We sent out save the date invitations for our wedding (coming up in two weeks) and the 50th birthday party weekend back in January so everyone had plenty of notice. We sent Ron an invitation to the double event as well. Ron turned around and scheduled a renewal of his wedding vows on the same day. I was upset but did nothing. Then, Rick’s brother who lives 20 minutes from us announced that his family already has plans to go to CA to Ron’s vow renewal instead of staying local to support us. I was very upset and Rick is very hurt. When his brother was approached and asked why he wasn’t coming to support Rick, his response was that, when they got our save the date, they had already booked their flights and committed to go to CA for Ron. I am furious and so is Rick because we both know that’s a lie. The flights were purchased in April; we saw the tickets and Ron had sent us all emails earlier saying they didn’t have a specific date to renew their vows yet.
Now Rick and his brother haven’t spoken for six months. We saw each other at their extended family gathering. Rick’s brother and wife spoke to Rick but not to me. Rick also met his brother at his mother’s request twice to talk, but they resolved nothing. Rick’s brother wants to take him out for drinks to celebrate his birthday before he leaves for CA, but there has been no acknowledgement of us getting married.
I’m so upset. I am all about family and close with mine who are traveling from Ohio to support our wedding and celebrate Rick turning 50. I am upset that any brother would put a friend before his own blood especially when they get along, hang out, have a close history, and live close by. My fiancé is retired Navy, but, when his brother was getting married, he made sure he was in port and there to support him.
This is a second marriage for both of us. We wanted happy and supportive memories. Instead, this black cloud is over the event. Rick’s family will ask where his brother and family are the whole day/night. Gossip will start. Pictures will be incomplete. We’ve catered the food, hired photographers, are flying our college children in to be in the wedding, and have family traveling from Ohio for a total of about 50 guests.
I believe if Rick’s brother and family do not show up for our wedding and birthday party that we will never have a relationship moving forward. I know Rick feels let down, slighted, ignored, and mistreated, and he has expressed this to his brother. His brother just keeps lying that he had his tickets for CA already. We all know he could change his flights. Ron could change the date to renew his vows (we asked him to do so but he refused, saying that Rick’s brother will choose to attend whichever event is more important to him. So I guess if Rick and Ron were both drowning, Rick’s brother would save Ron first and not his own brother).
I’m not sure I can or will ever again feel comfortable being around Rick’s brother or his wife. The hurt feelings are too much. The lack of support from his brother towards our marriage is not something we will be able to move beyond. Rick’s brother feels he is doing nothing wrong, continues to make excuses, and ignores me. Rick’s parents want their sons to work this out but make excuses for the brother that is skipping our wedding. I just don’t get it. Even if my sister and I barely talked, I would never miss her wedding or major event like a 50th birthday celebration.
What do you suggest? — Outraged Future SIL
I suggest you M(TF)OA!!! I mean, seriously. Embrace the love and support for the 50 guests who will be at your wedding/Rick’s birthday party weekend and quit obsessing over the brother who doesn’t want to be there. You need to accept that he’d rather be out in CA with Ron that day. Yes, that sucks. Yes, I’m sure it hurts Rick’s feelings. And, yes, I can understand how angry you are on Rick’s behalf. But you have to let go of this resentment or it will ruin your whole wedding and possibly your relationship with your in-laws.
You don’t know the reason Rick’s brother has decided not to attend the wedding. Maybe he just really, really likes CA and Ron and had been waiting for an excuse to go visit. Maybe he hates weddings. Maybe his wife didn’t want to be there. Maybe he doesn’t like you very much and isn’t interested in celebrating you becoming part of the family. I have no idea what the reasoning is, but he’s made his decision and fretting over it obsessively and making these grand statements about how you won’t move on from this and you refuse to have any kind of relationship with him and his wife going forward and his absence will be this huge black cloud over your entire wedding and he wouldn’t save Rick if he were drowning, is just… it’s bordering on insane, to be honest.
You need to take it down a notch and realize that for everyone else your wedding/the birthday weekend is basically a party. It’s a couple of days out of your whole lives together. Sure, it’s meaningful and important, but if it’s not 100% perfect, you guys will be OK. It doesn’t define your marriage forever and ever. Even if one person isn’t there and his absence is felt, you’ll still have your parents and other siblings and your kids and your friends. You’ll still have the beach house and the sand volleyball court and games and each other and love. You’ll still have so much — enough that, if you seriously let one person’s absence affect you to the degree you have been so far, that’s on you. It says more about YOUR priorities than it does about Rick’s brother. It says more about YOUR character than anyone else’s. You have so much to be grateful for and happy about and you’re letting this slight against your fiancé cloud everything.
Seriously, just let it go. If people are going to gossip, let them. Who cares? And what is there really to say anyway? “Hey, why is the brother not here? Oh, he had another engagement in CA the same weekend? For his good friend? Oh… that’s too bad.” I mean, honestly, what else is there really to say? I can’t imagine most of the other guests are going to obsess about this like you think they are. And if that’s the thing they focus on in a weekend packed with a wedding, birthday party, family, sand volleyball, and games? Well, then I’m guessing Rick’s brother won’t be the only thing missing from the weekend. You, as a host, should give them so much to do and talk about and remember that no one will give a second thought to old what’s his name visiting CA.
As for your relationship with your soon-to-be BIL going forward, I’d suggest you NOT cut him off. For Rick’s sake, be cordial and try to put this slight behind you. It’s not about you (I mean, the slight may be about you, in all honesty, but the relationship isn’t; the relationship is between the brothers, and, if you think it’s rocky, your giving the BIL the silent treatment forever sure isn’t going to help matters). Put Rick first. Follow his lead in dealing with his family (unless they are being directly rude, unkind, or inconsiderate to YOU personally). And for God’s sake, relax and enjoy this happy time. You’re getting married! No one can take that away or ruin your wedding weekend unless YOU let them.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.