“Do I Have to Invite My Mother to My Wedding?”


I recently announced to my family my engagement to my live-in boyfriend of five years. I am very relaxed about the whole wedding plan because I am just thrilled to be marrying my best friend. I am excited to share the day with everyone with the exception of my mother. She and I have not exchanged more than five emails in the past ten years since I left home. She has never called me and has visited me only twice (both trips ended badly). She was verbally, physically and emotionally abusive to me growing up, for which I have sought therapy.

When I found out my parents had gotten divorced I thought, “Good she won’t be invited to my wedding.” I may sound bitter and I am. I lost out on a childhood and a loving mother. But I have turned into a wonderful person because of these hardships. That is why making the decision to invite or not to invite my mother is difficult. It is compounded by many family members giving advice on the issue. Everyone says invite her because I’m her first born, even though none of them have a relationship with her. They are worried because of her deteriorating mental condition due to a fatal disease and are concerned that she may commit suicide if not invited. Also, they believe I will regret not inviting her. My aunt has even offered to “babysit” her to make sure I am not caused any undue stress, letting my mother travel with them and stay with them since the wedding is far away from my hometown, where my mother lives.

All I want is a drama-free wedding. I don’t want to make any rash decisions. I know I will be happier if I don’t invite her and I know I wouldn’t regret it. But if she were to commit suicide because of not being invited, it would haunt me, even though her mental health is not my responsibility. What should I do? — Not My Mother’s Keeper

First of all, congratulations on your engagement, and good for you for rising from the ashes of your abusive childhood to become a wonderful person with what sounds like a happy life. I’m sure a big part of where you are today is due to making wise decisions that support your emotional and spiritual well-being (like seeking therapy to help deal with childhood traumas). Your wedding and the decisions you make regarding it should be handled no differently than the decisions you’ve made in the last ten years since you left your abusive home. Do what is best for your emotional and spiritual well-being.

You’ve already said that you don’t want your mother at your wedding and that you know you wouldn’t miss her presence. And why would you? You have no relationship with her. The legacy she’s left in your memory is that of an unkind and unloving mother who made your childhood hell. You already know better than to let her into your present and let her wreak havoc on the stability and happiness you’ve found. And it doesn’t sound from your letter that you have any reason to believe she’s a changed woman now and that, even if she were, you would welcome the new version of her into your life. It sounds like you’ve made peace as best you can with the fact that you don’t really have a mother, and while I can’t imagine how sad that’s been for you over the years, I have a harder time imagining how devastated you would be if the time you decide to give her one more chance is on your wedding day and she found a way to fuck that up too. Any maybe her way of screwing it up would be to simply be there because her presence alone would be enough to steal some of the light from what should be one of your brightest days.

You deserve a bright, drama-free wedding day. And you deserve the peace of mind that whatever demons your mother is fighting have nothing to do with you. That is, you are not responsible for any of them. And you are not responsible for saving her from her demise, whether that be from mental or physical or spiritual deterioration. What you are responsible for — and what you’ve proven you are more than capable of handling — is saving yourself. You can’t save your mother from her demons, but you can save yourself from them.

I don’t know where you are in the scope of forgiving your mother for the terrible things she’s done to you. But if there’s a part of you that acknowledges that there’s a part of her that isn’t evil, however small that part may be, it might help you to focus on that. If you can, imagine that that small part of her that isn’t broken or demented is a representation of her love for you. And if you feel like you need more closure before she dies — whenever that might be — let that glimmer of humanity you imagine in her be your guide. Send a card maybe, and some pictures of you and your new husband. But don’t invite her to your wedding. And don’t let well-meaning, but mis-guided family members guilt you into it either.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. lets_be_honest says:

    “I know I will be happier if I don’t invite her and I know I wouldn’t regret it.”

    There’s your answer. Wendy’s right. It sounds like you have made peace with this situation, don’t let your getting married change that. Enjoy your day how you want to.

    1. So, I am worried that the comment, “I know I wouldn’t regret it.” is more anger talking than real emotion. Like, why would she write in if she knew it wouldn’t haunt her. I don’t know this mother or thier relationship, but I see why the aunt is making sure the LW has really thought through this decision.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m glad she’s double checking, if that was the point of writing the letter. Its an important decision that shouldnt be made without some thought.

      2. So true!

  2. LW…sorry about the stress you are going through right now with your mother…i hope you will take Wendy’s advice as I agree with her 100%…i hope your wedding is a fantastic and happy day for you and your husband to be….after what you had to endure in your childhood you deserve to have a beautiful wedding surrounded by the people who love you and want whats best for you….and if you do ever want to reach out to your mother…don’t feel that your wedding day is the time to do it….there is plenty of time for that…don’t ruin your special moment and don’t feel a shred of guilt

  3. Avatar photo theattack says:

    WWS, for sure. If the two visits you’ve had with her haven’t gone well, what makes you think the wedding would go well too? Your wedding day should be happy, and it should be about you committing to your life with your future husband. It’s not a day to make amends or try to reach out to people, etc. It’s literally about just getting married. Celebrate what you already have on that day, and don’t try to create or mend any relationships. If your family members try to guilt you into it, reiterate to them that you know it will go poorly if she’s there, and you want to have a happy, stress-free wedding day. Having her there would completely ruin your day. If they continue to push you about it, let them know it’s not up for discussion. And I agree with Wendy about the card. You could send her a card with a wedding photo in order to extend a gesture. Don’t ruin your wedding day over this.

    Also, who’s to say she would want to come to your wedding? If she’s only contacted you twice in ten years, she doesn’t sound too interested in your life either. I don’t say that to make you feel bad. I say it to make you realize that she is not dependent on you for her mental health status.

  4. Wendy is exactly right…don’t let anybody guilt you into doing something that you KNOW wouldn’t be best. Also, suicide threats—no matter who they’re coming from—should never be used as a bargaining chip. (I know it wasn’t a “threat” necessarily, but if family members are making you feel like an extended wedding invitation to your mother would prevent her suicide, well. That’s a lot to have hanging over your head, & it isn’t right of them to even say.)

  5. Sophronisba says:

    Sorry, LW, for the instantaneous demise of your “very relaxed about the wedding plan” status! With everyone in the family (and now the online community) having an opinion about what should be done with and for your troubled mother in this situation, it must cast something of a pall on your ability to have a care-free day. Have you considered a charming destination elopement instead? You can side-step all issues and throw yourselves a less fraught-with-expectations party for friends and family later. I understand Paris is lovely in the spring…

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      That’s an excellent idea.

    2. lol, it seems the answer to any wedding question is: elope.

      can we make that a new rule..? AP? make it so!

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:


        Bride: “I can’t decide whether I like this font for the invitations, or this one!”

        DW: “Elope!”

      2. lets_be_honest says:


      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Ha! I think I’ve tried to make that a rule. My rules blow. No one every just … blindly jumps aboard.

        LW, is it just the fact that she’s your mother and others, like your aunt, are telling you to invite her? It’s not as if your mother has also reached out, not even to congratulate you or anything, right? It seems a little unfair that your family is putting the pressure on you. I mean, I know it’s your wedding so as far as whether your mother gets an invite *is* on your, but geez louise, she’s your mother, and it doesn’t even sound like she’s tried to make amends, apologize for the past, get help – nothing! My your aunt should focus her energy and getting her sister to do the things she needs to do – and not put pressure on you. And then to say your mom will commit suicide or else? That’s cruel and emotionally abusive! You know what, I am more mad at your aunt now.

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Seriously, now I’m just pissed at your aunt. You should say something to her.

      5. I am sure that the aunt is just trying to make sure this LW doesn’t live with regret. Turning your back on your dying mother (no matter how awful) is still a big step.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree.

      7. I am pissed at the Aunt too, no reason to go inserting yourself into people’s business while making grand declarative statements about suicide… it’s like she wants the LW to make her mom feel better so Aunt won’t have to deal.

        I like the new rule too, just can’t give props to anything in perpetual GD Star Rating loading land 😉

  6. LW, i will tell you about my sort-of sister in law (my boyfriend’s actual sister in law, she has kind of adopted me as an in-law, its very sweet). anyway, she has a similar situation. her mother has severe mental problems, and while i do not know even a sliver of the story, i know just by being there for the wedding week when she married my boyfriend’s brother that there is bad blood and bad history. but, she let her mom come to her wedding. there was lots of talks before, warnings, she did have a “babysitter”, ect, and there were a few little hick-ups (during the speeches, for instance, she stood up and wanted to talk, ect), but overall it went alright. she was able to see her daughter get married, eat some good food and have some fun dancing (she did a mean hockey-pockey).

    now, like i said, i dont pretend to know her individual relationship with her mother. i dont know if there was ever abuse, or what happened. but she made the choice to have her there, and she had to put in extra effort to make it go smoothly. i hope it was worth for her. maybe for you, think about your best case vs. worst case senario. think about whether it would matter *to you* if she is there, even if you dont interact with her/speak to her/she doesnt do any “mother of the bride” duties/ect. think about when she is gone, if you would have rather had that memory of her at your wedding (maybe from a far, maybe right along your side, in whatever capacity you think is good), then not have the memory. this is your life, LW, its your wedding, its your world. all you can do is make the decision based on what you know now, and what you believe you might think and feel in the future. focus on yourself and your own emotions to find the answer. other people might not like your decision, and your family might not like your decision, but you have to do what is going to be the best for you (or at least, what you believe *right now* will be the best for you)

    1. Temperance says:

      I can respond with another perspective. I have a mentally ill, abusive mother who wants to play mother of the year when she can to show off.

      I scheduled my wedding out of the country so I can spin it off as an elopement. It’s not. She is nuts, controlling, and ruined my original wedding plans.

      1. I’m sorry. Enjoy your destination wedding and marriage!!

      2. Temperance says:

        Thank you! <3 I'm actually okay with it – weirdly enough, having a close sister and great friends who understand make it so much easier to talk about.

  7. ReginaRey says:

    Your intuition is speaking to you loud and clear. It’s telling you “Don’t invite her! You won’t regret it, you’ll be happier, and it’s true to who you are.”

    The only thing that’s messing with your intuitive confidence in this situation are the opinions of everyone else. They might mean well, but meaning well doesn’t count for much, honestly. So, do whatever it takes to drown them out and get back in touch with your sense of inner confidence that what you want to do is right. You don’t need to justify to anyone, or yourself, why you choose not to have your mother at your wedding.

    And whatever your mother does with her life is her responsibility. It seems like the two of you have a practically non-existent relationship; one that’s been non-existent for years and years. Why should you, someone who has moved on with their life, feel responsible for what another person you barely speak to does with their life — good, bad or otherwise?

    The fact that she’s your mother does NOT obligate you to any kind of relationship, role or service in relation to her. That’s a limiting belief that’s likely causing you guilt, spurred on by the unhelpful commentary coming from other people. Allow yourself to release that belief, and be happy!

    1. “The fact that she’s your mother does NOT obligate you to any kind of relationship, role or service in relation to her. That’s a limiting belief that’s likely causing you guilt, spurred on by the unhelpful commentary coming from other people. Allow yourself to release that belief, and be happy!”

      THIS x 1 million!!!!

  8. You don’t owe your abuser anything. The family members’ concerns about suicide just sound like manipulation and their own guilt projected onto you. This is your wedding, you don’t want her there, end of story.

  9. MrsRainey says:

    I will never understand why people try to force others to have relationships with people just because they are family. Especially when it’s not in the interest of everyone involved. I read a lot of advice columns and I see this all the time. “I don’t want to have a relationship with _______ (relative) but everyone else in the family says I should, what should I do?” I would not hesitate to cut off someone in my family if it was the healthiest decision for me.

    LW, I think if you don’t want her there, and know that you will not regret it, then that’s the final word. I wouldn’t even give anyone else a chance to talk about it with you. Have a wonderful wedding and concentrate on you and your fiance. Congrats and good luck.

    1. Avatar photo findingtheearth says:

      I read an article once, and I wish I knew where it was now, about a girl who cut ties completely with her mother due to an abusive and toxic relationship. She flourished, her marriage was better, her relationship with her own kids was better, etc.

      There is a taboo we are suppose to forgive our family whatever ills they inflict. I say bullshit. If you don’t want a relationship with someone who purposely hurt you, you should not have to have one. It may take effort and time, but your own mental health is your responsibility.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I think people who think/say those things are people who’ve been lucky enough to have a good family life and just want the same for others. Like maybe you if you try a little harder, or let such and such go, etc. I generally don’t get mad at someone when they “mean well.” I know others feel differently though.

  10. No, LW, you definitely don’t have to invite your abuser to anything. Best of luck with your upcoming wedding!

  11. Avatar photo findingtheearth says:

    I was sexually assaulted by a relative as a teenager. Up until about three years ago, I still had to have a lot of interaction with him at family events. I avoided them like the plague and rarely went home once I went to college. Since him and my aunt divorced, I have not had to deal with him, and life has been much better.

    I say, if you don’t want her there, don’t invite her. It will sit in the back of your mind and cast a shadow on your wedding day. Your wedding day is about you and your husband, celebrating your promise to each other. You should not have to worry about anything else.

  12. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    You absolutely don’t need to invite her and you shouldn’t! If anyone tries to pressure you say ” sorry but I don’t want to be reminded of the abuse I suffered on my wedding day.” That should shut anybody up. The suicide cry is manipulation plain and simple. If you cater to it then it will get worse.

    1. yea, thats a really great article. and i do hope that more people will start talking about this, because as the article states, there are lots and lots of adults who are going to or who are going through this exact situation.

      i think its great if people want to be kind to a parent who was terrible to them. if that gives the person peace, if it helps their own lives, gives closure, ect, that is awesome. BUT- when the scales tip and the new relationship with the parent brings sadness/guilt/whatever, that is when it is time to stop. i think thats the bottom line. and, i think that is the bottom line for any kind of strained relationship- its great to try, its noble or whatever, and its lovely if its fulfilling, but if it does more harm then good, its time to end things.

  13. My dad and brother weren’t invited to my wedding. And I didn’t suffer at their hands anywhere near what you went through with your mom. I had people offer to babysit too but the reality was that it would have been distracting. My mother would have been ill at ease and her comfort was paramount to me and I would constantly have been on guard for ‘something’ upsetting happening. I’m not big on it being ” my day” but I did want everyone in the room to just wish us happiness without resentment or agenda. My brother figured out on his own I got married though I’m sure he resents that he wasn’t invited and I told my father after the fact. My dad was upset but if he is honest with himself he knows why it happened the way it did. It’s not my place to lessen the consequences of other people’s actions. Do what is best for you. You can’t live your life hostage to someone else’s threats of suicide or their mental illness… or their wishes or whims either. Congratulations and I wish for you a lovely wedding day.

    1. I loved this:
      It’s not my place to lessen the consequences of other people’s actions.

      It can be applied to so many things in life!

  14. llclarityll says:

    Oh her Facebook page, Wendy said that she doesn’t say “I love you” to her own mother because it’s too mushy. I’m surprised by that!

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      …. So …. If I’m understanding what you’re saying it is that: Wendy doesn’t love her mother, Wendy hates all mothers, and Wendy’s advice to LW can’t be trusted. … Geez, that’s a real stretch, llclarityll, not at all true, and harsh! Check yo self!

    2. haha, yea sometimes “i love you” is too mushy. i get that. my dad pretty regularly uses “who loves you baby”, which is much less mushy, in my opinion.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh man, I am the same way about too mushy stuff. I made a serious effort to be accepting of hugs and i love yous when I had the baby, but its only extended to her. I’m still awkward as hell with that kinda stuff. I always wish I would hug and say I love you to my family more.

    3. llclarityll says:

      LOL yes, AP, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

      I guess it’s odd for me to hear that, because I always tell my mom I love her, but maybe I’m in the minority rather the majority.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Oh I do too. I am very slutty with the “I love you’s”, at least when it comes to family. It’s apart of my sign off “Ok love you bye”. Click. I’ve said that to my boss before on accident. That was *awkward*. But he’s told me that he loves me too, in a father-daughter way, I assure you. My old boss, that is. My new boss is this super chic, super professional, super efficient, super attorney, super mom, super wife-type of person. I aspire to be like her. I do’nt expect us to be swapping I love you’s, though I think she’s posh. But she’s also a republican so you can’t be it ALL. Ha. Today is tangent day for me. I can’t even remember what we were talking about.

      2. oh can i add on to your tangent??

        the sweetest thing happened to me yesterday. i needed chapstick, and i was at the grocery store picking some out and a couponer came to pick some out! i am an aspiring sort-of couponer, so i struck up a conversation with her, and she ended up giving me some extra coupons she had and i got 6 chapsticks for $.07 each! how nice/sweet/awesome is that??

        i wanted to tell her i loved her. but i refrained.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Couponers practically turn me on. I wish I could be like that.

      4. i tried when i lived in denver. i got the sunday paper delivered and kept all the inserts and everything… but it just didnt work out for me. i didnt save enough money using them to justify buying the paper lol. my main problem is that jake and i dont eat any processed food, and thats like 75% of all coupons. so, i gave up.

        but i agree. i saw her with her huge stack of coupons and her awesomely organized, computer generated list.. and i was like “oh i wish i was you”. that was what started the conversation. lol

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Organized people in general are what I want to be. I’m a pretty organized person, but some of these blogs are unreal. Check out iheartorganizing.com. Your mind will be blown and you will rush home and make labels…for everything! Not sure if you still keep your underwear in the underwear draw? Label it! What if some random stranger breaks in to your house looking for a spatula but not sure what one looks like? Label that shit! Don’t want to confuse your adorable mason jar of chocolate cereal with your dog food? There’s a label you can make for those. I’m not sure why anyone needs things labeled but it looks so good to me. Chalkboards too. I have like 4 now. For what? I have no idea, but I’m supposed to have plenty says these amazing women.

      6. yea, im pretty organized too, i guess. id be more organized if i had more furniture to organize myself with (ie. a desk. lol). but, when it comes to couponing, when i do it, i am quite organized about it, with prices and everything. i just dont do the deals all that often.

      7. You’re right about the coupons. about 90% of what you buy with coupons is stuff we don’t buy. I try to buy as little processed foods as possible, so couponing didn’t work for me. Every now and then I get shampoo or something, but that’s very rare.

      8. Temperance says:

        So I’m a couponer (well, taking a break until this wedding shit is over, lol), and I save the most money at CVS, Rite Aid, and on Target clearance. I make my lists using krazy coupon lady and just sort of abuse the Extra Bucks program to get free health and beauty stuff. (Mostly because Mr. Temperance would probably freak if he saw how much the retail value of my makeup and whatnot is.)

      9. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Let me guess – you like pinterest?

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m off pinterest. I was getting obsessed.

      11. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        bhahaha. I avoided it and talked shit about it for SO LONG. But then I got the ipad app. And now I’m obsessed. And god damn it I made the most delicious cauliflower wings this week. I will never be off it.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        If I cooked, I’d probably still like it, but it was starting to drown in recipes. It was probably a good thing that happened.

      13. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I rarely look at the “everything” tab and normally just browse through health & fitness for thinspo and then “food” to counteract all my workouts.

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        haha. Some great craft ideas obviously. My gf wants me to help her redecorate her house on the cheap so I told her to check out pinterest for ideas. Her husband emailed me thanking me for all their good new dinners. lol

      15. i got pinterest recently. its fun! im not totally obsessed yet, i think, because i dont have that many pins.

        but ive found very useful things like coconut oil for my arms and homemade laundry detergent and stuff! im calling it a success so far.

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        I wish I could successfully push one of you into liking polyvore. 🙁

      17. whats polyvore?

      18. lets_be_honest says:

        its for putting together outfits. That I am still obsessed with. I think I’ve documents 2 years worth.

      19. oh, lol.

        mine would look like: work pants, work shirt. jeans, tshirt every 200 outfits would be a dress.. it would be boring. i have no business doing that. lol

      20. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        that is awesome, katie.

        can i tell you about the FUNNIEST THING I SAW THAT HAS HAD ME CRACKING UP ALL MORNING LONG AND I CANNOT STOP? there I was, on a crowded bus, up to the front holding on to the bar right next to the driver. the bus pulled off to the side to let someone off, and just as the door was closing, i looked tot he right and saw a heavy-set man walking down the sidewalk. he turned and looked toward the driver and in a very calm but stern voice, says “hey, thanks for the shower, asshole.” and then i realized he was DRENCHED in all that gross wet slush that the bus must have splashed on him. …. and oh my god I lost it laughing. i’m stil laughing. i just keep thinking about what that guy is thinking, which is “man, this day is not going well.” hahahahaha. i hope things pick up for him. bwhahahahahaha. so sad, so funny. i cant’ stop laughing. poor guy. and you know on top if it his girlfriend must have dumped him last night. he’s thinking “man i can’t get a break.” hahahaha. not funny. but funny!

      21. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I just started laughing out loud reading that. I would have lost it too. I can just picture his face.

      22. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        i. cannot. stop. laughing.

        that poor guy. also, you know he was walking b/c his car broke down. because the way he said “thanks for the shower, asshole” was so …calm. like it was just expected. another bad moment in a long day of bad moments, and it was only 8 am.

        bwhahahahahahaha…… i feel terrible but all of a sudden i have this realization: my life is not so bad. i’m done moping. it only took 8 days (plus 4 weeks of breaking up plus one month of beign in denial). success! today is a great day!!!

      23. kerrycontrary says:

        I live for people who can give really good comebacks/insults in a strong/stern voice. I have a high-ish pitched voice, so I never sound serious.

      24. llclarityll says:

        I <3 couponers AND loveable bosses.

        As for my Tangent Of The Day (TOTD), there was the sweetest sisters at the doctor last night. The big sister kept taking care of her little sister, sharing her fruit snacks and soothing her when she got upset. LOVE!

        And for my second TOTD, I'd like a baby. Like now.

      25. lets_be_honest says:

        Yay! Babies! TOTD: I want a little boy with glasses.

      26. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        me too, me too! or a little girl with glasses. or just a little girl. or a little boy.

      27. lets_be_honest says:

        I would sacrifice the glasses for a chubby stature, I guess. Carrying on with my totd, one time I was annoyed at Peter so he emailed me a picture of him when he was a little chubby boy and drew glasses on him.

    4. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      I rarely tell my mother that I love her for the same reason. She also rarely says it to me, too. I think we just show it instead.

    5. Temperance says:

      My mother forces me to say it. I don’t love her, and I hate it.

  15. John Rohan says:

    If you send her a card and a photo, like Wendy suggested, then I don’t recommend sending her photos of the wedding. That could be misinterpreted as gloating and teasing her by showing her the fun she missed.

    1. Too true. Plus if she is happier with her mother kept at a long distance, why send a card and photos at all? That just introduces confusion that LW wants to establish some sort of attachment/link, which she does not. Very occassional visits have not worked for LW in past, nor has mother shown any inclination to phone her. LW gets nothing but further agitation and upset from the few contacts she has had with her mother, so total separation seems the appropriate course. The fact that LW is getting married doesn’t seem an adequate reason to re-establish a link with a card and photo.

      1. i do agree -why send anything at all? but… maybe the whole big step of getting married thing is enough for the LW to want to reach out..? i could see that happening, i would understand that.

        i say, only do it if you feel you want to, LW.

  16. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

    Children of maternal narcissists unite. Anyways you already know what’s best for your own well being, so now just stick with it and don’t let anyone guilt you about it. Let your aunt know that you want to enjoy your wedding and that you want her to as well, so having your mother there (even being babysat) would prevent that for both of you.

  17. I agree. No need to invite her. She may be offended, but if she’s not too broken up over your lack of a relationship, then it probably will come as no surprise to her that she’s not invited. Just because she’s your mother doesn’t give her an automatic invite — anyone else that you’ve only exchanged a handful of cards with over the years wouldn’t get invited, so don’t feel bad about it.

  18. GatorGirl says:

    Unless your mother is financially contributing to your wedding, you have no obligation to invite her. My aunt did not invite her mother to her wedding and had a lovely time. Surround yourself with loved ones that day. Best wishes.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Did you see my forum post to you?

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        nope- looking now. I had to meet with the accountnat this morning. Woo.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I’ll just tell you…tory burch’s spring line has flamingos everywhere! There’s an iphone case that’s adorable if you have an iphone.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Omg, I saw flamingo wedding cake toppers somewhere, and I almost bought them for you, GG. But then I realized that would be super creepy, so I didn’t.

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I’ve always wondered what is considered creepy. Like if you’re friends with someone (in real life or DW) and aren’t invited to their wedding- is it creepy to buy a gift (and have it sent to them) off of their registry? Like I have a friend who I’m basically FB friends with because we live no where near each other and I was gonig to get her something small off her registry and the fiance said it was super weird. (Also fiance needs a DW name)

      5. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Same here! Sometimes I just want to buy something for someone and not have it mean I’m a psycho.

        Can we just make a DW rule that it’s not creepy to give each other presents? Unless, you know, it’s actually creepy. Like no doll heads, human hair, naked photos, etc.

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Haha, yes! I feel like it’s kind of the same thing like when my fiance’s bar regulars sent us a gift. Like no, they aren’t “real life friends” but they spend a lot of time together… (and yes, let’s skip the nudie photos!!)

      7. I like doll heads. If anyone wants to gift me some creepy doll heads, go right ahead. 😉

      8. Temperance says:

        I had this argument with my fiance over buying a friend from World of Warcraft a baby gift, lol. (I was in support of it! They’re actually friends of ours now, lol. He thought it was “creepy” but didn’t understand what a registry was.)

      9. I used to send emails to my friend’s unborn baby. I thought that bordered on creepy, so I told her that if my behavior was ever creepy she needed to let me know.
        Luckily she liked how much I loved her unborn baby 🙂

      10. why not just send them a card? that is always very nice and polite and never creepy…

      11. Temperance says:

        How about GatorBoy?

    2. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Omg, GatorGirl. I do not like when you go to PA. It’s just not fair to the rest of us, okay?

      But I’m glad someone piped in with a real life story of not inviting their parents.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I hate when I go up here too haha.

        So, I don’t know all of the details regarding my grandmother and my mom and her siblings, but I know there was a lot of verbal abuse and A LOT of absentee parentism. My aunt and one uncle have 100% ceased communication with my grandmother, my mother at this point has very limited and strained communication, and my other uncle still has a pretty “normal” relationship with her. So, my aunt when she got married- chose to not invite my grandmother (or her father for that matter). No one questioned it, no one side-eyed it, and my aunt does not regret it for a second. LW, don’t let your mother bully you into this. Threats of suicide etc should not be taken lightly, but they should not sway your decision.

        I am also not inviting my biological father to my wedding (I am inviting his parents though). I have no relationship with man…People don’t get an automatic invite to your wedding because they are blood related. It’s an honor to be present at someone’s wedding and should be reserved for people who love and support the couple. Not a woman who has spent her life tearing you down.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I didn’t know you had a relationship with your biological paternal grandparents.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yup. Well sort of. I visited with them probably 3 or 4 times a year until my senior year of high school. They kind of flaked out and tried to force the dad issue on me so I ceased communication until I graduated college, when I invted them to my graduation party. I haven’t actually seen them (or really spoken to them) since the graduation party but I’m having brunch with them Sunday. Should be interesting.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Wow, well good luck on lunch!

  19. Right there with you, LW. My mother has an undiagnosed mental illness, which I haven’t babbled on here about in a while. I’m not currently speaking to her after the blow out fight we had over the holidays. Last time I decided I wasn’t speaking to her, my family was exhaustingly insistent that I make amends, despite how abusive she is. And it pisses me off because they don’t want to deal with her either, they just want me to handle it.

    Wendy’s advice is spot on. I’m just commenting to say I understand, especially about feeling responsible for her. My mother has threatened to harm herself on numerous occasions, and while I echo the sentiments above that it is NOT your responsibility to care for her well-being (especially considering how she didn’t care for yours), I understand that little tug inside you that feels responsible no matter how much therapy you go to, or how sure you are of your decision. It’s flippen annoying, amirite?

    If you haven’t done it already, I’d check out a support group in your area for children of abusive parents. I go to the NYC chapter of NAMI’s Sons & Daughter’s monthly meetings, and though I felt really silly at first (about 8 mos ago), it was very powerful and cathartic to hear other people who have had the same/similar experiences as I’ve had. It really helped me let go of a lot of guilt and to make better choices for myself.

    Anyway. Congrats on your engagement and enjoy your wedding! This stranger on the internet demands that you do! 🙂

    1. “And it pisses me off because they don’t want to deal with her either, they just want me to handle it.”

      THIS EXACTLY!!! Why in the hell would you listen to advice from people who wouldn’t take the advice themselves? If the aunt is so concerned about her sister’s mental health she should do something about it herself… not project things onto the LW, who she probably watched deal with the abuse as a child. Total BS.

      LW – the next time someone from your family makes a “helpful suggestion” about your relationship with your mother I recommend the following response: “If she means that much to you why don’t you have a a relationship with her? I don’t for very legitimate reasons, and I won’t be discussing it with you any further.” IF they bring it up again, stink eye and repeat… if they bring it up a 3rd time hang up/ignore/leave. The nerve of people – blood doesn’t mean automatic acceptance/forgiveness for shittastic behavior!!

    2. Temperance says:

      I’m going to find one of those support groups; my mother claims she has “mild depression and anxiety”, but my sister and I know that she’s lying and we think she has a personality disorder. She abused us as children, especially me (my most vivid memory is her response to me proudly telling her that I accepted Jesus into my heart – she told me that someone as nasty, mean and cruel as I was couldn’t really love Jesus. I was maybe 8.)*

      One question …. if I go to the group, will I have to say that my mother treated me like shit, probably due to whatever her mental illness is, but I still love her anyway? Because I’m realizing now that I don’t love her, and that not having her in my life makes me a happier,more positive, and more productive person. She’s a cinderblock who loves dragging everyone down with her and can’t say anything nice about anyone, ever.

  20. I had a few misguided idiots insist that I needed to invite my father to my weddings. Hell, I had one idiot (his sister) insist that he needed to walk me “down the aisle” for each wedding (what aisle? I think I missed the aisle) because that was his right as my “father”.

    Look, you admit this woman wasn’t a good mother. You won’t miss her at your wedding. Stop being held hostage by well-intentioned relatives, who are probably being held hostage by familial guilt and/or “the right thing”. The right thing was for your mother to get help while you were young so she didn’t treat you like a possession or a burden and raise you in a loving environment. She didn’t, so now she gets to reap what she has so bitterly sown. Consequences can take years to play out, but this is just a natural one to expect.

    The threat of suicide, while serious, is NOT your problem. If a relative tells you they think that she will commit suicide, tell them to call the authorities if they truly think she will attempt it, but it’s not your responsibility that a mentally unstable woman hinges her life on whether or not she is invited to YOUR wedding. Then, change the subject. I hear the weather has been bad in the northeast lately.

  21. One point not raised by others (unless I missed it, of course!) is that you will have almost this same exact dilemma/decision if you have any children.

    The biggest difference is that the issue/decision will be there every holiday, every birthday, and every milestone — every single day, really — and your kids will have needs also. I won’t sidetrack this any further but, if you think you will have kids, I suggest you start thinking about it.

  22. LW, I am not telling you to invite your mother to your wedding. That is totally up to you and that is one day. However, if she is dying, i suggest you talk to her. Are there questions that you have? Now is your chance. I think your Aunt is trying to protect you from the what ifs and the whys that can haunt you.

    Weddings loom so large when you are getting ready, years later, you look back and wonder what the big deal was. Again, if you think your mother will make a scene and ruin this, then don’t invite her. But if many people in your family are telling you to invite her, maybe ask what they hope to accomplish with that. Is there something about this story that is missing?

    And your mother threatening to kill herself if not invited is emotional blackmail and not cool.

    1. Temperance says:

      I’m going to push back because you’ve probably never dealt with this. My mother is awful, and has abused my sister and I since childhood. She now tries to control us, bully us, and goad us into doing what she wants.

      I can’t stand being near her anymore. She’s fake. My sister and I sometimes say that she puts on an act like she’s a real human with emotions. However, our extended family, even knowing her, puts that on me because she’s my mother.

  23. Rachel @ Reality Chick says:

    Great advice Wendy, and I totally agree – don’t invite her! There was a fantastic Slate article last week (I think) on what adults owe their abusive parents; you might want to track that down if you want any extra assurance that she’s not your responsibility. And shouldn’t be, especially on your wedding day.

    As an aside I kind of know what you were going through. I had guests at my wedding asking me to invite different people or friends I hadn’t seen in ages which was really hard. My wedding was in my hometown but it was a destination wedding – and a big reunion – for a lot of people I’d lived overseas with. The pressure to invite people I hadn’t banked on inviting was quite intense and unexpected. I ended up not giving in, and I do regret not inviting one person, but overall I made the decisions that would cause less stress for me on the day and that was right for me at the time.

    Congrats and all the best for a very happy future together.

  24. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

    No More Wire Hangers! Ever! Just watched that movie last night.

  25. Historigirl says:

    This is not *nearly* the same as your situation, but I hope it will give you perspective. I have a…second cousin? (my mother’s cousin’s child. Someone tell me what that relationship is to me). Anyway, this chick is toxic. Just toxic. Never wants to talk to anyone in the family until or unless she need something. At previous family weddings, she has (a) shown up in white dresses (b) gotten drunk and done semi-strip-teases on the dance floor (c) worn entirely inappropriate dresses that she just “happens” to spill out of during, you know, the bride and groom’s first dance. When my fiance and I were planning our wedding guest list, I deliberately did not include her. My mother, who is forever pushing a relationship “because she has no other family and no on likes her” was told, in no uncertain terms, that whatever relationship SHE wanted to have with this family outcast was her business, but our wedding was our business and she wasn’t coming, end of story.
    Forcing my mother to admit she didn’t like my cousin either was a turning point for her, so it might be for your aunt, too. If you present it to your aunt in such a way as to force her to confront the reasons she doesn’t like/doesn’t have a relationship with your mother, it might help. Just an opinion.

  26. LW, I have a very similar relationship with my own mother as a result of physical, mental, and emotional abuse, and have been married twice. The first time I got married, I did not invite her because I was, like you, afraid there would be so much drama at my wedding and that she would inevitably make it all about her and upset me. Everyone in my family was in an uproar, calling me and insisting that I invite her or badgering/threatening me. Even my sister, who was so sad about it, cried and said she was worried that I would later regret not having her there. I have never regretted it: I made the best decision I could at the time for myself even though it meant that I could not invite my dad, either (complicated dynamics). Well, the marriage lasted only 7 months (for reasons not involving my decision not to invite either of my parents), and fast forward a few years–I got married again a few months ago. This time I made a different decision. I had my dad walk me down the aisle and my mom was invited. I think that I’ve grown a lot in the last few years, and my relationship with my husband is different such that I felt stronger and more able to deal with any drama that might have ensued. Plus I felt a little protected by the fact that I hadn’t invited either of my parents to my last wedding so my mom would feel like she needed to be on her best behavior because it wasn’t an empty threat that I wouldn’t invite her. Still, it was difficult and I agonized over the decision to have her there. I was still incredibly worried that she would cause a scene or upset me, and I ended up not inviting her to the rehearsal dinner. It turned out that I just didn’t care what she did on my wedding day, and aside from a quick hug and being genuinely glad that she was there, I didn’t see or think about her much the rest of the night because I was having such an amazing time. I’m not sure if any of this will help you, but I wanted to write and tell you that I can totally relate and you can (and must) only make a decision based on the information you have right now about what is best for you and your fiancé. Don’t second guess yourself. Even if you’d make a different decision later down the road, like I did, that does not mean that your decision now is wrong. Good luck, and the best advice I can give you is that no matter what you decide, focus on what a wonderful thing it is to be making such a special commitment to someone you love.

  27. Lorraine Lane says:

    If she doesn’t invite her abusive mother then she will commit suicide? Sounds like her mother hasn’t changed and is still emotionally abusing this poor woman with guilt. As a daughter of a Narcissistic mother, I can fully empathize with this lady. Do not invite your mother. She will ruin your wedding day. And do not elope like the previous person suggested because that is just giving your mother the power. You have the right to enjoy your day and don’t let relatives give you grief, if they do then don’t invite them either. You can start your own family.

  28. Thank you so much for this article. I’m in a similar situation and it is so difficult. I go back and forth of this issue. My mom turned from a domineering monster to a pathetic pile of tears once that she didn’t have me to push around any more. She is so socially awkward, and thrives on attention and sentimentality, so her precious daughter’s wedding would bring out the absolute worst in both of us. But she doesn’t have many friends (because of her behavior) and I truly feel sorry for her. I don’t want to look back on this when I go to my grave, and say, wow, you chose your own comfort over forgiveness and love, you hardened your heart and really hurt the woman who raised you. But it will be so awkward for my dad’s side of the family. It’s going to be a very small wedding (like less than 25 people), and she created the classic “Parental Alienation Syndrome” with my dad when they got divorced in my childhood. (yes, it is a real phenomenon, she almost lost custody of me and my sister because of it). People are already giving me a hard time about my decision to not invite her. They can’t fathom that a girl would not love her mother, or even talk to her. The problem is she seems so very nice and sweet to outsiders. She is this sugary-sweet, well dressed conservative lady, and I’ve got gauged ears and purple hair and tend to be a bit brusque. (Having a fierce appearance helps me to be perceived as strong, and keeps people from taking advantage of me like they have done in the past). I end up looking cruel and hard-hearted in this situation, like I am the bad guy. At least I have cut ties with her family too (I knew that if I cut ties with my mom, they would never stop trying to change my mind and making me feel guilty.) I’m considering not having a wedding at all, just get married somewhere with no guests at all. But why should I let her take this away from me, or from my dad’s family? Surely the fact that my dad and stepmom would love to see their daughter get married counts for something too.

  29. Don’t do it, she sounds like she doesn’t deserve to be invited. Don’t feel guilty, people forget that kids grow up. If my mother were bringing up her kids now she would be put in prison for abuse. What was acceptable then is not now a days. I’ve always invited my mother and have been a good daughter for many ye I hate her. I can no longer do this because her behaviour is becoming intolerable to me. She is a bully demanding that she is including at Christmas. Well, the last couple of Christmas’s I haven’t invited her and it’s felft bloody good at the same time I am ridden with guilt as she is 82 and uses this as a ” how much longer do I have on this earth ” Well, when she goes I will be crying for what I didn’t have with her and it won’t change anything in the way I hate her.

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