It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Dad’s Side,” a woman whose father was excluded to the wedding of longtime family friends after his infidelities and subsequent divorce. “My dad is much closer to the bride’s family,” she wrote, “than either my mom, sister, or I [who have been invited].” She wondered whether it would be OK if she asked the bride why her dad didn’t score an invite. Keep reading to see whether she did and what the answer was.
Thank you so much, Wendy, for your thoughtful advice. It really helped to get the opinion of an outsider (whom I tend to agree with) as to how to proceed.
Before I give my update, I want to clarify that the bride explicitly wrote in an e-mail to me only, “We have just invited you, [your sister] and your mum, in case you were wondering.” The rest of her e-mail was her following-up to ensure I received accommodation information.
I thought very carefully about how to respond to her and also asked advice from my sister and some trusted friends as well. In the end, I responded to the gist of: “Thank you for going out of your way to personally send me accommodations information; many brides would not be so thoughtful! I’m surprised my dad is not invited, but respect your and your fiance’s decision. Right now I’m still sorting out logistics but will RSVP soon and hope I’m able to make it. Where are you registered?”
I received a reply a few days later saying that she understood from her family that it might be easier for me, my sister, and my mom to attend if he wasn’t there. She apologized for causing any offense and that it wasn’t her intention. The bride and I have not discussed my dad’s non-invite since. My interpretation of this is that she doesn’t know about my dad’s cheating but that her family does and they made this call on their own. My family of four has no problem interacting (mostly), and will be doing so at my upcoming graduation (I’m in grad school). In my opinion, in their effort to be overly sensitive, they made things worse.
In the end, I decided to go to the wedding! Yay! The timing worked out well for me with some other travel I am doing after my graduation, so I just tacked this on to that larger trip. I’m really excited and can’t wait to see the bride and her family. It looks like my mom and sister will not be able to attend.
After booking my travel, I called my dad to tell him about my travel plans and briefly mentioned that I’ll be stopping in the UK for the wedding. He asked me when it was and I told him the date, but also told him a couple times that he should contact the bride’s father (whom he is close with) about details. That conversation was about two weeks ago, and, wlthough my dad and I have spoken since then, the wedding has not come up.
I also loved the commenters’ advice and speculation, especially from those who suggested that my dad had had an affair or had hit on the bride or bride’s mother: This made me (and my sister) laugh out loud! We can assure you this is not the case. This is a great community, and I really felt sympathized with in dealing with this awkward situation. Thanks.
Thanks for the update. Have fun on your trip!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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MMcG April 8, 2013, 2:10 pm
Great update! this is why I think that people shouldn’t project what people may or may not feel comfortable with when making invites… unless they know for absolute certainty because often times no one knows what is going on within a family or during a divorce. It allow people to be adults and chose for themselves what they would or would not care to participate in… don’t make the choice for them (that in this case turns out to be the wrong assumption).
GatorGirl April 8, 2013, 2:17 pm
I agree. My mom called the other day to say she thinks a couple on our guest list seperated. My response was “I’m sending the invite to them as a married couple, to their house they own and they can figure it out themselves. I’m not gettin invovled.”
painted_lady April 8, 2013, 3:46 pm
That’s such a good call – nothing else, if all your mom has heard is rumors, they may not be ready to let people know. And your mom’s instincts are so sweet, but I kind of feel like when people work really hard at not making it awkward, that makes it more so.
GatorGirl April 8, 2013, 3:53 pm
All she has heard is a rumor from a mutual friend. Gossip really. So yeah, I’m not sticking my nose in their mess (or lack of mess).
sarita_f April 8, 2013, 4:06 pm
I’m with you ladies on this. If someone doesn’t invite me to something, I assume it’s because they don’t want me there. If they’re trying to spare me some kind of heartbreak about whether to attend or not, then they’re already too much into my business (or think they are). Don’t try to make decisions for me, I’m an adult!
That said, I do have friends that seem to think an invitation is some kind of summons and get bent out of shape about being invited to things! And then they’ll make guest lists based on who they think can and can’t (or probably won’t) attend something. They left me out of several things that I would have wanted to go to, but once I understood how they see invitations I stopped feeling sad about our friendship and called them out on it. We hashed it out and we all invite each other and don’t take anything very personally. Some of my best, closest friends now.
Lindsay April 8, 2013, 4:20 pm
“That said, I do have friends that seem to think an invitation is some kind of summons and get bent out of shape about being invited to things!”
Yes! I have a friend who is freaking out because she’s in major credit card date and just got an invite to an out-of-state wedding of a friend from high school. I told her that if she can’t go, she can’t go, but she kept telling me that the bride is going to be really upset. The bride probably has 80 other guests, she’ll be OK!
katie April 8, 2013, 2:29 pm
yes!! i totally called it!!!
bethany April 8, 2013, 3:06 pm
Wait- in the original letter she said they were divorcing because of her dad’s infidelities– We didn’t just assume he had had an affair, you told us that.
Other than that, good update!
lets_be_honest April 8, 2013, 3:09 pm
Some guessed he’d had an affair with the bride’s mom, which apparently wasn’t the case.
Lindsay April 8, 2013, 3:19 pm
Good update. Not that it matters, but I’d guess the bride does know about the affair and just was being polite. I just assume that her family wouldn’t just cryptically tell her not to invite the dad with no explanation.
painted_lady April 8, 2013, 3:53 pm
Yeah, there’s really not a civil way to say, “I didn’t want it to be painful to see him after he ripped your family apart by boffing some other woman.”
Either way, though, this is a good lesson in not assuming what other people are comfortable with for them. What if LW hadn’t been aware of her dad’s infidelity? The uninvite might have raised some questions. Or if they were/are trying to keep all of the grisly details quiet, then everyone has that panic where you think someone might know something you don’t want them to know, and you can’t find out for sure unless you risk telling them yourself. Just…good intentions don’t necessarily mean that the best course of action is taken.