The bride and I are the third generation of a family friendship that is over 70 years old, stemming from my father’s side. I know my dad will be incredibly hurt when he finds out he is not invited (which will inevitably happen). My dad is much closer to the bride’s family than either my mom, sister, or I, which adds to my confusion.
Which brings me to my question: Can I ask the bride why she didn’t invite my dad? Or at least warn her that she may damage her family’s relationship with him beyond repair by not inviting him and, since it’s still early, to rethink extending him an invite? I know this is not really my place, and I’d preface any e-mail with this acknowledgment, but if she’s not inviting him to spare my mom (or me and my sister) a little discomfort, I want to tell her it is not necessary, especially since all of us aren’t even sure if we can attend her wedding. — Dad’s Side
Ordinarily, I would say that you should not ask a bride — or groom, for that matter — why someone is not invited to a wedding, nor should you ask for an invitation to be extended to a specific person. That just isn’t a call for anyone but the bride and groom to make — and perhaps a parent who may be footing the bill, though even that is debatable. BUT, that fact that the bride emailed you to let you know that your father isn’t invited does open a door that would and should otherwise remain shut.
If the bride did indeed email you to tell you, specifically, that your father isn’t invited to the wedding, I wouldn’t think, given this 70-year family friendship, that it would be entirely unreasonable or in bad taste to say something along the lines of, “Oh, that’s too bad. He’ll be so disappointed. I know how fond he is of you and your family and how much it would mean for him to celebrate your happy occasion with loved ones.” While not specifically inquiring about why your father isn’t invited or asking that she extend an invitation, this kind of message would alert the bride that you’d be receptive to your father’s presence at the wedding and that you know he will be disappointed if not included.
That is ALL I’d recommend you say on the topic, and whatever reply you get — if you get one at all — should be the end of discussion. This is the bride’s wedding and it’s her call to invite whom she wants to invite. Of course, as an invited guest, it’s also your call to decide whether or not to attend the wedding. And since the wedding is in another country, it wouldn’t be unreasonable if you decided you couldn’t make it. But do send a nice gift and heartfelt card. After all, you wouldn’t want a snub from you to be the nail in the coffin of a multi-generational family friendship.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.