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Etiquette

Do I have to invite toxic relatives to my wedding?

My mom has two sisters, one is fine, the other one is seriously crazy and needs therapy! I don't want to invite the crazy one and her two daughters to my wedding.  My mom's sister is 10 years older than my mom and very jealous that my mom has grandchildren (from my older siblings) and now I'm getting married too.  Her two daughters are 31 and 33, single, never married, and no kids. They are mad that their youngest cousin (me) is getting married before them at the age of 26.  They have nothing nice to say about my mom and I and have not been supportive during my engagement and wedding planning.  When I first saw my two cousins after getting engaged at a family dinner they never once acknowledged that I was engaged.  And I sat with them and talked for two hours! My aunt has made the situation much worse in the past month by sending rude and dramatic emails to my mom and I. In April, a week before my b-day she emailed my mom and cc it to me, saying I am destroying the family by not including my cousins in my bridal party and that nobody talks about the wedding to us because they aren't a part of it.  I NEVER planned on having my cousins in my wedding...we aren't that close.  I would never expect to be in their weddings either.  My mom and I choose not to respond to her email.  Then, last Saturday my mom's other sister had a mini family reunion at her house with some out of town relatives.  This was the first time we had all been at the same place since the crazy email.  My mom said hi to my crazy aunt and gave her a hug, trying to keep peace.  I didn't go near my aunt because I have nothing to say to her and she stayed away from me. When my two cousins got there they never came in the same room as my mom and I.  Then on Tuesday (2 days ago) my aunt emails my mom again and cc's it to me.  She says "Goodbye. You lost a sister on Saturday May 7, 2011."  WTF??  She is so dramatic and just trying to cause problems.  My mom is hurt, I'm pissed.  I don't want to invite them but my mom says we should, that way the decision is on them and they can't say "oh, you didn't even invite us to your wedding."  I say, I don't care...I don't want them there.  My mom doesn't think they will come anyway, but what if they do?  I don't want them around me.  They are toxic and have been trying to ruin my happiness and my mom's during this time for us.  What should I do? What would you do?

Re: Do I have to invite toxic relatives to my wedding?

  • I would be the better person here and invite them. 


  • jrkjpfjrkjpf member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    If it makes your feel any better, i probably will not be inviting my cousins as well. I have 7 in the america's, and have not been in contact with them for almost 8 years now. Sending an invite sounds too much like a gift grab.

    Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I'm not perfect and I don't live to be. But, before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean. -Bob Marley

  • KentuckyKateKentuckyKate member
    1000 Comments
    edited May 2011
    In Response to Do I have to invite toxic relatives to my wedding?:
    [QUOTE]My mom has two sisters, one is fine, the other one is seriously crazy and needs therapy! I don't want to invite the crazy one and her two daughters to my wedding.  My mom's sister is 10 years older than my mom and very jealous that my mom has grandchildren (from my older siblings) and now I'm getting married too.  Her two daughters are 31 and 33, single, never married, and no kids. They are mad that their youngest cousin (me) is getting married before them at the age of 26.  They have nothing nice to say about my mom and I and have not been supportive during my engagement and wedding planning.  When I first saw my two cousins after getting engaged at a family dinner they never once acknowledged that I was engaged.  And I sat with them and talked for two hours! My aunt has made the situation much worse in the past month by sending rude and dramatic emails to my mom and I. In April, a week before my b-day she emailed my mom and cc it to me, saying I am destroying the family by not including my cousins in my bridal party and that nobody talks about the wedding to us because they aren't a part of it.  I NEVER planned on having my cousins in my wedding...we aren't that close.  I would never expect to be in their weddings either.  My mom and I choose not to respond to her email.  Then, last Saturday my mom's other sister had a mini family reunion at her house with some out of town relatives.  This was the first time we had all been at the same place since the crazy email.  My mom said hi to my crazy aunt and gave her a hug, trying to keep peace.  I didn't go near my aunt because I have nothing to say to her and she stayed away from me. When my two cousins got there they never came in the same room as my mom and I.  Then on Tuesday (2 days ago) my aunt emails my mom again and cc's it to me.  She says "Goodbye. You lost a sister on Saturday May 7, 2011."  WTF??  She is so dramatic and just trying to cause problems.  My mom is hurt, I'm pissed.  I don't want to invite them but my mom says we should, that way the decision is on them and they can't say "oh, you didn't even invite us to your wedding."  I say, I don't care...I don't want them there.  My mom doesn't think they will come anyway, but what if they do?  I don't want them around me.  They are toxic and have been trying to ruin my happiness and my mom's during this time for us.  What should I do? What would you do?
    Posted by JennaR2011[/QUOTE]
    FYI:  Hitting the Enter button every now and again makes it easier for us to read.

    I think it's hard to answer questions like this, because every family has a different dynamic.  In my family, there are a few people that get under my skin, and my parents don't really care for them either, but it would never fly to not invite them.  It would cause a huge rift in my entire extended family.

    In other families, people don't invite first cousins/aunts/uncles all the time, and it's not really a big deal.
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    In Response to Re: Do I have to invite toxic relatives to my wedding?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Do I have to invite toxic relatives to my wedding? : FYI:  Hitting the Enter button every now and again makes it easier for us to read. I think it's hard to answer questions like this, because every family has a different dynamic.  In my family, there are a few people that get under my skin, and my parents don't really care for them either, but it would never fly to not invite them.  It would cause a huge rift in my entire extended family. In other families, people don't invite first cousins/aunts/uncles all the time, and it's not really a big deal.
    Posted by KentuckyKate[/QUOTE]
    ditto.
    Short answer is NO you do not have to invite them.
    But even good decisions have consequences.  Only you can decide if it's worth it to invite them or not.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I agree wtih PP. Only you and your family know the right answer.

    However, if it were me I would probably invite them. If they're so pissed at you, they probably won't come. I figure offering an olive branch is better than risking losing those relationships forever.

    I didn't want to invite some of my aunts and uncles, but my mom thought I should so we are. They probably won't come. However, I put my foot down on my crazy cousin who has threatened to kill my aunt and brother. I don't want him there at all because, you know, I like my guests to not fear for their safety. Both of his parents have passed on, so it's easier to not invite him though. If his parents (my aunt and uncle) were still here, it would be a very sticky situation.
  • You don't HAVE to invite anyone, but you do have to consider the consequences and whether or not it's worth it to leave them off the guest list. I left off several cousins and a few aunts and uncles because they are certainly classified as "toxic," but we accepted that they wanted nothing to do with us anyway.

    My mom was cool with her sister and brother basically writing us off so it made sense to not invite them. But it sounds like your mom is still trying for a relationship, so it might be more beneficial to invite them. They might not even show up.
  • Sometimes you need to do what's best for your family even if you don't want to.  I would invite your relatives.  Chances are you won't even notice they're there, except for when you greet everyone post-ceremony.  If not inviting them is going to cause a family rift that upsets your mother that badly...I would just suck it up and invite them.
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  • edited May 2011


    Posted this on the other thread as well since this is the orig.

    As long as you don't want her there, I would call the Aunts bluff, she e-mailed your mom saying she no longer has a sister, so I wouldn't send one. I wouldn't give the Aunt a choise, she already made her choise herself. Our family is all scattered though, which makes family drama almost nil and when it does happen it major and not over petty things.

    We didn't invite DH's daughter's like you said they never acknowleged the engagement had nothing nice to say, so we omited them. They both befreinded her on FB because they weren't invited. which went to show her maturity. My daughter would engage on thier FB pics and some posts occassionaly,  they not once did that but they do gossip, that's the only reason why I think they even had her on thier f/b. DD would come to visit and they wouldn't even acknowlege her when they came over.

    I feel for you and your mom. :( and if your mom trely wants to have no conflict and be the better person that is great. I have an ugly situation that will happen at my daughter's wedding as well, but she wanted them to come and I wasn't going to "selfish"  If you do invite her maybe set this Aunt and cousins far away from the rest? "
  • In Response to Re: Do I have to invite toxic relatives to my wedding?:
    [QUOTE]  Only you can decide if it's worth it to invite them or not.
    Posted by lyndausvi[/QUOTE]
    True, very true
  • edited May 2011
    You should invite them, because your mom says you should.

    Why? The primary disagreement here is between your mom and her sister. Sure, you and your cousins are also involved, and your aunt has said some mean things to/about you, but your mom and aunt are the main story. I'm guessing this isn't all out of the blue, and that it stems from problems/jealousies in their relationship that go back a while. It seems that your mom has decided to keep trying in the relationship even when it's difficult, and that's commendable. It should be her decision on when she wants to stop trying, even if it's hard for you to stand by and watch her get hurt. The compassionate thing to do is to stand by your mom, fiercely and lovingly, and let her decide what to do about her relationship with her sister.

    It really sucks when rifts between siblings lead to estrangements. Charlie has an uncle that he hasn't seen in about fifteeen years because his mom, his aunt, and this uncle got into a big fight over money after their parents died. Charlie's mom really regrets this now, and lately she has been sending birthday cards and things hoping to reconcile. She asked us to invite him to the wedding. We did. It was the right thing to do to support her.
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  • I'm the type to say keep toxic people out of your life. We didn't invite H's mother, but even if we wanted to, we don't know her current last name or where she lives.

    That said, I do agree with your mom on this one. If they decide not to come, that will be on them. If you want to stoop to their level, you could think "they didn't even come to my wedding!" But just smile knowing you did the mature thing by inviting them.

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this. I feel bad for your mom, too. That just sucks having family be that hurtful.

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  • OP - I really feel for you.  I am in a similar situation.  My aunt is one of the most toxic people that I have met.  She has never been happy when she perceives someone has having "more" than her (education, money, trips et cetera). 

    However, she is only being invited because my mom and I want to be the bigger people.  I can always forsee a hissy fit and some snarky comment, but if I prepare for it, at least I can expect it.

    Like PP have said - only you know your family dynamics.  

    Good luck!
  • I have been in this situation at my first marriage and again now with my second coming up. The people that I was debating whether or not to invite were related to my mother her mother and a few sibs because they were truely toxic people. I defered to my mother because all things considered my choice would impact her as well. Your aunt is your moms sister and having several sisters I can tell you my youngest is a total ass across the board but I'd always want her there with me at something as precious as watching my child get married. You dont want them you dont have to have them but it may mean something to your mom one way or another if she is invited just because they're there doesnt mean you have to devote your time to them and if they misbehave in public they are only going to make themselves look like animals
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  • I'd also deferr to my mother on this one.
    If you invite them, you come out as the adult here. If they choose not to go (which is very likely, they'll mean it as a snub) then it reflects badly on them. If they do go, then you might not even notice they are there.
  • In Response to Re: Do I have to invite toxic relatives to my wedding?:

    I can totally empathize with you about this.  We have some pretty toxic people on my mom's side too and I was really against the idea of inviting these people to my wedding because of the horrible things they've said about my mom and our immediate family over the years.  We've pretty much been black-listed by most of them for over 10 years, which is fine by me.  But when it came down to it, I knew that it was my mom's decision to make because she would get the brunt of any negativity if I chose not to invite them. 

    I know it's hard and it sucks to think of having these people around on your day, but it sounds like you should do it for your mom.  If they don't come, yay, if they do come, you can stop for 5 seconds and say "hello, thanks for coming" and not have to speak with them for the rest of the night.

    [QUOTE]And if they were to do something stupid and embarassing at the wedding, it would definitely reflect badly on them, not you.
    Posted by lovethebeach16[/QUOTE]

    And this.  Definitely this.
  • That really sucks... but I think you should invite them. It'll make your mom happy, and that's important... and taking the high road is also taking the low road. I mean, if they're super jealous of you and your mom and your families and the fact that you're getting married... what's the best, most classy way to rub it all in their face? By inviting them to your wedding.

    Neither of your cousins is getting married. Your Aunt is jealous of that. I'm assuming your nieces and nephews are going to be there. Which your Aunt is also jealous of. And it sends the message of, "as petty and immature as you are, i'm still classy, polite and above you... so feel free to come and see me and my mother basking in the happiness that is our lives, because we are good people."

    So personally, I think you've got several reasons to invite them. Plus, I doubt you'll even notice they're there, if they come.
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  • Thank you everyone that wrote kind and empathetic replies! I have about four weeks until my invitations go out, so I'll wait and see if the crazies doing anything else and then I will make the decision with my mom.  I appreciate all the input!!
  • I have had toxic people in my family and have no problem whatsoever in my decision to stay away from them.  I do agree that you need to look at the big picture and not just your wedding day.

    I think you should sit down with your mom and talk about it one more time.  I think she will hear about it for the rest of her life if you don't invite them.  You guys need to decide if it is worth that.

    Keep in mind that you will be busy on your wedding day and you really don't have to be around them much.  No one can put a damper on your day unless you choose to let them do so. 

    I'm leaning towards giving your mom a break here.
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