Have no idea how to enjoy partying without alcohol? Want to create a memorable night for your friends without needing beer or wine to do it?
We’ve got the answers you need to get started.
When Alcohol Is Great (And When It Isn’t)
Expecting to enjoy a drink at a party has turned into the norm, from the point of view of most guests. People expect hosts to provide alcohol, it helps them to unwind and also adds to the atmosphere. Alcohol can make it easier for people to socialise.
But from the host’s point of view, not knowing how to have partying without alcohol can lead to all sort of problems. It can also limit the kinds of fun they want to offer.
For starters, alcohol is expensive. Party organising is already such a big undertaking, with nearly all the expenses going out of the host’s pocket. Even if you decide to ask guests to “bring your own booze” (BYOB), organisers will still need to supply back-up drinks in case there’s a shortfall.
And if you’re going to supply drink, then you’ll have to deal with the possibility of someone getting drunk. Because it will happen – and it’s not always pretty to see. Knowing how to deal with drunk guests is a huge learning curve.
But it’s not just the host who suffers, guests can suffer too. Friends who don’t drink might hesitate to RSVP. The same can happen for guests who might normally drink, but might not be in the mood to when they’re at the party. If the host only provides beer etc, these guests might leave early.
The Ultimate Goal Of Partying
I think it’s important to “untrain” party guests from the expectation that partying=drinking.
Bringing people together for fun should always be at the heart of every party we organise. There are more ways to coax out that fun than just with drink.
With that in mind, let’s get started with tips for host and guest alike.
Partying Without Alcohol: Host Ideas
Decide to have a party centred around food. – From pizza parties to hosting a fondue, the possibilities are endless. People like to eat at parties more than they like to drink. If friends are coming straight from work and haven’t had a chance to eat, you’ll be doing them a huge favour.
Decide to throw an alcohol-free party. – One of my favourites is hosting a tea party with friends. Tea is a more relaxing drink than beer, and when you throw in cake and biscuits, you’ve got yourself a party that serves all kinds of guests.
And if you think tea parties can be dull, think again! Come check our post on unique tea party themes.
Change up the time of day of your party. – We tend to think of parties as massive events held at night. But turning it into a lunch, brunch or afternoon event can change people’s perception what a party is supposed to be.
Throw a movie marathon night. – Let’s face it, people love movies! Our attentions are glued to the screen while our hands are dipping into popcorn boxes and bags of chips. Movie nights, even at cinemas, tend to be snack-and-soda-driven affairs.
If you’re wondering what kind of night to throw, check out our post on movie party ideas.
Organise a trivia quiz night. – Because who doesn’t love the chance to show off their general knowledge? This is the perfect option if you’ve got nerdy friends.
You can tailor your night according to your friends’ interest in certain topics. You can add competitive edge to the proceedings, by offering prizes and creating a contest.
Keep your party packed with activities. – Keeping everyone consistently entertained during a party can be a hard work. But with the right advanced planning, not only will you keep people happy but you’ll prevent any lulls from happening. (And stop people thinking drinking is the solution to the void.)
Activities include playing board games and card games, cooking together, or sports outside. Check out our list of socialising activities for friends.
Partying Without Alcohol: Guest Ideas
Decide to go to alcohol-free parties. – Making the conscious choice to pick what aligns with your values can be a big deal. But you get to choose who you RSVP to. If you’re worried about turning down a host or friend, just explain to them why, I’m sure they’ll understand.
Volunteer to help the host with their party. – Depending on the type and size of party, it’s easy for a host to get swamped with things to do. So any assist is going to be greatly welcomed.
Some of the tasks you could volunteer for with include coat check, cleanup, and monitoring food levels.
Party with the intention of talking to new people. – One way to feel good at parties is to go with a mission in mind.
You could, for example, decide to meet five people just to learn about their hobbies. If you want to brush up your small talk skills, this too is another way of engaging with people.
Bring non-alcoholic drinks with you. – Although we’d like to think a party host has our back, sometimes they can slip up when providing a varied drinks menu. One sure way you can enjoy partying without alcohol is by bringing some of your own favourite drinks with you. Since this will be an expense for you, ask the host if they can supplement you, then buy your drinks in bulk.
Non-alcoholic drinks range from soda to juice, tea bags, coffee, and sparkling water.
Opt for caffeinated drinks. – Caffeinated drinks like cola or soda can help people socialise and relax the way alcohol does. So if that’s what you enjoy drinking, why not?
Unless you ask in advance, don’t expect a host to provide you with a fresh brew of coffee or cans of Coke, instead bring your own.
Change up your party friends for a while. – Good friends should be supportive no matter what you decide. But if you’re surrounded by the attitude of drinking, it can be hard for drinker-friends to understand your change of heart.
Consider taking a timeout from these friends and hanging with people who don’t drink.
There’s no reason why not wanting to drink means you can’t attend a party or host one yourself. It’s just knowing how to go about partying without alcohol that’s the usual problem. Hopefully one or two of the ideas above can fix your dilemma.