Wediquette Wednesday: How do I deal with drunk family members at my reception?
Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. This week, we’re running an excerpt from Dee Lane’s etiquette column in our New Orleans Bride Magazine Winter-Spring 2019 issue.
Question: I’m getting married in New Orleans soon and we’re planning on having an open bar, but I have an aunt who can’t hold her liquor — she often even shows up to gatherings drunk. I can’t not invite her to our wedding, but how do I deal with her, or anyone else who gets drunk, without causing a scene?
Answer: Alcohol permeates our culture and our celebratory events in the Crescent City, but it can often cause uncomfortable situations and can even dampen our good memories. This is why it’s important to have a plan in place to prevent and manage drinking and drunk guests before they become unruly.
The first thing is to make certain that you have enough food available for your guests. This isn’t just a wedding thing, but something every responsible host or hostess should do.
If at all possible, you should call problem drinkers beforehand and tell them what behavior is expected of them. This will be hard, especially if that person doesn’t believe their drinking is an issue, but you owe it to them and to yourself to try.
Then you have some options. You can set up a buddy system where someone you trust is partnered with the person you’re concerned about, and ask the buddy to monitor that person’s drinking and stop them when they’ve had enough.
Or you can meet with the team helming your reception or organize them in advance — a member of the catering team, a security guard, the venue manager, your planner or a family member. Tell them about the guests you’re concerned about and discuss how to handle them if their drinking becomes a problem. This could include removing intoxicated guests, limiting the time the bar is open, telling bartenders to water down the drinks or limiting drinks per guest or per hour. You can explain to the bar staff beforehand that shots or straight alcohol shouldn’t be served.
Whatever you choose, handle it in advance and do your best to put it out of your mind on the day of your wedding. You will have enough to do and concentrate on, and the possible actions of your guests shouldn’t be your concern.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.