Wedding Woes

Dad Refusing to Come to my Wedding

I'm getting married this October, to an amazing guy. We got engaged in December, and it's been a whirlwind with celebrating and wedding planning. However, I lost my mom 5 years ago and although this should be the most exciting time of my life, it's also bittersweet as I feel such a hole in my heart with not having her here to plan, shop, argue, laugh, and cry with during this new milestone. To make matters worse, my dad recently got engaged to a woman I despise and will be getting married in April themselves. I've come a long way in accepting that she is in his life and that they are together, but because of things she's said, her actions, and the way she controls my dad and has influenced his relationship with me in a negative way, I've decided that she will not be invited to my wedding.

I spoke about this my father multiple times, even at a family therapy session with the two of us. I've tried my best to voice my reasons, stressing that it has nothing to do with her and my feelings towards her, but more how much it hurts not having my mom here and how sad it would make me on my big day to already be hurting from missing her, then having someone in her place. No matter what i say o how I say it, my dad has said that if his soon-to-be wife isn't invited, he will not come. He came dress shopping with me before these discussions, which was special, and has stated several times how much he wants to be a part of my big day, but his actions say otherwise. It's gotten to the point where the four of us actually sat down and his GF kept pointing her finger in my face asking why she isn't invited. Family friends have tried to talk to them and explain how important it is for my dad to be there for me and how much we would both regret him not being there, and she keeps saying she's not telling him not to go...the problem is, she's also not understanding this isn't all about her and hasn't encouraged my dad to go either. I think he needs to hear that...that him coming to my wedding would be him being a parent to me, not "choosing" me over her, and that their relationship won't suffer because he chose to walk his only child down the aisle on her wedding day. She also kept hounding me to compromise but that's hard to do when my own dad gave me an ultimatum instead of compromising with me, such as saying "I'm really disappointing that you are not extending the invite to GF, but I will be there and hope you find it in your heart to change your mind or find some way to include her." The fact that she is making everything about her and the fact that he gave me that condition, makes me resent her and the situation even more.

I know it's not proper etiquette to not invite her, I know I put my dad in a difficult position, and I know that my decision could very well lead to future issues and implications on my relationship with my dad. If he really ends up not coming, I don't think I'll ever want to include him in my life again. I also feel that this isn't a family night out or holiday dinner I'm excluding her from. It's not their "big debut" as a couple or their "coming out"'s my wedding, and I'm asking for one day of my dads time and attention. I already have to look at one empty seat on the most important day of my life, I wish it didn't have to be two.

Any thoughts, help, advice would be appreciated. I'm so stressed and heartbroken over this.


Re: Dad Refusing to Come to my Wedding

  • So you don't want her there because of what she's said and done, and your perception that she's influencing your father against you. But you lied to your dad in the counseling session that it isn't his FI but that she'd be there in your mother's place. You are going about this all wrong. If you don't think your dad sees right through your lie, you are being incredibly naive.

    Also, if you don't invite her and Dad's FI is saying bad things about you, you're only confirming her words by taking the low road and excluding her. Your dad is right to feel as he does and to take this action. If you really want him there you have the power to make that happen by taking the high road and inviting his SO.
  • Ro041Ro041 member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Also, you are getting married in October.  By the time you get married, they will be husband and wife (since April).  You are asking your father to leave his wife at home.  She will be his legal family at that point.  No - your wedding wouldn't be "big debut" or their "coming out" party - that was their wedding.  

    On that topic, do you plan to go to their wedding?  Do you anticipate your FI being invited?  Would you be offended if he wasn't?  Is it because you consider him part of your family?  If you answered yes to all of the above, you need to invite her, apologize profusely (blame your lack of clarity on your grief), and try best to move on and mend your relationship with your dad.

  • There was no lie. It's allowed to be both. Her presence would make me sad. Her being there in the place of my mother would make me sad. Her not pushing my dad to come no matter what makes me sad. Him willing to miss my wedding makes me sad. Her being a mother herself, and having the opportunity to see her own kids get married and not urging my father to go, makes me sad. My mom not being there makes me sad. The ultimatum my dad put on me makes me sad.

    There will be no apologies on my end. I was open to a compromise until she attacked and berated me when the four of us met to discuss our issues.
  • I'm not saying she is there as a replacement but in black and white, yes she would be there in the place of my mom. That's not an assessment that's a fact. I would be up on the alter, looking at the seat my mother should be in, and seeing another woman there instead. I wish there was a compromise my father and I could both come up with.

    Our relationship and the way the four of us go forward is definitely going to be a discussion after the wedding. However, I don't think I'm out of line by thinking he should't use my wedding to make a stand. In the end, this is my wedding, and he's my father, he shouldn't make me feel like I'm missing both mom and dad on my special day. And frankly, whether I like my dad's SO or not doesn't really matter. My wounds from losing my mother haven't healed enough yet, and I'd hope if his SO is a reasonable person, she should understand.

  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My first thought was about the "Mom's place" thing when reading, so I'm glad others have addressed it.

    No one can or will fill your mom's place at your wedding. If that's a true association you have, you need to go over that more with your counselor, because it is neither logical nor true. However, I think it's an excuse you're hiding behind because you don't like her. Neither she nor your dad are making an unreasonable request for her to be invited to the wedding. If you die on this hill, the relational fallout will be yours to own.

    I understand it can be so hard at times, and it's an emotional day - but if you are so focused on who is or is not sitting where you imagine your mom would be sitting that you cannot focus on how good it is to be getting to marry your FI, that's really not fair to him.
  • It's really unfortunate even in typed words, people are putting words in my mouth. In general, I do not feel nor believe she is replacing my mother. BUT for someone who I don't care for or have a relationship with, to be sitting in the seat that, if circumstances were different, my mother would be sitting in, then yes she is literally in the place of my mother and as much as I appreciate and asked for the advice, what I'm reading is a lot of you telling me I shouldn't be feeling the way I am, and I'm sorry, that's not for you to say or judge. 

    My father began dating this woman while she was still married. She left her husband for him and their relationship has become codependent, so as brief of a background as that is, there's obvious issues on all sides. My biggest issue, is that instead of both of us finding common ground, or my dad addressing this in a way where he voiced his disappointment but helped come up with a resolution, he blatantly told me he will not attend unless she's there. To have gone through one significant loss, then to have that kind of ultimatum is very painful and only fuels the resentment. 

    I am open to compromise if it's a true compromise and not just me having to bend on what's supposed to be the most important day of my life (at this point in time). It's unfortunate almost all of the responses are quite judgmental without knowing the full story or extent of issues and feelings. If you have actual solid advice on how to help the situation, or ideas of how I can have my dad a part of my big day while keeping his SO to a minimum, then I appreciate it and am open. 
  • The bottom line is this: It's my event. I'm paying for it and I can invite or not invite whomever I please. The options come with my father. He can refuse to attend unless she attends with him, but he then runs the risk of missing his only child's wedding.

    Thank you. You've given me a lot to think about. 
  • I appreciate your response and your mother sounds like a smart and strong lady. 

    This has just turned into a pissing contest. I understand the etiquette aspects of having to invite her, I just feel like it'll bring stress and more sadness the day of. And I don't understand why she wants to come to something she's not wanted at. I don't see her coming as supporting my dad as his partner but more to spite me as much of our relationship has been.

    I know my mom would be rolling in her grave if my dad didn't come because my hate for her is stronger than my love for him...and I know the same if he decided to not come causing me to get married without either parent. As far as compromise I do hope with more communication we can come up with something. Maybe it's inviting her to the rehearsal dinner and reception, but asking they be open to my dad attending the ceremony by himself. I can't not have him there.
  • I believe you completely mistook what I wrote..perhaps it's how I worded it, but my whole point was, my hate for her IS NOT greater than my love for him but that's how it will look if I don't find a way to compromise with his SO's attendance...just like he doesn't wish to not be there but I'd be forcing his hand. 

    I literally went from not wanting her to be there in any case, to actually reading and absorbing the comments and trying to figure out how I can make sure to protect my heart and keep stress level to a minimum, as well as making sure my dad is there by bending to a degree to have her be a part of the rehearsal dinner and reception.  Kicker there-- I do go to a grief counselor and a family counselor, and the family counselor is the one who suggested to my father and I, he attend the ceremony and the SO can join at the reception. 

    Again, it's a lot to think about and this extends way before and after my wedding, there's been a lot of communication issues and hurt all around, the wedding is just the breaking point. 

    There's a lot to think about while making my main focus my own self and my fiance (who has been reading these comments as well). 
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