“Can I Ask The Bride Why My Dad’s Not Invited to the Wedding?”

A family friend who is my age (late 20’s) is getting married in the UK, where she and her family live, in June. My sister, mom, and I have been invited, but I just received an e-mail from the bride that my father is not, which really surprised me. My parents are currently in the process of divorcing because of my father’s infidelities, and I believe the bride knows this, and this is the only reason I can imagine as to why he is not receiving an invitation.

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 send a gift and heartfelt card out of respect for this multi-generational family friendship.


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  1. We did cut someone from our guest list because of a divorce, but the situation was quite different. My fiance’s mom was friends with a woman (and the woman’s husband and daughter). Right before invitations were to go out, it came to light that the husband was having an affair and had been emotionally abusive to his wife and daughter for years. The couple is now in the middle of divorce proceedings. Since my fiance’s mom’s friendship was more with the wife than the husband, the wife and daughter were invited to the wedding while the husband was not. Now, admittedly this wasn’t a three-generational family friendship, and I think Wendy’s advice is good. But, LW, there is another way of looking at it. BECAUSE your two families are so close, the bride and her family have probably taken your father’s infidelities somewhat personally as well. Officially speaking it isn’t their business, but emotional ties are emotional ties. And on some level the bride may not want someone who has so recently betrayed his marital vows and family to see her take her vows.

    1. Lisa Russell says:

      I would not say a word to my Dad about the invitation. You and your Mom very nicely decline and send your regrets that you cannot attend. Send a card and a gift. It saves you to have to travel to another country, and hard feelings for your Dad and maintains the family ties. What he doesn’t know, won’t hurt him.

      1. Anonymous says:


      2. Anonymous says:


  2. No, it’s not appropriate for you to ask. When your father finds out, he can ask a member of the bride’s family why he hasn’t received an invitation. They can either say it’s in the mail or tell him why they can’t invite him.

  3. artsygirl says:

    LW- it is possible that your friend emailed you to see how you and your family would react. I agree with Wendy that you should carefully broach the situation with the bride. Also, you might want to speak with your mother to gauge if she is planning on going to the wedding. If she says she plans to go to it then you can let the matter drop. If she is not, then it might be possible to speak to the bride about having your father invited. Of course, the bride might not want your father to attend on principal. I cut one very good high school friend from my wedding because it turned out he was cheating on his girlfriend (a newer but still good friend). Personally, even if the wronged person had not been able to come to the wedding, I would not have wanted to cheater there.

  4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    I would say your father should ask the couple why he was not invited. I would not put myself in the middle (even if the bride was trying to).

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      Also, from an etiquette stand point it is very rude to let people know they are NOT invited.

      1. Wouldn’t it also be rude from an etiquette standpoint to not invite the Dad because he is “going through a divorce”? because I read that as divorce not final, which means they are still a family unit that should be invited as a couple.

        It just seems like the bride is using her guest list to weigh in on the divorce, and clearly pick sides, which I find to be unseemly. I think the invite should have gone out and then the Mon & Dad could have discussed it… plus how awkward would it be if the Mom & Dad get back together in the meantime!?!

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        If I were in the middle of a divorce and someone I know well, who knows about my pending divorce, sent an invitation to me and my soon to be ex, I’d be less than pleased to put it nicely.
        You’re the 2nd person to suggest this and it just seems like the most bizarre thing ever. I can’t believe etiquette books say this.

      3. WLBHS. seriously.

      4. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        It seems like it would be more of a breach of etiquette rather than following etiquette

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        LBH I don’t think there is any real etiquette on what to do in regards to a couple in the midst of divorcing. On one hand, legally they are still a “unit” and that would imply they should be invited together on one invitation. But on the other hand, they most likely no longer persent themselves as a “social unit” so etiquette would say you don’t have to invite the both of them. So it’s a really grey area. Like I said below, if they are still living with each other and presenting themselves in a way that is representative of a social unit then they should be invited together. If they are living seperately, perhaps dating, etc and clearly no longer involved with each other and the divorce just needs to becompleted on paper- then I don’t think a joint invitation is required.

        That being said- not inviting the dad is going to sever ties with him. Relationship ended. The bride might be disappointed in his actions but if she thinks she might ever want to have a relationship with the man again she should invite him to the wedding.

      6. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        I guess I just don’t understand the presenting themselves as a social unit even if they are still living together under who knows what circumstances. They are seeking a divorce. They are telling the world that they want to cut that “social unit” in half. They have made that statement known if people know they are getting a divorce so I don’t understand the grey area.

      7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        The way I read the letter it seemed to me like the divorce was not known by everyone yet. It’s totally possible I’m wrong. But I’ve known couples (an Aunt and Uncle actually) who said they were getting a divorce then continued to live together and attend functions publically for another year. So if it was a case like my Aunt and Uncle I feel they are still presenting themselves as a social unit so they should be treated as one.

      8. I have known couples who are “getting” a divorce, the invite is sent to only one, and when the day actually arrives… they’re still married, in between, taking it day by day, trying, or fully made up.

      9. isn’t étiquette all about making people feel the most comfortable? I think you are taking the “etiquette” rules too literally GG and are not allowing for wiggle room. I would never invite a couple I knew was divorcing as a couple but rather give them separate invitations. It would be uncomfortable to not acknowledge the fact that they are broken up even if they are legally still a unit because the law says you have to wait a year

      10. Whereas I think etiquette means allowing people to make their own decisions in regard to their own comfort, not project something and then put the poor LW in the middle of her parents divorce.

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree with both, oddly. I think its rude to pretend they aren’t getting a divorce. You can send 2 invites which would still allow each person in the couple to do what they are comfortable with.

        Would you seriously send a divorcing couple one invitation though?

      12. yea, and i think that even if that couple ultimately decides to get back together (like what was referenced somewhere else), that moment in time they are publicly apart and publicly intending on never getting back together. inviting them separately is much different then husbanding-bashing with the wife, you know?

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m confused. Do you agree with me or would you send 1 invite to them?

      14. no i agree- if i was getting a divorce, living together still or not, i would not appreciate being invited as a couple. im obviously not a part of a couple anymore, and im legally taking steps to make that happen- the intent is 100% there.

        what i mean was there is a difference between just recognizing that a couple is going to be divorced and sending them seperate invites and then the couple getting back together, and then actively bashing the husband/wife with the other partner and then the couple getting back together…

      15. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yes. If they still lived together, attended events together, and their divorce was not widely publically known. Like I said above, I have an aunt and uncle who shared with the imediate family they were divorcing. Then they continued to live together and attend events in the community together for over a year. Even though the were divorcing They still presented themselves as a couple (or a social unit) to the majority of people. I 110% would have invited them together.

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        Well that’s not the norm. I guess if I knew a couple like that, then I would send one invite. I can’t think of any people I know like that though. Most people divorcing don’t continue to attend events together.

      17. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        You seem to be missing my points entirely. To me, the LW does not present that everyone knows her parents are divorcing. If it is not common knowledge and they are still living together, then I beleive it is correct to invite them together and let them figure out their own comfort. If they are living seperate lives and just waiting for a divorce on paper, then I do not beleive they need to be invited together.

        Re-read my comment you’re responding to again. And etiquette is not about just making people comfortable. It’s also about not making people UNcomfortable. Etiquette is the customs that are correct or acceptable in social or professional life.

      18. I guess I just look to the divorce to be FINAL – because when “going through” something things can change, and I rather leave the issue to the people going through something themselves, then make assumptions from the outside.

        This may also be because I have experienced (and lesson learned) joining team wife against husband while they were going through the divorce… and then they made up, and all of us that were supportive were all of a sudden bad meddlers that were too invovled in their marriage. Sheesh.

      19. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        MMCG I completely agree with you. Wedding invitations are not the time or place to assert an opinion on someone’s relationship. Which is why I like to follow the “rules”.

        Although with the information provided this is situation falls into a very grey area!

      20. GG – If I remember you are getting married soon, i’m a survivor of the wedding planning process, I think maybe those of us having most recently gone through some guest list trauma are clinging to “rules” to make some sort of sense of things 🙂

      21. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yup, getting married in 121 days. We’re finalizing our invitation list right now so I’m up to my elbows in invitation etiquette. Which makes me a stickler for it.

      22. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I hate you (not really) for saying how many days and for being so far ahead of me in planning. I still don’t have a florist or a photographer, and you’re so on top of things! haha I keep trying to sit down with my fiance and plan the ceremony, but all he can focus on is pulling out chess pieces and acting out walking down the aisle. haha

      23. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        You’ve got to be under 100 days!! Terrifying!! We planned the ceremony a while back mostly because his parents were asking and know nothing about a Quaker wedding so we had to make our plan to apease them.

        If I can help with anything let me know!

      24. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Oh god, I can’t be under 100 days!!!!!!!!! I can’t bring myself to look.

        Please please please help me decide whether to hire this photographer or not:

        She’s an acquaintance that is on our guest list. Just graduated with a photography degree, but that’s not her primary profession. She did our engagement photos, which I was happy but not thrilled with, and she doesn’t have much wedding experience. She charges like $800 versus the $2000 I’m seeing from other people, so there’s a major advantage to hiring her. She photographed a friend’s wedding in October, but the pictures from it still aren’t up on her website, and the friend hasn’t gotten back to me about whether or not she was pleased with her experience. Here’s the thing though: At my friend’s wedding, she (the photographer) wore khaki capris, a big purple t-shirt, and white tennis shoes. I was mortified by her manner of dress, but several other people had also dressed poorly because the bride said “Dress casual” (meaning dress-casual as a style, not as a command to dress casual) and many people misinterpreted it. Is it worth saving the $1200 to risk her dressing poorly and possibly messing something up since she doesn’t have much experience?

      25. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        You only get one set of wedding photos. Ever. Seriously, think about it. If she screws up or just takes bad photos- you’re out of luck FOREVER. If you can live with the chance she might mess up being so inexperienced then go for it. If you can’t (I know I can’t) then we’ll find you someone else.

        I found a photog in the Philly area for $1,400ish. If you want to FB your area I can help you look 🙂 Tonight is wedding planning night in my house. woo.

      26. take GG’s help, like she said you only get one set and it’s worth seeing what else is out there!

      27. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Very true. I know she would get a lot of really good photos, but I’m nervous about her not getting any good shots of major events. I wouldn’t be crushed to not have a cake cutting photo, but I would be very upset to not have a ceremony photo.

        I hate the wedding industry and how much people charge. I do not think photographers are charging fair prices for weddings at all. It feels like a rip off when other vendors aren’t charging that much. I’ll look around some more and probably ask what you think about some things, GG. Thanks for the help!

      28. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        As soon as you mention “wedding” I feel like the price skyrockets. The company we’re renting our tent from kept asking what kind of event. I kept saying family gathering haha.

        Our original florist quote was about 3 times what I thought it would cost. I almost fell out of my chair.

        Have you looked at Wedding Wire? The reviews on there seem to be pretty candid about vendors.

      29. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Wedding Wire is my best friend right now. I can’t imagine hiring anyone without consulting that website. I definitely need to hop on there for the photographer tonight.

        That’s awesome that you’re lying for the tent! haha I love that idea. It shouldn’t matter what kind of an event it is to them as long as they get it back in one piece. I think I’m just going to tell the potential florist our budget and then make stuff fit into it to avoid that hassle. We did just buy a ton of vases and candy dishes for the tables from thrift stores last weekend to minimize florist and catering costs, which is nice.

      30. $3200 – but I got the high-res CDs of all 1500+ photos, 2 photographers for the day of, etc. (also in the Philly/Delaware Valley).

        My hesitation would come from having a vendor also be a guest… I wouldn’t want my guest to have to work on the day (or be put in a position of me telling them what to do which could get awkward). I also appreciated that the photographers I had had the experience with weddings to make sure certain things weren’t missed, etc. I am not saying you have to pay that much money or anything, I decided that photos were more important to me than almost everything except for music so I shifted funds there… and away from flowers, etc. that don’t last.

      31. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        OMG. I need. Lilly Pulitzer has a line of flamingo fabric out right now and I’m obsessed.

      32. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m into lobsters (vacationing in maine will do that) and I found a sweater with a big lobster on it for $80. Its killing me not to get it, but cpw (cost per wear) is basically $80 so I really can’t. I did get cute PJ pants with lobsters though for $15. 🙂

      33. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I think I’m going to splurge and get the $100 Lilly dress to wear to my rehersal dinner haha. It’s not the traditional white dress most brides wear but I seriously love flamingos.

      34. lets_be_honest says:

        I say go for it!

      35. are you friends with lemongrass on fb? she posted a photo!

      36. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Babe is so cute!! Giving the stink eye at a tender 2 (maybe 3?) days old! I love it.

      37. lets_be_honest says:

        Yes! Thanks 🙂

      38. lets_be_honest says:

        Omg he is adorable.

      39. Avatar photo fast eddie says:

        The guest list is completely the bride and groom’s decision to make. She stated her choice very plainly and any contradictory meddling well only make matters worse. It’s HER wedding and she’s entitled to exclude anybody she wishes without justifying it to anybody.

      40. Anonymous says:

        I had to tell someone that their partner wasn’t welcome as he had burnt a lot of bridges with our friends and family (and one of us) to the point where I would have had one eye on him for the entire day in case he started something. The evening was open to a wider group so we wanted to be sure. She, however was a close friend and I wanted to give her the option of attending knowing it would just be her.

        There are occasions it’s appropriate.

    2. Rosacolleti says:

      Who was the bride putting herself in between ?

  5. “Or at least warn her that she may damage her family’s relationship with him beyond repair by not inviting him”

    Sounds like she just might not care. I would let it go, or if you can’t then inform her your “family” can’t make it and pass on your congrats. But I wouldn’t really try to allude to the fact that you’re upset your dad is not invited or how hurt he’ll be. It’s not like she forgot about your dad. She deliberately left him out, and she is well aware of that and the message it sends. And that brings me back to sentence one: she obviously doesn’t care. Pushing the issue may stir a heated debate and at the end of the day it is her wedding and she can invite who she wants to invite. I don’t think you’ll gain anything by trying to make her feel guilty or pointing out the fact that she’s a bad person for not inviting a member of a long standing family relationship. Maybe this is just a difference between how guys and girls interact, but I am not a fan of the subtle guilt trip of “oh, he’ll be disappointed because he is such an important part of the family and a member of a long standing family relationship that extends generations beyond you and whatever feelings you may have for him and this could likely sever that timely relationship between families. But hey, congrats anyway!”

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Hmmm, its so funny to me how often my opinion changes when I read everyone’s replies.

      You raise a good point. This couldn’t have been more deliberate. The bride must be aware the message this sends.

      1. That’s why I think it is rude for the bride to pick sides… which is what she is doing. Maybe the Dad was unfaithful, but you never know what is going on inside someone’s marriage, so why not default to inclusion!?!

    2. I don’t know if I agree about the “don’t bother saying anything” part, but I’m definitely with you on the “not a fan of the subtle route” thing. Maybe it’s ’cause I’m just not a subtle person, but these trying-to-be-tactful ways of phrasing always strike me as passive-aggressive? If she’s gonna say something at all—just say it! There’s a way to be clear & direct without coming off as rude, I think (but still, not sure if she should bother?)

      1. i also see those “etiquette” phrasings as very passive agressive… i think something that just simply says how you feel would work… “Bride, im sad to hear that my dad isnt invited… im not sure if my mother, sister and i can make it, but we will try our best!”

        isnt that really all you need to say?

      2. But what does she hope to gain by being clear and direct? Is it to find out why her dad is not invited? She has a fairly good idea of why, and even then does the reason matter all that much? Is it to just express her disapproval? That’s fine, but just be prepared for the bride to reply that she does not approve of her dad’s infidelity either. Is it to try and change her mind? This brings back the etiquette issue of forcing a bride to invite someone to her wedding who she doesn’t want there. Is it to make her feel guilty for ruffling the feathers of a long standing family relationship? That’s a little selfish. I advised “don’t bother” just because I don’t see the point in saying anything and at the end of the day nothing will change. There will just be drama, awkwardness, and tension. Plus, rather than just having the bride’s family distance themselves from one member of the other family, there runs the risk of both families distancing themselves from each other out of some sort of loyal obligation (or the LW could give that perception). Is the LW prepared to take the exclusion of an invite as an insult to the whole family? Unless so, let is go. If she is, then prepare for some pretty heavy tension. Will it be worth it?

      3. oh i see it now- the bride’s family takes the LW’s dad’s affair as a personal insult, so they dont invite him to the wedding, which the LW’s family then takes as a personal insult… and on and on until they dont speak anymore.

      4. More and more, I think this may be a mafia situation we’re looking at.

      5. I think the brides family has no business taking someone else’s actions in a marriage that doesn’t involve them too personally. Comes off so judgy judgy… what if it wasn’t infidelity but something else that caused the couple to divorce — why pick sides!?!

        I know this is at a higher level, but how many of us have chosen sides when a couple was going through something that turned out to bite you in the ass because you (a) didn’t know all the facts and/or (b) they get back together.

    3. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      I think the LW has to understand that from their point of view dad may be the one who has severly damaged the friendship.

  6. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    Have we become so morally deficient that we have to ask why dad wasn’t invited? Might it have something to do with his infidelities (plural) that broke up the family? Either they are protecting your mother from the discomfort of having to see him or they’re making their own statement about their relationship with him. Either way, I would think they know that this will damage the friendship.

    1. Sunshine Brite says:

      Heck, maybe the infidelities somehow extended to affect this family and the friendship without the LW’s knowledge.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I got it! The LW’s dad had an affair with the mother of the bride!!!!!!!! <— ON THE MONEY

    2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      But if the bride’s family has been lifelong friends with the father (and his side of the LWs family) why would they “side” with the mother?

      I agree they could be “making a statement” about the relationship…but I don’t think a wedding invitation is the time to do that. And if they are technically still married I think they should both be invited as they are officially still a social unit.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Disagree completely with your last line. This couple is separated and presumed to be living apart or transitioning to that. It’d be bizarre to invite them as a unit because they aren’t anymore.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yeah, if they are living seperate lives and just finalizing paperwork, I agree with you. But if it is one of those grey areas that sometimes happens then I would invite them (like the decision has been made to divorce but they are still living together) together and let the couple decide who is going. I didn’t assume they were that far into divorcing from the letter as the LW mentioned she thought the bride knew (and I would assume if they were that far into divorcing it would be well known). Obviously I could be wrong.

      3. I agree. They’re in the process of divorcing- it’s not like they’re just going through a rough patch or something- They are actively involved in the dissolution of the marriage. They could be held up by legal issues for years! It would be absurd to still think of them as a family unit at this point.

      4. Except that plenty of marriages have been “saved” by getting separated, or even talking about divorce, and then counseling and things come into play, etc.

        Plus they are a family unit to the LW – they will always be her mom and dad – and this bride just put her in a position to basically agree that her father deserves to be excommunicated, which is just a terrible thing to do to an old family friend — why force people to choose sides!?!

      5. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        Because they don’t approve or condone the actions of the father. We were friends with a couple who divorced because the husband had an affair. For years they had been sharing their holidays with another family that they met through the husband. The two husbands worked together and were best friends. After the couple split because of the affair the couple that they celebrated holidays with had to choose between them and they chose the wife even though they had become friends through the husband. They decided to live their morals and have their children spend holidays with the wife and kids because those were the people they prefered to keep in their lives. They didn’t want to support infidelity and they didn’t want to support a relationship that began as an affair which was deeply hurtful to the wife and kids.

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        it just seems strange to me. I don’t approve of all of the actions and choices my friends or family members take but I don’t just disown them.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, but your line might just be different than theirs. Its not unheard of to cut someone off because you disagree with their choices.

      8. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I think that the older you get the pickier you get about your friends. You get tired of people who create drama and infidelity is drama. You also get tired of people that you can’t respect and you also want good role models in the lives of your children. When we were in our twenties and newly married we had a friend who was constantly cheating on his girlfriend. He was in our lives then but today we would never spend time with someone who behaved the way he did. Someone like that doesn’t bring anything positive into your life and people are influenced by the behavior of their friends. We are friends with people who are fun and who value their marriages and their families. We’re supportive of the wife and kids who were hurt by the husband’s infidelity but we aren’t friends with the husband anymore. We talk to him if we bump into him and we’re polite and we were truly sorry when his dad died but we don’t invite him to dinner anymore. We don’t go to movies together anymore and we don’t spend New Years Eve together anymore. We don’t want to be around him.

      9. Isn’t this bride creating drama too though? I mean to call up the LW, who is probably going through some things of her own to deal with her parents situation, and just say all of you are invited except your dad — that just sucks. I’m sorry, if that’s how your morals tell you to treat people that are supposedly your oldest and dearest friends, then your high horse is more important than your friend’s feelings.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        I totally agree. If the bride was so concerned about this, she should’ve just made the invitation clear. No need to pour salt in the wounds.

      11. “I agree they could be “making a statement” about the relationship…but I don’t think a wedding invitation is the time to do that.”

        It’s not up to the LW to inform them how/when shunning is appropriate and when it is not. If they don’t want him there, they don’t want him there.

    3. I totally agree with you. If this is a 70 year friendship based on the father’s friendship, it seems very clear to me as to why he wasn’t invited. They don’t approve of what the father did, and are taking a stand. Chances are very high that the bride consulted with her family about the guest list, and they decided they do not want the father there. They are within their rights to invite whoever they want to the wedding, and the LW needs to respect that. If her father takes issue with his non-invitation, that’s his business and he can deal with it himself.

    4. If it was a family decision I feel like they really left a big burden on the bride. Couldn’t one of his friends take him aside and let him know that he was not invited. Unless the ‘friendships’ aren’t as strong as the daughter might think. Still seems weird to contact the daughter. I feel like this situation has put her in a weird spot too.

      I feel like all they really had to do was not invite him if no one wanted to step up and be the person who told him that he wasn’t invited. Wouldn’t him not getting an invitation have been enough?

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Who knows if it would’ve been enough. Maybe the lw would just be writing in saying we got this invite without dad’s name, should I ask if he’s invited?

      2. I get that too, but I still feel like contacting the daughter is kind of weird. It puts her in a weird position. I feel bad for her. Knowing she has to be the one to tell the Dad that he isn’t invited. I would hate that feeling.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        It does, I agree. I just assumed the bride was more comfortable telling her peer, rather than contacting the dad. I don’t think the LW has to be the one to tell the dad necessarily though.

      4. yeah but then who does? i just feel like if the family is as supposedly as close as they say they are one of his peers could have pulled him aside and said look Joe you’re not invited. that would have alleviated the bride and the daughter from dealing with it.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, you’re right.

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        jlyfsh I agree. If you’re not inviting someone, just leave their name off of an invitation. If we’re working under the assumption the parents don’t live together any more then the father would probably get the idea when he didn’t get his own invitation. It is pretty unacceptable in my opinion to go out of your way to let someone know they are NOT invited to something.

        Also why is this daughter medling so much? Her parents are grown ups, they can deal with it themselves.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t think the daughter is meddling. She got the email and because of that, was put in this position of how do I reply.

      8. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Meddling was the wrong word. (I seem to be full of wrong wording this morning!) I wouldn’t reply if I was the LW, or I would reply with “Please contact my father directly regarding your previous e-mail.” I just don’t think she should let herself be put in the middle even if the bride is trying to have her be the go between.(But I also don’t think the bride should be telling people they aren’t invited so…)

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        Wow, good call. I would send that email and add, “because I really don’t want to be in the middle of this.”

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        But totally agree the dad would’ve gotten the point without this email. Wonder whose idea it was to send it.

      11. well if it was someone other than the bride’s idea then that person should have sent it to the dad, in my opinion.

      12. my guess as to why this LW was contacted is because she and the bride are in the same generation… therefore, they are the go-between for things concerning them. i dont know if anyone else’s family/friends circles act that way, but in my own, this would also happen… so, like, i contact my friend, who is my “generational” equal to inquire about something else/invite someone else in a different generation… so, like, when i had my birthday party this year, i invited my friends, and then my dad randomly was coming into town, so i got in touch with my friends to tell their dad that my dad would be there, and so he was welcome to come as well…

        i hope that makes sense. lol. but, anyway, i could see how this bride wouldnt even want to tell the father he wasnt invited- she would want to go through the “easier” channels of the generations to get the info out.

      13. yeah in that case i would have made the person in his generation do the telling (assuming it was a family decision). and i feel like it’s one thing when you’re inviting people to do that, but when you’re not inviting someone it just feels weird to go through someone else.

        and honestly i feel just as bad for the bride. who wants to send a friend an email letting them know their dad isn’t invited when you know their parents are going through a divorce because of infidelities. it just sucks all around.

      14. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I do understand what you mean katie, but we’re all adults now. If you’re grown enough to get married, you are grown enough to contact another adult. (But you really shouldn’t be telling anyone they are not invited because that is a big faux pas.) I could understand if thefriend/ bride was hosting a sweet 16 or something but it’s a wedding. Women up.

      15. yea, i dont disagree with that for sure…

        i also wonder if this stems from the issue of the LW, or the LW’s mom RSVPing as a family. when my family was invited to a wedding, i did RSVP for all of us at once- so maybe this was a preemptive of the LW saying yes for all of them, but then the bride having to come back and tell that the father isnt invited after he was already RSVP-ed for. that would be an even bigger issue in my opinion

      16. did you all receive one invite and one rsvp card? i wonder if it was the same in this case. when my family has been invited to a wedding, we still each individually received invites and rsvp’d on our own….i probably wouldn’t have known the dad wasn’t invited until we talked about things later.

      17. hm, i think that i got one and my mom got one…. but, i also wrote a note on the back of the card explaining who the 5 people were, so my friend wasnt confused.

      18. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Well, if there is only one invitation and one RSVP it sounds like this bride is making all kinds of etiquette errors! Every guest (or couple) over the age of 18 should receive their own invitation even if they live in the same house. (Unless the LW is under 18.) Sending one invitation to multiple adults is a faux pas. Also, addressing invitation to “The Smith Family” could be why this is even an issue. Invitations should be addressed to spefic people (Joe and Sally Smith, Patty Smith, Baby Smith) not an overarching group- that is way way too much grey area.

      19. I’ve had invites that said ‘Smith Family’ on the front and then in then in the inside said: Larry, Mo and Curly, etc. So there was definitely no I wonder who this invite is for questions. (this was when I was in college). Post college with my own address I’ve always received my own (although I only have two examples, haha, one pre and one post college where they were ‘family’ invites)

      20. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I think you’re example is a little different jlyfsh- the names were spelled out on an inner envelope so there was no confusion. Some people adhere to the thought that if you’re still in college you can be on the parents invite.

      21. ha, well, you know i dont care about etiquette. to me, one invite saves paper and postage. simple, easy. also, thats why i told the bride what i was doing when i rsvp-ed. also, simple, easy. no rules to go around or follow. no grey area.

        also, the whole “you speak to your generational equal to get news around” applied here too- she gave me and my mom an invite, and thats who she would have called if she ever wanted to see my whole family… if that makes sense.

      22. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        There is a ton of grey area if you send an invite to “The Smith Family” though. I mean who the hell is invited? Just the parents and thier kids, what about the kids BF/GF? And grandma Sue thinks she is part of the Smith family so she assumes she is invited. If you specifically spell out each and every person on the outer or inner envolope then there is aboslutely no grey area at all. I agree one invite saves paper and postage (and I’m a huge advocate of saving paper and money) but skipping writing out a few names has the potential to make things messy.

      23. And if the bride was an adult she should have communicated DIRECTLY to the person (dad) the message was intended for, not use a go-between, who also happens to then be put in a terrible spot.

    5. I’m thinking I wouldn’t want someone at my wedding who so obviously didn’t treasure his marriage and honor his vows. She might be reminded of what he did every time she looks at him, and who wants that at their wedding?

      1. If I eliminated everyone from my wedding guest list because they didn’t treat marriages the way that I do… well it would have been a much smaller wedding!

        And at what point can someone be let back on the reservation? What if they had one affair, 23 years ago and their SO forgave them, do you still get to be judgy?

  7. I think Wendy’s response to the bride’s email is perfectly fine. I get from the many other letters Wendy receives why people might go out of there way to let someone know who is and isn’t invited. But, if your Father is so close to the family couldn’t one of his friends have reached out to him and let him know what was going on? Seems kind of weird to email the daughter!

    I would also in the email let her know that as of right now you’re not sure if you can attend and that you (and your mom and sister) will rsvp as soon as you can. That way the email doesn’t have to get any more awkward than it kind of already is.

  8. Honestly, I would let sleeping dogs lie. You might think you know the story but your parents might be leaving out so many details. This is not your place. They might have already had a falling out or something could have happened since the split. I would assume there is more to the story and just leave it alone.

  9. Good advice from Wendy today …100% agree.

  10. well, this sucks, LW… lol. i would send something along the lines of what wendy said- just something simple and honest about it. and if it goes any farther, i would very plainly spell out that you dont want to be the go-between for this situation, and if they want to take the matter further, they are going to have to speak to your dad directly.

    along the lines of inviting shitty people to your wedding even though your obligated- your fathers affair, as others have said, might have hit this family much more personally then you realize. i know that if i ever have a wedding, i will have similar decisions to make, and it sucks, but i probably wouldnt have invited your dad either…

  11. If it were me, I probably wouldn’t ask nor would I go to the wedding. Certainly it is the bride and groom’s day and they are entitled to invite [or not invite] anyone they want. But I wouldn’t participate in the active alienation of anyone in my own family. Given that your family is going through a hard time with divorce and everything, the bride, especially given your lengthy family history, should have allowed you to sort through your own family issues.

    She inserted herself in a place where she didn’t belong, in my personal opinion. Bitchy. Very bitchy.

    But, all that being said, here’s another thing to consider: brides can be a little extra sensitive to things like infidelity when they are getting married. Anything that threatened the bond of a union can become a little polarized during that time. I found this to be true for myself–longing for my own parents to reunite romantically despite their 10+ year divorce–when I got married. So it’s completely possible this bride has her knickers in a twist over the fact that there is a marriage that has ended.

    For me, though, the older I get the less time I seem to have to people’s pettiness and their [uninvited] insertion into matters they don’t belong in. So, for me, I would decline the invite, send a gift and let them enjoy their day without me.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      When I think about it more, it is pretty damn nasty to go out of her way to let her friend know she thinks her father doesn’t belong. I assume the lw already is upset about the situation, why add to it

      1. could it be that the bride assumes that the LW and her family (siblings/mother) is as mad as her family about this? you know? like the bride was doing their family a favor not to invite him, and telling her would alleviate any hesitations that the LW and family would have about going to wedding and having to see the father there?

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Could be.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        It’s not the brides decisions though. If the LW and her mom/siblings have an issue with the dad they need to sort that out on their own. It’s not a brides place to decide it will be easier for one party if the other isn’t invited. Also it’s a wedding, not an intimate dinner of 5. Chances are they won’t interact for more than 3 minutes in the buffet line or something.

      4. oh no, im not saying thats necessarily a *good* thing for the bride to do- just a possible situation

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        It’s definitely possible. Which is why I perfer to just follow the etiquette guidelines, all this mess would have been avoided if the bride hadn’t e-mailed anyone to tell them they weren’t invited!

      6. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Exactly! I’m loving everything you’re saying today, as usual. I don’t even need to comment with you around. haha

      7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Haha, thanks! Some days I wish I could stop being the etiquette stickler I am. It’s exhausting.

      8. i think it adds unnecessary drama to the situation as well. if the dad had been contacted he could have chosen how to frame it to his daughters. rather than have her speculating why she was contacted and why he wasn’t invited. rather than just being about etiquette it’s about not making an awkward situation even more awkward. it sounds like this might be the first post divorce proceedings event…..

      9. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        My husband is English and all of the English weddings I’ve known about have been small and intimate. They have small village churches and English families tend to be small. They will have close family and close friends and that is about it.

      10. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Well even if it’s a 50 person dinner party it’s not like it’s the mom and dad sitting one on one together forced to speak. Everyone is a grown up and should act like one. Which, IMO, includes following basic etiquette guidelines and being polite to people even when you don’t like them. Like your example above of exchanging pleasentries at the grocery store with someone even if you no longer wish to be friends with them. The bride is effectively ending her relationship with the dad by not inviting him.

      11. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I’m thinking more along the lines of 20 to 30 people at the wedding. The bride may want to effectively end her relationship with the dad. She may want nothing to do with him and that is her choice. Bad behavior has consequences and this may or may not be a consequence of his infidelity. There may be things that have happened that the LW knows nothing about because her dad isn’t likely to have come home and told all about his own bad behavior.

        My husband’s mom and dad both had no relationship with their own dads because both of their dads had cheated on their moms when his parents were teens. My husband never met his grandfathers. Not even once. When we got married he didn’t know their first names and didn’t know whether they were alive. That infidelity would have been over 50 years ago and times change. I don’t know how people treat infidelity now in the UK. I know of people who are divorced but I haven’t heard infidelity mentioned in any of those marriages. His grandmothers worked, everyone did, and so they had their own income and were able to throw their husbands out of the house when they were caught cheating. I think you can assume that a 70 year, 3 generation friendship includes people of my MILs generation who grew up with a standard that had a zero tolerance of infidelity. They might really want nothing to do with him.

      12. SweetPeaG says:

        Yes! It IS nasty.
        I think she is asking for the LW to pry. Don’t send out an e-mail like that unless you want drama!

    2. Stated better than I have been trying too!! Should have read all the comments 😉

      Agree 1000% BIW… the bride has no business making judgement about someone else’s marriage… something she might want to think about should she ever make a mistake in her marriage in the future.

  12. kerrycontrary says:

    Maybe the bride’s mother had an affair with the LW’s father. OOOOOO wouldn’t that be juicy.

    1. I was thinking something like that along the lines. Except more amped up. Maybe the BRIDE had the affair with the LW’s father.

      1. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        That is the EXACT thought that leapt to my mind

      2. theattack says:

        WHERE on EARTH have you been, hobo?!

    2. I was wondering if it was something juicy like that myself.

  13. No, I wouldn’t ask. She’s a grown woman and has the right to invite whomever she wants to her wedding. I like Wendy’s suggestion, but only as a polite response to acknowledge the receipt of the email (though maybe something a little less cute and something more straightforward, just so it doesn’t seem passive-aggressive), but not as a way to get an explanation or persuade her to change her mind. But I certainly wouldn’t threaten her with the downfall of a longtime family friendship, no matter how many disclaimers that it’s not your business that you use.

  14. Wendy is totally right! The polite response would be to express surprise of your father’s disinvite yet do not pry further, congratulate the bride, and state that RSVPs will be delivered soon. Do you really want to go down the rabbit hole asking what your father did to get disowned by this family after a multi-generational/70 year family friendship? I know my mind is spinning with the potential scandals involved, yet, unlike the LW, I don’t have to live with the definitive knowledge of what went wrong. Sometimes LW, it’s best not to know…

  15. painted_lady says:

    LW, I think you’re dancing on the edge of politeness just by asking, but I think it is acceptable to ask. However, I think you should be prepared for her either to refuse to answer or for her to give you an answer you don’t want. While your father is your business, her relationship with your father isn’t necessarily, and if there’s something that has happened between she and your father, or with another member of your family, she doesn’t have to tell you. As well, what if she does tell you, and it’s something awful? Maybe something awful he did to your mom and she chose not to tell you in order to protect you, or something awful he did to her? What if it’s something that might change how you look at your dad forever? I would be hesitant to ask.

    Also, do NOT remind your friend that your dad will be disappointed. She didn’t forget to invite him. She knows – she emailed you, so obviously she’s aware it’s going to be a big deal. That’s like telling someone smoking is bad for them – the smoker knows, so all it’s doing is making you feel better. For one reason or another, your dad’s feelings are not a priority, so you’re going to sound passive aggressive. If you don’t think you can go to a wedding your dad wasn’t invited, that’s on you. But you don’t get to peer-pressure someone into inviting someone she has ALREADY DECIDED not to invite.

    1. oh i like the “dad did something even worse then the bad things you know about and its been kept from you to protect you” theory.

      so many possibilities with this one!

  16. SweetPeaG says:

    This is so completely bizarre. Does anyone else just think it is so weird and rude to send out an e-mail stating “Oh hey, I’m not inviting your Dad to my wedding”… and give no explanation? I sort of feel like all etiquette has already gone out the door. This bride is a strange bird. If you don’t want to invite someone to your wedding… don’t. But, don’t go around informing people of it. It just makes people feel very uncomfortable. At least it would make me feel that way.

  17. so, you know, if i was in your spot, LW, i would actually ask her. but i dont think i would come from a place of “why isnt my dad invited” but more from “wow, your not inviting my dad? you must be really angry. im angry too. can we talk about this?”

    if your families are as close as you say they are, you should be able to have an open conversation about the whole thing. find out why is she is upset. find out IF she is so upset, actually. find out if she has been given misinformation (not likely, but it never hurts to set the record straight). share your own feelings about the whole thing. hopefully, come to a spot where your dad might still not be invited, but no one has ill feelings towards the other anymore. i think that, actually, would be the only thing that can “mend” this tri-generational friendship. somebody needs to be the bigger person and get all the feelings out in the open and clear stuff up. cheating is huge. it breaks up a family in a much more hurtful way then any other reason for divorce- and again, if your families are so close, this might be much more personal to her and her family then you think it is/should be.

  18. Hmm, maybe your dad hit on her while he was cheating on your mom, and asking why will open this huge can of worms that nobody wants to know about.

  19. There is something I just do not understand on this letter. Did the bride also e-mail that to the LW dad or is the bride expecting the LW to tell the father that the invitation was rescinded? because if the father got the e-mail too, then, well he is the one who will or will not make the inquiry on the why (he might even know the why and the LW does not). However, it the daughter was left to give the news to his father well the Wendy’s advise might be the only way to go about it! Sad that the friendship will be fractured either way.

    1. However, IF the daughter was left to give the news to HER father well the Wendy’s advise might be the only way to go about it! Sad that the friendship will be fractured either way.
      I have very little time during lunch to read and comment and correct my English! However, I DO LOVE THIS SITE!

  20. This reminds me of a similar, but different situation, when people decide not to invite people to X (wedding, shower, what have you) because they are ill or have financial problems… and rather than extend the invitation and let grown adults make decisions for themselves, you start altering the guest list based on assumptions that could be totally wrong — and then people who would have loved to make the trip or celebrate your day are left excluded and hurt.

  21. Sue Jones says:

    Well perhaps her father is even more of a cad then LW let on. Perhaps her family has taken “Team Mom” in the divorce due to Dad’s numerous infidelities (and perhaps other issues), or perhaps there is even another reason, something more deep and dark so that the bride to be DEFINITELY doesn’t want him there. It seems they want to continue the family friendship, minus Dad. Whatever it is, she certainly has her reasons and it is quite possible that Dad will be disappointed, but knows exactly why he wouldn’t be invited. This reminds me a bit of the LW who recently wrote about her SIL’s 40th birthday party.

  22. bittergaymark says:

    Finally, a LW this week that isn’t simply beyond awful.

    Tough spot to be in, LW. Wendy’s advice is perfect… I was left wondering though, I understand that you would be okay with seeing your father at the wedding… but would your mother? I’d ask her for her thoughts on this and — if the answer is affirmative — then proceed just as Wendy so wisely suggests.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      I know, this letter was refreshing after this rough week of letters. Yesterday’s Your Turn left me completely bereft of any response.

      1. I third BGM and the attack. Also, Wendy’s response was great.

  23. I agree with Wendy. This is one of the very, very few times when it is appropriate to ask the bride about the guest list. I got the impression the LW believes that her father didn’t get an invite because there was concern by the bride that it might make the LW, and her mother and sister uncomfortable if her father was there. Clearly, the LW and her family are bigger than that and are capable of celebrating someone else’s special day without making it about themselves. Therefore, I would think that it is okay for the LW to express that the day is about the bride, and if she chose to exclude a long-time family friend out of loyalty to the mother, LW and sister, please do not do so on their account, as they are perfectly fine attending a social gathering that her father happens to attend and that they have no intention of letting their personal issues intrude on the bride’s day.

    Also, maybe I’m being generous today, but from my reading of the letter, we have a couple of lovely, considerate people here. A bride who is thinking about someone else besides herself at the wedding, guests who realize that their personal drama shouldn’t spill onto everyone else’s lives, and a LW who realizes that her parents and their marriage may be flawed, but who isn’t taking sides. Congrats to all.

  24. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    Probably the bride emailed the LW at this time because it is too early to send the invitations but the family needs to be purchasing their plane tickets soon. Definitely they would need to purchase tickets before the invitation arrived so if the bride waited to let them know that the dad wasn’t invited by leaving his name off the invitation he might have already spent the money on a ticket. I don’t know why she contacted the LW rather than the dad but maybe the LW is the person whose email she has.

  25. May get bashed for this, but the bride is kind of slut shaming the LW’s Dad. The slut shaming isn’t to do with not inviting him, it’s to do with the fact that she went out of her way to specifically state to his kid that he is not invited and then invited his ex, whom the bride is apparently not as close with, to this overseas shindig. Especially strange considering the Dad is a family friend for over three generations. I guess I understand not inviting the Dad if you feel that strongly about someone else’s infidelities, but it seems like she went out of her way to embarrass him by telling his kid. Maybe the LW’s dad is causing a ruckus and making it a terrible divorce….maybe he doesn’t show any remorse. Even with that, there’s not reason to specifically call him out to his own kid. The bride should have had the guts to either e-mail the Dad himself, or just leave it at the fact that he’s not invited. That said, considering this is a string of infidelities I wonder if the bride’s sister/mom/maybe even the bride herself boinked the LW’s Dad?

    PS. Kind of surprised at the sentiment I see on this thread. I could understand ending a life long friendship if a friend starting cheating on his wife with a string of girls young enough to be his kid and showed no remorse, showed absolutely no regret for cheating even after being called out on it, and was incredibly nasty in a divorce and tried to leave his or her partner with nothing. I can’t imagine ending a long time friendship because the person was stupid and selfish enough to have an affair or cheat and they were remorseful. I have a lot of family (my parents were both born outside of the States and immigrated to the States when they went to college) in a country that takes a more lax view of that sort of thing, I guess, and that’s sort of influenced my view.

    1. Oh, and I wouldn’t confront the bride. If it’s a financial stretch, I just would decline the invitation and leave it at that.

    2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I totally agree with everything you’re saying. 🙂

    3. I’m just guessing that these people are probably worried about their wedding being overtaken with gossip once the word gets out about the man’s infidelities. I wouldn’t want my whole wedding to be about someone else’s ruined marriage. They have every right to invite or not invite whoever they choose.

  26. I don’t believe the LW should confront the bride. The bride did not invite the father for a reason. I can’t imagine that given their families’ long friendship, the bride would leave out LW’s father unless she (or someone else in her immediate family) felt strongly about it and had a valid reason to exclude him.

    It might be better for LW’s father to sort out the issue with the bride and her family on his own, instead of LW advocating on his behalf.

  27. How about none of your business. Not your wedding, not your decision. Your father can ask the bride and groom if he feels the need but he probably already knows why he wasn’t invited. He made his bed and now he can lie in it. This daddy’s girl needs to consider her mother’s feelings and the feelings of others and stop fretting over her father.

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