Wedding Woes

MIL/invitation problem. Advice?

So I'm having a kind of basic wedding planning issue...my fiancé and I are having a very small wedding with a guest list of about 40 people, and we're planning on having the ceremony in a garden and the reception in our own backyard. I'd like it to have a fun and intimate feel to it. I'm not close with some of my family members so some aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. are not invited, and from what I've heard those people were not expecting invitations and aren't taking it too personally. My fiancé is also not close with (to the point of pretty much hating) certain family members on his side. Those people on his side have a long history of drug abuse to where every Thanksgiving/holiday get together his parents are forced to hide their valuables and lock their closet, bedroom, basement, and even a bathroom door to keep them from stealing (last year a female cousin stole a 150 dollar flat iron on Thanksgiving and it was returned by another family member a week later). It's insane! My fiancé and his brother do not keep in touch with these family members and try to refrain from speaking with them because they really disagree with a lot of their life choices. Now to the dilemma! My future mother in law really wants us to invite his aunt, who is one of these crazy drugged out people. She brought it up over the phone and said that this aunt would be crushed if she weren't invited and so on. This woman was late and high at her own mother's funeral for God's sake, why would either of us want her at our wedding? The MIL really is pushing it on us and has always said "family first" even when they're doing terrible things. She just forgives them. Now I've known my fiancé and his family for almost seven years, I've even lived with all of them for a couple of years, and I'm pretty close to my future MIL, so for her to insist on this when she knows both of our feelings is really strange. She's a photographer and she took our save the date photos (I actually made and printed the save the dates) and she says she'll help with our DIY backyard photo booth, but neither her nor anyone on my side is paying for anything for the wedding, we're doing it on our own. How do I put my foot down? She really has the best intentions but I do not trust his aunt at the ceremony or especially the reception at our own home (she's never been over), and if she WERE to come I know she'd bring her husband, son and daughter, their babies...it opens a whole new can of worms. She always extends her invitation to others at any event. The MIL also knows how my fiancé feels so I think she's purposely bringing it up when we're alone so my fiancé isn't there to defend me and agree with me so I'm left kind of saying "well, um, you know... we'll see". Is there a way to put my foot down kindly? I really don't think I'm wrong in this, there is a very long history of issues with this aunt and her children, so it's not like I'm judging her or assuming she'll act a certain way, I've observed these things myself over the years. It's to the point wherr my fiancé is getting frustrated and I don't think he'll say anything nice to his mom about it. Any advice?

Re: MIL/invitation problem. Advice?

  • I feel you on the drug abusers/family members. My Mom ostracized her entire family, father and siblings, for their long list of run-ins with the law and denial. My H refuses to have a relationship with his father (emotional, physical and psychological abused childhood) but many of the family members on his father's side keep pushing for them to have a relationship. His father even tried to come to our wedding but fortunately we had great security and he was taken off the site to the waiting sheriff's car without H knowing and becoming upset.

    In my opinion, family is family but that doesn't mean you have to have them in your lives. If you and your FI don't want these people at your wedding then you both need to make a united stand and let everyone know you won't stand for it. 

    Is your ceremony garden in a public space? If so, there's nothing you can do about them showing up. Same goes for churches. If you're having your reception in your backyard, that is your property and they would be trespassing. 

    Once you guys make a stand, you have to stick to it. Your Fi would say to his Mom, "Mom, I love you but you need to be respectful of our wishes. This is our wedding/special day and we will not tolerate their attendance. If they attempt to show up we will call the police and have them arrested. This discussion is over." Then bean-dip every time she tries to talk about it. If they do show up, you need to keep to your word otherwise the family members will figure you to be nothing but doormats for them to scrape their shoes on.

    The sooner you both make a stand, the sooner the family members will learn to respect you. If they don't. then you don't need them in your lives.
    aubreyfleming
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    So I'm having a kind of basic wedding planning issue...my fiancé and I are having a very small wedding with a guest list of about 40 people, and we're planning on having the ceremony in a garden and the reception in our own backyard. I'd like it to have a fun and intimate feel to it. I'm not close with some of my family members so some aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. are not invited, and from what I've heard those people were not expecting invitations and aren't taking it too personally. My fiancé is also not close with (to the point of pretty much hating) certain family members on his side. Those people on his side have a long history of drug abuse to where every Thanksgiving/holiday get together his parents are forced to hide their valuables and lock their closet, bedroom, basement, and even a bathroom door to keep them from stealing (last year a female cousin stole a 150 dollar flat iron on Thanksgiving and it was returned by another family member a week later). It's insane! My fiancé and his brother do not keep in touch with these family members and try to refrain from speaking with them because they really disagree with a lot of their life choices. Now to the dilemma! My future mother in law really wants us to invite his aunt, who is one of these crazy drugged out people. She brought it up over the phone and said that this aunt would be crushed if she weren't invited and so on. This woman was late and high at her own mother's funeral for God's sake, why would either of us want her at our wedding? The MIL really is pushing it on us and has always said "family first" even when they're doing terrible things. She just forgives them. Now I've known my fiancé and his family for almost seven years, I've even lived with all of them for a couple of years, and I'm pretty close to my future MIL, so for her to insist on this when she knows both of our feelings is really strange. She's a photographer and she took our save the date photos (I actually made and printed the save the dates) and she says she'll help with our DIY backyard photo booth, but neither her nor anyone on my side is paying for anything for the wedding, we're doing it on our own. How do I put my foot down? She really has the best intentions but I do not trust his aunt at the ceremony or especially the reception at our own home (she's never been over), and if she WERE to come I know she'd bring her husband, son and daughter, their babies...it opens a whole new can of worms. She always extends her invitation to others at any event. The MIL also knows how my fiancé feels so I think she's purposely bringing it up when we're alone so my fiancé isn't there to defend me and agree with me so I'm left kind of saying "well, um, you know... we'll see". Is there a way to put my foot down kindly? I really don't think I'm wrong in this, there is a very long history of issues with this aunt and her children, so it's not like I'm judging her or assuming she'll act a certain way, I've observed these things myself over the years. It's to the point wherr my fiancé is getting frustrated and I don't think he'll say anything nice to his mom about it. Any advice?

    Stay out of it. You can't win a fight between your MIL and your FI. When she brings it up, just tell her that she needs to discuss it with FI as it is his decision.
  • Family is an accident of DNA. Sharing genetic material doesn't automatically give you special privileges or exceptions for horrible behaviour.

    I think the next time she brings it up, you say to her, "FMIL, as you and I have previously discussed, they're not going to be invited, and the subject is now closed. Your refusal to honour our wishes is hurtful to FI, and he's about out of patience with you on this issue. If you bring it up again, there will be very serious repercussions and you won't like them, so I suggest you stop bringing it up." 

    Alternatively, every time she brings it up, just bean-dip the crap out of her. If you don't engage her on it, she can't push you on the issue.
    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    aubreyflemingdoeydo
  • I would be a bit more passive/aggressive.  I would not have the conversation and I would not extend the invitation.  If the subject comes up, politely excuse yourself from the room, go the bathroom, splash cold water on your face and return.  Eventually, you will have a very clean face and your FMIL will stop asking.  
  • I come from a family where alcoholism and addiction are rampant.  I'm talking about immediate family.
    Your FMIL is an enabler.  The next time she says, "Family first, even when they do terrible things", call her on it and say, "No, FMIL, family first when they want to ACT like family and not thieves."

    Enablers are usually quite soft hearted and really are trying to love the user.  They are people pleasers and are just trying to make the situation happy for everyone.  They just don't realize they are making the situation worse and helping that loved one to kill themselves.

    I think you and FI need to go to her, bring it up, and tell her that these people are not invited, the subject is closed, and you will not speak of it again.  If she calls and brings it up, hang up.  If she brings it up when you are together, leave, or ask her to leave.  If you are 100% consistent with this, she will get the message, even if she doesn't like it.  Tell her this is what you will do if she brings it up anymore.

    For this one, I'm not a fan of bean-dipping, or anything passive-aggressive.  This stuff needs to be discussed point blank with strict boundaries drawn.  You will have your family there as well as FI's.  You can't have these relatives stealing from your family when purses, cameras, etc are left unattended.  That is what addicts do.  They steal.  Deal with it head on.
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