Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Conservative Parents vs. Alcohol

I am having a real dilemma. My fiancé and I both drink, and we have a hard time seeing ourselves enjoy our wedding without alcohol because it is a staple at most of our gatherings. His family drinks happily and have all said they would find a way to smuggle alcohol into the wedding if we don't provide it. His parents have pledged to pay for all the catering, including the alcohol.

They are not the problem. The problem is MY family. My father is a Southern Baptist deacon, and he is absolutely against the idea of alcohol at my wedding. He told my mother he would not come if we had alcohol. I am not a devout Baptist anymore, and he knows I enjoy drinking and am responsible when doing so. He is also paying for part of the wedding -- the venue and my dress, just to name part of it -- and I don't want to disappoint him. How do I diffuse this situation without insulting his beliefs or compromising my own?

Re: Conservative Parents vs. Alcohol

  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Uh, wow. I am so sorry your dad is doing this. I would say that FI's family is covering the catering and drinks, therefore it's their choice whether or not alchohol is served. Just because alcohol is there doesn't mean anyone has to partake.

    I don't know if thats the best advice though, I hope more experienced knotties will come and help you.
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    simpsse
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Parents often will have tough choices to make when it comes to their children growing up.  

    I was very disappointed that my son chose to not marry in church.  However, that was MY disappointment, not his.  He is not religious, neither is his wife.  They were being true to the people that they are, and that is as it should be.  I attended the wedding and beamed with pride and joy that my son found a life partner that he adored.  He chose a life partner that I grew to adore as well.  Their wedding is about THEM and their future.  I could never imagine not being a part of the wedding or their lives.  

    I cannot believe your father would deny himself the joy of watching you marry because of a beverage choice at the reception.  I would respectfully inform him that your wedding ceremony will be alcohol free, but that your reception will have alcoholic beverages.  Invite him to both.  Hopefully he will at the very least attend the ceremony.  Just remember that the choice is HIS to make, and hopefully he will make the right choice, and respect your adult decisions.
    ElcaBsimpsseRebeccaB88AnnastasiaZ
  • Ugh, I'm so sorry. 

    I'd say you need to stand firm here while respecting him (if not necessarily his beliefs). Explain to him that he doesn't have to chose to drink nor speak to those drinking. Does he never socialize/speak to people who drink at work, at events, at church even? This is no different. All "sins" are supposed to be equal right? Remind him that most adults are capable of behaving responsibly while drinking. Ask him if his beliefs on alcohol are worth not walking his daughter down the aisle and watch her make the most important vows of her life. You cannot change who you are and what you believe to please him. You are an adult; someone with a strong mind and will because he raised you to be that way. 

    If reasoning calmly with him doesn't work, call his bluff. "It makes me really sad that my dad wont be there on the most important day of my life, but that's your decision." Hopefully he will come around. 

    If he does not come around, I would not accept money from him. If he's paying for the wedding, he gets a say in the wedding. At the very least, you must ensure that none of his money goes toward the reception at all (including venue). 

    I hope this works out for you. I'll be thinking of you. 
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    simpsseAnnastasiaZ
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited September 2013
    I believe it is not right of him to judge others, and by the same token, I believe its not correct to accept his money. If you want alcohol and your dad doesn't, I suggest you not let him pay anything towards the wedding. If he pays for the venue or flowers or invitations, then I believe you should respect his wishes. (The dress is separate.) Simply (ho ho) tell him that you respect his beliefs, so therefore you are not accepting his offer. Then I recommend you not discuss the party with him. When it comes down to the day, either he will or will not attend. Let him choose. If I were he, I'd join you for dinner and then leave before the drinking has a chance to get out of hand.
    simpsse said:
    I am having a real dilemma. My fiancé and I both drink, and we have a hard time seeing ourselves enjoy our wedding without alcohol because it is a staple at most of our gatherings. His family drinks happily and have all said they would find a way to smuggle alcohol into the wedding if we don't provide it. His parents have pledged to pay for all the catering, including the alcohol.

    They are not the problem. The problem is MY family. My father is a Southern Baptist deacon, and he is absolutely against the idea of alcohol at my wedding. He told my mother he would not come if we had alcohol. I am not a devout Baptist anymore, and he knows I enjoy drinking and am responsible when doing so. He is also paying for part of the wedding -- the venue and my dress, just to name part of it -- and I don't want to disappoint him. How do I diffuse this situation without insulting his beliefs or compromising my own?

    simpssedoeydo
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I'm very sorry. 

    I agree with @NYCMercedes:  if your father doesn't want there to be alcohol there, then even if he's not paying for it, I would not accept any financial assistance from him or discuss any specifics of your plans. I'd hope he'll still attend, but if he still won't, that makes it his problem and it'll be on him.
    simpsse
  • I was a bridesmaid in a wedding like this. The groom's family was super conservative, whereas the bride's family was a party crowd. (The groom's family serenaded the bride and groom with the song "Jesus Loves Me" during the reception, if that helps paint the picture)

    Bride and groom both like their cocktails.

    The bride and groom "hid" the bars in the far corners of the ballroom so that BOOZEBOOZEBOOZE wasn't rubbed in his family's faces.

    It appeared to be fine.

    simpsse
  • How unfortunate for you, your FI, your mother, and for him, quite frankly - I'm so sorry. 

    Your father gets a say in the parts of the wedding for which he is paying. If he is paying for the venue, I think he gets a say in whether or not the venue serves alcohol (unless the contracts are completely separate). If I were in your shoes, I would refuse his money for the venue and pay for it yourselves. That way, there's absolutely no question as to his say in these decisions.

    I know it may be very difficult to in your position, but I would call his bluff. Let him know that you fully support his decision not to drink, but that you will be serving alcohol for other guests who want to. I would let him know how much you love him and how much you want him to attend, but that it's unfair to give you an ultimatum that only take into account his beliefs.

    It's extremely manipulative and dramatic of him to hold this over your head and essentially make you choose (i.e. "It's me or the alcohol, simpsse. What's your choice?"). It's ridiculous for him to believe that there has to BE a choice. Realistically the choice is HIS - attend the wedding and decide not to drink if you don't agree with it. Simple.

    I get stabby when people shove their beliefs on others by giving ultimatums like this. It's no different than saying, "Well I think dancing is a sin, so if you have a dance floor and anyone starts dancing, I will condemn everyone and leave." Ok fine. Go. But don't make other people (who DON'T think it's a sin) conform to your fringe beliefs. Ok - off my soapbox now.
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    simpsse
  • Dear Simpsse's Dad, 

    Your daughter is getting married. It's kind of a big deal. Please set aside your beliefs for one day to celebrate with her. It'd be kind of ridiculous for you to sit this one out over a beverage. No one will be forcing you to bong beers or shoot vodka at the reception, I promise. Your presence at the wedding ceremony and reception means you're supporting your daughter, not us sinners' love for drinking tequila and twerking thereafter. 

    Love,

    ElcaB
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    simpsseWonderRedAnnastasiaZ
  • Thank you guys! I really appreciate the input. I love my father with all my heart, and I will take all your thoughts and advice into consideration when dealing with this issue. It has been incredibly difficult. I love to go out to bars, hear live music, dance and, yes, have a few cocktails. As a 25 year old woman with a good job, advanced education and a steady, healthy relationship, I feel I am more than entitled to these joys in life.

    As much as I love my father -- and I really do; we get along splendidly most of the time -- I wholeheartedly disagree with him on these issues. He has consistently gotten more conservative over the years, and the most frustrating aspect of the whole ordeal is that I know at my age he enjoyed these same activities -- drinking, dancing, etc. We live in Oklahoma, which is arguably one of the most conservative states in the nation, and he wants me to have the same sort of wedding as my friends from high school -- a church wedding with a tame, colorless reception in the fellowship hall with the church ladies catering. This is absolutely not appropriate for me and my fiance; we are having a vintage, outdoor wedding with a close family friend officiating the ceremony instead of a pastor. Sometimes I think he is ashamed of me because I am not a perfect little Baptist, and I think he is embarrassed to invite his church friends to a wedding with alcohol AND dancing. I sincerely hope we can work this out and I don't have to resort to refusing his money or making an ultimatum about what I consider to be a very small detail in the wedding, but I appreciate the support from all of you. Thanks again!
    AnnastasiaZ
  • I'm so sorry.  I went to a huge Baptist university and I remember what a big stinking deal it was when the administration decided to allow dances to take place on campus.  I couldn't believe how people were so up in arms over it.  

    I agree with calling his bluff and telling him you're very disappointed he won't be there and then gently and politely letting him know that he doesn't need to contribute the funds since he won't be participating in the day.  I seriously doubt he's going to skip your wedding.   I just don't understand how people get so hysterical over choices other responsible adults make that have zero impact on them at all.  Don't like drinking and dancing?  That's fine.  So don't drink and dance.  SMH


  • That's a really crappy situation.
    My fiance and I don't drink, but since it isn't something we are strongly ethically opposed to, we will be serving alcohol at our wedding to please our guests, knowing full well we won't be having a sip.

    I can understanding having very strong beliefs about something and not wanting to be around them on a regular basis, especially if you are ethically opposed to them, but it isn't his wedding. It's his daughter's and his priority should be to be there for you and make sure it's a perfect day for you. It's fine for him to say he would prefer there be no alcohol, but after that point he should stop.

    I'm vegan and I would gladly go to a wedding that served meat if it were someone I loved, I would just appreciate it if there were things I could eat as well. I wish your father could see it in a similar light.

    I really am sorry about all of this, it really seems to be breaking your heart and I do hope you come to some solution where everyone is at least somewhat happy.
  • I think I would tell him very gently that the PIL r paying for the food. And that they want a bar.

    Man that's a tough situation to be in.
  • @simpsse: I'm so sorry you're going through this.  I know my mom was disappointed that I'm not getting married in her church (I was active in it when I was single and lived with them because there wasn't much else to do...and I grew up there), but it's just not my FH and I.  She got over it.  My grandfather, who is a Baptist minister, is perfectly happy marrying us outside at a historic manor house...on a Sunday morning...with alcohol being served at the reception...and with the knowledge that there will be dancing.  He and my grandmother even defended me when women at my parents' church "couldn't understand why I would want to get married on a Sunday morning".  

    I hope your father comes around and realizes that it's about you and your soon-to-be husband celebrating your new lives together and not about him and his beliefs.  Good luck!
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  • I'm not sure if you are religious yourself, but pray about. 
    Don't stress over this, as your dad being a leader in the church, he should have mercy, grace, and love for you as you go through through this once in a lifetime event. You want to keep him happy, but reason with him, and let him this is apart of who he was once, and it's apart of you. Let him remember what great things you've done in your life, and that drinking doesn't take away from your relationship with God or your Dad. He's got to get that through his head. I have a hard headed dad, and I have to convince him about a lot of things (We're in Texas, and I'm marrying outside of my Race, it is still a big issue across both families) 
    Realize that when your Dad sees how happy you are, and upon many other things, he'll come around. Give him time, God will work with his heart.
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    NYCMercedes
  • Remind him gently if possible he can go to the ceremony and not the reception if he wishes. I wish I had better advice for you.
    Hugs.
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