My family is very conservative and religious. They are also broke and live on welfare in another state. Last year my parents moved while my then-17-year-old brother was staying with my boyfriend and me for the summer, and he ended up having to stay with us for a much-longer period. I helped him get his GED, some college, and join the Navy. Two of my other brothers are not speaking to my parents at all. One has written them off after they repeatedly tried to interfere with his wife and kids, and my other brother is gay and so my dad has basically disowned him. I have two autistic sisters and another brother who live with my parents.
I always thought my dad would walk me down the aisle and be at my wedding, but, after a recent fight, I am feeling more and more like I don’t want them there. Plus, I would have to pay for my parents to come and stay with me. It breaks my heart and I feel so guilty at the thought of not inviting them but also strangely relieved. My boyfriend says it’s my choice, but I don’t think he wants them to come either because all they do is try to convert him and start political debates with him. I do want my sisters to be bridesmaids, but. if my parents don’t go, then they won’t either due to their autism. I don’t know what to do. My best friend suggested inviting them but then not offering to pay for their travel or lodging or clothes so it would basically make it impossible for them to show up. I feel like this is kind of passive-aggressive though.
On top of all this, my boyfriend’s two sisters, who are also not on good terms with their mom, think that I need to invite her. Though we are cordial, I am not friendly with any of his siblings and we don’t speak unless we are in the same room. One of his sisters told my boyfriend that, if we don’t invite her, she will just bring her anyway and then I will look bad if I kick her out. This woman has called my son a bastard and called me trailer trash, called me a welfare baby, told me my boyfriend will always be in love with his ex-wife and that I was second choice, and has slandered me in front of my soon-to-be step-kids and son. She even stole my maternity clothes while I was pregnant and then lied about it!
I am paying for most of this wedding. I have a good job and I do well and so does my boyfriend. Despite growing up on welfare my whole life, I now am a homeowner with a career and family. I just want a calm and happy day. I want to enjoy it, and I feel like it’s falling apart before it even gets off the ground. Can I just not invite my family except for my brothers? Can I have my MIL kicked out if she shows up? How would that affect my step-kids since they are close to her (my son doesn’t know she exists and she isn’t mentioned in our house)? — Under Pressure Planning Guest List
You say you want a calm and happy day. You know that won’t happen if you invite various family members. So don’t invite anyone you think will make the day chaotic, stressful, and unhappy. Just understand that there may be repercussions for having a wedding and inviting some family but not ALL family (particularly parents and siblings). Is it worth having a calm and happy day if the aftermath could be anything but? Is having a wedding at all worth this stress? If it were I and I already lived with my partner and had a toddler with him and we each had super stressful relationships with various family members who were all but guaranteed to negatively affect our wedding if included, I’d elope. I’d get the kids together, with maybe one or two adult witnesses, go down to city hall, say the “I Dos” and then have a nice family meal together afterward. Calm and happy — just like you say you want.
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