Post # 1
My fiance and I are stuck and have no idea what to do about our wedding, and I’m ready to call it off completely and just go to City Hall.
My parents insist that no alcohol be served–95% of my side of the family do not drink at all, and most belong to a church where alcohol is prohibited. Many friends of the family are also non-drinkers, and there will be a good number of people who will be offended by its presence. My parents are paying for about one-half of the wedding.
On the other hand, my fiance’s parents have already laid down the law and said that they will not attend unless there is alcohol there. Moreover, they do not want any of his side of the family even invited unless we offer it. This is non-negotiable, and their opinion is that people don’t have to drink if they don’t want to. His parents aren’t contributing any money towards the wedding.
As for us (which apparently no one cares about), I do not drink, but I don’t have a problem with it. Fiance drinks occasionally, but pretty much only when he’s out with the guys. We had originally thought to have a bartender serve both alcohol and soft drinks and keep everything behind the counter, so there would be no alcohol out in the open but still available if requested.
We’re completely stuck in the middle of a lose-lose situation, and at this point, I’m looking towards the future. No matter what we choose, the “losing” set of parents will resent the set that gets their way.
Post # 3
Well if you Fiance parents are not contributing then they have NO SAY. If you dont want alchohol then dont. If they are saying that they wont show up cause their is no alchohol then it sounds like they have a drinking problem and dont care about their son. This is where things get tough. You need to have a backbone and tell it like it is! Or else your wedding wont be what you want it to be. Its up to you. Good luck!
Post # 4
Oh wow – this really does have you stuck. Would your parents be okay if alcohol was only available on a cash basis? That way they aren’t paying for the booze? I know that cash bars are frown on by “etiquette”, but I think in this case it could help solve your issue.
Just tell your parents “It’s really important for FI’s parents that alcohol is available for our guests. I understand that you aren’t comfortable with providing it, so I thought a cash bar might help our families overcome this conflict.”
Then tell his parents “My parents aren’t comfortable with the idea of alcohol at the wedding, but agreed to compromise as long as they aren’t paying for the booze. So, we’ve opted to go with a cash bar to meet the needs of your family, while respecting the wishes of mine.”
And if FI’s family has a fit on the cash bar, stand firm and say “Well, if it means that much to you, would you be willing to pay for that portion of the wedding?”
Hope this helps!
Post # 5
I agree with Kare7213. I think your FIL’s would have a little more say/pull if they were contributing to the costs, but since they are not, it’s really not their place to tell you what to do. Good luck – I hope you can all find a good compromise.
Post # 6
Could you have two rooms? One with a bar in it and one with no bar. Sign on the door could read, please drink in this room? (Kind of like a beer garden)
Probably wouldn’t work, but wanted to suggest it. You are in a tough situation here.
Post # 7
I think you and your Fiance need to decide what YOU want to do. And then do it. I agree that because your parents are helping out financially that you need to take their requests more seriously, but I disagree that your FIs parents have no say because they are not contributing. You are joining two families together, and starting your own (as in you and your Fiance will be your own family unit. No baby pressure here!). Whatever decision you two make should be presented as just that, your decision. Don’t put the onus on one set of parents or the other. It will just create friction between them.
Post # 8
Hmm, yes both sides are being unreasonable. Having alcohol present would not hurt your family since no one will be forcing them to drink and his family can deal without for one night. However, I sort of understand both sides – I know my culture just wouldn’t be capable of understanding how you can have a party without alcohol (and my parents would be embarassed to invite people to such a party) and I would assume your parents feel strongly that alcohol is immoral? Hard situation.
My best advice would actually probably be to go ahead and elope. If the two sides of the family are so different and so unwilling to compromise – it’s going to be too hard.
If you are set on having a wedding – go to each of the parents, let them know how much they are upsetting you and making you cry and miserable, ask them if they can’t compromise on this tiny tiny thing for you? Be sweet and sad instead of angry. (Yes, it’s manipulation and not very nice – but sometimes you’ve got to do what you got to do). Then, invite whoever you want to, if your Fiance wants to invite family or family friends he can go ahead and do that, he doesn’t need your parents permission.
Post # 9
It’s great when you family helps with the wedding costs but not when they want to run the show. I’s rather pay for it myself and do whatever I want.
Post # 10
I agree with Goldilocks.
Like Arachna, I come from a family/circle of friends where having any sort of celebration without alcohol would be unheard of. We’re not alcoholics or anything but that’s just how it’s always been.
I think suggesting cash bar will work best here.
Post # 11
I like the cash bar idea. I think it fits the situation pretty well. You just have to convince both sets of parents that it’s the right choice. If neither can be convinced, then elope.
Post # 12
I’m sorry you’re in a tough spot!
Just ask yourself: what do YOU want? If you don’t want alcohol, don’t have it. Also, will your future in-laws really not attend if they can’t drink? Something like that may well be an empty threat.
Whatever you decide, explain it calmly to each side, and also say that you and your fiance chose based on what will make YOU happy, not because you were picking sides. They should not be issuing ultimatums!
Yes, you could offer alternatives like a cash bar or allow people to go get drinks from another room. Those are good compromises. But both sets of parents should be supporting you, not issuing threats over beverages.
Post # 13
You are in a super tough position, and I have to agree with everyone else that this really needs to be your decision. Your parents are contributing to half the wedding, but not all of it, and your FI’s parents aren’t paying for anything. The cash bar could be a good solution. That being said, if I were you, I would be super tempted to call my FIL’s bluff–they REALLY would NOT show up to their son’s wedding due to a dearth of booze? Really? When I found out how much our open bar would cost, I almost decided to scrap the whole thing, but my dad informed me that he felt weird throwing an evening reception with no alcohol–so I get where they’re coming from. They might be a little embarrassed in front of their friends if the wedding is dry. But are they and their friends really so unreasonable as to be incapable of understanding a religious dictate against alcohol, and to let it go for one night? (We decided to do just beer and wine, and I told my friends who were a little upset about it that they could just bring their fun flasks if it was really going to be a problem :P) I am super sorry you’re dealing with this, but I really think you need to have a serious talk with both sides and make sure everyone is crystal clear on whose wedding we’re talking about and whose money is paying for it. ((HUGS))
Post # 14
I think that you should lay some ground rules down with your parents about what decisions they will be able to partake in and which they will not. Financially providing for a wedding does give them some say, but not the final word, in a lot of instances. If that makes you uncomfortable, then politely explain to them that while you are grateful for their offer, you will be paying for the wedding yourself since they cannot agree with your decisions.
As others have said, it’s important that you make decisions FIRST, and inform your parents later. You aren’t asking, you are telling. There is a difference. It seems like you are trying to play arbitrator to both sets of parents, and that shouldn’t be the case. Decide what you want, then inform both sets of parents. They can complain all they want, but it is not their party it’s yours.
Again, I’d say your biggest problem is accepting your parents’ money. Your FI’s parents deserve their opinion on your decisions, but failing to provide money to host the wedding does technically give them less say than your own parents. Rather than elope, can you just cut down the cost of the wedding?
Post # 15
Scarey situation. How about town hall and then two separate parties?
Post # 16
this situation is absolutely crazy!!! it’s so hard to believe that adults can seriously try to act this way… about YOUR wedding! insane.
anyway, if i were you, i think i would tell my fiance’s parents that unfortunately, because your parents are funding a substantial portion of the wedding, you feel obligated to adhere to their wishes. blame it on the money, totally. if your fiance’s parents really want to, they can have some kind of reception for you guys with their family and their friends, maybe even as like an after party. my fsil did this with her husband a few years ago– they had a daytime reception (like a lunch) where very little alcohol was served and then afterwards her fi’s parents threw a party with lots of alcohol for them and their friends. for the most part, i think it was painless for everyone– although i wasn’t there, it was before my time 🙂