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Sober receptions prevent problems
By Bethany Waldrop Keiper
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A couple's wedding day can give them high spirits, but receptions that include distilled spirits can cause headaches in ways many couples may not expect.
An alcohol-free reception can ensure that a wedding is memorable for the right reasons.
"From a health standpoint, alcohol can lower both your blood sugar and your inhibitions, leading you to eat more," said Rebecca Kelly, human nutrition specialist and registered dietitian with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "The calorie content of alcohol is very similar to the calorie content of fat, so the calorie count can really add up."
A 16-ounce cocktail of non-diet cola mixed with hard liquor can add up to almost 500 empty calories, according to Kelly's calculations from U.S. Department of Agriculture calorie count figures.
Soft drinks do have fewer calories per ounce than their harder counterparts, and juices without added sugar also are lower on the calorie scale. Most juices have the added benefits of vitamins and potassium.
Alcohol can lower self-control and inhibitions, which can be a reception disaster if too many guests hit the bar while the new couple is busy getting the last of the wedding photos taken.
"Most couples don't consider the potential liability for guests who drink too much at their reception. This is something you need to check out in case you do decide to serve alcohol to your guests," Kelly said.
It doesn't take much alcohol to increase the risk of a car crash. After only one drink, there are observable effects, according to the National Safety Council. Visual clarity, coordination and judgement are limited after just one drink.
Weddings can be expensive, and removing alcohol from the cost list can leave couples with more cash to spend for other wedding priorities.
"Reception beverages without alcohol can still pack a punch with a little creativity. Experiment with combinations of juices, clear sodas, teas and sparkling water," Kelly said. "There are many non-alcoholic choices, such as sparkling cider and grape juice, hot or iced tea, coffee drinks, Italian sodas, fruit or ice cream smoothies, non-alcoholic beers and wines, and bottled or flavored water."
Add a memorable touch to alcohol-free drinks with elegant garnishes.
"Thread an orange wedge and blueberries on a frilled toothpick, or thread a small pineapple slice between fresh raspberries and mint leaves on a party pick," Kelly said. "These are a treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds."
Give the edges of glasses a frosty appearance by moistening each rim with lemon juice or water, and then gently dipping into a plate of superfine sugar, a finely ground granulated sugar.
For more information, contact: Dr. Rebecca Kelly, (662) 325-1801