Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Bride Wants to Avoid Drunken Mayhem at Reception

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.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband is an immigrant from Europe. Following the election, he began thinking about opening a second business location back in Denmark. I don't hate the idea, but I'm scared that he feels the need to have a security net like this. He told me that I essentially have final say over the decision because I will have to take care of the kids when he is gone. Should I give him the green light? I have thought about this endlessly for weeks now. -- Tipping Point, Rochester, New York

DEAR TIPPING POINT: Talk to your husband in detail about his ideas, including how much support he has in Denmark in order to build a business there. On one hand, his idea could be great for your family. But know that startups take a tremendous amount of time, and typically the owner has to be in the trenches indefinitely. If you and your husband want him to return to the family at some point and live together in the U.S., he will also have to identify individuals he can trust implicitly to help grow and run the business.

Realistically, you should both know that this is rare. Most successful entrepreneurs are 100 percent committed to their businesses for the long haul. Knowing this, you and your husband need to talk seriously about what you want your future to look like. You must be frank about where you are willing to live in five to 10 years. If Denmark is not a serious contender and you want to stay married, you may want to pass on your husband going abroad to start that business.

(Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)