Do Hindu Weddings Have Alcohol?

Glasses of champagne at a wedding

Different areas of the world abide by different customs, especially when it comes to something as precious and serious as a wedding. One common question that a lot of people find themselves asking is whether or not a wedding will have alcohol. This can be a question by a friend or someone who isn’t sure how to properly put a wedding together.

Hindu weddings do not have alcohol during the ceremony. There may be alcohol present during the pre or post-ceremony parties. Alcohol is especially avoided when a wedding is held inside of a temple. History shows that most Hindu weddings avoided alcohol due to religion. It’s becoming more popular in the form of consumption bars.

If you have ever wondered about Hindu weddings and their stance on alcohol, you have come to the right place. This blog is going to share whether or not Hindu weddings have alcohol. The answer might actually surprise you.

Are Hindu Weddings Dry?

One major question someone may have about a Hindu wedding is whether or not the wedding will be “dry”. This essentially means that the wedding will have zero alcohol. The true answer is that it depends.

Originally, it was likely that a Hindu wedding would not offer their guests any type of alcohol. This was solely based on religious beliefs. But times have changed since then. In this day and age, it is not uncommon for alcohol to be served at least at one event pre or post-ceremony. Alcohol is never served during the actual ceremony.

One thing to always keep in mind is that if the ceremony and any accompanying events occur in the temple, then alcohol will not be served. Again, this is due to religious purposes. Alcohol is not allowed inside of a religious Hindu temple. Therefore, you won’t find any alcohol. This would make the wedding “dry”.

As previously mentioned, it’s not completely uncommon to find some alcohol during pre-wedding events or a reception. It’s becoming the new “norm” for many Hindu couples. However, even though it is technically “allowed”, it doesn’t mean that you should expect it. Some couples will refuse to serve alcohol because it is their religious preference.

Does Hinduism Allow Consumption of Alcohol?

It is fairly hard to gage whether or not a Hindu wedding will have alcohol. This is because Hinduism isn’t entirely clear with their stance on alcohol consumption. There is no “central authority” that is followed by every Hindu when it comes to alcohol. Some texts forbid alcohol, while others praise it – especially when it comes to “soma”.

(Source: AskIslam)

When in Doubt, Ask the Couple

The best thing to do is to ask the wedding couple their stance on serving alcohol. This is especially true since the ruling can differ between two couples. Instead of going in blindly, simply ask whether or not the wedding will be “dry”, so you know exactly what to expect.

(Source: IndianWeddingToolKit, Web.StandFord.Edu)

Can You Drink at Hindu Weddings?

As previously stated, it all depends. Some Hindu weddings will serve alcohol, although it is more likely to happen during a pre-ceremony event or a reception. This is because more Hindu people are seeing the reception as a celebration in which they believe the alcohol should be free flowing. Others see this as a form of going against their religion and it is avoided.

So can you drink at Hindu weddings? You can — if it’s allowed.

A Hindu wedding couple is not likely to have an open bar, which is likely in other cultures such as wedding cultures. This is because they want to limit it. This allows their alcohol-friendly guests to enjoy an alcoholic beverage without going overboard. It also pays respect to those who do not want to consume alcohol.

Bar Packages Are Common at Hindu Weddings

What these wedding couples will most likely do is purchase a bar package. This type of bar package is known as a consumption bar. With a consumption bar, the individual will pay for each drink that is consumed. This makes it far less expensive on the couple who would rather pay a large fee for unlimited alcohol per person. It also limits the consumption of the guests.

(Source: ShaadiShop)

Here is how the bar packages work:

  1. Set a limit upfront. This will be the limit that the bar taps out at. You will want to consider how many guests will be at your event first and foremost. From there, consider who will be drinking and how many drinks they might consume. For instance, a wedding with 350 guests will likely need a $7,000 limit to provide a good supply for their guests.
  2. Add or close down the bar. Once the bar is close to reaching the initial upfront limit, the wedding couple will be asked a series of questions. Either they can increase the limit they originally set, convert to a cash bar where guests can pay for their drinks, serve only certain drinks, or shut it down entirely.
  3. You are charged at the end. Since the initial limit that is set is likely to be increased, you will not be charged until after the ceremony or event. This will provide a more accurate number.

As you can see, it’s a fairly simple way to allow alcohol without letting it get out of control.

Control the Flow in Other Ways

One major reason why a Hindu wedding couple may want to avoid serving alcohol is they do not want anything bad to happen. Let’s face it — some people’s uncles simply can’t handle their booze. They will get thrashed. This can ultimately mess up the wedding in one way or another. This can also be annoying and disrespectful to those who do not drink alcohol.

The best way to have alcohol at a Hindu wedding is to control the flow. This is especially necessary if you are opting out of the aforementioned bar packages. Here are some great tips for avoiding catastrophe when allowing alcohol at a Hindu wedding, whether it’s for the pre-party or the afterparty:

  • Set limits on the number of drinks someone can obtain. You might give everything who consumes alcohol a few tickets for free drinks. Once the tickets run out, they will not be able to consume or purchase any further beverages.
  • Stick to low alcohol content drinks. The best way to avoid over-drunk behavior is to limit what types of alcohol you serve to low alcohol content beverages. Think of drinks such as light beers, champagne, or red wine. These should keep control and allow everyone to be happy.
  • Consider serving mocktails. Mocktails are a great way to serve alcoholic beverages without offending anyone or allowing someone to act inappropriately. While they won’t get the “buzz”, they will still get the flavors. Plus, it’s cheaper.
  • Put a time limit on the bar. Nothing good happens after a certain hour during the day, say 11 o’clock or midnight. Putting a limit on the bar will ensure that nobody is consuming alcohol beverages too late and getting too messed up.

(Source: TheBigFatIndianWedding)

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to give a definitive answer on whether or not a Hindu wedding will have alcohol. Some Hindu weddings will provide them during a pre-ceremony event or the reception. However, this can differ between couples and their personal religious beliefs.

Alcohol will never be served during the actual ceremony and never in a Hindu temple. The best thing to do is to ask the wedding couple if they will be serving alcohol for the best answer on what to expect.

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