Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

By Wedding Maven, Published Sep 10, 2009

In this week’s column, the Wedding Maven handles some tricky questions about family and what to serve at your wedding reception. Dear Wedding Maven, I am getting married in a few months and would like to serve champagne at my wedding. My new brother-in-law to be has just gotten out of rehab and my new in-laws insist that no alcohol be served! It is my wedding, not his. What should I do? Signed, Wet Bride Dear Wet, Here’s a question for you: What does your future b-i-l say? It’s possible that your future in-laws are over-reacting and being alarmist. Unless they’re paying for the wedding, they are certainly overstepping their role by “insisting” that no alcohol be served. But it’s also possible that your future b-i-l has been advised to avoid settings in which there is alcohol. I suggest that you or your fiancé ask him. If, in fact, he’s been advised to stay away from situations with alcohol, then you have a choice - champagne or your husband’s brother. I understand that it’s annoying, and a pain, and even unfair to ask you to give up your chosen beverage. You are totally within your rights to bitch and moan about this to your girlfriends and bridesmaids (before the wedding, and out of earshot of anyone in your fiancé’s family, of course). But I hope that in the long run you’ll choose family over alcohol, and order an extra nice bottle of champagne for you and your husband to enjoy alone. Dear Wedding Maven, My fiancé and I are both vegetarians from meat-eating families. My father insists that we serve meat at the reception. He says that people will feel cheated and hungry if they’re just served “rabbit food.” My fiancé and I are morally opposed to meat and we don’t think we should have to serve it at our wedding. What should I do? Signed, Animal Lover Dear AL, As a vegetarian, I understand where you’re coming from, and I suggest that you take all possible measures to avoid looking at the meat cake. If your parents are paying for the food at the reception, then you’re kind of stuck. It would be nice if your father deferred to your wishes, but ultimately, if he’s paying, it’s his choice. It may be time to put your money where your morals are. Is having a vegetarian wedding important enough to you that you’re willing to adjust your plans and your budget to pay for the food yourself? If your father isn’t paying for it, then his “insisting” won’t really have much weight. You would probably also be well-served by trying to lessen your father’s opposition to vegetarianism. You could start by reducing the amount of time you stress your “moral opposition” to meat. You might also invite your parents over for a meal. Make it as carnivore-friendly as possible, no lentils, no undisguised tofu, no quinoa. After a fabulous dessert, remind your dad that he’s just eaten a vegetarian meal. Yours in tofu, The Wedding Maven Got a burning bridal question? E-mail the Wedding Maven at

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