One of the most stressful components of wedding planning is writing the guest list. Chances are you’re dealing with a budget, needing to get everyone in a certain size venue, and juggling spots for friends alongside family invitees. So how can this get any more stressful? Try having guests giving you the guilt trip for inviting people they don’t want there, like Miss A has had…
I’m wondering what I should do in the following situation. My uncle has recently broken up with my Aunty after around 40 years of marriage. My Aunty is my dad’s sister.
My Aunty has asked (via my mum) that we do not invite my uncle to the wedding and threatened not to come herself if we do. I am sad she has asked this of us as it puts us in an awkward situation where we either seriously offend him or her. I also think it’s a matter for my Aunty and Uncle to decide between them (who comes to the wedding).
My parents have said that I should be loyal to my Aunty as he chose to break up with her and they will be very disappointed if we invite him and my Aunty doesn’t come. Please help!
Oh honey – yikes. What an awful situation your Aunty has put you in. Of course your Aunty is going to feel anxious about your wedding – potentially the first big family event since the split. But she’s asking you something that’s completely inappropriate, and blackmailing you with her attendance. Yikes.
The thing is, chances are your Uncle wouldn’t attend. He’ll be on enemy territory, so to speak – him against his ex-wife and her tribe of in-laws. So your Aunty is overreacting.
I put this problem to the Southern Bride community, to see what reactions the other lovely ladies there would have. Everyone recommended that Miss A invite them both. Here’s a selection of their advice:
This is your wedding if you want your uncle there invite him. They have been married for 40 years so I imagine he has been as much a part of your life as she has been – Latasha
That’s rude. I think it’s up to you at the end of the day as its YOUR wedding! Invite them both and tell your Aunty she should never have put you in this situation and they are adults and if one of them decides not to come it is not your fault and tell you parents that too remind them whose wedding it is.. – Paula
Send the invites to both and let them figure out what they are going to do. Surely they can be adults for one night – it is not your problem, although I do understand how difficult the situation is for you. Stand Strong!! – Carly
Invite them both and let them both know that you understand it might be hard due to their current situation but that you want both of then to be part of your day as they have both impacted your life and then it’s up to them to decide if they come or not – Nic
What can you do about a guilting guest?
This, unfortunately, is not an uncommon problem. Parents who’ve split, siblings who are fighting, friends who fell out – unfortunately this tactic of holding their attendance hostage is all too common. So what can you do about it? Swap out the names in Miss A’s situation if you’re struggling too:
The fact Aunty asked your Mum to approach you demonstrates she’s a bit embarrassed and probably recognises it’s an unreasonable request to place on you. If you can stomach it, I’d talk to her directly about it:
“Aunty, I understand you don’t want to attend the wedding, that’s your choice. It would mean a lot to me if you did come, and I’d love to have you there. But I can’t make that decision for you.”
What you don’t want to do, is be mean or make her feel bad. Taking the higher road will pay off once she’s had time to ponder how immature her request is. This statement also demonstrates that your decision is final, and not something she can debate. It also shows that you love and support her, and also will respect whatever decision she makes about attending. If she ultimately decides to stick to her guns, and not attend – so be it. You shouldn’t be bullied into your guest list.
What happens if your invitation-hostage-taker is paying the wedding bill?
If your parents are helping pay for the wedding, and they’re putting their foot down about inviting certain people… there’s not much you can do about it. It’s one of the comprimises you have to make when you cead control of your wedding’s finances.
This can make things really awkward if they’re trying to stop you invite a parent (their ex-spouse) or a close friend. You need to decide whether you can afford to shut them out of the decision making by paying for the wedding yourself. It’s a tough one.
Have you been in this situation before? I would love to hear how it has played out for you. If you have any advice for Miss A or anyone else in this situation, please leave a comment below.