Serving alcohol and getting flack from my super conservative family (long)

posted 2 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
442 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Don’t talk about the wedding planning with them. If they ask you directly, just say you haven’t finalized the details for the reception. If they tell you they won’t show to your wedding because of alcohol, just smile and tell them you will miss them. 

No one is forcing them to drink. They are being incredibly closeminded about this.

Post # 3
Member
1236 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA

“Mom, Dad, Jessie and I will be serving wine at our reception. I’m sorry you’re uncomfortable, but it’s settled.” Then change the subject. If they persist, “I don’t want to talk about reception details right now.” Then change the subject again. Hold firm, and DO NOT get drawn into arguments about justifying your decisions – they’ll never yield and you’ll just get frustrated. If they threaten to boycott, say you’re sorry they feel that way and you’ll miss them at the wedding. If they’re willing to pull out the nuclear option over something they don’t have to participate in and doesn’t impact them at all, what next? We’re not coming if you and your fiance spend the night together between now and the wedding? We’re not coming if you wear a strapless gown? We’re not coming if you serve shellfish? We’re not coming if we’re not allowed to check the bridal sheets the next morning to make sure everyone was a virgin? Don’t give emotional terrorists any ground, or they’ll keep asking for more.

 

Good luck!

Post # 4
Member
314 posts
Helper bee

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!! please stay strong, you are an adult and you’re paying for this wedding yourself- this wedding is about YOU and they need to respect that. I’d shut down any future conversations with “I’m sorry you won’t be there to celebrate the happiest day of my life, guess you don’t really love me!” and walk away. Let them catch you doing wedding planning and crafts- but stop when they try to talk to you and don’t discuss details- make them feel left out and act really hurt. You have to turn this guilt trip around on them! 🙂

Post # 5
Member
3016 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Prague

They have no say. Period.

“Your opinion has been noted, but we are making our own decisions about our wedding.” And change the subject. 

Good for you for standing up to them. 

Post # 6
Member
42522 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

There is always room for compromise too, unless you want to alienate your family.

You could have an early afternoon ceremony folowed by a tea and cake reception to which everyone is invited.  Your family would feel comfortabe attending.

Because the afternoon reception would be so inexpensive, you and your FI could afford to host a dinner/dance or just dance reception later in the evening to which you would invite those family and friends who are comfortable around alcohol. You might even be able to invite more friends because your family would not be attending.

Post # 7
Member
736 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

LadyBlackheart:  this just reminds me of a good friend, who married a girl from a super-conservative family (and community) like the one you describe (except she had the same beliefs as her family). Alcohol was the devil! So they had a dry wedding – he supported her. 

Not even one year later, he found out she was cheating on him with a number of guys, married ones with kids at that. Did I mention that he brought home the bacon while she shopped and sat on her a$$? It was over between them. Well, her family was on her side 100%, claiming that the devil got into her. It was laughable. 

I’m surprised at how mature you’re being about this (I don’t mean this in a rude way). It’s really hard to stick up for yourself when your close family is so opinionated about something. It’s easier to do what your brother did. But know that this “alcohol is the devil” behaviour is somewhat abnormal and extremist. Especially the part where they feel that it’s okay to push their beliefs onto other people, including your FI’s family. That is so absolutely not ok. If you don’t drink, fine, don’t drink. But to tell everyone else not to, wtf??

I would stick to my guns. Don’t start your marriage off by allowing people to stick their nose in it.

 

Post # 8
Member
11001 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

Well, anyone who has ever read my postings on this topic knows that I did not serve alcohol at my wedding. However, I do understand why you, a grown woman (who, along with her fiance, is paying for her own wedding), are feeling frustrated by your family’s stance on this.

I do not think it would make much sense for your family members, who are not going to be required to drink or to even stay at the reception longer than they feel comfortable, to choose to boycott your wedding over this.  Your choice to serve alcohol that you (and your FI and perhaps his parents) are paying for will not reflect poorly on your parents or your extended family members who oppose the drinking of alcohol.  I really hope that no one decides to not go to your wedding over this issue.

All of that said, however, I need to say that I do agree with your parents about the responsibility that comes with making the choice to serve alcoholic beverages to others.

Alcohol may be legal, but it is a controlled, dangerous substance nonetheless, and it impairs people’s judgment and affects their bodies even before they reach the point of being drunk by legal standards.  Over indulging in alcohol can result in all sorts of negative outcomes, up to an including the injury and death of others, so, when you choose to serve alcoholic beverages, you are taking on some moral (if you believe in morality), ethical, and even legal liabilities that go along with that.

The problem with serving alcohol at events such as this is that there is no polite manner in which a host may attempt to regulate his or her guests’ consumption of alcohol. Your parents are right.  There very likely WILL be SOMEONE (or several someones) who drink too much at your wedding.

Although I personally am not opposed to all consumption of alcoholic beverages, I would never want to serve it to others in my home or at an event that I am hosting. 

Post # 9
Member
1236 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA

1923 called, they want their overwrought temperance PSA back.

 

OP, good for you for standing up for yourself. I just want to add one more thing: I had to deal with demanding family members and started down the “Well if I compromise on this then can we all get along and will no one boycott?” road. That road ended with me canceling the big wedding to stop the Lava Flow O’ Drama. (I got married in a courthouse with one witness, so all’s well that ends well.) I’m not saying that will happen to you, and I do agree that compromise can be a mighty thing sometimes, even when planning a wedding you’re paying for. But be careful on this one: you give an inch …

Post # 10
Member
3044 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Brielle:  I don’t want to take this off the rails, but I am curious about what you mean by ‘if you believe in morality’? 

 

Anyway, my suggestion (especially when you could be worried about inexperienced-at-drinking distant cousins overindulging) is to make sure the bartender (even if they are a friend who is volunteering) has been trained in serving responsibly and judging intoxication levels. They will know how to use phrases like “I’m sorry, I am not allowed to continue serving you alcohol. Can I get you a soda instead?” When it is a stranger (to them) stopping service, very few people get upset unless they were way over served in the first place – which a trained person is less likely to do. 

You can arrange with a taxi company to buy a certain number of chits to get people home safely, or if you have a hotel block you can arrange a shuttle.

You can also choose a certain selection of alcohol (which you are doing) as that helps slow consumption – this is a good one to point out! It isn’t like anyone will be slamming back shots.

Post # 11
Member
11001 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

babeba:  Thank you so much for asking for clarification about that. I’m sorry if that in any way came across in a negative manner. I did not intend that. I actually was trying to allow for the fact that some people do not believe in the concept of certain things being inherently right or wrong, moral or immoral, and I was simply trying to allow for that, just in case that happened to be the OP’s beliefs. 

Post # 12
Member
249 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

LadyBlackheart:  this is one of the biggest reasons I’m eloping.  Daddy is a baptist preacher, and doesn’t condone alcohol.  I, however, love me a glass of wine.  They have no clue.  I’m a few years away from 40, but still don’t want to broach the subject.

Post # 13
Member
1793 posts
Buzzing bee

OP – my first question is this:  Do your family members eat at places like Chili’s, Applebees, Ruby Tuesday’s, Outback, or ANY other establishment that serves alcohol?  Do they sit at their table and enjoy their dinner while people at other tables might be enjoying a cocktail with theirs?  IF they go to places like that, IMO they have no leg to stand on.

StepDD asked me to help her plan her wedding.  Her biomom and stepdad are Pentecostal (I am NOT bashing anyone’s faith, I am also a Christian) and flipped a cork when they found out the kids were going to serve wine and beer.  They were not paying for anything, but there were discussions about the devil, about how wrong it was, etc.  Stepdd and her DH drink when they go out and they do so quite responsibly.

We held our ground and they were pissed.  What we DID do was set up an area for non alcoholic beverages so that stepdad and biomom and their mega huge families didn’t have to go to the bar for get something to drink.  We felt it was a good compromise and kind of extended an olive branch towards their comfort.  Their were threats of boycotting but every single one of them attended!  Hold your ground and do this:

Your parents:  We are so disappointed that you would choose to serve alcohol at your wedding.

You:  We have discussed that and I am sorry you feel that way.  We have made a decision and we are moving on.  It is a closed topic.

Your parents:  Well, your grandparents and your aunts and uncles are saying they won’t come!”

You:  They will be missed.  This is a closed topic.

Your parents:  blah blah blah  how could  you do this?

You:  (and this is the important part):  Mom and Dad – I will not discuss this again at all.  It is a done deal.  If you keep bringing it up I am leaving (or hanging up).

You have to follow through every single time.

Also – stop talking about the wedding to them.  This is just going to get worse so make your plans, set them in stone, and then deal with them later.

Post # 14
Member
1618 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Wait a minute…. Your mom said she has SEEN people get drunk and act rowdy at other weddings she’s been to, but she’s threatening to not come to yours if there is alcohol??

Post # 15
Member
3044 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Brielle:  nope, didn’t come across as negative, just something I was a little confused at! 🙂 

I don’t think there are a lot of people who can truly say that they don’t believe in morality, and those few people basically are Nietzsche and anyone who totally drank his Koolaid.  

There are a number of people (myself included) who believe in moral relativism – that is to say, the things I believe are right and wrong are not the same as the things everyone else through time and space believe are right and wrong.  So long as what someone believes is “right or wrong” doesn’t harm anyone and is not needlessly oppressive, no big deal if it isn’t what I believe for me in my own life.

 

I don’t think drinking is immoral, unless you are forcing someone to become drunk against their will. There are some places, cultures and families where it really IS a big deal… But I think the tolerance and grace someone takes to deal with a culture clash like this -each side bending a little to compromise in a spirit of tolerance and respect – is a bit of a “reap what ye sow” moment.

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