Mother of vegetarian bride serves up the stress

Q: I’m getting married soon and am a vegetarian. Our menu has one meat option and one vegetarian option, as well as appetizers (a mixture of meat and veggie), sides and dessert. My fiancé and I feel this is sufficient.

But my parents are paying, and my mother is brought to tears every time we talk about the wedding, because she thinks some of her friends will be offended without two meat options for an entree. As a vegetarian, I’m already not thrilled to be serving meat at all and I’ve tried to explain that another entree will cost a lot.

She insists that she’s paying so it’s fine, but we’ve been through this before with wedding plans. She asks for something more expensive and then complains about the cost. (Many of my friends aren’t being invited because her friends are so numerous and her family is being given preference over my father’s.)

Am I being too rigid? I feel like her friends will be fine if they have to eat a vegetable or two.


A: You can’t say this, but I can: Your mother is being ridiculous.

To ask omnivores to eat a vegetable is a lot less radical than to ask a vegetarian to serve meat at her wedding. And while there are still some holdouts in the “vegetarians are exotic weirdos put on earth to judge me” camp, I feel confident they aren’t as legion as your mother apparently fears.

Were I to guess, though, I’d say these points are beside the point. Your mother sounds worked up in general — about costs, the passage of time, being the center of attention, not being the center of attention … the menu of possibilities is diner-esque — and has fixed on the undead entree as the Stick With Which to Beat You.

Regardless, the best way to deal with it isn’t to impress her with the cost-effectiveness of eggplant. You don’t reason with the unreasonable. Instead, just be the anti-stress. “Oh, Mom.” (Hug optional) “It’ll be beautiful. Thank you for all you’ve done.” Be otherwise impervious to tears.

Have Plan B ready, though — to pay for the food yourself.

Email Carolyn Hax at, or chat with her online at noon each Friday at

Washington Post Writers Group