She has never come clean about her marriage to this day. My future in-laws have met him on two occasions. Here’s the predicament: We are issuing wedding invitations in two short months. We DO NOT want to invite her new husband for these reasons:
1. She has made no attempt to introduce us to him or tell us about them.
2. My parents are paying for the wedding (quite expensive wedding).
3. She had a wedding none of us was invited to (but his family was).
His parents feel we absolutely need to include him, saying “he’s a nice guy.” We feel our wedding day should not be a meet-and-greet for the rest of the family nor is it an appropriate time for her to announce this life milestone to others on our day.
What are your thoughts? — My Wedding is Not a Meet-and-Greet
My thoughts are you sound like a typical bridezilla, losing the forest for the trees (or is that losing perspective through the tulle? Take your pick). You say nothing about any reservation you might have about inviting your fiancé’s sister (nor should you), so I’m assuming that is a given. But how can you invite a sibling and not extend an invite to her spouse, even if you haven’t met him? That’s WAY ruder than any sin or transgression you’ve mentioned on her part. And, look, you’re ridiculous if you think your wedding isn’t going to be a meet-n-greet. ALL weddings that involve extended family members (or large families and/or longtime friends that are spread out) are meet-n-greets. People who haven’t seen each other in years and are traveling from different parts of the country (or globe) introduce partners and kids to each other. I mean, you’re still going to be the center of attention, but, yeah, there will be introductions at the reception and, gasp, some conversations that don’t completely revolve around you. And that’s going to happen regardless of whether your fiancé’s sister shows up with her new husband or not, so you might as well extend an invitation to him (and, if you simply can’t bear to write his name because your fiancé’s sister hasn’t personally told you guys about him, then include a “plus 1” on the invitation and leave it at that).
Your three reasons for not wanting to invite the new husband don’t make a lot of sense either:
1. Your apparently mentally unstable sister-in-law-to-be may not have told you about her husband, but you clearly know about him. Your parents-in-law-to-be have met him twice. I’m sure she’s aware word has gotten out and, whatever her reason is for not personally sharing the news with you, it isn’t because she wanted to keep it a secret.
2. What’s your point about your parents paying for your expensive wedding? That they’re so strapped for cash after footing the big bill that they can’t afford one more plate at the reception? I doubt that is it. Are they insisting that everyone who is invited be someone you have personally met? Have they said no to plus ones, even plus ones who are legally related to you? If so, that’s weird.
3. Do you need to be invited to the wedding of every guest you invite to your wedding? Even so, if you’re planning to invite your fiancé’s sister, regardless of whether she had a wedding you weren’t invited to, it doesn’t make sense that you wouldn’t invite her husband if your reasoning is that you weren’t invited to their wedding. It just doesn’t. Either invite both or don’t invite either (but invite both).
I have no idea why she didn’t invite her own family to her wedding, but since it was ALL of you — all 6 siblings and their families and her parents, etc. — then it obviously wasn’t some personal vendetta against your fiancé (or you). There’s obviously something going on with her/her relationship with her family that your not inviting her husband to your wedding isn’t going to help. And furthermore, what do you think you fiancé’s parents will think about you excluding him — their son-on-law, this man they’ve met and said is a “nice guy?” This man who is married to their daughter, whom I’m sure they love very much and are concerned for and want a better relationship with? Hint: It’s not going to endear you to them very much.
You don’t have to be best friends with this guy. You don’t have to have a relationship with him at all. But invite him to your damn wedding. It will hardly be any skin off your nose at all (hell, with their track record, they may not even show up), but the gesture will go a long way in maintaining a good relationship with your in-laws and embracing their side of the family. And the truth is, weddings are never just about the bride or the couple getting married. They’re about family. They’re about marrying into all the complicated mess and joy of your partner’s people and accepting them as your own. So, as much as it’s “your special day,” it’s also their special day. It’s a day they’re welcoming a new family member — someone whom, I’m sure they hope, will love and care for their child, but will also love and accept them.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.