(Closed) Help please! Need advice, invite or not invite?

posted 10 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
652 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

what if you did not serve any alcohol at the wedding?

Post # 4
1276 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Oh I’m so sorry…this sounds awful.  My gut reaction is that there is no way you need to have someone who has been so incredibly hurtful to you at your wedding…and I think deep down inside that’s your FH’s feeling too.  I’m a bit confused, though, as to why you are the one consulting his family about how to handle this and why you are notifying his sister of your decisions.  It just seems to me that given how much this is a "family affair" it would really be a lot better coming from your FH.  B/c it kind of sounds to me like his family is pressuring him to invite his brother and they see the unwillingness to include him coming from you (though it sounds like your FH agrees with you).  It also concerns me that you are attending Al-Anon meetings without your FH (or at least you don’t mention his attending).  It really, really sounds to me a bit like your FH and your Future Sister-In-Law and perhaps other family members have enabled your FBIL’s alcoholism for a long time, perhaps out of guilt or grief over their parents’ death.  I think you’re caught on the sidelines of this so I really respect and applaud your decision to find some support, but it really sounds like they need to be attending some meetings (or doing whatever works for them) as well. 

Since you’ve already scheduled pre-marital counseling, I think you’re already on your way toward finding a solution.  But it sounds to me like it’s your FH who is struggling with his feelings toward his brother, and you’re feelings getting hurt in the fray.  It might be helpful to step back from talking specifically about the wedding and talking more broadly about your Future Brother-In-Law and what type of relationship your FH imagines you (as a couple and he as an individual) want to have with him.  That might make it easier to figure out how you want to handle the wedding invitation.

Post # 5
214 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

FizicsGirl raises some GREAT points. It does sound like you’re dealing with this more directly than your FH is. Since it is his family it seems like they would be more receptive to wedding decisions coming from him rather than you. Does your FH seem hesitant to approach his family about this?  

Post # 6
222 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this. Coming from a family full of raging alcoholics, I can understand where you are coming from. We chose not to have alcohol at our wedding for the very reason that I do not want my sister to be able to embibe a drop of it. If she does, she becomes mean, aggressive, and overall, not pleasant. I am so scared of what she might do. I considered not inviting her, but then I realized that I might regret it later on in life. I decided that I would regret not having alcohol wayyyyy less than not inviting her.

I agree with the other posters. I think your FH needs to be the one to make the ultimate decision and deal with the situation. The crazy man is his brother afterall.

I wish you the best of luck with it all. Just remember that no matter what, after that day, you will be married to the man of your dreams. 🙂


Post # 7
773 posts
Busy bee

Oh, I am so so sorry this is happening.  The hardest thing to deal with at weddings has been family issues for us too.  You have to understand, your FI’s family is going to love his brother no matter what, and not inviting him to the wedding is like saying "I reject this member of your family."  Yes, your Fiance should absolutely support you, BUT you’re asking him to support your rejection of part of his family.  This is obviously going to be difficult.  You don’t have the same bond with the brother that the rest of them do…


 The history seems far too complicated for anyone on the boards to really understand- why is this brother SO hostile?  Why is his family so supportive?  And he has basically manipulated the situation so that he ruins your wedding either way- either he isn’t invited and your FI’s family won’t attend the wedding OR he is invited and he’ll drink and ruin the party by beating up your Fiance.


I would suggest that you keep him on the guest list and enlist some of the groomsmen to be "bouncers."  Make sure the bartenders cut him off after x number of drinks and tell the groomsmen that if he starts to approach your Fiance looking even grumpy, to hold him off, and remove him from the premises if he lets on he wants to start a fight.  You don’t want him to ruin your FI’s day.

Post # 8
1091 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Oakland Manor

I second amandopolis.  If you can give his photo to the bartenders, and have selected brother bouncers it might help to keep the peace.  It’s hard to push something in a family that you aren’t fully apart of yet.  Your FH really does need to be the one who makes the decision and is responsible for the follow through.  If you do invite him, but reserve the right to limit his alcohol consumption and the right to kick him out into a cab to take him far far away.  I’m so sorry you have to deal with this frustrating and painful situation.

Post # 9
2434 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Wow.  I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this.

I agree with fizicsgirl.  This is your FI’s decision to make and his job to communicate with his family.  It does sound like his family has come to accept this brother’s behavior as a common occurrence and no longer see how dysfunctional and embarrassing it is.

I hope the pre-maritcal counselor may help your Fiance to see the extent of his brother’s illness and encourage him to rally his family to be proactive in dealing with it.

However, I do not see his attendence having a positive outcome.  You, your Fiance, and the poor guys people are suggesting you appoint as bouncers/babysitters will have no fun constantly monitoring this brother’s alcohol intake and attitude.

If someone asked me to be a ‘bouncer’ and babysit an alcoholic with a propensity for physical violence I would refuse.  If this brother is so likely to act violently, can you really ask your friends to put themselves in harms way?!

I think your Fiance needs to involve his siblings in deciding the best course of action.  Say your piece about your concerns, but then let them decide. 

If anything, I think perhaps they should tell the brother, when he is sober, about your concerns regarding his behavior.  Tell him that he’s invited to the ceremony, but is only welcome to attend the reception if he promises not to drink (there are medications that can help encourage him to avoid alcohol, by making the person who takes them ill if they imbibe), carpools with another family member, and understands that he will escorted from the premisis if he breaks this promise.  However, having alcoholics in my family, I woudl say the chance of him keeping that promise is close to ZERO.  Then the siblings can draw straws to decide who’s babysitting him and driving him home when he violates the promise.

As I see it, it’s pretty much a no-win situation.  However, given 2 crappy outcomes, I would probably take the route of risking a scene with the brother, to alienating the entire family.

Good luck.

Post # 10
2640 posts
Sugar bee

Hi chitown,

I pretty much agree with fizicsgirl.  I definitely think your Maid/Matron of Honor was right in saying not to cancel your wedding for your Future Brother-In-Law.  I also that given the way he’s behaved at similar events, I think it is understandable not to invite him.  I know it would be hard for your Fiance and his family.  But it isn’t just about them.  It’s about your family too.  How terrible it would look to have a big scene?  (And have to deal with questions about FI’s crazy family every gathering until kingdom come)?  What if in his drunken rampage he goes after your Fiance and your Uncle Al is the one who ends up getting stitches instead?  I think if he’s that much of a threat, you owe it to the safety of your guests to do what you can to avoid this situation.  It isn’t just about him.  He made his bed…  It’s unfortunate that FI’s parents haved passed adthere is extra guilt there.  But we all need to make the best decisions we can as they are presented to us.

I like the idea of trying to work some of this stuff out.  And seeing if Future Brother-In-Law will start AA etc.  I certinly hope you aren’t looking like the bad guy.  The way I see it, you’re the one who is taking action as someone who wantsto help him.  Sometimes it takes more of an outsider to be objective and impartial.  I hope FI’s family can see that.

By the way, I see that your wedding is on New Year’s Eve.  Obviously not the best time to have a dry reception.  Do you see the holiday as having an impact on how you handle this?

Good luck.

Post # 11
400 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

We’re having a similar issue, but it is with one of my FI’s aunts.
She isn’t welcome at the wedding. We have told family members that if they bring her- they will not be welcome. She is a drunk, a drug user AND has a restraining order against her from her two children that WILL be there.

I feel your pain. We’ve had some family members (granparents) tell us they won’t come if she’s not allowed. They’re total enabelers.

I think you and your Fiance really need to discuss it. Although this is his brother, there are larger issues at hand. You don’t need him to get all drunk and cause a scene.

Keep us updated- I hope everything goes well for you!

Post # 12
796 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

I’m sorry, I’m going to have to say you CANNOT invite this person. I speak from experience when I tell you that alcoholics continue to abuse alcohol because people around them enable them to. Yes, everyone feels sorry for the sober version of the brother, and cannot imagine him not being at the wedding. But he has proven time and time again that big events cause him to drink way too much and become violent with the people he is closest to. Inviting him to the wedding allows him to continue that behavior. Giving his photo to the bartender will not stop him from getting drunk – I’d be willing to bet he’d find a back up source.

I think your fiancee needs to be very upfront with the brother and say "You are not invited to the wedding because of your alcohol abuse and the way you behave when drunk." Period. He could add that the decision could be revisited if the brother is willing to make steps towards managing his alcoholism. Yes, it will hurt the brother’s feelings to hear that he is not wanted there, but so what? He’s hurt people before and if he comes to the wedding he’ll do it again.

Post # 14
5955 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

I really feel for you.  What a cruddy situation!

 If it was me, this is what I would do:

-Invite the Brother. 

-Have your Fiance clearly communicate with his brother the reasons that he wants him to be there.  He could talk about their parents, his desire to keep the family close, the relationship he wishes they had, tell him that you love him, whatever.  Clearly but nicely make him understand how you to expect him to behave.  Don’t make him feel like a charity case on parole – make it a heart-to-heart but make it clear that acting out and getting drunk will not be ok.

-Present a united front to the family that you and your Fiance decided together that it was important to show faith in the Brother and that you’ll welcome him at your wedding.

-Point him out to the bartender(s) and ensure he is cut off at a certain point.

-Hire a security gaurd.  If he starts ANYTHING have him taken away immedietly.  That includes ranting, fighting with the bartenders who cut him off, fighting with your Fiance, whatever.  Having a disinterested 3rd party deal with him rather than a family member or guest is much cleaner and less emotional.  Don’t indicate to anyone that the gaurd is there specifically for your Brother-In-Law.  If anyone asks tell them that the venue required it.  I’m sure it will be a few hundred bucks well spent.

-Buy insurance.  I’d guess that damage to your venue or something like that could result (oh god, you poor thing, I really really feel for you) so get whatever insurance you can get your hands on.

I think ultimately this will have you walking away looking like the bigger person while limiting the damage he can do.  Will he still cause a scene?  Probably.  Just make sure that both you and your hubby are mentally prepared to weather the storm and don’t let it rain on your parade.  You can always deal with it when you get back from the honeymoon!

Post # 15
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Here is another perspective: my brother is paranoid schizophrenic and he uses crystal meth when he goes off of his Zyprexa and “self-medicates”. He has caused a lot of pain, hate, frustration, and strife in my life. That said, I could never not invite him to my wedding. My fh was super uncomfortable with him coming, and made it clear that he would not be a groomsman. We came to a compromise and invited my brother, giving him the job of usher to keep him busy and visible so some very good friends of ours could keep an eye on him. It all worked out well and I am happy my brother got to be there.

My fh did not really understand why I would want my brother there after all he had put me through physically and mentally, and maybe he will never understand, but the fact is that no matter how poorly my brother behaves, no matter how cruel he is, and no matter how abnormal he behaves he is my brother.

Post # 16
58 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I’m a bit worried that my father’s wife will try to start something with my mom at my wedding.  I am on the fence about inviting her but my mother hasn’t asked me not too and my step-mother hasn’t done anything to me personally so for now she’s on the guest list.

I have informed my father that I expect him to "keep her in check" and if he sees his wife start to misbehave to please leave.

I’ve also asked my sisters to keep an eye on the situation and if anything looks like it may get ugly to get my future brother-in-laws to escort her out.

I agree with the tip of pointing him out to the bartender.  I know that at my cousin’s wedding my uncle was served extremely watered down drinks.

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