How to deal with an alcoholic mom at our wedding ?

posted 4 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
45650 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

It is very difficult dealing with an alcoholic family member. Both my parents were alcoholics so I can empathize.

Is there anyone close to your Mom who can be her shadow on your wedding day to make sure she doesn’t drink? It’s much easier to deal with an alcoholic before they start drinking at all , than waiting until they have started to drink and then trying to ask them not to drink too much. Even that one drink she wants in the morning “to calm her nerves” could be the one that sends her on a bender.

Post # 4
2379 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

We’ve got a lot of mostly functional alcoholics in my family.  Our solution has been to make sure someone’s with them before the event to keep them from drinking, and by the time they’re totally nonfunctional, it’s near the end of whatever event they’re attending.  She’s not going to change until SHE thinks it’s a problem.

Post # 5
2485 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I don’t have this problem with my parents and I don’t know if this is ‘too cruel’ or ‘cruel to be kind’ but if it were me I would say to her, before the wedding, that you don’t want her drinking at the wedding and if she can’t do that for a few hours for you then maybe she shouldn’t be there. If she does decide to come then offer to have someone support her through it. 

Post # 6
749 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Unfortunately we hav a few alcolholics… grown people that we have to assign babysitters , to make sure they dont get out of hand.. saad.. my FMIL, FSIL, FFIL, and a family friend..  

Post # 7
9145 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

You can 1) not serve alcohol; 2) serve alcohol from the bar and ban the bartender from serving her (she will be embarassed and probably angry); or 3) assign someone you trust to babysit her all night to make sure that she doesn’t get ridiculously drunk with the agreement that they will wisk her away to her room/house if she does.

It sounds like she cannot control herself and her drinking problem is affecting your relationship with your SO.  I say to tread lightly and choose option 3 for now.  Later you need to sit down and have a nonconfrontational discussion wtih your SO about how you want to handle your mother’s drinking problem as a couple.




Post # 8
3783 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@FrenchyPeedee:  I am not inviting my own grandmother to our wedding for that very reason. It’s a day that is about starting our “new” life as husband and wife and I refuse to spend it wondering if my grandmother is passed out in the bathroom or making an ass out of herself somewhere.


It is also of note that I have not spoken to her since Juiy 2012 because she got so drunk on a dinner cruise that I had to physically carry her off of the boat at the end of the night. 


There comes a point when you just have to let things go. I love my grandmother dearly. I do not love the way she acts when she is drunk and since it is an almost daily occurrence, it is something I choose not to deal with.

Post # 9
11177 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@FrenchyPeedee:  My mother is also an alcoholic and while I would love to tell you that you can trust her you and I both know that you can’t.

My suggestion would be to discuss the issue with a few trusted people that can monitor her actions throughout your big day as you should NOT have to worry about it. I had my wedding planner and two uncles watching closely and it was a big relief.

I know for a fact that my mom was drinking up until my wedding and that kills me. We walked into her room and there was a huge bottle of Smirnoff Vodka half gone. She left my wedding early (during dinner) without saying goodbye and I’m sure you can imagine how sad that made me feel. It may be that you too are put into a painful situation like this and all I can say is don’t focus on her and her addiction but rather focus on the people around you that are healthy and happy and there to shower you with their love and congratulations. Rely on those trusted people to handle the situation if you are aware of it and move on, don’t dwell on it.

Post # 10
279 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@FrenchyPeedee:  I know what you’re going through. My mother is a completely non-functional alcoholic. She’s been an alcoholic as long as I can remember, and like yours, got much worse after my parent’s divorce. At this point, I’m not sure if she’ll be at the wedding or not. I invited her (on my father’s insistance) and in response I got a nasty email calling me names. Awesome. Unfortunately, she’s the type of person who can’t pass up a good chance to be the center of attention, so I think she’ll probably show up last second.

If she does come, I have an elaborate plan involving one person watching her to make sure she doesn’t drink, the bartender informed not to serve her, and another person ready to escort her out if she manages to get drunk despite the first two people.

I don’t know what your relationship with your mother is like, but mine is essentially non-existant. I’m planning on spending as little time as possible with her because I don’t want to be stressing out when she inevitably starts drinking. I know photographers try to get pictures of the bride and her mom, but I’m informing mine NOT to do so. I’ll get one posed one with just me and her but I don’t want him wasting effort trying to get candids of us.

Post # 11
630 posts
Busy bee

I agree with asking the bartender(s) not to serve her alcohol. You can either have them do this overtly (ie “Ma’am, we have been instructed not to serve you alcohol. Would you care for a juice or soda?”), or more subtle (serving her a mocktail when she requests a cocktail, or a gin and tonic, hold the gin.) There are positives and negatives to both, so you would have to think which would work best. 

I don’t usually condone tricking people or lying, but the most drama I could see that creating is her complaining the drinks are weak, as opposed to anything more dramatic.

Post # 13
1608 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@s2bmrscook:  Your first paragraph is one of the many reasons my father is not invited to the wedding.

Getting married is about starting your OWN family- honestly, if I had to babysit a relative, I wouldn’t invite them unless they could demonstrate sobriety multiple times prior to and leading up to the day of. I would not trust them to just say they will be sober on that day.

Also, OP, I highly recommend checking out Al-anon. You can PM me if you want more info… I thought it was a bunch of BS for a long time but it’s helped me tremendously.

good luck.

Post # 14
3072 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@FrenchyPeedee:  my only advice, you may want to consider letting her have a drink before the ceremony and one or two during the reception. A friend of mine’s mother is a raging alcoholic and was strictly forbidden from drinking at my friend’s wedding. Long story short, the mom started having withdrawal symptoms which were far more distracting to the day. My mom, a doctor, had someone bring her a rum and coke and she was suddenly right as rain.

Post # 15
10368 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I think asking a bartender to not serve an alcoholic and not telling them is actually really passive agressive enabling. It will only infuriate her, and then she will likely “drink AT you” anyway. Trying to control her and the situation will almost certainly backfire, as it always does with addiction. I grew up with an alcoholic father, and have gone through a LOT of family programs dealing with addiction as a result. Are there any programs like that around you that you can attend? Is there an AlAnon (support for family members of alcoholics) group that meets around you? My health insurance also offers a family support program. Not sure if European health systems have the same types of options.

Post # 16
345 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

This is a large reason why I’m not serving alcohol at my wedding. I cannot trust my father and do not want to be in a position where I have to babysit him or watch him get drunk and subsequently ruin my day. I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to assign someone the task of watching your mother. that person will not be able to enjoy the day and, if your mother notices, will be put in the line of fire. I would tell her ahead of time that she won’t be served alcohol, that if she drinks she will be asked to leave, and if she has a problem with that she can not attend. Seems harsh, but she should have no problem choosing your wedding day over drinking. If she’d rather drink, that should tell you something and maybe wake her up to the harsh reality of the life she has created for herself and for her daughter. She is an alcoholic and she WILL drink. You are just going to have to decide whether you can handle it and what to do when she drinks too much. 

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