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Not Inviting Certain Family After a Sticky Situation

I'm trying to determine how bad it would be to not invite some of my dad's family to my wedding. For a while now, things have gotten pretty nasty between me and my dad and his family has a long history of being particularly vicious to me. But, I also don't want to burn any bridges and, if anything, they've actually gotten better in the past couple years since my mom died. So, there's all this past history and because I've gone no contact with my dad, it's likely I'm not going to see them again after the wedding. Additionally, while they were originally on my guest list, I took them off when it became clear that I was going to be paying for the wedding by myself (unexpectedly, given the situation with my dad) and I couldn't see how I could pay for an additional 16 people. We're already having a small wedding (60 people) and there's many people who have actually supported me and my fiancé who we can't invite because of money. But, on the other hand, they are my family and I feel guilty about not inviting them, especially since we're inviting all of my fiancé's family and my aunts/uncles/cousins from my mom's side. I actually did put a few of them on my list after my grandfather told me he was excited about coming, but I worry it's going to upset my cousins who I can't afford. On top of it, I'm worried that my dad will use me inviting my aunts/uncles/grandfather as an excuse to show up to the wedding. So any advice?

Just some background. Sorry about the length. My mom died two years ago and since then, my dad has just turned into a horrible person. He was always emotionally and verbally abusive, but it's turned into something completely different since he's started seeing his current wife, who honestly isn't much better herself. After months of lying, he decides to introduce her to his family on the one-year anniversary of my mom’s death. When we told him that we thought it was really insensitive of him to do that (I was still hard-core grieving and coping with depression at this point), he went in complete meltdown mode and started throwing all sorts of insults at me.  Fast forward a few months, he throws my brother out on the street to starve (like he was sneaking onto the farm to steal chickens in the night so he could eat) and then frames me and my other brother for it, saying we told him to do it (we didn’t). Things were kind of okay for a while and he planned a trip to see me and to meet my fiance’s family who were also coming in from out of town. Except a few days before, he proposes to his current wife and set a date and I had to find out through a mutual friend who saw it on facebook. I wasn’t upset about him proposing, but I was a little miffed about the situation, especially since they had decided to have a big full on wedding for her fourth wedding and his second just a few months before mine and there was no warning at all about any of this. It was honestly whatever, but when I talked to him about it, much deeper issues bubbled to the surface and it didn’t go very well. His wife then texted me to tell me, among a series of insults, how I had ruined her wedding dress shopping and how they had only been thinking of me (which is curious since I didn’t even know they were getting married, but I digress). 

Then the day before they were supposed to see me, they call me at work to berate me because I didn’t respond to the text tirade she sent me, my dad refuses to take me off speakerphone so I can talk to him alone, and won’t even confirm if they’re coming into town anymore. I didn’t know that they were actually coming until I walked into the restaurant the next evening and saw them there. All things considered, I tried really hard to be cordial, which was admittedly unsuccessful at times. I just stayed mostly quiet, even while she insulted my fiancé and his family (she called them trash because they’re from New Jersey). While all of us were talking, they would constantly leave and have private conversations before coming back (this must have happened at least every 10 minutes over the course of a couple hours). When my dad asked how wedding planning was going, he just all of sudden said he was “sick” (clearly lying) and they just left. I was really upset and my fiancé’s family had to spend dinner supporting me, only for me to receive a text from my dad’s fiancé, saying he wasn’t really sick, she made him leave, and they wanted to come to my apartment at like 10 or 11 that night to work things out. I ended up meeting him for breakfast and I thought we made some progress. He said he would help pay for the wedding but I just had to invite his siblings. I didn't want his money because I thought I was selling my soul, but my fiancé convinced me to take it because it would help us have the wedding we wanted. He also thought things were going to get better and thought it was a way to move forward.

A little bit after that, my dad gave me half of what he said he would and also refused to let me come home for Christmas. Things got rockier again and I finally told him that both he and his fiancé needed to stop texting me. Like she was constantly texting to bait me into replying so she could go into some tirade. I’m really bad at responding in general, but my fiancé was not so lucky in that regard. The evening I asked them to not text and call instead, she texted me. He also disregarded the boundary a few times after that. I even told him that I didn’t want the texts anymore because they were giving me severe panic attacks. I ended up blocking them because I couldn’t handle it anymore, especially after they said I was uninvited from their wedding and they were going to throw away everything that I owned or was my mom’s. 

As soon as I could, I drove over 1000 miles by car to pack up all of my stuff into a storage locker that I wasn’t planning on paying for and sold whatever I couldn’t save. I had actually tried talking to my dad before I came into town and told him I wanted to see him, but when I got to the house and saw the state of my mom’s plot and talked to my quasi-homeless brother, I couldn’t do it anymore. He spied on us the entire time we were there moving stuff and unfriended any mutual friends who helped me move things. He didn’t even ask where I was staying when I came in and was upset when he found out I went to see my grandfather. And it didn’t help that my grandfather didn’t even know that I had been uninvited from the wedding and that my fiancé wasn’t even invited in the first place. After everything, I just couldn’t see my dad and have to smile through his lies. 

I’ve accepted that I’m on my own for this wedding, which isn't that much of an issue. I know exactly what I can afford and have been staying within my budget so far. But I just don’t know what to do about my dad's family. My brother said they were somewhat supportive of him, but not as much as my mom’s family, who bent over backwards to help the both of us. At every point, my mom’s family has been there for me, so there’s no way they’re not going to be invited. But, I don’t want to ruffle any feathers because I invited one set of family and not the other. I don’t want them to think I’m petty and hate them for what’s going on between me and my dad, because I really don’t. I also promised that I would invite them to my dad and I took the money my dad gave me. On the other hand, I’m already not inviting people I know actually care about me and I would have to lose even more if I did invite them. I’m not willing to change venues because I’m in love with the place and it meets all my needs as an out-of-state bride (we’re getting married in my hometown). I also don’t even know if his family would come (most of them didn’t come to my brother’s wedding), especially given that my dad told all sorts of lies as to why I wasn’t at his wedding and that my dad will not be coming to mine. I know other people have it way worse, but I’m really at a loss about what to do.

Re: Not Inviting Certain Family After a Sticky Situation

  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited April 29
    That's a lot, but you essentially are asking and answering your own questions here.  1) You don't invite them and regret doing so (given what you said in the tone of your post)... or 2) You extend the fig leaf, hoping they don't show.  3) You hire security if the SM steps out of line and can't behave like an adult, many venues require this part of things anyway, and either way, a good thing to discuss with your venue in case of party crashers. 

    If you do invite them, you plan that if your Dad shows up, that he's going to come up with a lame excuse from SM to leave early, or he'll simply not show.  Know it, plan for it, that way you aren't stressed by it...  Plan to employ the Elsa technique the day of your wedding "Let it GO!" because it's not worth you stressing out over predictable behavior nor going drama llama over it.  If they leave "Let them go!" so you can party with people who make you feel awesome and you return that experience to them!  Also, you need to schedule in some premarital counseling sessions because this elephant in the room is something major that's going to reach farther than you realize now.  Know that on here EVERY couple is encouraged to go through premarital counseling (many churches even offer this as a service to couples getting married, not even necessarily if they're getting married through that denomination, and Marriage & Family Counselors often offer this as a package discount because it's so much easier/cheaper to work potential issues out before you get married than after).  Pick up a copy of the book "Managing the People Stress of Wedding Planning", it was written by a former knottie and her Dad (she has since become a Marriage and Family Psych).  Next, your brother, if he's to the point of stealing chickens, it's time to work to line him up with some local resources and job training to get him into a better place, hand up, not hand out.  Or a job at a grocery store or restaurant where he's going to get at least one solid meal per day or food at a discount.  I don't know the circumstances there, but there's some growing up to be done and it may be the best thing for him to be encouraged to move someplace else where your Dad isn't.  

    Also, the additional 16 guests, on balance, can you choose a simpler meal option that would make it affordable to invite them?  The reason I ask is because 16 is not a huge jump typically for most venues for pricing ($50 each, $800 IF they all showed up)..  Also where does that put you for capacity at your venue in the event 100% of the list showed up?

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  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited April 29
    First of all I agree with @MesmrEwe. You need to have premarital counseling to deal with your relationship with your Dad - it will affect your other relationships. 

    As for your Dad's family, if you got along with them I would say invite those whom you want to invite. At the time I was married, my Dad and I had some unresolved stuff (not bad enough that he wouldn't attend my wedding) but I was very close to some of my  cousins and aunts and uncles on that side. I invited them. I wouldn't invite people that I wasn't close with though. If you don't have or have never had a good relationship with his family, I would say don't invite them.

    edited for spelling
  • I know you all are already under some financial stress but, it sounds like you're keeping the money dad gave you for the wedding, except he and his wife are no longer invited?  If so, you need to return that money.  If I'm mistaken on that point, it also came with the strings attached that you needed to invite his family, but then he didn't give you enough to do that.  So have that conversation with him and let him know $XXXX is only enough for Y people and would he understand if you only invite the aunts/uncles and not the cousins (or whatever "line" makes sense).  But be prepared to return the money or invite the people he wants, if that is the string.

    Hopefully, you haven't already sent them Save The Dates (STD) or invites.  It would be very rude to send an STD and then not follow up with an invite or to rescind an invite.

    With all that said, if you never took his money or have already returned it.  And haven't sent an STD or invite to these people.  Then don't invite them if you don't want to.  Or just invite the ones you are close to.  None of that would be rude, though you know best if it would cause rifts.

    I'm sorry that your mom has passed and the relationship with your dad has gotten even worse.
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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I wouldn't invite them unless there's someone you're particularly close with. You mentioned that they have a history of being vicious to you, you only want to invite them to appease your dad, and you can't trust them to come without helping your dad crash. Yeah, I'd say hell no to all that.

    Agree with S&S. If you haven't already returned your dad's money, you need to. 1) It's the right thing to do and 2) it gives him something else to hold over your head. Make a clean break now. 

    Also agree with other PP suggesting some counselling. It sounds like your relationship with your father is toxic, that you have unresolved feelings following your mother's death, and that your FI doesn't understand how to support your boundaries. Some counselling can help you work through what your future relationship with your father will be (if at all), and how to help your FI understand the boundaries. It was wrong of him to convince you to take the money, but people with healthy families often have a hard time understanding how to deal with toxic family members. 
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