In a few months I will be marrying my fiancé whom I’ve known for the last ten years. We were best friends in high school and I maintained a fairly close relationship with some, but not all of his family members. My fiancé and I will be paying for the wedding completely on our own, and obviously, we’ve had to make many financial sacrifices over the last year in order to have the kind of wedding that we both wish to have. The total costs at this point are about $10,000.
While making our guest list, we have invited pretty much all of his immediate and extended family, except for his brother. In the past few years, his younger brother has had a history of lying, stealing, and drug use, and has even stolen several items of value from my fiancé – some of which were returned, and some weren’t. The two have not spoken for the past year and a half and though my fiancé has tried to make amends, his brother wasn’t interested.
The problem is, their mother is very insistent that we invite the brother to the wedding. We feel that since we are paying entirely for the wedding ourselves, we should invite only those that support us and we feel comfortable having around. At this point, I feel that if his brother attempts to make amends with my fiancé, it would be solely to receive an invitation to the wedding. What do you think? — Guest List Woes
While I agree with you that you should have 100 % say whom to invite to your own wedding that you’re paying for, I have to respectfully disagree that if your fiancé’s brother attempts to make amends, that just mean he’s just gunning for a invite. I’m sure your day will be perfect for you and that everyone will have a nice time, but let’s be honest: weddings aren’t events, like cruises or all-expenses-paid trips to the Caribbean, people buy raffle tickets to win. It’s an honor to be included, sure, but you’re not gonna be, like, collecting proof-of-purchase labels from your cereal boxes — or making amends with someone you don’t care to make amends with — to score an invite.
No, if your future brother-in-law actually attempted to make amends with your fiancé, it would be safe to assume he’d be doing so, not to get an invite to your wedding, but because he recognizes what a special time this is in his brother’s life and he wants to put their issues aside — or resolve them altogether — and show his love and support. If that attempt were actually made — and, I suppose that’s a big “if” at this point, right? — I would certainly not stand in the way if I were you. Doing so, I’m afraid, would be something you’d really regret in years to come. These two guys are brothers, and whatever bad blood exists between them, they’ll always be brothers. If there’s a chance for reconciliation — even partially so — you do not want to be responsible for it not happening. That would be a heavy burden to bring into your marriage first thing.
Having said that, if your future mother-in-law is insisting you invite the brother without an attempt on his part to make amends, it would be totally within reason for you to refuse, if that’s what your fiancé wants. But it’s his brother and it needs to be his choice. If there’s any part of him that is on the fence, let him talk it out and decide what’s best for him. I know as the bride, it’s easy to feel the wedding is all about you, but it’s not; it’s about family, too, and if your fiancé is having any reservations at all about excluding a member of his immediate family, it’s your job as a dutiful and supportive wife-to-be to let him work that out, and to trust that he has not only the best interests of himself and his future at heart, but the best interests of you as a couple at heart, too.
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