Open Bar Issues – FMIL Doesn't Want It

posted 1 week ago in Family
Post # 2
6771 posts
Busy Beekeeper

mjohnson23 :  If FFiL and his friends want to drink they will drink whether or not you have an open bar. I would follow your Fi’s lead on the issue. I’m sorry the day didn’t work out as you planned. 

Post # 3
194 posts
Blushing bee

hi bee.  that sounds really hard.  i agree with you that open vs. cash bar will not really affect how much people drink.  if they want to get drunk, they will.  i think you should 100% host an open bar if that’s what you want to do, and i wouldn’t ask for FMIL’s input on other wedding items. 

that being said, my mom was also very sensitive to this issue due to my father’s problem drinking.  my dad had passed away before our wedding, but she just isn’t a big fan of alcohol in general as a result.  i also wanted people to have a good time at my wedding, but also didn’t want it to be super alcohol-focused due to my dad’s issues.  a few things i did to prevent people from getting super drunk even though we had an open bar:

– at cocktail hour, we had waiters serving trays of wine, but also sparkling water (it was summer and hot out). 

– we had a lot of food at cocktail hour.

– we did not serve wine at the tables; if you wanted a drink, you had to get it at the bar yourself.

– we did not allow the bar to serve shots. 


all that being said, if someone wants to get really drunk, they can do it no matter what the bride or groom does, and it’s not your responsibility. 

Post # 4
47 posts

If she worries about her husband overindulging on booze, that’s her problem to discuss and tackle with him. Your wedding day is YOUR day, all you need to worry about is enjoying it. I feel sad that a fun day like a tasting party was dampened by her, but don’t let it continue to throw a dark cloud over your happiness. Go with the open bar if you and your fiancé want that, she isn’t paying for it and it’s ultimately none of her business. 

Post # 5
3794 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

Sstick to your plans & dont change them to control the drinking of someone else. I would ask Fiance to have a conversation with his mother & let her know that the two of you have made the decision and thats that. If she feels disconnected, it’s up to her to take an interest. He could ask her how she’d like to be included (I know mothers of the groom can sometimes feel disconnected just because they’re not mother of the bride and dont know how much they can involve themselves in). This would bother me too OP, hopefully your Fiance can get through to her. 

Post # 6
536 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

mjohnson23 :  Have an open bar but don’t tell her beforehand. If she asks again just tell her “oh that’s something we tell the venue the week of when we give our final count” and change the subject. That way you aren’t really saying yes or no. 

A person that truly has a problem with alcohol will drink before the wedding anyway. Open vs Cash bar won’t change a thing.

Post # 7
1214 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2019 - USA

mjohnson23 :  It’s not her call to make. Plus it’s not YOUR responsibility to uphold her husband’s sobriety. That is 100% his responsibility and there will always be opportunities to drink besides a wedding. Hold you ground and let your Fiance fight this battle. Your Future Mother-In-Law is out of line. 

Post # 9
3383 posts
Sugar bee

Charliejeorge :  I wouldn’t invite trouble by asking her (again) to get involved. OP should just let her be. If she has questions, Future Mother-In-Law can ask her son (and he should be handling any issues with her directly).

Post # 10
3399 posts
Sugar bee

Do you what you want. Having a cash bar isn’t going to suddenly make your Future Father-In-Law a recovering alcoholic. It’s not your FMIL’s job to manage his drinking either, but that is another post.

Post # 11
6233 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I agree with PP- do not invite her to anything else. She sounds like one of those people committed to being miserable and no matter what you do, she’s going to find a way to shit on it. Don’t give her the chance if you want to have happy memories of this time. Especially given the fact that she is not YOUR mother, she is your FI’s mom, so if anyone needs to be responsible for navigating her dreary negativity dumps, it’s her son, not you (I’m really over women having to take on the emotional labor of their in laws just because we have vaginas. It’s the most ridiculous bullshit).

Separately, with regard to your open bar, to make things easier for you, I don’t think you should discuss it with her again but if she does ask, I do not ever advocate lying to people to avoid “trouble”- it comes across as weak and childish. I would tell her to speak with her son about the open bar (if he’s willing to have that conversation with her) or just tell her “We’ve got everything under control for the wedding and don’t need anymore input. Thank you.”

Absolutely keep your bar an open bar. You may also want to (quietly) have someone whose responsibility it is to cut Future Father-In-Law off or escort him out if he seems like he’s getting too far gone. Him being an alcoholic is definitely distressing and clearly upsetting for your Future Mother-In-Law, but, again – that is for THEM to manage and navigate. Are you supposed to adjust your entire lives moving forward because Future Father-In-Law has an issue that he is not addressing?

Post # 12
1155 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

mjohnson23 :  I get that it’s frustrating that your Mother-In-Law brought up this really sensitive issue during what was supposed to be a nice bonding experience but being an alcoholic is more than just “not being able to control yourself” it is a very real disease and may be you didn’t mean to come across as harsh but I think that’s downplaying the seriousness of the disease. Regarding whether you should have an open bar or not based on your MIL’s reasons I think I would have your fiance sit down and talk to his mother one on one because you are right you shouldn’t have to change what you were going to do for 150 other people for one person. So maybe your fiance can come up with a good compromise with his mom. Good luck!

Post # 13
8106 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

mjohnson23 :  stick with the open bar and assure your Mother-In-Law that the bartenders will be instructed to cut off service to anyone who over-indulges. In the alternative you have people known to overdo it and get aggressive tell the bartender to water down their drinks from the start. 

Post # 15
145 posts
Blushing bee

mjohnson23 :  Hi.  That sounds tough and i dont blame you for feeling upset and cornered in that situation.  It absolutely was not the right time or place for your Future Mother-In-Law to be bringing that up.  If she felt that strongly about it, she could have talked in private with your fiance alone, or the two of you, but either way i would certainly not go with a cash bar for that sole reason.

You have 150 guests to think about, and like many people on here are saying, people who like to drink, or even have a problem with drinking are going to find a way to drink and get drunk, whether its cash bar or open bar.  So if your Future Mother-In-Law does not like her husband’s behavior and drinking, that’s really between the two of them and she needs to discuss that with him instead of making you uncomfortable.  

Good Luck!!

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