Moms and Maids

What would you do with these people?

This is a question about grandparents more than parents.  My FI's parents have been divorced for less than 10 years, and his mother is remarried.  They literally have not laid eyes on each other since the divorce as my FI and her new husband moved to S.C. and his father stayed in Manhattan.  My FI's grandparents on his mothers side (maternal grandparents) still live in Manhattan.  The divorce was not clean on either side and there is still a lot of resentment, bitterness, and even hatred. 

So... we talked to both parents and they agreed to share a table at the reception.  They would be sharing a table with each other, the grandparents, my FI Uncle and Aunt, the step-father, and two family friends, for a total of 8 people.  My parents will be "hosting" their own table.  Our reception site is small and we are only having 75 people, and we are trying to keep our table numbers at a minimum so we have more dancing floor space. 

Problem- my FI grandfather has declared that not only will he not sit with my FI's father, he doesn't want to even see him.  And if we try to force the issue, he won't come. 

Now I say "fine, don't come", but my FI is reluctant to draw the line, and I don't blame him.  It is tricky. 

So we are thinking of seperating his family into two tables of four, which will look silly but who really cares about that. 

Now here is the problem.  The grandfather is all set to make a huge, childish, scene.  We can solve the problem of them not sitting together, but no way are they going to be able to avoid literally seeing each other.  No one else is making a big deal about this.  My FMIL has tried to talk to the grandfather, but he won't budge. 

(Just a background on the grandfather- he is not senile or has dementia, he is very lucid and in general good health (upper 70's).  He is also extremely racist (refers to Asian people "charlie", etc.) and has asked my FI if our priest will be able to take the time to marry us in between molesting small boys.  Everyone in his family just excuses his behavior on the basis that he is "old", and therefore "cute".  I don't think he is that old, and def not cute.)

So what would you guys do?  If the grandfather doesnt come, the grandmother won't come, which would be a shame cuz it isn't her fault and she doesnt feel this way.  It is obviously more important for me to have my future father in law there then the grandfather.  You just can't talk to this guy, and I am picturing a ceremony punctuated with religious slurs against the priest and a reception centered around a very loud old man who has had a bit too much to drink and who has been known to resort to being physical. 

My FI is afraid we won't be welcome to visit with his grandparents if the grandfather decides not to come.  The grandfather is insisting that my FI tell his father he is not welcome.  I love his dad and we are all very close, and besides, his dad has helped pay for things and has been very generous. 


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Re: What would you do with these people?

  • steffenfamsteffenfam member
    edited December 2011
    While reading the first part of your post, my thought was to separate everyone to keep the peace.  But further reading makes me think that Grandpa should probably stay home.  Even being in the same room could possibly be explosive, and you definitely don't want that behavior at your wedding.  Most people can curb their feelings and behavior for a few hours out of respect for the couple, however I'm guessing Grandpa isn't one of them.  Can someone pick up Grandma and bring her?
  • jerseydeviljerseydevil member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    Why on earth would you force both parents and their immediate family to sit at the same table at the reception knowing what the emotional climate is?

    My FI's parents divorced over 30 years ago, are on cordial terms and still don't want to sit with each other at our reception and we wouldn't dream of forcing the issue. They will be sitting with their own families.

    And after reading the rest (sorry, but it is quite a long post) it sounds like you need to seat them separately and beyond that, it sounds like your grandfather needs to suck it up for one event. I am sorry that you have to deal with such a childish immediate family member.
  • phunluvin82phunluvin82 member
    edited December 2011

    Honestly, it sounds like you don't have much of a choice here...

    Grandpa is 'insisting that FI tell his father he is not welcome' or grandpa won't come right?

    But, disinviting FI's father is obviously not an option...especially if you are all close with him AND he's HELPING PAY for the whole shindig.

    Grandpa is going to have to be told that FI's father will be there whether he likes it or not, and that if he won't be able to behave himself and act like a grown-up, then he is welcome to stay home and not attend.

    Does it suck that this means grandma may not come either?  Yes it does.  Does it further suck that it could irreparably damage the relationship between you & FI and his granparents?  Definitely yes.

    But honestly, based on what you've written...his grandfather has not left you or your FI with any other options.  You've already offered to keep them as separate as possible, what else is to be done?  You can try to have your FI and other family try to reason with grandpa, try to maybe get grandma to reason with her husband, and so on...but if he won't budge, then he won't get to see his grandson get married, which is his loss in the end.

  • phunluvin82phunluvin82 member
    edited December 2011
    Additionally...if it were me, this is what I'd do.  Write a nice long handwritten letter to grandma and grandpa saying how you understand that there is bad blood within the family, but you hope that they can put it aside for one special day....blah, really would love for them to be there, but you hope they understand that father is also an important person in your lives...blah, blah...we love you and understand if you decide not to come and hope that we will still be welcome in your life...blah, blah...

    #1- Never underestimate the power of a good guilt trip...maybe a letter like that will smack some sense into grandpa (or get grandma to smack some sense into him, lol)

    #2- Whichever route grandpa decides to take, you'll have at least aired things out and it will be on him how he decides to and FI won't be the bad guys

    FI should obviously be the one to take this sort of step (if he wants to) since it's his family...

    EDIT: sp
  • edited December 2011
    Thanks everyone.  I guess I just needed to hear that it is ok for his grandfather to miss the wedding.  Now I guess I need to worry about what do do if he actually shows up.  I need a "get him out of here" plan if he starts a scene.... God willing it doesnt happen in the church! 
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  • edited December 2011
    It wasnt so much the problem as seating as my FI and I had already let that go.  Its what are we suppose to do if the grandfather causes a scene.
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  • phunluvin82phunluvin82 member
    edited December 2011
    Yeah...someone in the family should probably have a conversation with the grandfather letting him know that if he plans to cause a scene, then he should just stay home.  Sounds harsh, but he hasn't really left you any option.  Is there a particular family member that can be 'assigned' to dealing with him if he does show up and decides to get out of line? 
  • saric83saric83 member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    Another idea is to have a chat with FI's mom about the situation and see what she says.  I agree with PP's that life will be easier for all if he doesn't show up, and there's nothing you guys can/should do to accomodate him other than separate tables.  He's obviously completely out of line and is probably used to pushing people into his requests, so he likely just assumes you'll comply.  Ugh...sorry you're having to deal with this!  Good luck!
  • edited December 2011
    Wow.  I feel really bad for you.  This is a total dramatic scene that no one should have to deal with when planning their wedding.  First off, I don't know why you would put them all at the same table.  It's just weird.  My FI's parents are divorced too, father is remarried and we have them at seperate tables with members from their families. (I.e. FIL is with his mother, aunt, cousin, etc and MIL is with her daughter, grandchildren, brother etc.).  While they have seen each other multiple times since the divorce there is no need to make things awkward for anyone.  Granted the MIL and step-MIL have never met, but I'm not scared there will be a big scene.

    Second, this grandfather needs to shut his mouth.  There is nothing cute about being racist, I don't care how old you are.  My grandfather used to say "colored" or the N word, but he wasn't seriously racist.  He just came from that generation. My advice would be to TELL him, not ask, or say anything is open for discussion, that this is your FI's father and there is no way he should be uninvited to his son's wedding.  Tell him that if he choses not to come then that is his perogative, but you wish he would come and celebrate with you for your day.  And mention that you don't want this to effect your FI's relationship with them, that the door is open, and HE is the one doing this.  Not you. Period.  Hey, it's gonna suck, but no one can tell someone that their father is not welcome at their wedding.

    BTW, who is paying for the wedding? cause unless it's him, he also has no right to decide on guest list!
    Celebrate we will, cause life is short but sweet for certain....
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