Must I invite my godmother?

My mother's younger sister is her best friend and my godmother. Growing up, our families spent Thanksgiving and Christmas together, as well as going on a joint vacation every summer. A year ago, it would not have occurred to me not to invite her to my wedding.

Towards the end of the spring semester, I was under a great deal of pressure. A fairly tame family story that I had (innocently) shared with my godmother's daughter a year before got back to my godmother. She flew completely off the handle. I went to her home to return some dishes that had been left at my house at Christmas and she cornered me in the car and screamed at me. She called me a liar, accused me of making things up, and did her level best to emotionally break me while I sat there crying. She told me explicitly that she would never bring any of this up ever again, but that our relationship as it had been was over. No one in my family knows about what happened other than my parents, sister, and fiance.

From what my sister and father tell me, my mother and godmother resumed their friendship as if nothing had happened a few days later at a family reunion. (I was unable to attend because I was struggling with final exams.) When I graduated from law school a month later, she and my godfather attended my graduation party as if nothing had happened.

I plan to invite my mother's other siblings, as well as her first cousins (we are very close) to my wedding but I don't want my godmother there. I would also like to invite my godmother's children, one of whom I live with. Is it possible for me to exclude my godmother (and godfather, since he is her husband), even though I know my mother will want them both there and my mother is helping to pay for the wedding?

Re: Must I invite my godmother?

  • So yeah, have you tried to talk to your godmother at all about this? Is this typical behavior from her? Unless she did something super horrible, it would be ind of a crap move to invite the whole entire family and leave her out of it.
  • I have tried to talk to my godmother about it, but she refuses to discuss it. She will not acknowledge what happened, and starts getting angry and walks away when I bring it up.
  • What does your Mom say, since she's paying for the wedding? I do think it's going to potentially hurt feelings if you invite her entire family, but not her. And it's not like you're not seeing her if she came to your graduation and you talk to her at events. I think her behavior is strange but sounds like not inviting her will cause even more problems. 
  • Yeah, something is really missing here. Since your mom is paying and she wants your aunt, unless there's a credible threat of violence, you probably should just invite her. If the worst that happens is she doesn't talk to you, that's not too bad. It's really easy to limit the time you visit with someone at your wedding.
  • I think it would be wrong to invite the entire family except your aunt/godmother. Maybe you will reconcile down the road and regret not having her at your wedding (if she decides to attend). On the other hand, she hasn't caused a scene at other events, so I wouldn't expect her to do so at your wedding. I would try and keep familial peace since she is also your mother's best friend.
  • I think this is wrong but I also am wondering what is going on where your mom has resumed a friendship with her sister as if nothing happened, your aunt gets angry if you bring it up and you haven't said why she might be upset.
  • Invite your godmother because you're going to enjoy yourself a lot more if there's no family drama, and it sounds like she's always on her best behavior in front of others.

    But try to clear the air. If she won't engage, write her a letter, clearly stating what you did, why it was hurtful, that you're very sorry, and that you hope that she can forgive you - IF you did something wrong. If it was as minor as you say it was, explain what you did, that you didn't see it as hurtful at the time but understand why she was upset by it (if you do), and that you care about her and want things to get better between you. Focus on going forward, not re-litigating the incident.

    If she doesn't want to do that, then clearly she expects everyone else to behave far better than she does, and after the wedding you can further distance yourself from her. 
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Is it safe to assume that the relatively tame story was about your aunt or someone very close to her? The things that seem tame today, may have been scandalous years ago. There may have been more to the story than you know. This is obviously a touchy subject with her and she wants to forget about it and move on. Let her do that. 

    You should invite your aunt and uncle.

  • It sounds like your aunt's outburst was out of character, and maybe she and your mom made up quickly because your mom knew that, and maybe also knew why the story you told would be more upsetting to her than you realized at the time. It does sound like it will be very difficult to clear the air with your aunt and move past this incident, but I think you should keep trying and still invite her to the wedding. She hasn't caused a scene with you since, and not inviting her will only make things worse (and potentially bring other family members into the conflict, which really won't solve anything - you know they're going to ask why she isn't invited). If you're not able to make amends before the wedding, just keep your interaction with her to a minimum if she attends, then decide after the wedding if you want to keep trying or just move on and have as little to do with her as you can from now on.
  • Is it safe to assume that the relatively tame story was about your aunt or someone very close to her? The things that seem tame today, may have been scandalous years ago. There may have been more to the story than you know. This is obviously a touchy subject with her and she wants to forget about it and move on. Let her do that. 

    You should invite your aunt and uncle.


    My family has stories that seem tame now but were considered skeletons in the closet then and even now, decades later, NOBODY talks about them. I'm apparently seen as a trustworthy family Secret Keeper and pinky sworn silence on things that I see as totally innocuous, but if they were brought to light, I could see certain family members acting in a very extreme manner.
  • SP29SP29
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited September 2017
    Even though you are not happy with the situation with your Aunt/godmother, it seems she has chosen to act like it has never happened and continues to be polite and civil with you at recent events.

    In light of that, and since you are inviting everyone else from the family, yes, I would invite her and her husband.

    It would be different if she were continuing to blow up at you, or act rude or passive aggressive with you, but she isn't. And just because you invite her to your wedding doesn't mean you are forgiving her or hoping to have some great future relationship; you don't have to talk to her any more than to thank her for coming. And I doubt your Mom, who is helping to pay for the wedding, is going to say, "sure sweetie, don't invite my sister!".
  • My grandfather and I - let's just say I quit communicating with him after our wedding for my own emotional health.  (At every major milestone in my life he'd instead of a card, send a letter from his lawyer threatening to sue for the family business back - which we'd purchased from him with what we now refer to as "Blood money" because it was unrealistic payments, in the 1980's, imagine every single significant event stained by that)...  Ultimately I did invite him and treated him "Just like any other guest" and realized in an event for 400+ I wasn't going to be spending my entire time socializing with him, so let it go for the sake of family peace.  So I empathize with your situation.  

    Ultimately you have to make the call here if the emotional abuse you were the subject of is at the level to which you do not want her presence there regardless of her being your Godmother or not.  If it is, I highly recommend getting whatever the issue is dealt with so you're ultimately at peace with it so it doesn't crop up in other ways in your life.  I'm not going to say "Mom is paying, she gets a say in the guest list" when the standard exemption is abuse emotional or otherwise.  Make YOUR decision and stand by YOUR decision.  Even if you do invite her, she may choose not to show, and that's o.k.!
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  • mollybarker11mollybarker11
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments Name Dropper
    edited September 2017
    It sounds to me like she overreacted and then moved on. Although you may not be as close anymore, it is clear that she doesn't intend to cut you from her life.

    Perhaps this is a second case of misunderstanding the significance of words? First you underestimated how tame the story you told was, and then you overestimated how seriously she meant what she said in her anger. I commend you for trying to achieve closure through further discussion, but maybe this is one of those things that time will heal on its own.

    I think you should invite her.

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