Post # 1
My Mother-In-Law is a cancer survivor. She has been through a lot in her life. The miracle is that she is alive and will be attending the wedding of her son very soon.
The problem – my Mother-In-Law is on a lot of heavy medication. At the same time, she loves her alcoholic beverages. She is unable to control herself. She can’t have just 1 drink and even 1 drink mixed with her medication leaves her unable to speak or stand. She stresses out everyone trying to take care of her. She also has a history of really hurting herself by falling after drinking.
The question – how do we manage this situation at our wedding? We can have a dry wedding. It’s a smaller, mostly family wedding so people would be more understanding, but I don’t like this solution. The only constructive ideas that I have are to have a dry table at the reception for Mother-In-Law with no tableside drink service and to alert the bartender at cocktail hour to serve her virgin drinks only.
Can anyone help with other constructive ideas? This problem makes me very sad and is really stressing out both myself and my Fiance. I am afraid of my own wedding reception for fear of what condition my Mother-In-Law will be in and how it will impact us and our guests and our ability to enjoy the evening.
Post # 2
jamb: You only have two options: 1. Have a dry wedding or 2. Have alcohol at your wedding.
As an aside your Fiance should speak yo his mother about how upsetting it is to him when she drinks against medical advice. This should in no way be related to your wedding. Two seperate conversations.
Post # 3
j_jaye: Thank you. You are absolutely right about the need for that conversation. Some additional information – my Fiance has had this conversation with his mother and his mother’s response is “Who are you to tell me what to drink you little bastard”.
Post # 4
making the staff serve only non alcoholic beverages will likely only upset her. That’s embarrassing and to an alcoholic its a slap in the face. I wouldn’t agree to feed into her but I would have your Fiance talk with her about her drinking and its effects on him. Also set clear lines that if she does not handle herself well she will be asked to leave and not be able to stay for the remainder of the night. She may be offended but if its one on one it will be easier to handle than going to the bar for a drink and being rejected in front of a lot of “close family” because your child thinks you are irresponsible.
let her be in control of her actions but let her know that she is also responsible for the outcome
my aunt had a problem at her wedding where my cousin who is an alcoholic got drunk and punched his dad. My aunt did not see this thankfully and the groomsmen escorted my cousin off the property. Just have a couple people also agree to call her a cab and escort her out if she gets out of hand
Post # 5
You won’t be able to babysit her the entire time, so if you have alcohol she will drink. Considering this is detrimental to her health, her problem with alcohol really needs to be addressed.
Post # 6
I think a dry wedding is the only solution, TBH. The fact that it’s a small reception makes it that much easier. You can’t tell the bartenders not to serve just one person. She’ll realize what’s going on and you’ll have just as much drama. It would also be wrong to toast with an alcoholic beverage if you are not offering it to your guests.
Post # 7
Do not serve hard alcohol. That helped at mine tremendously. Beer and mimosas were it for me.
Post # 8
jamb: “even 1 drink mixed with her medication leaves her unable to speak or stand“
Make your life easy, just have a dry wedding.
Post # 9
jamb: As unfair as it is to you and your Fiance and your guests, I would just have a dry wedding and perhaps have one champagne toast.
Having a dry table just for her would be humiliating for her.
And if you serve alcohol, it will be very hard to ask her to not imbibe, or to babysit her and keep her from nipping into it.
The only possible red flag I can see with a dry wedding would be the possibility of her bringing her own flask. Do be prepared for that possibility. Alcoholics don’t take chances when they know in advance that they are going somewhere where there will be no liquor. It would be really ironic if you had a dry wedding and then she got there and pulled some minis out of her purse and still managed to get trashed and out of control.
Post # 10
jamb: Has anyone in her family every discussed this with her doctor? The combination of drugs and alcohol could even be lethal, especially if just one drink effects her so badly.
Post # 11
PABride: Thanks. There are doctors in the immediate family and same household with eyes on the problem.
Post # 12
Are you planning to do a cocktail hour/ mingling time between the ceremony and reception? We took most of our photos during this time – maybe ask her (and some others so she doesn’t feel singled out) to help you with photos during cocktail hour, to keep her busy and away from the booze?
Then, just do one small toast at dinner?
Post # 13
jamb: Sheesh she sounds like a peach.
Post # 15
I feel like going “dry” for a wedding is never really a good option. Although I’m sure many of your guests would understand, I bet they would much prefer to have a drink or two during your reception. There are a few ways to handle this; the first option is to set some boundaries with your Mother-In-Law. You and your fi should sit down and talk to her about your concerns (even though she seems difficult to deal with). Maybe rather than addressing it as a situation in which you need to “take care of her” change it into something like “it is important to us that you are totally present for our wedding, we love you and don’t want you to miss it because you’re sick”. Your second option is to sit her at a “dry” table and alert the staff; tell them that she gets very ill when she drinks because of a medication that she is on. The last option is to keep her busy, I think that the idea of having her help with photos during cocktail hour is a great idea! I hope you guys figure it out, I can only imagine how stressful it would be to have to worry about that on top of all of the normal planning! Good luck!