DEAR HARRIETTE: I am planning a wedding that will be taking place in the fall. I have gone back and forth with my husband-to-be about the prospect of an open bar. I have a few alcoholics in my family, and I feel as though this would enable them to make fools of themselves. My fiance believes that a small group should not be allowed to ruin everybody else's time. How can I balance having an open bar with keeping my addicted relatives at bay? -- Water for You, Seattle
DEAR WATER FOR YOU: Even if you had an alcohol-free bar, there would be a chance that your alcoholic family members could get drunk, because they might bring their own stash. You cannot control how much they drink. You can ask them in advance to do you a huge favor and try not to get drunk at the party. Yes, I said it. Be proactive and call them on their behavior. Your voice may ring in their ears during the night and curb someone's behavior.
More practically, you should set up safeguards for anyone who tends to drink too much. Start by informing bartenders to stop serving anyone who is drunk. This is the law, though often not enforced. Reserve a private room at your reception site where drunk guests can be taken to protect them and your other guests. Arrange for a taxi or car service to be on hand to drive any intoxicated guests home.