedding (a morning brunch wedding with just wine and beer and only SMALL cups available) to limit emphasis on drinking.

        There were several reasons for that; partly economic, partly bc there are addiction issues in our families, partly bc there were many kids there and we wanted them to be safe without lots of drunk adults, and partly bc we (me and husband) don’t drink and it’s not that important to us. We care A LOT more about food, and therefore emphasis was on the buffet instead!

        If people don’t want alcohol to play a main role in their wedding, there are many ways to do that.

      • Janet Hélène

        On the subject of dry weddings – what about making it a morning ceremony? It’s a lot less weird to have a dry wedding if the reception is being held at 12:00 PM as a brunch/lunch, and if people get alcohol, I think it speaks more to their state if wine/beer is required before 4:00 PM! Although that being said, mimosas are still an option, but less required it seems.

        • Amy March

          Can we not judge people’s “state” because they think it’s normal to have champagne at a wedding regardless of time of day or like a glass of wine at a festive lunch? I think it’s perfectly fine not to serve alcohol but it doesn’t say anything negative about people who would like to drink it.

          • Janet Hélène

            You’re totally right! Will watch language in future.

          • idkmybffjill

            Totally totally agree here. Also – I just think we should acknowledge that many many wedding guests like a glass of something because they might be in an environment where they don’t know many people or are perhaps dateless and it’s nice to have some social lubricant. This applies less when you’re having a 10 person wedding. But standard size weddings? There are almost always a couple people there who basically only know the bride, groom & wedding party. I don’t think a drink at 3pm because you’re nervous and celebrating means anything about your “state”.

        • idkmybffjill

          I totally agree on timing – dry brunch wedding will get way less complaints than dry dance party wedding.

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        I’ve been to 5 weddings this year, and only one of those served alcohol. It’s definitely popular to have a dry wedding in the southeast.

    • Kelly

      I don’t think it’s fair to blame the couple for someone imbibing too much. It’s not the worst thing in the world to get a little too drunk at a wedding, but like the LW is, it’s good to own up to your own actions

  • Eenie

    We had every single person from the second paragraph at our wedding.

    “Do not show up already tipsy to the ceremony. Do not pass out at the reception; do not get sick; do not fall in a way that requires medical attention. Do not, absolutely not, attempt to speak into a microphone when you are over the limit to drive. Hold it together if you are giving a toast.”

    We did not care at all. My husband even got puked on. We had a friend leave in an ambulance for non alcohol related reasons, but that put everything into perspective. We had quite a few “Sorry for having TOO much fun convos”. They were 100% completely unnecessary except when these guests actually filled us in on what was going on behind the scenes or reassured us that they had a great time. That was really what we wanted to hear.

    • Yeah, we had a couple of those too (including a low-key dramatic incident at the end of the night) and it was fine. They don’t even really pop up under my “wedding day memory list” unless something like this thread reminds me of them.

  • Pingback: Do I Need to Apologize after Getting Way Too Drunk at a Wedding? | Wedding Adviser()

  • lamarsh

    Maybe I’ll feel differently about my wedding, but my favorite two birthdays celebrations were the ones where many guests came up to me in the following weeks to say they couldn’t believe how drunk they had gotten. For me, I was just happy they felt comfortable and were having fun! (And none of them were angry drunks which I presume would make a difference.)

    • Lawyerette510

      If you feel that way about other parties, you’ll probably feel that way about your wedding. I love throwing big ruckus parties, and so I loved it when our wedding was that way too.

    • Jess

      We ended up with lots of great drunk friend/relative stories. Like the friend who needed help identifying the elevator. Or the friend who “lost his suit jacket” on the table in front of him.

      But they didn’t do anything majorly inappropriate and every single person had a great time. My only request was that R and I not be The Drunk Ones (we weren’t).

      It’s exactly the type of party we wanted to have.

      • lamarsh

        Hahaha, my fiance and I have already had several chats about how we don’t want to be The Drunk Ones at our own wedding.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        We are still hearing stories, five months later! My favorite so far is a friend waking up in a field where she laid down to rest before she went to bed.

  • Lawyerette510

    When I was younger, I was this person more than once. One time at an afterparty when I knew I had over-indulged and was already apologizing to the couple (who it ends up by that point were more drunk than I was and didn’t even remember the after party) I said “I’m sorry, I just love love so f**king much.” I have never lived that line down. To this day, anytime there is a wedding or anniversary or any other love-related function that someone from that group of friends, including my husband, knows I am attending, they will inevitably make a joke about how much I love love.

    At another wedding where I over-indulged, when I called the couple to apologize the next day, they said “Don’t worry about it, if not for you, Groom would’ve been the most ridiculous one at the wedding, at least this way there was one person going harder than him.”

    My point being, know your crowd and know what you did and who saw it or was subjected to it, then make the appropriate apologies based on that and move forward. For example, the apology owed to the couple who is doing shots and passing joints is likely going to tolerate more shenanigans than the one who isn’t drinking themselves and only providing beer and wine.

    • CMT

      Ha, I have drunkenly exclaimed how much I love love, too!

      • Danielle

        That is really not the worst thing ever said while drunk. In fact, it’s probably the best <3

    • Laura C

      Yes to knowing your crowd! My husband’s college friends feel like somebody has to be “that guy” at every wedding and they recognize they’ll each take their turn. Not that they’ll ruin the wedding, but that there’s always going to be someone who goes one drink too far, gets a little too emotional, dances a little too hard. I gather my husband took his turn at a wedding shortly after we started dating that was attended by a recent ex whose presence rattled him. But even when he’s not that guy, he’s notorious for getting all his friends into a group hug at the end of a favorite song and telling them he loves them.

      • Jessica

        Yep! My bff was “That Bridesmaid” at my wedding, and even though she didn’t have bridesmaids at her wedding, I still filled that role. This includes dancing outrageously, spilling a drink on the dress, trying to get the new FIL to dance, and requesting the same song to the DJ six times, even though it already played.

        • Amy March

          How do you really know the DJ respected your no play list if your friend didn’t ask him to play Teenage Dream 6 times?

          • Jessica

            It’s really a service being done.

  • emilyg25

    We were quite proud of how many of our guests posted about their raging hangovers on social media the day after our wedding. As long as no one got violent or destroyed property, we were a-okay with drunken shenanigans. Definitely a know-your-crowd situation!

  • Antonia

    I tend to be a pretty sloppy drunk. Not mean or aggressive or anything, but let’s just say I’m… not the best at remaining dignified. The thing I’ve noticed over the years is that *I* tend to be way more mortified about my behavior than anyone else. Like, apologize to the happy couple if you feel like you need to, but chances are, you’re worked up over something that didn’t even register on anyone else’s radar. Believe me, I speak from (ample) experience!

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    I’m only gonna be mad at people getting drunk at our wedding if they A) drive home drunk, and/or B) are one of the alcoholics in our extended family who are pretending to be sober.

    • Eenie

      Our venue asked if there was a theme for our wedding and I said “No one drives home drunk.” Almost everyone ubered or walked. A few locals had to have a DD.

  • K.

    I only got mad at people for getting too drunk at our wedding if we’d already had issues with surrounding over-drinking, like an aunt who historically can’t keep her shit together even for one g.d. day or a friend who has a lowkey drinking problem that always ends up more dramatic than necessary (which in retrospect really fell into the ‘Don’t expect people to change just because it’s your wedding’ category).

    Depending on what exactly you mean by “the harassment of male guests” and how it was taken, you’ll want to apologize to them for that. But otherwise, unless you happen to know your friends were upset, you’re most likely fine! I think realizing your own drunkenness when sober later is one of the most blindingly embarrassing gut reactions, but we almost always overplay it in our own minds.

    • Nell

      Soooooo important!!!! Please apologize to any dudes who you made feel awkward or uncomfortable. Be the person you’d want them to be if the situation were reversed.

  • GpedJane

    A friend was tearing out his chest hair and sprinkling it on the dance floor at our wedding. We just thought it was weird/funny. No need to apologize. We wanted people to party and have a good time in celebration of the event.

    • idkmybffjill

      Pahahhahahhahah that is the best.

    • Jess

      I just laughed audibly at my desk. This is hilarious.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      This gets funnier the longer I picture it.

    • Leah

      Can he come to my wedding because this is the level of shenanigans we are after?!

  • TheHungryGhost

    My OH got wasted at a friend’s wedding. He had just passed an exam on the final attempt before he was fired, and had been sure he had failed, so when someone ordered lots of jaegerbombs… the rest is history (a history of making sea-monster gurgling noises whilst vomiting on the lawn outside the marquee).

    We were kind of anxious the morning after to know if he was any hassle. We would have apologised to the bride, but you know what? She couldn’t even get out of bed, and the groom was in the bad books of the venue because he jumped in the pond.

    TL;DR – you’re behaviour might be super embarrassing to you, but is only a very small part of a very big day for them. Apologise and move on.

    • Katharine Parker

      If the venue is cool with lots of jaegerbombs… they’re going to get really drunk people.

      • TheHungryGhost

        Weeeeeelll, the ‘venue’ came in two parts – an 8 bedroom house for hire with a big pond and orchard, and a marquee who brought the bar. The marquee people probably find it easy to clean up, and wouldn’t have been so worried about the lawn – the owners of the house probably weren’t so happy!

  • Kim

    I had a certain group of drunk female guests at my wedding and while they were a bit crazy, I was glad they were having a great time at my reception! I did not want to have a quiet/boring reception by any means. So when I wondered if people had a good time at my wedding, I can at least think of a few people who def had a great time! If someone broke something or caused a huge scene, I’d expect an “I’m so sorry,” but if you are just generally having fun, being a bit loud…we’ve all been there.

    Also, totally agree with the “accidentally” drunk situation…I got way more tipsy that I planned to be as the bride. I was kept in constant supply of wine by guests/vendors after eating very little that day! My step-father also insisted on doing a shot of tequila with me and that really hammered it home.

  • Lexipedia

    I didn’t realize how much a steady supply of drinkable booze can affect the atmosphere of a wedding until I went to one that wasn’t “dry” but definitely ran out of very small glasses of bad wine and beer before dinner. My friends aren’t huge drinkers, but there was pretty much no dancing at all when we were all subsisting on a single glass of pinot.

    As for drunk guests, my party rules are 1) did you hurt yourself or anyone else, 2) did you physically damage property, or 3) did you throw up on me, in front of me, or in any way that I need to clean it up (I have a thing about vomit). Otherwise we’re good!

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  • Celesta Torok

    I actually had the boyfriend of one of my good friends get pretty drunk at my and my husband’s wedding… he’s diabetic, so he probably shouldn’t be drinking much anyway, but by the end of the night, he had his socks and shoes off and his tie tied around his head like a Ninja Turtle… It was actually really funny; we were all having a great time dancing and it made for a good story. We didn’t think a thing of it, and maybe your friends won’t either. But if they do, the above advice is a good apology. :)

  • Nell

    Errr. . . you said you knocked into the decor. Did you break anything?

    A friend of mine had a guest *punch through a wall* at her wedding (it was an accident, and came from exuberance, not anger). Thank god the venue had insurance. DON’T BE THAT GUY! And if you accidentally are that guy, offer to pay for it.

  • Cay

    I think it’s a “know your crowd” type of thing. We were on the fence about having alcohol at our wedding because it costs SO much and we weren’t allowed to bring our own without a liquor license. We’re having one because we were able to cut down on costs since a good 1/4 of my guests don’t drink. However, my FMIL and SFIL had a dry wedding because they know that both sides of their family are aggressive, obnoxious drunks and they didn’t want to deal with that, and they still danced until midnight. Maybe it’s an age thing, or a cultural thing but most of the dry (and/or black) weddings/functions that I’ve been to have had as much dancing and have lasted just as long as those with alcohol as long as the music was good.

    Now if you have bad music AND a dry wedding, then yes you’ll probably have an early party or empty dance floor.

  • Ladyjanegreysanatomy

    I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding at which someone didn’t fall down under the influence of a bit to much alcohol. Once onto me. I kind of look forward to this moment because it is usually either an older family’s member letting loose or a good friend of the couple getting overly excited and either way they always seem to be joyfully celebrating and I just can’t be judgy about that. I’m not saying do it on purpose, but if it happens, know that it had to be someone and that most adults have been that drunk at some point in their life and we get it. As others have said, a simple and singular apology might be in order if you really overstepped (I.e. Broke something, puked on the couple, harassed someone inappropriately) and if this is a regular thing for you then maybe an acknowledgement that you need to work on it (and then do that). But if you just danced too hard and fell down? Honestly, you probably just made a bunch of people laugh and that’s nothing to apologize for.