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Wedding Woes

Have the wedding you want, but you're not going to be able to manage other people's feelings.

Dear Prudence,

My partner and I have decided to get married after four years together. Their family is lovely, if a touch impersonal. My family and I have a strained relationship. They kicked me out when I came out, and while we’ve maintained a relationship for the sake of my younger siblings, I don’t want my parents at my wedding. My partner feels the same way, as they aren’t especially close with their parents. Our plan is for their brother and sister-in-law to stand in as our witnesses.

While I know this is the wedding I want, I’m unsure how to break the news to the rest of our families. I have a few aunts and grandparents who supported me when I came out and who I maintain close relationships with. How do I tell them about my elopement without hurting any feelings or leaving people feeling alienated?

—Eloping Politely

Re: Have the wedding you want, but you're not going to be able to manage other people's feelings.

  • Send wedding announcements.   It sounds as if you are not having a large wedding at all and instead are opting for something extremely intimate.   You are keeping things quiet rather than large with multiple exclusions.

    Rather than ask for forgiveness about the wedding itself, you can also inform the relatives with whom you are close that you have wed and would love to get together with them.    Given their knowledge of your family's opinions they will hopefully understand and will greet you and your partner with a hug and a celebratory beverage on their next visit. 
    downtondivaOliveOilsMomcharlotte989875
  • Lots of people have small, private ceremonies for all kinds of reasons.  I could see this being a more awkward conversation if there were a bunch of people invited and it was primarily the parents being excluded.  Still fine and totally understandable!  Just more awkward.

    However, since the only other people attending are the brother and sister-in-law, I think the best way to say it to minimize hurt feelings is to emphasize they chose and preferred a private wedding.  With just themselves and the witnesses.  And maybe, depending on the relationship, tell the parents about it ahead of time.  But it's best to make the announcement, after the fact.  Even if Aunt Jane or whoever was a supporter, no need to tell them "we're getting married next month, but are having a private ceremony and aren't inviting you."

    One of my sorority sisters in college got married on the spur of the moment.  She and her FI were already engaged.  They were planning a big wedding with all the families and were sitting with each other one day trying to just figure out the date when all their VIPs could be there.  Both of their families lived out of the area.  Nor in the same area to each other!  It was an impossible task.  He turned to her and said something like, "I just want to marry you!  I don't want to wait 1-2 years so all are family and friends can come!"  She agreed.  They both said f**k this!  And went right down to City Hall and got married.  They called their family later that day to give them the news.  And she told us on Monday, lol.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Have the small private ceremony you want and the after that (if you feel up to it) you can have a low key BBQ and invite some close friends and family to celebrate your marriage. You get the wedding you and your partner want and you can still include the people that supported you at a level you are conformable with.

    downtondivashort+sassycharlotte989875
  • Have the small private ceremony you want and the after that (if you feel up to it) you can have a low key BBQ and invite some close friends and family to celebrate your marriage. You get the wedding you and your partner want and you can still include the people that supported you at a level you are conformable with.
    This is what I'd probably do if I was in LW's shoes. I'm sure the family members who have been supportive are well aware of the problems with LW's parents and will understand why the couple didn't want a bigger, more "traditional" wedding. 
    image
    charlotte989875
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