It’s exciting, being asked by a close friend to stand in her wedding as a bridesmaid. However, it might also make you nervous if you’re recently sober or committed to living soberly. Weddings and alcohol seem to go hand-in-hand, unfortunately, so facing a wedding as a sober individual can feel incredibly stressful.
But it doesn’t need to be. There are steps you can put into place and a mindset to adopt to successfully partake in a wedding party sober. Not just partake, but truly enjoy. By putting a plan in place, keeping yourself accountable and being fully open with the bride, you can fully enter into the celebration of your friend’s marriage — and do it completely sober.
Commit to your decision ahead of time
If you’ve committed to being a member of the wedding party, it is just as important to commit to being a sober bridesmaid.
This might seem obvious, but think about it – if you don’t make a commitment to yourself ahead of time to remain sober throughout the bridal shower, bachelorette weekend and wedding day, temptations and pressures are more likely to slip you up. If you make a commitment to yourself to remain a sober member of the wedding party, however, you’ll make vital choices that keep you accountable and responsible no matter what.
Discuss your limits with the bride
If you’re in the wedding party, chances are you’re close to the bride and will be well received if you have an open and honest conversation with her about your limits and concerns.
For example, if the bachelorette party plan is dinner and bar hopping, maybe communicate that you’ll come to dinner, but will say goodnight and head home when everyone heads to the bars. Or if the wedding party goes out for a post reception after party, maybe it’s time for you to congratulate the happy couple and return to the hotel.
No matter your limits, make sure you do prioritize communicating them to the bride; this ensures your peace of mind and also let’s her know that you’re not leaving for the sake of leaving, but because you are striving for sobriety at this time in your life.
Find an accountability partner
Ask a responsible, trustworthy person to help keep you accountable to staying sober at the bachelorette party, bridal shower and wedding. This person could be another bridesmaid or close friend of the bride, depending on the event.
If you aren’t comfortable with anyone else in the bridal party or anyone involved in the wedding, ask the bride if you can bring someone from your sober support system to the events. Additionally, create self-accountability by volunteering to be designated driver and asking the group to hold you to this.
Make yourself useful
Being a bridesmaid you have countless opportunities to make yourself useful. If you find insecurities beginning to creep in and are feeling tempted to shut them down with alcohol, steer yourself in another direction instead. Check in with the other bridesmaids — is everyone well hydrated? Seek out the mother of the bride — are there any catastrophes needing handled? Perhaps the bride needs someone to help her touch up her makeup.
No matter what it is, seeking out a task to keep you busy can certainly help keep your mind in healthy places.
As a last resort, craft an escape plan
Have a way of getting yourself out of the situation if you’re feeling really triggered. Perhaps you drove yourself to the reception or bachelorette party so you have the freedom to leave when you need. If that’s not an option, maybe it’s having a friend on speed dial who has promised to come collect you if you begin to feel uncomfortable or pressured.
Remember, if you need to fall back on your escape plan, it’s not because you’re not strong — it means you value your recovery so much that you’re unwilling to put it in jeopardy. And that is brave.
Recovery support for sobriety
Being in a wedding party is exciting and fun, a wonderful time to celebrate the important people in your life. But this time shouldn’t threaten your sobriety, so it’s important to participate with a sobriety plan in place.
Talking with your support group, or even a therapist, can help give you encouragement and concrete actions to take to maintain your recovery and celebrate wholeheartedly at the same time.