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Family not invited to wedding

Started by prayingmomx4, June 24, 2010, 08:05:33 am

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My son is being married in a very posh location next month. His fiance is expecting and her parents refused to give them a wedding after hearing the news. I agreed to plan a wedding for them and do anything they needed to help them get their feet under them. Her parents had a change of heart after the plans were in motion and booked this very extravagant location. They completely took over the planning (and the financial part too :)). However, now that the wedding has been changed, we've been limited to 25 guests and out of those we must include the photographer and her husband, the preacher and his wife, the sound guy that they hired, etc...This leaves us with not even enough for my immediate family not to mention no friends, extended family who are very close to us and the groom or anyone else. Her family has a very large group attending. My son doesn't understand or care that our family is hurt. Originally his aunt was going to cancel the bridal shower that she had planned because she felt it inappropriate to ask people to come who were not welcome at the wedding. We decided that we would be open and honest about the circumstances and let the guests decide whether to come to shower or stay away. I don't want to be the bad guy but it looks like this is shaping up to be just that. I have heard her dad talking about my husband and me in a not so nice way. I was told that he was offended that I seemed upset by the count that we were allowed to have at the wedding even though I said nothing negative, he just didn't like my tone of voice. I feel like this has become some battle between parents and I don't know how to handle it. I know that this will set the stage for the rest of my life with my son and his family and I want to be the good guy, but doormat is not really in my nature. How do I handle this?


From what I have read here about "wedding fiascoes" I am totally convinced that whatever you do is going to be wrong. And I mean WRONG! If you are not a doormat type, how can you become invisible? That's doormat stuff.

My experience here, all second-hand I grant you, would be to book a cruise and explain that you're sorry, you just aren't going to be in town because that's when you could get the best deal. It won't upset your son because he has already defected. Then come home all smiles and be wonderful about looking at pictures and gifts...(if anyone offers.) Don't start out pseudo-doormat...it's all downhill from there. And don't start out adversarial because that's what they want....war! They are declaring war because your son got her in this situation...all by himself. Oh, sure!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


How would it be if you threw a party for them at some point after their wedding that included your and your son's side of the family?  I know you're hurt, but I'm not sure there's anything to be gained by making this a battleground.  You really can't win by that approach, and it would only give her family a reason to get more combative.  I don't know that I would boycott their wedding.  That's incredibly hurtful to your son, and the tit-for-tat approach isn't going to help much here either.  Even if your son is being jerky about this, try to be supportive of him.  He's not going to come right out and ask you to do that, but if it's a choice between dealing with your anger, and trying to make the best of what he has going on right now (keeping in mind that he's probably rather freaked out about the impending baby, his wife-to-be's parents, and the shift in plans and dreams that getting pregnant right now involves), he's going to focus on what he needs to do to get through it, not on your feelings.  Please don't make it about your feelings, or you're just going to add to the difficulties.
This too shall pass.  All is well.


Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Y'all are a good influence on me, Luise.  :)
This too shall pass.  All is well.


Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


PM4, I'm very glad you've found us. It's difficult when you feel you're losing a son forever. You'll need a lot of support during this stressful time, and the WW here are a great resource. Since every situation is different due to personalities, histories & circumstances, you'll need to tailor the advice and stories to fit. However, there are a lot of similarities in your story to other posts about weddings and the eventual aftermath. If you haven't seen them, it's worth taking a walk through the archives. For example, DH & I were limited to just a few guests as well; DIL's FOO planned an extravaganza way above our means; although we did what we could to pay "our share," we were snubbed by DIL's parents; etc. etc. You certainly are not alone!

As I've said elsewhere, I really believe some people start out with an agenda to either like or dislike their ILs/children's ILs/DILs/SILs. People who want to get along will find a way. People who want to "cut from the herd" will find a way to accomplish that. If you're lucky enough to get the former, things will be smoother. Unfortunately many of us here have gotten the latter and are having a tough time. That's why we're here (and grateful to Luise for this site.) All we can do is take care of ourselves; we are not able to change others.

DH & I are focusing on our relationship with DS (and each other, which is vitally important now) rather than worrying about DIL and her FOO. Our DS seemed to be headed your DS's way but when we made it clear we were giving them space and going on with our fulfilling lives, he veered back around and is now adamant about maintaining  a relationship with us. No, it's not the same as before and things are often tense between DIL and us, but at least we get to see DS occasionally and we're assured he appreciates and loves us. We're pleasant to DIL, and we don't get upset at her putdowns and slights anymore (oh, she comes up with some doozies), tending to have a private chuckle later if needed. It could all change, but today we're grateful for what we have.

Best wishes from one who's been there. {{{hugs}}}
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


It makes no sense to me as to why the minister and sound guy would be part of your 25....they aren't "guests" after all.

Thought on the 25 invites...you said that won't accommodate all the immediate family.  What if you make a list of those you guys feel are important (and ... for this to work, I don't think I'd go over the 25 by more than 15 max) and give the list to your son and ask him to pick the people off of that list that he'd like to be there?  Any chance that would work?  That way it would make it about who HE wanted at the wedding.

Now...admittedly...this could be a sticky wicket.  You have to present it to him very calmly and say something along the lines of you need help narrowing your list down to 25 and you want to make sure that the people he wants there are the people you have on your list.  As opposed to doing it in a passive aggressive way and giving him the list and asking him which member of his family he wants to hurt or offend.  (Not that you would...but you want to make sure his fiancee can't make it out to be a passive aggressive thing done simply to make your son feel bad.)


Brilliant solutions! Really!  :)

I'd still run for the hills...(of Scotland!)
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


My heart goes out to you.  When my first grandchild was born, everyone was at the hospital, except me and my ex-husband, because we didn't hear about it until the next day.  I still remember how I felt.  It really hurts to be excluded or marginalized.  I know a man and his wife who took in a young man in high school (friend of the son), helped him through college, helped to get him a good assignment in The Navy ('strings'), and then helped him get a divorce from his first wife.  When it came time for this young man to marry again, this couple were 'invited' to the wedding.  They could have been any other guest.  You could feel the pain in this man's voice as he talked about it.  He didn't expect to be Best Man but he did expect to be a little more than an ordinary guest.

We need to stand back sometimes -- as much as we possibly can when we're emotionally involved -- and ask, "Did I do anything or say anything to deserve this treatment" and "Would I take this treatment from anyone else."  And if the answer is "no" to both questions, then we know what we need to do, for our health, our sanity, and our self respect -- if we don't respect ourselves, they certainly aren't going to respect us either.

I don't know how much help this is going to be to anyone, but a few months back I read an article in The NY Times (hardly The Bible, I understand that), written by a prominent psychologist, who said that narcissism is on the rise in this country, especially among young women (18-30).  (I find that interesting since 75% of narcissists are male.)  And narcissism is a personality disorder which is almost impossible to treat and 'cure' because it's almost always impossible to get a narcissist to admit that there is anything wrong with him/her.  IF the person decides to see a therapist, whatever the reason, the narcissist won't stay for long.

We also live in a country which has zero respect for age.

I'm with Luise.  Take a cruise.  Have a great time and tell us all about it when you get back.


Ha, this brought back memories of my son's wedding.  We were limited to 50 people (although we have a very large extended family).  No problem, I totally understood that we certainly couldn't invite everyone.  When one couple couldn't make it, we decided to ask another couple.  WHOA!!  Big no-no we were told.  I couldn't understand why.  I imagined that they signed an agreement to pay for those 50 people to eat, so if only 48 came, that meant they were paying for two dinners anyway.  I could totally understand if I wanted to go above 50, but this was keeping it strictly to 50.

DIL's parents said that there was no signed contract with the restaurant.  They were simply going to count heads and bill them from that.  Okay, anyone, anyone here know of any restaurant who would agree to that?  That means they have no idea how many employees to have on hand that evening, no idea how much food to order, etc.  I found this to be totally and completely implausible.  At any rate, the wedding day dawned and a cousin called early that morning.  His mother-in-law had passed away suddenly and they were giving their regrets.  I thought of calling DIL's parents to let them know, but remembered that the restaurant was counting heads, so figured it was no big deal.  They wouldn't be charged for those dinners anyway.

Later I heard through the grapevine that they had to pay for those two dinners and were angry that they had gone to waste.  I'm thinking, "Well, they wouldn't have if you hadn't lied to me."   The wedding set the tone for our relationship and DIL has been a pill since then.  Fortunately, we limit our contact with her a lot.  My son works close to our home, so every other week I go down and have lunch with him, or he stops by the house on his way home.  I get to see and visit with my son and don't have to deal with her.  It's kind of funny because when we're chatting he'll say, "Well, she got mad about this.........." and "This happened and she was mad about that .............."  One day I asked, "I'm curious, does she ever just get up in the morning and think what a wonderful day it is because she's young, she's in love, she's married, etc.?"  She just seems to be perversely angry all the time with the world. 


And being angry all the time is pure self-destruction. How sad. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Dear PrayingMom,
It appears as Stilltryen and I had a similar situation.  We were told that we could only invite 33 people to the wedding.  She also wanted me to have a wedding shower.  I felt rather funny about invitations knowing that I could not invite all that I would of liked to as her side would be involved also.  So I explained to everyone I was having a shower however, they were having a small wedding and no invitations were being sent to them..Friends and family were quite understanding about it.  Needless to say, we got thru it.  She and her Mother planned the entire wedding and all we had to do was show up with a check book.   Were there hard feelings?  For me, yes, but I kept my mouth closed and only vented to my best friend and husband.
It was their wedding and I was not going to be the MIL from hell and cause any fuss.  Was I a doormat? Nah, I just felt like I did the right thing. I'm not close to this DIL but believe she prefers it that way.  You know what? That is alright as long as we can keep peace and harmony within the family.  I try to be kind and thoughtful to her and figure that someday it will pay off.  She has sent me cards with lovely verses that express what a wonderful son I raised and what a great example we are.  That to me meant more than having to invite family that maybe, just maybe,  you see once or twice a year.  I was an only child and extremely close to my Mother so I understand a Mother/Daughter relationship.  They are priceless!!  My son's happiness is what matters. ;D