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Marriage ceremony and being under the influence

Champagne certainly gathers the sparkle of everyone on your wedding day.

So what’s the lowdown around alcohol and a marriage ceremony?

Well – as much as getting married is a personal journey, it’s also a legal one and the two of you and your witnesses must present as “sober” by law. So your celebrant will be discreetly assessing your sobriety before the ceremony starts, especially if there’s been a few “bubbles” knocked back by the bridal party.

Rule of thumb – if you’re fit to drive (2 units) then you’re fit to get married. And celebrants out there, have this conversation with your couple during discussions and at the rehearsal so everyone’s on the same page. 

Births, Deaths and Marriages puts it this way…

‘If there is an absence of consent by either party to the marriage to or civil union by reason of duress, mistake, or insanity, or for any other reason, then the validity of the marriage could be called into question. Therefore, both parties to the marriage should not be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both as the impairment could affect their judgement in making decisions about consent. Celebrants need to use their professional judgement on the day about how impaired the parties are and whether the ceremony should be postponed.’

If one or more of you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, your celebrant can refuse to go ahead with the marriage ceremony, and this would be pretty embarrassing all round.

A ‘tiddly’ witness is easy to replace from your guests, however, as the marrying couple, neither of you can be replaced. You both need to be sober to get married, not only for legal reasons but also out of respect for one another and the sanctity of your vows and marriage.

Here are a few tips:

  • The bridal party often has ‘bubbles and beer’ getting ready – how about appointing your chief bridesmaid and best man as the ‘managers’ of consumption.
  • Have a good meal, little or no alcohol the night before and go to bird early – it can take 12 hours to filter alcohol out of your system and you don’t want to wake up for the ‘big day’ seedy with a hangover.
  • On your wedding day feed yourself, drink plenty of water and be super smart around alcohol. If for no other reason than being fully present and respectful of one another and the reality of saying ‘we do’ for life.

Most importantly enjoy every minute of your marriage ceremony.