Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Sad Future Mother-in-Law

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  • #759409 Reply
    Sad Future MIL

    My son is getting married in November to a lovely young woman. At least, I thought she was until yesterday. She comes from a very large family. As an only child and divorcee, I have no family to speak of except for my children and a few very close friends I consider my true family.

    A while back, my son asked me to send him the addresses of the people I wanted to invite for the Save-the-Dates. I sent a grand total of 5 names (10 people with spouses). After more than a month, my friends still had not received theirs. I asked my son about it and he reluctantly told me that his fiancee was not sending them. They’re keeping the guest list to 100 and, apparently, this list is filled with her large family, their 8 bridesmaids and groomsmen, and I guess their friends.

    In effect, I’m not allowed to invite ANYONE to my own son’s wedding! I told my son how shocked and upset I am, that I’m furious with his fiancee, and angry with him also for not speaking up and telling her how wrong this is.

    Wendy, I can’t tell you how brokenhearted I am – so much so that I’m seriously considering not going at all (the wedding is in Ohio; I live in NJ). I feel like the rejection of my friends is a rejection of me. I’ll be all alone at the wedding and won’t know a soul. Even worse, I’m afraid this will create a permanent rift between me and my DIL, and perhaps even my son, that will never be repaired.

    I don’t know how to tell my friends they are no longer invited to the wedding. I can’t stop crying and feel sick to my stomach. How should I handle this?

    Please help!

    #759411 Reply

    Well first, don’t tell someone they are invited to something until they invite, or in this case, save the date, is printed.

    You don’t need to know people at a wedding. It’s about meeting your new family and socializing with them, not showing off to your friends that they are having a wedding.

    I’m assuming they are paying for this so it’s their choice. Frankly, I’m surprised your friends would be traveling across country for your kids wedding. The only rift is the one you are creating. You can be bummed out but this is not some major betrayal. They have a tight list, a lot of people to invite and likely due to budget and are inviting those they know, not moms craft buddies.

    Put your ego aside before you ruin your relationship with your son.

    #759415 Reply

    Grit your teeth, smile and go to the wedding. Tell your friends as soon as possible what has happened. They are going to know you are not in control of this an are gong to be understanding. The cost of weddings is just impossible and it is their wedding. It is tacky that they are not letting you bring one friend along for company but that is the way the cookie crumbles. You said you had children, so are the others going to be there? Look, its one day. Do whatever they tell you to do on the day of the wedding and at the rehearsal dinner. Who will be paying for the rehearsal dinner? Find this out now so that does not get out of hand if you will be paying for that. Keep smiling no matter what and the day will be over before you know it. If you can afford it, take a vacation after the wedding.

    #759416 Reply

    It’s THEIR wedding. A guest list of 100 gets filled fast when you have a large family and friends. 10 extra guests, who I assume aren’t very close to the bride or groom seems like a lot. It’s also really expensive. Have they even met these people?
    This was your son’s decision just as much as it was his fiance’s.
    You are taking this extremely personally and are serious considering taking a stand against your son, because you didn’t get to invite ten extra guests to their wedding? You know how ridiculous and unreasonable this sounds, right? Well, it does.

    Calm down, take some deep breaths and consider what you want your future with your son and his wife to be like. Are your other children going to be there? Can you bring a plus one?

    #759429 Reply
    Guy Friday
    Guy Friday

    Along with everything everyone else said, which I echo, consider this: the wedding IS about them, and it SHOULD be their time to shine, but let’s be real and acknowledge that you’re going to get some of the spotlight too by virtue of being his mom. You’re going to walk your son down the aisle! You’re probably going to end up giving a speech if you want to. You may not know anyone going in, but there’s no way you’re going to be left alone there if you don’t want to be.

    When I got married, my mom and I were estranged and my dad had a medical issue that prevented him from coming to my wedding, so my grandparents took over the “groom’s family” duties, and they were the absolute hit of the festivities. My grandmother did shots with my groomsmen at the rehearsal dinner, and every pretty female friend I had kept asking my grandfather for dances at the reception because they loved how smooth on his feet he was. They were non-stop begged for stories about me growing up, and I found out years later that one of my friends got their address and added them to his Christmas card list. I’m not saying it’s guaranteed to happen that way, but you’re still going to be a mini-celebrity to the people who have met your son but not you, and while seeking it out would be tacky there’s nothing wrong with enjoying that a little if it comes to you!

    #759431 Reply

    Family and close friends of the bride and groom do have to take precedence over close friends of the mother of the groom. You said your family consisted of your children (plural). I assume they are invited to the wedding. Do you have a plus one you can invite — I doubt that would be refused.

    #759432 Reply

    Also, you say that you are divorced, so you don’t have family, except for your children. Your son does. I’m sure he counts his father as family and invited him — possibly an aunt/uncle/niece/nephew from his father’s side of your son’s fanily.

    #759439 Reply

    So I want to affirm your feelings here. I think it’s shitty that the invites seem so totally skewed to the brides family. No matter the size of the wedding, there should be basic parity between both sides. My family is much larger and closer than my husbands, but that didn’t mean I invited all of my family and only let him invite a few people. I had to cut some close family members out and he got to invite all his families plus friends so we each had about the same representation.

    So I totally valid your feelings. That said I don’t think you should say or do anything about this, particularly if they are paying for this wedding themselves. If you love and value the relationship with your son, you may want to just take this on the chin. Ultimately your son should’ve pushed back on his bride, he didn’t and that’s really too bad, but ultimately if you want to be part of their lives be the bigger person.

    #759444 Reply

    You say these are “a few very close friends I consider my true family,” but are they a part of your son’s life? I understand that these people are important to you, but it’s your son’s wedding not yours (and it sounds like they may be paying for it themselves) so he gets to decide who to invite. If he isn’t close to them, he can prioritize inviting people he is close to. And it doesn’t sound like the bride’s parents necessarily got to invite their friends either, and wedding guest lists can balloon out of control very easily, so it makes sense that they might have to cut out anyone who’s not important to them specifically or at least related. Maybe remember that your other children are invited and will hopefully be there, so unless you don’t have good relationships with them, you will have your people there.

    If you’re actually thinking of not going to the wedding (and that would be pretty extreme), be prepared to be cut out of their lives, including any potential grandchildren. Are your friends’ feelings over a wedding invite important enough to cut all ties with your son?

    #759449 Reply
    Northern Star

    Your son and his fiancee’s behavior is hurtful, especially if these are old family friends he’s known as honorary aunties and uncles his whole life. I say this because he asked for addresses, making you believe these people were invited- then backed out without even telling you. You can express your extreme disappointment to your son.

    But do you want to pay back bad behavior with truly awful behavior? Actually skipping your son’s wedding out of spite is potentially unforgivable. How would you feel if your own parent did something so shitty?

    Get over it and go to the wedding. Don’t feel obligated to pay for the rehearsal dinner since you have zero guests attending, if that makes you feel better.

    #759453 Reply

    I’m of two minds about this.

    Yes, it would be kind of the couple to invite some of your friends. More so if these people were close to your son while he was growing up. It’s unfortunate that after your son asked for their addresses, they decided not to invite them. I can understand why you’d be disappointed and a little hurt.

    That said…it’s their wedding, not yours, and I’m not understanding why you’re choosing to see this as an intentional attack on you, personally, that warrants the destruction of your relationship with your son. Because that’s what’s going to happen if you don’t go to his wedding. Your relationship will never recover. Is not getting your requested additions to the guest list really worth that?

    There are two ways you can choose to deal with this. You can joyfully celebrate your son’s marriage, enjoy the occasion with your other children, and take the opportunity to meet a whole new bunch of people that you are now related to through your son. You say you don’t have a family – well, hey, here’s a roomful of new family members!

    Or, you can see yourself as a victim of a horrific wrongdoing, and take your revenge by hurting and embarrassing your son on his wedding day. Thereby guaranteeing that everyone at the wedding will be whispering about you, and not in a nice way.”My god, his mother didn’t come? Why?” “Because she wanted them to invite 10 of her friends, and they didn’t have room.”

    High road, low road. Your choice.

    #759461 Reply
    Sad Future Mother-in-Law

    Thank you all for your comments. They gave me a lot to think about. I wanted to clarify a few points that came up in the comments. First of all, I will certainly be attending my son’s wedding. I think I said that in the heat of the moment. The reality is nothing could really make me miss it. And I will do my best to keep my hurt feelings to myself.

    The friends I’m talking about have been in my life for 35-50 years. My two children both know them all quite well but would not consider them surrogate aunts and uncles. They are both estranged from their father, also an only child, so my daughter and I will be my son’s only family members at the wedding. There are no aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., and I have no plus one. My son and his fiancee are paying for the wedding themselves; I am paying for their honeymoon. I don’t believe the bride’s family is able to contribute anything, which I totally understand.

    Again, thanks to all of you. You really helped me get over the hump about this.

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