Hello ladies and gents! Welcome back to our next installment of Southern Etiquette! Today’s question comes from Intern Sydney, whose cousin is planning a wedding for next year. Here’s the problem: Sydney’s family is… boisterous. Not in a bad way, and not in a way that most people would consider excessive. They love to have fun, they love to dance, and they love to drink (you know, within reason). The fiancé’s family? Not so much. They’re a much more conservative bunch, and almost to the man they don’t partake in beverages of the alcoholic variety. Sydney knows her family will be surprised, confused, and possibly even upset if they arrive to find a less than “happening” party, but her cousin also, of course, doesn’t want to make her fiancé’s family uncomfortable.
As always, I defer to Emily Post. Though I couldn’t find anything that exactly corresponded to this situation, I did find this:
“You will provide beverages, but you don’t have to serve alcohol if you don’t want to or you have religious or moral reasons not to Some couples and their families don’t drink alcohol themselves but do provide alcoholic drinks for their guests. Others restrict alcohol to wine, wine and beer, or just champagne for toasting. Budget is always a consideration, but these days, people are also limiting or eliminating liquor for health and safety reasons.”
My two cents? I think it’s important that the bride and groom are on the same page. If they don’t feel comfortable explaining to the bride’s side that the groom’s side doesn’t want to drink, then I think it’s fine to say they chose to cut out alcohol because of the expense. Either way, communication before the wedding arrives is key.
So what do you think? Any tips for family member discussions before the big day, or for managing expectations before and at the wedding? Is a compromise possible here, or should one family win out? Have any of you had to deal with a similar issue?
As always, if you have an etiquette conundrum, please send it my way! We’d love to hash it out on the blog. That’s emily at iloveswmag dot com.
Images in header c/o Millie Holloman