Hello everyone, I am looking for advice on if my brother should get an invitation to my wedding. This topic is very upsetting for my family, mostly my mother who happens to be paying for the wedding so I don’t feel like I have a right to ask her to not invite him. However he struggles with substance abuse and cannot control himself around alcohol and we are having an open bar, so I feel like inviting him is just setting him up to fail. He also has a history of getting very aggressive, to the point where he has been kicked out of my parents home, and in the past been fired from multiple jobs because of his aggressive attitude. I am scared for what will happen if he’s invited. Sad for my mother. And losing sleep over this. Help please.
I think sending an invitation is showing effort. I feel like it’d be worse to not send an invitation at all. Make him feel included. But once you send it, maybe sit down and talk with him and give guidelines because I’m sure you’d want him there because he’s family but you don’t want that day ruined in any way. Maybe let the bartenders know to not serve him alcohol or maybe ask him to just come to the ceremony since that’s a very special part of the wedding day. Compromise is key and I’m sure you feel like you’re in the middle. I’m in a similar situation and it’s tough.
I totally understand your struggle. My dad is a recovering alcoholic. He was sober for about two years at the time of our wedding. My brother is also very religious and does not drink alcohol because of his religion. I don't drink because I don't like the way my dad acted because of the alcohol. However, my husband does drink. He wanted an open bar. This was something I had a very difficult time with. At one point, my family threatened not to attend. My husband and I agreed not to serve alcohol at our rehearsal dinner because I didn't want to tempt my dad. I also didn't like the idea of everyone getting drunk the night before the wedding. I talked with my parents and brother about the fact that we would be serving alcohol at the reception. My dad and brother made the decision to leave once all of the major events like first dance, father daughter dance and cake cutting were done. Originally, we planned to have cake cutting near the end of the evening, but decided to have it immediately following dinner so that my dad and brother could be there to see it. While I was definitely sad that they left early, I understood why. I didn't in anyway want to force my dad to be in a situation he was uncomfortable with. I also asked our venue not to have a champagne toast, but apparently they forgot. My dad thought it was sparking white grape juice because we told him we wouldn't be having a champagne toast. He accidentally drank the champagne and he was very upset about it. The venue already planned for the bar to be closed during dinner so we asked them to kept it closed until my dad and brother left so that my dad wouldn't even have the option to get alcohol. The bar was only closed an extra 30 minutes by the time my dad and brother left. Thankfully, this did not undo all of the hard work he put into becoming sober. I couldn't imagine not having my family at my wedding because of alcohol. When they told me they might not attend I was devastated. My husband at that point was willing to forgo the alcohol if that meant my family would attend. However, once they decided that my dad and brother would only stay for a portion of the reception we proceeded with having alcohol. I am not sure what your relationship with your brother is, but it is definitely understandable that your mom would be upset if your brother was not invited. However, it is also very understandable why wouldn't want your brother there if he can't control himself and might make a scene. This is a difficult position that you are in and I am very sorry.
I have been to weddings where such family were invited to the ceremony. But not included in the reception. And others who had very limited drinks served ( 1 at cocktails, 2 or 3 after dinner til the end ) . Bartenders with a laptop had made a spread sheet. And no one could order drinks for other people, only each person, their own, from a waitress or bartender who record every order by name, as they would if it were charged to a person. But guests did not pay, the hosts did. The spread sheets usually go by names down, and hour slots across. Many bartenders and small vendors near us do it because of liability for drunk driving. At regular weddings, they may set a limit that equals 2 in the first hour, then 1 per hour after that. None the last hour. The point being that they can see if you have already had 3 drinks when you are 10 minutes into the second hour, and only serve you non alcoholic drinks till the next hour. Most people don't have a problem with that kind of moderate drinking. It is the law. It is safer. And if someone is belligerent the first time they are told sorry, later, or pulls out a flask, out they go. I saw bartenders doing that in venues when I did catering . And we used it at our wedding, because as long as host is paying the tab, it is reasonable. People give their names. Some few big drinkers we gave photos to the bartenders, so they would not use other people's names. Between 6:30 pm and 1 am, they had to only temporarily say come back later to 5 people. 1 got mean, and was thrown out quietly at about 9, and his wife went with him. You might want to have brother, you might not. But controlling how much he can drink all night, and throwing him out if needed, have to be part of the agreement with your parents. Tell your parents that if they have the kind of drinkers who drink too much, start with drinks before they arrive, and have an accident when they leave, a spread sheet of every drink served, (you keep a copy venue, and bartender too), makes it clear that you as hosts did not overserve anyone. You used the legally suggested intake. And if someone blows a too high level, they bear all responsibility themselves for damage. You don't. Proof they must have supplemented what you served. And venue, or your insurance company, will go for a reasonable drinking plan. Better than going dry. Your focus may be brother. But most big gatherings have multiple problem drinkers. Sadly, most drunks eventually go through their family and friends' lives like tornadoes. If they ever turn it around, it is not til a lot of damage is done. And that is so unfair to people like you. Good luck
I would talk to your mom about this since she's paying for the wedding. It's a legitimate concern and she should hear you out about your concerns. Maybe she will have some suggestions about what to do. But, honestly, I wouldn't invite him if he's aggressive. If he comes, gets angry, and is drinking, it will only get worse.
My sister has a really hard time too. After hearing a few other people voice their concerns to me, I told her I'd rather her stay home with her children. She understood and agreed. Open, honest communication is always a good idea even if it's the tough stuff. Hugs!
I'd talk to your mother. Since she's his mom too and she's helping you can at least have a conversation with her to get her input and maybe you guys can come up with an idea to compromise or find a peaceful route. Good Luck.