Etiquette

Don't want family member to find out

I want to invite my cousin to our wedding. I have been separated from her most of my life due to her mom and my mom's relationship. I want to extend the olive branch to my cousin because I would like to have a relationship with her. I know she wouldn't be able to come to our wedding because she will be due at that time and it's a short plane ride away, but I think the gesture of inviting her would open up the possibility of a relationship, while not inviting her would close what may be our last chance (no more weddings to attend in our family since I'm the youngest).

My mom is adamant that I don't send my cousin the invitation till after the wedding, which to me seems to do more harm than good. My mom, justifiably, is worried that my aunt will find out about the date and place and show up, get drunk and ruin the wedding (this is based on past behavior).

How can I extend the olive branch (again, no expectation that my cousin would come) in a way that basically says - please don't tell your mom about this or show her the invitation?

The whole situation breaks my heart

Re: Don't want family member to find out

  • I want to invite my cousin to our wedding. I have been separated from her most of my life due to her mom and my mom's relationship. I want to extend the olive branch to my cousin because I would like to have a relationship with her. I know she wouldn't be able to come to our wedding because she will be due at that time and it's a short plane ride away, but I think the gesture of inviting her would open up the possibility of a relationship, while not inviting her would close what may be our last chance (no more weddings to attend in our family since I'm the youngest). My mom is adamant that I don't send my cousin the invitation till after the wedding, which to me seems to do more harm than good. My mom, justifiably, is worried that my aunt will find out about the date and place and show up, get drunk and ruin the wedding (this is based on past behavior). How can I extend the olive branch (again, no expectation that my cousin would come) in a way that basically says - please don't tell your mom about this or show her the invitation? The whole situation breaks my heart
    Work on the relationship after the wedding and after she has the baby and gets settled. It was said upthread and I've already posted it elsewhere today -- weddings aren't the time to repair or create relationships.

    STARMOON44novella1186CMGragain
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member

    Your mom's idea of sending her the invitation makes no sense and would be rude etiquette-wise.

    While you can invite your cousin only and have security available in case your aunt turns up, I do agree with @frenchiekin that I wouldn't use your wedding to rebuild your relationship with your cousin.  If you really want to invite her, the time to start rebuilding it is now, by reaching out to her and dealing with her in a non-wedding related way.  Then, when it comes time to send out invitations, you can add her to your guest list.

  • I should add, I'm sending invites this week. But yes I agree the wedding isn't the time to try to repair a relationship. I'm just worried what NOT inviting her would do to close off the chance.
  • If you don't already have a relationship with her, why would she expect and invitation? When someone I don't have a relationship with sends me a wedding invitation, I assume they just want a gift.
    image
    STARMOON44OliveOilsMomsparklepants41
  • I was invited to her wedding four years ago but wasn't allowed to go (due to the aunt situation) since I was a teenager still a dependent on my parents at the time. I figure it's relatively standard to invite your first cousins and this situation with the aunt is the only reason I have to ask. I also saw My cousins a few months ago at a family funeral so this isn't completely out of the blue. Also, does anyone actually get security at a church wedding? Is that realistic? Thanks.
  • Don't invite her. Send her a baby gift and a card
    KnottieBoots
  • novella1186novella1186
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited July 2015
    I was invited to her wedding four years ago but wasn't allowed to go (due to the aunt situation) since I was a teenager still a dependent on my parents at the time. I figure it's relatively standard to invite your first cousins and this situation with the aunt is the only reason I have to ask. I also saw My cousins a few months ago at a family funeral so this isn't completely out of the blue. Also, does anyone actually get security at a church wedding? Is that realistic? Thanks.
    If you're going to invite her cuz the two of you already have a connection, then go ahead, but as PP have said, don't invite her as a means to create a relationship that isn't there at all. 

    I agree with PP also that you should reach out and congratulate her on her new baby, send a gift and/or a card, wish her well. Start with that and build from there.

    ETA: regarding security at a church wedding; it's not unrealistic if you need to keep someone out whose behavior is completely out of control. It doesn't need to be obvious, like uniformed cops all over the place. You just hire one person who wears normal clothes whose job is to keep an eye out. Simple. 
    image
    adk19
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    She might think you are just inviting her out of obligation since she invited you to hers. I agree you should reach out to her first before extending a wedding invitation. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    If you have started a connection already, I think it's OK to send an invite (though I do think you should contact her separately from your wedding- the baby gift is a great idea!).

    You really can't control your aunt though, unfortunately. However, if your venue is private, she can be denied admittance or removed. A public place is more difficult as technically ANYONE can attend, but you could have someone tell her she is not welcome (if she were to show up).

    I agree that you shouldn't use the wedding as a chance to start a relationship with your cousin, but beyond that, if you want your cousin there, I'd invite her and not worry about the aunt (not that I wouldn't worry, more that I wouldn't let the rest of your relationships be affected by one aunt)- deal with that if and when it comes.

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    My mom and her siblings had a falling out years ago and it strained our relationship among the cousins.  So I know exactly the way you are feeling as I felt the same way when I was planning my wedding.  The big thing was that my mom never hindered a relationship between myself and either her siblings or my cousins.  Now as an adult I have figured out for myself who I want to have a relationship with, so I still have a relationship with some and others I don't.  For most of my cousins I have a facebook only relationship with them.  Of my cousins on my mom's side, I did invite one, but he declined to attend since he felt it would be awkward to attend without his mom (who was not invited).

    If you do want to have a relationship with your cousin, don't start with your wedding.  Start by doing as PP suggested and send her a baby gift and a letter.  I don't think by not inviting your cousin to your wedding will that completely shut down any chance for relationship.

    As for your aunt, if she does show up, she cannot be barred from the church.  A church is usually a sanctuary where all are welcomed.  But if you are having a private reception, you can certainly bar her from attending that.  It would not need to be your job or your mom's to bar her.  Simply mention it to the venue and someone there should escort her out.  If aunt were to then make a scene, it only reflects poorly on her.

  • FosmohFosmoh
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    I want to invite my cousin to our wedding. I have been separated from her most of my life due to her mom and my mom's relationship. I want to extend the olive branch to my cousin because I would like to have a relationship with her. I know she wouldn't be able to come to our wedding because she will be due at that time and it's a short plane ride away, but I think the gesture of inviting her would open up the possibility of a relationship, while not inviting her would close what may be our last chance (no more weddings to attend in our family since I'm the youngest). My mom is adamant that I don't send my cousin the invitation till after the wedding, which to me seems to do more harm than good. My mom, justifiably, is worried that my aunt will find out about the date and place and show up, get drunk and ruin the wedding (this is based on past behavior). How can I extend the olive branch (again, no expectation that my cousin would come) in a way that basically says - please don't tell your mom about this or show her the invitation? The whole situation breaks my heart
    I agree with others not to use your wedding to try and repair the relationship.

    Reach out to her on your own, without the wedding.
    You mention that she's pregnant, send her a small package for the baby and write a letter saying how you're so excited for her and wish her and her baby well.

    There are so many cute items you can send. you can get a small kit where she can make a print of the baby's hand or foot as a keepsake.  there's a party store by my place that sells small puppy dogs with a marker where you write on the baby's name, date of birth, weight etc. then everyone who comes to visit the baby signs the puppy so the baby can have it as a keepsake growing up.
    other ideas are a baby's first christmas ornament for the tree if they celebrate christmas.

    I feel like this will far more accomplish mending the relationship and building that with her than just sending a wedding invitation would.  it is far more personal and it focuses on the fact that you're aware and caring about a milestone in her life.  it's a more giving gesture so to speak you know?
    adk19mollybarker11
  • I meant to respond to this a few days ago.  As someone with various strained relationships, huge events aren't the way to mend the relationship, nor will it close the door forever.  I wasn't invited to my cousin's wedding a few years ago, but started exchanging emails sporadically until it developed into a greater communication exchange and now we spend some family occasions (Thanksgiving, her girls' birthdays) together.

    Big grand gestures (which sending her an invite is when it's out of the blue) often come off as empty displays.  In fact, you know in advance that there's like a 95% chance she wouldn't even be able to make it due to her pregnancy, which just makes the gesture seem even more hollow.  And unless she is completely on the outs with her own mother, your grand gesture forces her to lie and potentially strain her relationship with her mother.  That's a pretty lousy thing to ask of someone - I'm not sure I would want to even have a relationship with someone whose first act of "friendship" is asking me to lie for the sake of their party.

    Relationships aren't built on grand hollow gestures, they are built on series of small meaningful ones that show you have a genuine interest.  So as other PP's have mentioned, send a baby gift, exchange email addresses, ask her how things are going in her life and see how it goes from there.  Treating your wedding like the end all be all of relationship building is going to set yourself up for failure.  Completely take your wedding out of the equation - in fact, if you aren't close at the moment I almost guarantee she has no expectation of an invitation anyway.
    adk19SP29
  • Another vote for skip wedding invite since cousin won't be able to come anyways due to how far along she will be in pregnancy and just send a baby gift. If she did come, you wouldn't be able to spend much time visting with her.
  • I'm not inviting one aunt and uncle to our wedding. I have an old post on here about them because I'm in the opposite situation I'm being pressured to invite them but they've done awful things to the family and I'm not using my wedding as a time to get back together. I could care less if they never speak to me again. But I did decide to invite their son and his wife. My reasoning was I have fond memories of hanging out with my cousin and he never did the things his parents did, that was all them so I would like him to still be there if he wants to be that is. 

    That being said I know this means my aunt and uncle will know when the wedding is and where, someone in the family will leak it. If they bring it up to me I plan on telling them I'm sorry but they aren't invited there will not be a seat for them and if they show up they will be escorted away. If they don't bring it up I'm not saying anything to them, if they show up they will be escorted away.

    So if you are prepared to turn your aunt away if you send your cousin an invite and you want to invite your cousin because you have already reconnected then go ahead and send the invite. If it's just to build a relationship with her I'd skip the invite and do what PP suggested with the baby gift or just try sending her a text or calling. If someone I hadn't talked to in a while sent me an invite to a wedding and they knew I wouldn't be able to make it I'd assume it was either under obligation or gift grabby.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Thanks everyone! When I first got engaged there was a conversation between aunt and cousin and my mom that they would be invited, so it's really not completely out of the blue. Relationship with aunt has since changed (or I should say it has reverted back to its normal dysfunctional state), thus I was unclear how to proceed with cousin. I sent out invites and did not include her and plan to send the baby gift instead.
    SP29
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