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Grandma at Wedding Help!

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by avatar artsygirl 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #667873 Reply

    This is complicated, so bare with me please. The basic problem is: I do not want my grandmother (my mother’s mother) at my wedding in June. When I got engaged a year and a half ago, my mother asked me to please allow her to come to my wedding because: A) she (my mother) doesn’t want to rock the boat, B) she (my grandmother) is old and set in her ways and, D) I am her first granddaughter and she really wants to see me get married.

    A bit of context for everyone before people shoot wedding etiquette down my throat. I am biracial, my father is Chinese, my mother is white. My grandmother is an old conservative, racist, homophobic Catholic white woman. I have had an emotional, verbal and physically abusive relationship with my grandmother, which among many things drove me to attempt to commit suicide when I was sixteen via painkillers. When I was eighteen, I effective cut every tie to her (my grandmother) save for my relation with my mother and her siblings. Everyone in the family knows about her abuse on me and no one has pushed me.

    To date, the last time I saw my grandmother was four years ago when I was twenty-one.

    So my wedding is coming up in June and suddenly over the holidays a whole bunch of issues have come up because of her and I am at a huge loss at what to do.

    I’m just going to bullet point these issues that I didn’t realize were going to be an issue until my wedding was discussed with her over Christmas.

    She hates my fiance. She thinks he is the reason why I have “abandoned my family.” My parents have used the excuse of me vising my fiance for the fact that I (we) was missing family dinners (Christmas, Easter, etc) by claiming we were back in Vancouver (where he is from) because since we both went to school in Toronto, we spent all the holidays with his family. She has only met my fiance three (3) times: at the hospital when my grandfather (her husband), was dying, at the funeral for my grandfather and at a family yard sale where we were selling all of her things because she had to downsize into a nursing home. All of these are stressful situations for her, but she was crude and rude and racist (she called my fiance a [redacted racial slur]).

    Location: My fiance and his family is from Vancouver. My father is from Vancouver as well, and I lived there until I was seven when we moved to Toronto. When we graduated from university, he was offered a job back in Vancouver and asked me to move with him. I did, because I was pursuing grad school, and I am from Vancouver and I have family there. As such, our wedding is in Vancouver. Because it is so much easier planning a wedding in the city you live in. My grandmother is angry because “it’s traditional to have the wedding in the bride’s hometown”, as well as the cost of flying and accommodations, which she cannot afford and I will not be paying for. She is also worried she is too old to fly.

    Speech: This is the one that really set her off, mainly because she doesn’t know the wedding will not be a Catholic ceremony. My father’s parents, my fiance’s grandparents are all doing speeches at the wedding. My grandmother is not going to get a speech. This is because I have no guarantee she won’t call all our guests [redacted racial slur] or say something offensive. She thought she was going to have a speech and when she found out she wasn’t getting one over Christmas, it was hell according to my sister.

    Language: Out of the two hundred and three guest (203) there are only seventeen who can’t speak Cantonese (my mother’s family), however there are fifty other guests who cannot speak English or are not comfortable with English. We decided since my first language is Cantonese, as is my fiance, that our vows will be in Cantonese, while our officiant (my sister) will perform everything in English. It’s the best of both worlds.

    Lack of Religion (sort of): I’m not religious, neither is my fiance. Both our grandparents and his parents are Buddhist, so there’s a Buddhist aspect to the ceremony. My grandmother is Catholic and is demanding that prayers be read, as well as a bible Passage. This makes me really uncomfortable as I am not religious.

    The Something Old: My grandmother wants me to have my something old as a handkerchief that her mother wore/used on her wedding. My mother and all of her sisters walked with it, I get it’s a family tradition but I already have my old, (a necklace that my father’s father’s mother wore), which is much more meaningful to me, because I was looked after by my Tai Pou, and I never met my great grandmother. Also, and this is petty, it’s an ugly handkerchief and I have no clue where I would put it because my dress has no pockets and it’s tight.

    Food: I’m Chinese, my fiance is Chinese. Most of our guests are Chinese. The food is Chinese, mainly because we really love our Chinese food. My grandmother hates Chinese food, calling everything we eat is dog. I really don’t know how i’m supposed to deal with this.

    To sum it up, if I had my way, I would not invite my grandmother to my wedding at all. However, I want to make my mother happy as she bought my dress, and I love her, but I don’t know how my fiance and I can have the wedding we want, with her in attendance, without her complaining or insulting our family and friends. Any help is very much needed.

    • This topic was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by avatar Kate.
    #667874 Reply

    Everything points to just don’t invite her. Seems that your mom will understand in the end as she is well aware of her behavior.

    #667877 Reply

    What? This is so much detail, but if this is true – “Everyone in the family knows about her abuse on me and no one has pushed me” – then why would you agonize over inviting your grandmother to the point of writing a treatise about it? Just don’t.

    The racial epithets here are unnecessary, by the way.

    #667884 Reply

    You have more than enough reason not to invite her. Considering all the stuff she’s going to complain about, I think you’re going to have just as much drama if she comes as if she wasn’t invited. Probably more. You can show your gratitude for the dress in other ways.

    #667888 Reply

    “However, I want to make my mother happy as she bought my dress, and I love her, but I don’t know how my fiance and I can have the wedding we want, with her in attendance, without her complaining or insulting our family and friends”

    I guess you need to accept that there is very little control you actually have over your mom, her mother, or what others might consider traditional. All you can control is your own behaviors, and they don’t have to be perfect.

    Grandma tends to get you into the fight, flight, or freeze zone. It would be best to make decisions and have conversations out of this state. Practice feeling comfortable with your decision and letting go of whatever guilt is lingering around. When you tell your mom I would describe the current situation sticking with facts, express your feeling and opinion about the facts, assert yourself by asking your mother what you really want or by SAYING NO clearly, and reinforce. Tell your mom the positive impacts of you getting what you need (no grandma) and tell them the negative of not getting what you want.

    #667889 Reply

    All you had to do was say your biracial and your grandma is racist – automatic no, don’t invite her. I’m shocked that you have any type of relationship with her at all and frankly its disrespectful that your mother is trying to force this on you. Shame on her, she should be sticking up for her children first and foremost.

    #667922 Reply

    Having your grandmother there would be like inviting the Big Bad Wolf in, whilst know he was wearing grandmother clothing. Don’t do it. She created this hostility with her difficult personality and racism. So, whilst I realise daughters want to make their mothers happy (your own mother wants to do the same to your grandmother), actions have consequences. She can see the photos & videos after if need be.

    If you feel you must do something for your mom & grandmother, then taking the handkerchief to the wedding is a very small and easy gesture. It can be put in your handbag or even your undergarments, so it won’t ruin your outfit, but it did go with you.

    Enjoy your day with those you love and like.

    #667957 Reply

    Don’t invite her. She doesn’t actually want to come to Vancouver or to a reception in which Chinese food is served. So… given the wedding you have planned, your mother knows as well as you do that your grandmother has zero desire to attend that wedding. You describe a woman who wants to attend, but only if you change the location, the cuisine, the nature of the ceremony, and probably the groom. Your mother knows this, she just doesn’t want to admit it and fight with her mother. It’s easier for her to tell her mother that she’ll talk to you about it.

    You can tell her that you will carry the handkerchief — just stuff it in your bra or bouquet or wad it in one hand.

    #667984 Reply

    That you are agonizing over inviting someone who nearly drove you to suicide is completely [redacted ableist slur]. She’s a cruel racist [redacted ageist slur] lady who you don’t even trust to go two hours without verbally abusing your other family. Don’t invite her and don’t feel bad about it.

    #667985 Reply

    For what it’s worth, I understand your mom’s need to try to please this cruel, selfish old bat. Children raised by abusive parents often have very complex relationships with them and will tie themselves into knots to a) try to keep them from getting angry, and b) try to get their approval.

    That said, given that you are also a victim of her abuse, no way does she belong at your wedding. I know you don’t want to hurt your mom. But on your wedding day, you should be surrounded by the people who love and support you and your fiance. She is the opposite of loving and supportive, and she’s not owed an invitation just because she happens to share some DNA with the bride. She doesn’t deserve the honor of being invited.

    Tell your mother that you’re not inviting this woman. Everyone will have a happier day without her presence. And if she gives you or anyone else a hard time about not being invited, she should be told that nasty, racist abusive behavior has consequences, and one of them is being shunned by her family members.

    #667989 Reply
    Northern Star

    Don’t invite her to your wedding. You don’t want her there. That’s all you need to say. Don’t feel the need to rationalize any further.

    #668009 Reply

    Don’t invite her. Tell your mother you cannot accommodate her wishes and will be doing your wedding your way which means racist grandma won’t understand the vows;like the food;want to travel to the venue;give a speech; or have her religion represented. It’s better she not be there for her own sake. Also, if your grandmother was abusive to you, your mother has no business asking her child to invite that child’s abuser to anything much less her wedding. Your mother is out of line.

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