Etiquette

Awkward Family Situation for Wedding--To Invite or Not Invite

Ok, so. My mom's side of the family is huge--she has 10 siblings and I've lost track of the number of cousins and second cousins I have. Growing up, some of my cousins and I were much closer to one another than others. In particular, I was very, very close with two of my female cousins. None of us had sisters and we grew up as "sisters" to each other.

Both cousins had children and married in their early twenties. I was a bridesmaid in both weddings. One cousin (let's call her cousin A) and I have remained pretty close--we have lunch regularly and chat. However, the other cousin (cousin B ) is...hm...well, we have gone in different directions, to put it mildly. She has openly insulted both my and cousin A's life choices, has insulted cousin A's parenting choices (for example, cousin B is able to be a stay at home mom due to her family's circumstances, cousin A needed to go back to work after having her second baby and cousin B was very, very mean about it--and on a public forum, for everyone to see), and, additionally, has openly and outwardly expressed her dislike for my fiance.

Cousin A and I have tried to address how cousin B's attitude and actions towards us are hurtful, but she lacks a certain ability to be in touch with reality--she's just trying to be helpful to us, in her mind, and has a right to express her opinion. She continually says that she wants to be close to us and misses us, but every attempted interaction is dominated by her judgement of our lives.

Both cousin A and I have actually started avoiding certain family functions because we don't want to have to interact with cousin B. Neither of us is interested in having a fight, but we're tired of "taking the high road" and just letting her say whatever she wants about us, our careers, and our families.

I am planning to invite all of my mother's siblings to the wedding, but because we are keeping things small, I am not inviting my cousins except for cousin A and her brothers....and....possibly...cousin B.

I feel like I am obligated to invite her to my wedding because I was in her wedding and also because I think that she would be really, really hurt if I didn't invite her. I am already not asking her to be a bridesmaid (I have asked cousin A, realizing that the only reason I had even considered not asking her was because I was worried about hurting cousin B's feelings, but realized that's not fair to cousin A and myself). I cannot, cannot, cannot stomach the idea of having cousin B be a bridesmaid and, honestly, I get a knot in my stomach when I think about how she (and her extremely wild/violent child--he's stabbed people with forks, screams in their ears, etc) will act at the reception (if she even comes, which, of course, since she may be so angry that she's not a bridesmaid, she may not).

I am concerned that her negativity may cause me to feel anxious and not to enjoy my wedding. However, I am concerned that NOT inviting her (much less, not asking her to be a bridesmaid) will alienate her mother and stepfather (with whom I am very close and with whom I have always gotten along well, despite the decline in the relationship with cousin B ). I also have concerns regarding...hm...her use of substances at the wedding.

My fiance would rather not invite her at all, but is leaving the decision up to me.

I know that is very long, but I have been agonizing over this. Any advice on how to tactfully deal with the situation, or what anyone else would do in this position?

Thank you.

Re: Awkward Family Situation for Wedding--To Invite or Not Invite

  • Thank you so much. You are right on all counts (and very eloquently stated as well). I think I really needed to hear that from someone who is not directly involved with the whole situation.
    MyNameIsNotkimmiinthemitten
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    A big ol' NOPE. One of the reasons I cut the heinous cousin I sometimes reference on here out of my life is because of ugly things she said about me and the final straw was insulting my husband. She not only didn't get invited, she is also 100% not welcome in my life at all. B is not someone you need to feel obligated to invite if she has been insulting to you or your fiancé.
    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
    roccamanamanaadk19SP29
  • pinkcow13pinkcow13 The Concrete Jungle
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
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    You definitely do not need to invite her. It sounds like this is someone you probably need to continue to distance yourself from. 
                                 Anniversary
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    roccamanamanaSP29
  • thefanciestbecklerthefanciestbeckler Chattanooga, TN
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited August 2015
    I agree with PP's. She does not have to be invited to the wedding and she DEFINITELY does not have to be in the wedding party. My father is not welcome at my wedding or in any part of my life as a result of things he has said to/about me, my mom, my grandmother, my aunts and uncles, etc. He is a very mean, hateful person and his presence would only cause stress and make everyone uncomfortable.

    It is completely OK to draw lines with people like this. It has been said on this board many times that blood does not make someone family and it also does not make you obligated to attempt a relationship with someone.

    ETF: Grammar.

    dramamonkeyroccamanamanaSP29
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    Ok, so. My mom's side of the family is huge--she has 10 siblings and I've lost track of the number of cousins and second cousins I have. Growing up, some of my cousins and I were much closer to one another than others. In particular, I was very, very close with two of my female cousins. None of us had sisters and we grew up as "sisters" to each other.

    Both cousins had children and married in their early twenties. I was a bridesmaid in both weddings. One cousin (let's call her cousin A) and I have remained pretty close--we have lunch regularly and chat. However, the other cousin (cousin B ) is...hm...well, we have gone in different directions, to put it mildly. She has openly insulted both my and cousin A's life choices, has insulted cousin A's parenting choices (for example, cousin B is able to be a stay at home mom due to her family's circumstances, cousin A needed to go back to work after having her second baby and cousin B was very, very mean about it--and on a public forum, for everyone to see), and, additionally, has openly and outwardly expressed her dislike for my fiance.

    Cousin A and I have tried to address how cousin B's attitude and actions towards us are hurtful, but she lacks a certain ability to be in touch with reality--she's just trying to be helpful to us, in her mind, and has a right to express her opinion. She continually says that she wants to be close to us and misses us, but every attempted interaction is dominated by her judgement of our lives.

    Both cousin A and I have actually started avoiding certain family functions because we don't want to have to interact with cousin B. Neither of us is interested in having a fight, but we're tired of "taking the high road" and just letting her say whatever she wants about us, our careers, and our families.

    I am planning to invite all of my mother's siblings to the wedding, but because we are keeping things small, I am not inviting my cousins except for cousin A and her brothers....and....possibly...cousin B.

    I feel like I am obligated to invite her to my wedding because I was in her wedding and also because I think that she would be really, really hurt if I didn't invite her. I am already not asking her to be a bridesmaid (I have asked cousin A, realizing that the only reason I had even considered not asking her was because I was worried about hurting cousin B's feelings, but realized that's not fair to cousin A and myself). I cannot, cannot, cannot stomach the idea of having cousin B be a bridesmaid and, honestly, I get a knot in my stomach when I think about how she (and her extremely wild/violent child--he's stabbed people with forks, screams in their ears, etc) will act at the reception (if she even comes, which, of course, since she may be so angry that she's not a bridesmaid, she may not).

    I am concerned that her negativity may cause me to feel anxious and not to enjoy my wedding. However, I am concerned that NOT inviting her (much less, not asking her to be a bridesmaid) will alienate her mother and stepfather (with whom I am very close and with whom I have always gotten along well, despite the decline in the relationship with cousin B ). I also have concerns regarding...hm...her use of substances at the wedding.

    My fiance would rather not invite her at all, but is leaving the decision up to me.

    I know that is very long, but I have been agonizing over this. Any advice on how to tactfully deal with the situation, or what anyone else would do in this position?

    Thank you.

    Ditto PP.  I would not invite cousin B to your wedding and specifically not invite her to be a BM.

    You say you are tired of taking the high road.  But you don't have to take the high road all the time.  You can say something to cousin B without starting a huge fight.  I would not be avoiding family functions because of her.  I would not allow cousin B to impact my relationship with my family. 

    Cousin B complains that you haven't gotten together recently.  "Sorry, Cousin B, but whenever we get together I just feel like all you do is criticize my life decisions.  I'd prefer to minimize our time together."

    Cousin B corners you at a family function to criticize you: "I'm sorry you feel that way, but I'm very happy with my decisions.  I wish you could be more supportive."  Then turn and walk away or just change the subject if you are in a small group setting with family members. 

    You just need to learn how to shut her crazy down and stop letting her effect your life that way.

    adk19kimmiinthemittenroccamanamana
  • "I am planning to invite all of my mother's siblings to the wedding, but because we are keeping things small, I am not inviting my cousins except for cousin A and her brothers....and....possibly...cousin B. I feel like I am obligated to invite her to my wedding because I was in her wedding and also because I think that she would be really, really hurt if I didn't invite her."

    The quote above is all the information that is necessary to answer your question.  You are not obligated to invite Cousin B, even if you served as her bridesmaid.  Invite whomever you want to invite.  Do not invite people you do not want to invite.  You decide.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    roccamanamanaSP29
  • Guys, thank you so much! Hearing sane, outside voices (not my mother's family guilt trip), is really, really helpful.
    SP29
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    It's hard when family makes you feel guilty, because we all grow up in a child-adult role (child- parent, child-aunt, child-grandparent, etc) and sometimes even as adults we feel we need to respond the way we did as a child (i.e. do whatever they say). I know, been there, done that, still happens sometimes.

    But this is not the case. You are an adult who gets to make your own decisions (so don't listen to the guilt). The best part about being an adult (I think anyway) is that YOU get to decide how you spend your time and energy, and with whom. Cousin B is not someone I'd want to spend my time and energy on.

    I would tell your mom, "B and I are no longer close, so I have decided not to invite her, and my decision is final". If you want you can divulge more ("I don't want cousin B there because she causes drama, and well, I just don't want to be around her!") but all you need to tell your mom is the first part- no, and it's done.
    roccamanamanaadwks
  • Also keep in mind, the stress of inviting someone you could regret because you felt obligated can be even greater than the potential stress of not inviting someone. My wedding is a week away, and we felt "obligated" to invite some crazy people I wish now we hadn't. The stress of their attendance is much greater than if we'd just left them off the list. Always choose people you genuinely want to be there.
    SP29
  • Do you have to invite them, no, you are free to choose who you invite and don't invite.  That said - you're dealing with family, are you prepared for this to be the end of any potential relationship you had?  Is this something that is going to have ripple effects in your greater family?  Only you can answer that question.  It's not an "etiquette" question, it's a family dynamic question.  Only you know your overall family dynamic and what the ultimate consequences are..

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