Post # 1
So, our reception is going to be casual and in our yard (more like a bbq than anything). There isn’t going to be a bartender or anything, I was just going to have alcohol and let people mix their own drinks. It’s mostly family and a few close friends, so everyone’s pretty comfortable with that. There’s only one problem: both of my parents are raging alcoholics and so is FI’s mother. It’s an ongoing problem and has been since we were kids.
I don’t want to ban alcohol, but I also don’t want it to become a problem. Our mothers get pretty nasty when they start drinking, and while my dad doesn’t become nasty he can be obnoxiously talkative. I think if I asked my parents to refrain, they could. His mother won’t, since in her words, she “can’t be around the family sober”. Probably doubly so for her ex’s family (FI’s paternal in-laws). Even though there are only problems when *she* shows up and after *she* starts drinking, but I digress…
I’m just not entirely sure how to handle this. I would like for people to be able to enjoy themselves and treat themselves to a drink or two, but I don’t want a huge inter-family blow-out. I was thinking of having only light alcoholic beverages there, so people could get their buzz on but certain people won’t get obliterated. I was also thinking of just going ahead with the original plans, but making it known that they will be removed if it becomes a problem. But if it has to get to that point, that’s a huge downer on the evening.
Thoughts, anyone? Are a few drinks worth the potential risk?
Post # 3
In that situation it sounds like you need to either have a talk with your drinkers or hire a bartender and instruct them to not serve the potential drunks.
Or – hire a bouncer and just escort them out when they overindulge – they are adults.
Post # 4
I wouldn’t take it away from everyone because of a few people. Talk to those you are concerned about, they are adults and let them make adult decisions.
Post # 5
You probably will have someone there with an eating disorder too. But you are still serving food right?
Unless it’s like your future husband, it should be ok.
Post # 6
- Wedding: May 2013 - The bride's hometown United Methodist Church near Kalamazoo
I would think limiting it to wine and beer would be a good plan, though I know you can still get pretty smashed on those. This is a hard situation, especially since you don’t have a bartender that can give anyone fake or watered-down drinks if they get really awful. I definitely think asking your parents would be a start, but would they feel resentful if they limited themselves and your future in-laws did not? For a lot of these reasons, we’re having a dry wedding. People can have a lot of fun at weddings without alcohol, especially casual/daytime type events. Good luck!
EDT. Even if it is only a few people, I can still see how it could be miserable for everyone depending on the severity: especially if they are close family that you care about (based on the above responses). I’m definitely not pushing you to have a dry wedding, but it IS a viable option if you don’t want to deal with all the drama…but then, of course, would you have to worry about them bringing their own alcohol? Sigh. Families are complicated, aren’t they?
Post # 7
The fact that hosts of an event are legally (and I, personally, believe morally and ethically) responsible for the alcoholic beverages that they serve to their guests is a major reason why my Darling Husband and I did not serve alcohol at our wedding (other than a choice of a single, small glass of champagne or non-alcoholic sparkling cider — and this only after an hors d’oeuvres hour with very heavy hors d’oeuvres) for our wedding toast. This is also why we do not serve alcoholic beverages to guests in our home.
I believe that alcohol, though obviously very well enjoyed by a majority of people, truly is and should be viewed as a controlled, dangerous substance that can and does alter the thinking and reactions of people who overindulge in it. Although what represents over indulgence for one person may not seem to be so for another, I did not and do not want to be responsible for supplying a controlled, dangerous substance to people that potentially could result in them causing harm to themselves or others, whether that would be “falling off the wagon” for an alcoholic, helping someone else to perhaps say or do inappropriate things at our wedding or later that night around his or her own family, or becoming the cause of a motor-vehicular accident that could lead to serious injury or even death.
I realize that this sounds very dramatic. However, every day, we read about incidents and accidents that resulted from people making poor choices or being impaired by alcohol.
I believe people want to come to your wedding to spend time with you and to share in your special day. Although the majority of your guests may be very accustomed to drinking socially, hosts should not feel compelled to provide alcohol to their guests if the hosts have any concerns about doing so. You can still be a wonderful host who supplies your guests with delicious food and an “open” bar featuring a wide variety of non-alcoholic beverages such as flavored teas, lemonade, various juices, blended non-alcholic drinks, sodas, etc., without potentially causing temptation, drama and harm. Just something to consider.
Post # 8
@lh526: Yeah, but there’s a difference between that and someone or several people getting drunk off their butts and inciting a knock-down drag-out fight as has happened in the past. At least, I’ve never known anyone in our family to become volatile after eating too much cake.
@Miss Bat: Thank you. It reminds me of a party my parents and I went to a few years ago, where my mom got buzzed (it was her family) and my dad got extremely drunk. They fought with each other, they fought with other people, and overall it was really embarrassing and I would hate to have a repeat of that at my wedding. If someone has to be removed because they’re becoming violent or nasty, the situation is already at the point where it’s embarrassing, or at least a buzz-kill.
I don’t think my parents would feel resentful of my future in-laws, but they might be resentful of each other. So if my dad chooses to get drunk, my mom probably would. If she chooses to get drunk, he probably would. My dad is easy to talk to, my mom not so much because she doesn’t think there’s a problem. But I’m hoping that if I pose it as a shared request, they’ll play it cool at the wedding.
I think I’m still leaning towards having a variety of light alcoholic beverages. Maybe some different kinds of beer, wine, and flavored malts plus a sangria recipe I love that doesn’t include hard alcohol. It’s also pretty in-line with BBQs we’ve had here before; the main drink is usually some sort of flavored beer.
Post # 9
Well…my family can be a lot like this, too. I know where you’re coming from and it sucks. My brother is an on again, off again drinker/sober and tends to be very hurtful when he’s overindulged. My uncle too. It runs in families and can be pretty problematic at gatherings where there’s potential to get hammered. For weddings we actually talked to them beforehand and told the bartender to not serve them. They had to agree to it. The only other alternative was not having any alcohol at all (which would have sucked and people would have complained for sure). I dunno how affective only serving beer and wine would have been.
Post # 10
Another side of this coin: someone I know got married a few years ago and it is well known that her mother is a raging alcoholic. Well, I guess she asked her mom not to drink on her wedding day. She obliged, but she was having withdrawal symptoms all day that were far more distracting. She didn’t calm down and stop making such a spectacle until my mom (a doctor) told someone to bring her a rum and coke.
Post # 11
I say get a bartender, or a friend to stand in as one if they will, and a couple bottles of watered down vodka/rum whatever. to use for these guests. They wont know the difference, especially if its mixed with something.
However, please do not feel that you are morally responsible for their behavior. It’s THEIR behavior and THEIR choices. I am sorry you have this problem. I also like the idea one PP said about having them “escorted away” should they become too much of an issue.
Post # 12
To be totally honest, if someone wants to drink- they will find a way to drink. (They will come drunk, bring a flask or concealed bottle, go somewhere and come back.) I am just saying- depending on the severity of the person’s drinking, there is really nothing you can do. (Short of the dreaded- not having them there- and that is not what I am necessarily suggesting.) We went through this!
Post # 13
Agreed, hire a bartender.
Post # 15
I come from an alcoholic family and am sober 3 1/2 years… I know what you’re going through. If it’s a casual affair, maybe not serving alcohol is your best bet. Maybe even have an after party with a few drinks for friends and folks who don’t have problems with their drinking.
Will your parents even attend if there isn’t alcohol? The thought of having to attend a wedding sober would have driven me insane when I was actively drinking.
Post # 16
If they want to drink, they will find a way to do so. They’re adults that need to make adult decisions. Have a chat with them beforehand and express your concerns. Just have a plan to remove them if shit starts to go down.