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Etiquette

Developmentally Disabled Cousin at Ceremony

Hi everyone - I have a developmentally disabled cousin that we are inviting to our wedding. She is in her 30s, but probably has the developmental level of a 2 year old. Our question is around our wedding ceremony.

We requested no children at the wedding, have hired professional photographers and videographers, and really would like our guests to treat it as a special moment (no cell phones, respectful silence). This poses a dilemma with my cousin:
  • She will make loud grunting noises/sounds (she cannot speak)
  • She occasionally will hit people nearby
My SO and I don't feel comfortable with her at the ceremony for these reasons, but would love for her to be at the reception and all other aspects of the wedding. Is there a tactful way we can bring this up with my cousin's caregiver? 
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Re: Developmentally Disabled Cousin at Ceremony

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Hi everyone - I have a developmentally disabled cousin that we are inviting to our wedding. She is in her 30s, but probably has the developmental level of a 2 year old. Our question is around our wedding ceremony.

    We requested no children at the wedding, have hired professional photographers and videographers, and really would like our guests to treat it as a special moment (no cell phones, respectful silence). This poses a dilemma with my cousin:
    • She will make loud grunting noises/sounds (she cannot speak)
    • She occasionally will hit people nearby
    My SO and I don't feel comfortable with her at the ceremony for these reasons, but would love for her to be at the reception and all other aspects of the wedding. Is there a tactful way we can bring this up with my cousin's caregiver? 
    This whole post sours my stomach. 

    Also no, you cannot request that adults refrain from using their phones. That is out of line. 


    image
    MyNameIsNotMairePoppyei34nightnerd
  • Why does it sour your stomach? That's not very helpful feedback.

    Regarding phones, to clarify, this is asking that people do not use their phones to take pictures or do other activities during the ceremony. Which is completely acceptable. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited February 17
    Why does it sour your stomach? That's not very helpful feedback.

    Regarding phones, to clarify, this is asking that people do not use their phones to take pictures or do other activities during the ceremony. Which is completely acceptable. 
    No, actually it's not (as has been indicated in various other threads in this forum).

     It's not going to go down well with your guests to be told what to do or not do with their phones. Your being the bride or groom won't make your guests feel different. They may not share their feelings with you, but that doesn't mean they approve of what you're asking them or the way you're going about it.

    As for your cousin, no, there is no tactful way to bring up anything with her caregivers. All you can do is not invite her (if you haven't already sent the invitation, in which case it's too late).
    InLoveInQueensMairePoppynightnerdshort+sassy
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    No you can't not invite your cousin to the ceremony but invite her to the reception. As PPs have said that would be rude. As for the phones, the only acceptable way of telling guests to not having phones out is having the officiant to remind people not to take people during the ceremony - many churches have rules against this. Of course if you aren't having a church ceremony that wouldn't work.
    OurWildKingdomnightnerd
  • Regarding the cell phones, we're having an Unplugged ceremony. There's a Knot article about this:
    https://www.theknot.com/content/unplugged-wedding-pros-and-cons
    Obviously this can't be enforced, but during the ceremony we want our guests to be in the moment. I've been to multiple weddings over the past few years where this occurred. Post-ceremony, of course, use phones to your delight.

    I also don't think posters here understand the severity of the disablement. The situation is akin to this:
    • You have a good friend/relative/etc. that you'd really like to attend your wedding
    • They have a baby
    • You request that the wedding is children-free
    • Friend/relative/etc. can only attend wedding if they were to bring their baby
    • Do you make an exception, maybe provide a caretaker during the ceremony-portion?
    We don't want children at our ceremony for the same reason we don't want cell phones going off, lawnmowers in the background, car engines revving, people snapping photos, or people coughing incessently. It's a 15-20 minute ceremony where we want everyone attending in the moment.
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Regarding the cell phones, we're having an Unplugged ceremony. There's a Knot article about this:
    https://www.theknot.com/content/unplugged-wedding-pros-and-cons
    Obviously this can't be enforced, but during the ceremony we want our guests to be in the moment. I've been to multiple weddings over the past few years where this occurred. Post-ceremony, of course, use phones to your delight.

    I also don't think posters here understand the severity of the disablement. The situation is akin to this:
    • You have a good friend/relative/etc. that you'd really like to attend your wedding
    • They have a baby
    • You request that the wedding is children-free
    • Friend/relative/etc. can only attend wedding if they were to bring their baby
    • Do you make an exception, maybe provide a caretaker during the ceremony-portion?
    We don't want children at our ceremony for the same reason we don't want cell phones going off, lawnmowers in the background, car engines revving, people snapping photos, or people coughing incessently. It's a 15-20 minute ceremony where we want everyone attending in the moment.
    So you would rather have your good friend/ relative not attend?! No, I wouldn’t banish them from my ceremony. I actually wanted to be surrounded by the people I love at my wedding, and if a slight noise was made, so be it- that’s life.   Why not just duct tape everyone’s mouth shut so they can’t accidentally sneeze and endure your wrath. 

    Life happens. Things happen. You can’t control everything. I go back to my original suggestion of hire paid actors and distribute a script if you need this much control. You clearly don’t care about the thoughts and feelings (or even if the person is able to attend) of your ‘loved’ ones.

    Christ on a cracker how much attention does a grown woman need?!
    OurWildKingdomInLoveInQueensnightnerd
  • edited February 19
    There are so many varying shades of grey, it's ridiculous that PPs would be so quick to judge your situation. The fact of the matter is there are many decisions and considerations that go into a wedding and at the end of the day, you simply can't please everyone (and shouldn't have to). This is your wedding, not anyone else's. A wedding SHOULD be about the two people getting married and what they want, plain and simple. People can call you selfish/callous all they want, but if they think someone being at a ceremony (or wedding) vs. not being at one means that you don't "love" your family member then they're seriously naive.

    Many people have unplugged ceremonies and don't invite children to their weddings. It doesn't mean they're trying to police guests or hate children. Recording a wedding counts thousands of dollars and you can't just "do another take." As someone who works in media, that's not a thing with wedding ceremonies. There's no director who can yell "cut" or really a way to truly isolate and edit out sounds in a video in this format. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you and your SO wanting things a certain way for 15-20 minutes of this day.

    And before people jump on me, I've known people who've had to deal with exact situations like this with even closer family members. And guess what? People lived because it's a freaking WEDDING, one very important, cherished day in these two people's lives. Family members who have any level of understanding of what that means know that it's not 100% about themselves or their own needs, and it's certainly not a symbol of the bride or groom's love for THEM.

    My best advice to you and your SO is not listen to people here and ask friends who've been in similar situations how they've best handled it. People online are too quick to judge and are generally unable to fully grasp and understand a situation like this. And they won't put in the time to because it's easier to just spew nasty words to people dealing with a tough situation because it makes them feel virtuous.

    *Edited by moderator for TOS violation-Maire
  • Oh boy. *rolls eyes* Wow, you must be a REALLY good person.

    And yeah, let's assume the OP is a woman. That's cool.
  • Regarding the cell phones, we're having an Unplugged ceremony. There's a Knot article about this:
    https://www.theknot.com/content/unplugged-wedding-pros-and-cons
    Obviously this can't be enforced, but during the ceremony we want our guests to be in the moment. I've been to multiple weddings over the past few years where this occurred. Post-ceremony, of course, use phones to your delight.

    I also don't think posters here understand the severity of the disablement. The situation is akin to this:
    • You have a good friend/relative/etc. that you'd really like to attend your wedding
    • They have a baby
    • You request that the wedding is children-free
    • Friend/relative/etc. can only attend wedding if they were to bring their baby
    • Do you make an exception, maybe provide a caretaker during the ceremony-portion?
    We don't want children at our ceremony for the same reason we don't want cell phones going off, lawnmowers in the background, car engines revving, people snapping photos, or people coughing incessently. It's a 15-20 minute ceremony where we want everyone attending in the moment.
    This has absolutely nothing to do with not allowing your developmentally different cousin to the ceremony. 

    Also NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR WEDDING AS MUCH AS YOU DO!  I bet, even if there are no cell phones or babies, people will be sitting there thinking “how long is this going to take?” “Wonder if they are serving Swedish meatballs” “I wonder if little Joey is acting up for the sitter?” “Oh shit, it’s over already!? Lol” unless you are going to be the thought police too you will not get 15-20 minutes of everyone “attending to the moment.”  
    MyNameIsNotOliveOilsMomnightnerd
  • Regarding the cell phones, we're having an Unplugged ceremony. There's a Knot article about this:
    https://www.theknot.com/content/unplugged-wedding-pros-and-cons
    Obviously this can't be enforced, but during the ceremony we want our guests to be in the moment. I've been to multiple weddings over the past few years where this occurred. Post-ceremony, of course, use phones to your delight.

    I also don't think posters here understand the severity of the disablement. The situation is akin to this:
    • You have a good friend/relative/etc. that you'd really like to attend your wedding
    • They have a baby
    • You request that the wedding is children-free
    • Friend/relative/etc. can only attend wedding if they were to bring their baby
    • Do you make an exception, maybe provide a caretaker during the ceremony-portion?
    We don't want children at our ceremony for the same reason we don't want cell phones going off, lawnmowers in the background, car engines revving, people snapping photos, or people coughing incessently. It's a 15-20 minute ceremony where we want everyone attending in the moment.
    This has absolutely nothing to do with not allowing your developmentally different cousin to the ceremony. 

    Also NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR WEDDING AS MUCH AS YOU DO!  I bet, even if there are no cell phones or babies, people will be sitting there thinking “how long is this going to take?” “Wonder if they are serving Swedish meatballs” “I wonder if little Joey is acting up for the sitter?” “Oh shit, it’s over already!? Lol” unless you are going to be the thought police too you will not get 15-20 minutes of everyone “attending to the moment.”  
    Holy aggression. Calm down, friend ...
  • Regarding the cell phones, we're having an Unplugged ceremony. There's a Knot article about this:
    https://www.theknot.com/content/unplugged-wedding-pros-and-cons
    Obviously this can't be enforced, but during the ceremony we want our guests to be in the moment. I've been to multiple weddings over the past few years where this occurred. Post-ceremony, of course, use phones to your delight.

    I also don't think posters here understand the severity of the disablement. The situation is akin to this:
    • You have a good friend/relative/etc. that you'd really like to attend your wedding
    • They have a baby
    • You request that the wedding is children-free
    • Friend/relative/etc. can only attend wedding if they were to bring their baby
    • Do you make an exception, maybe provide a caretaker during the ceremony-portion?
    We don't want children at our ceremony for the same reason we don't want cell phones going off, lawnmowers in the background, car engines revving, people snapping photos, or people coughing incessently. It's a 15-20 minute ceremony where we want everyone attending in the moment.
    This has absolutely nothing to do with not allowing your developmentally different cousin to the ceremony. 

    Also NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR WEDDING AS MUCH AS YOU DO!  I bet, even if there are no cell phones or babies, people will be sitting there thinking “how long is this going to take?” “Wonder if they are serving Swedish meatballs” “I wonder if little Joey is acting up for the sitter?” “Oh shit, it’s over already!? Lol” unless you are going to be the thought police too you will not get 15-20 minutes of everyone “attending to the moment.”  
    Holy aggression. Calm down, friend ...
    Not aggressive. Capitalized for emphasis 
  • Oh, and regarding the cellphone issue, is this a church/house of worship wedding? If so, you should consider having a program (people need to know what's what so they don't feel awkward) and in it, you can mention silencing phones.  But if they ignore this request, it will be fine. D had a full Catholic mass, and we saw some lovely pics later that the photographer had missed, thanks to people "disobeying" the no phones request.
    ILoveBeachMusicOurWildKingdomcharlotte989875
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited February 18
    Hi everyone - I have a developmentally disabled cousin that we are inviting to our wedding. She is in her 30s, but probably has the developmental level of a 2 year old. Our question is around our wedding ceremony.

    We requested no children at the wedding, have hired professional photographers and videographers, and really would like our guests to treat it as a special moment (no cell phones, respectful silence). This poses a dilemma with my cousin:
    • She will make loud grunting noises/sounds (she cannot speak)
    • She occasionally will hit people nearby
    My SO and I don't feel comfortable with her at the ceremony for these reasons, but would love for her to be at the reception and all other aspects of the wedding. Is there a tactful way we can bring this up with my cousin's caregiver? 
    Your one and only dilemma is with yourself.  
    You invite your cousin, or any other guest, for the entire event or none of the event.
    As for the remainder of your insane requests, might I suggest a change of venue?
    You seem to prefer life this way.....



    climbingwifemaine7mob
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    WOW. I don't even have words. OP, you should ashamed of yourself for putting your "vision" ahead of your relative AND guests. Unplugged weddings are rude, regardless of how many articles The Knot writes about it. 

    As for your relative - I think it's horrible you want to ban her from your ceremony, all because she might have an outburst. So what? Your ceremony will still happen. You'll still end up married. And trust me on this - you won't even notice while you're up there saying your vows. 

    charlotte989875ei34
  • Wow this makes me feel incredibly sad, that you would treat another person, let alone a family member like this. Maybe you shouldn’t invite your cousin, at all to the wedding or reception, if this is how you treat them. 

    As for the the cell phones; realistically are you going to be checking to see if someone turned them off? If not then there is no way to enforce it and people will leave their phones on. If you’re having an adult only wedding people with kids will need to be able to hear from their sitters, people who are on-call for jobs will need to have their phones on to hear from their work. 

    On being in the moment? Even if people follow your orders to turn off their phones they can/will still be thinking about whatever they want. You can’t control people to do and be exactly how you want and the sooner you accept that the better wedding planning and life will be. 
    ei34
  • edited February 19
    MobKaz said:
    There are so many varying shades of grey, it's ridiculous that PPs would be so quick to judge your situation. The fact of the matter is there are many decisions and considerations that go into a wedding and at the end of the day, you simply can't please everyone (and shouldn't have to). This is your wedding, not anyone else's. A wedding SHOULD be about the two people getting married and what they want, plain and simple. People can call you selfish/callous all they want, but if they think someone being at a ceremony (or wedding) vs. not being at one means that you don't "love" your family member then they're seriously naive.

    Many people have unplugged ceremonies and don't invite children to their weddings. It doesn't mean they're trying to police guests or hate children. Recording a wedding counts thousands of dollars and you can't just "do another take." As someone who works in media, that's not a thing with wedding ceremonies. There's no director who can yell "cut" or really a way to truly isolate and edit out sounds in a video in this format. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you and your SO wanting things a certain way for 15-20 minutes of this day.

    And before people jump on me, I've known people who've had to deal with exact situations like this with even closer family members. And guess what? People lived because it's a freaking WEDDING, one very important, cherished day in these two people's lives. Family members who have any level of understanding of what that means know that it's not 100% about themselves or their own needs, and it's certainly not a symbol of the bride or groom's love for THEM.

    My best advice to you and your SO is not listen to people here and ask friends who've been in similar situations how they've best handled it. People online are too quick to judge and are generally unable to fully grasp and understand a situation like this. And they won't put in the time to because it's easier to just spew nasty words to people dealing with a tough situation because it makes them feel virtuous.

    So glad I didn't use these stupid forums 

    *TOS violation edited by moderator. Maire
    There are indeed many decisions and considerations that go into hosting a wedding.  First and foremost, all decisions are guided by hospitality and etiquette.  Must you invite anyone and everyone?  Absolutely NOT!  However, anyone invited must be treated with the utmost in hospitality and civility.  Any invited guest is treated the same and must be invited to the ENTIRE event.  

    The OP is being called out for rudeness in their attempt to invite a guest to a partial portion of one event.  The reason people ask questions of strangers on public forums is because (in theory) they are seeking honest and objective answers.  You cannot always get such a response from family and friends.  If OP does have friends or family who have done similar things, it is pointless to ask a rude person how to handle a rude situation.

    You are correct about one thing.  People online can be quick to judge and spew nasty words.  I appreciate you proving your own point by being the only one here to spew and judge.
    The last thing you said is simply not true. But ok. :)
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Please tell me this isn't real.

    I know there are some really horrible people in the world, and it's possible. I'm just not ready for this much disgusting on a Monday morning. 

    OP, if you are real, you need to do some self reflection here. Why is controlling other people so important to you? Why don't you understand that your cousin is a living, breathing human being? Why are you incapable of empathy? Why do you think your wedding ceremony is so momentous that everyone needs to be "in the moment?" Is this really the kind of person you want to be? Gross. 
  • It's not really up to you whether your guests are "in the moment" or not.  If guests spend the whole time watching through their phone or miss out because they're scrolling through photos they've already taken, that's not your problem. I assure you that you won't even notice. I know I didn't at my wedding.

    As for your cousin, inviting her to the reception but not the ceremony is not fair to her family/caretakers who will have to worry about who will look after her during the ceremony. Also, by doing this you'd basically be saying that the cousin is good enough for one part of your wedding but not another. She may not have the capacity to understand that, but her family will, and that is hurtful to them. 

    The one thing that may be okay to address is her hitting people. I'm sure her caretaker has a way of keeping that under control, but if you're concerned about it, then you might want to encourage them to sit near other family who understand cousin's condition and will not be fazed if this behavior comes up. This is more worth addressing than her making noise during the ceremony. 

    Bottom line, I think it's best to invite your cousin to the whole event and then let her family/caretaker decide if it's a good idea for her to attend. If they decide to bring her, be gracious and don't let whatever disruptions she causes bother you too much. They won't stop you from being married at the end of the day.

    In the meantime, make peace now with the reality that with or without your cousin, your wedding is not going to be 100% perfect, because no wedding is.


    image
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    If OP is THIS worried about potential noises and people simply existing, will SHE really be "in the moment"? 

    I gotta admit, I wasn't "in the moment" at my own damn wedding. We were on the 95th floor and there were these huge spiders in the windows. "They're so huge and gross! How did they get there? Shit, what did the officiant just say?"

    (can I talk about how much I hate that phrase? "In the moment", my ass. How ridiculous it is for people to think they can tell me what to fucking THINK about? The fuck is this? Why does a wedding need to be this serious?)
    Right! And also, who cares that much about anyone else's vows to be that concentrated on them? 

    But regardless, if you have to stomp your feet and make up rules to get people to pay attention to you, the problem isn't with them. 
    ILoveBeachMusicInLoveInQueens
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Also, one of the best things is getting photos your guests took, especially during the ceremony. My friends got some shots that my photographer missed. 


    Our photographer took forever to get our photos to us. Our neighbor and my dad got some photos that he didn’t get, and I was very happy with them.

    OP, I really hope it’s just nerves talking and you’re not seriously thinking of excluding your cousin. The important thing about your wedding day is that the two of you are getting married. Get some perspective, or elope if you can’t handle the thought of your guests (gasp!) being human.
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