Author Topic: Help...My husband won't go to his brother's wedding if our kids aren't invited!  (Read 25645 times)

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Iris

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My argument would be that an obligation can't exist one way.  If you day it exists it should exist both ways. If you say it doesn't exist on one side then it is unreasonable to hold the other side to it.

But it does exist both ways - it would send a very strong message to not invite your brother to your wedding and may well damage the relationship forever. Similarly we are saying that if you don't attend your brother's wedding without a very good reason then it sends a strong message and may well damage the relationship forever.

I'm trying to make this really clear so forgive me if I am a little long winded; Brother/brother is a different and usually much much closer relationship to uncle/nephew. I love my nieces dearly but I didn't grow up with them, they didn't share the ups and downs of my childhood and I don't turn to them in times of trouble. I don't have an adult relationship with them because they aren't adults. They really *don't* care about the state of my life, finances and marriage and they really shouldn't, because they're children. However if I was on the brink of divorce or struggling with debt or something I know my brothers would care and offer help if it were possible/relevant. If they didn't I'd be deeply hurt. Similarly attending my wedding (hypothetically, I'm already married) would only be a chance to dress up and go to a nice party, to my nieces. Attending my brother's wedding was a beautiful and moving occasion where I was overjoyed to see him so happy and deeply pleased to welcome my new SIL, who I love even when she drives me mad, into the family.

I hope this helps you see why to me, and perhaps other posters, not inviting a nephew is not even remotely comparable to staying home from a loved brother's wedding for no good reason other than to sulk over the guest list. That is why I, along with other posters, suspect there MUST be some kind of backstory.

ETA - typed all this up then read the update. Sounds like you have a plan in place, so good luck with it BrisVegasGirl.

"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

CakeEater

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My argument would be that an obligation can't exist one way.  If you day it exists it should exist both ways. If you say it doesn't exist on one side then it is unreasonable to hold the other side to it.

But it does exist both ways - it would send a very strong message to not invite your brother to your wedding and may well damage the relationship forever. Similarly we are saying that if you don't attend your brother's wedding without a very good reason then it sends a strong message and may well damage the relationship forever.

I'm trying to make this really clear so forgive me if I am a little long winded; Brother/brother is a different and usually much much closer relationship to uncle/nephew. I love my nieces dearly but I didn't grow up with them, they didn't share the ups and downs of my childhood and I don't turn to them in times of trouble. I don't have an adult relationship with them because they aren't adults. They really *don't* care about the state of my life, finances and marriage and they really shouldn't, because they're children. However if I was on the brink of divorce or struggling with debt or something I know my brothers would care and offer help if it were possible/relevant. If they didn't I'd be deeply hurt. Similarly attending my wedding (hypothetically, I'm already married) would only be a chance to dress up and go to a nice party, to my nieces. Attending my brother's wedding was a beautiful and moving occasion where I was overjoyed to see him so happy and deeply pleased to welcome my new SIL, who I love even when she drives me mad, into the family.

I hope this helps you see why to me, and perhaps other posters, not inviting a nephew is not even remotely comparable to staying home from a loved brother's wedding for no good reason other than to sulk over the guest list. That is why I, along with other posters, suspect there MUST be some kind of backstory.

ETA - typed all this up then read the update. Sounds like you have a plan in place, so good luck with it BrisVegasGirl.

Yes, exactly. Another poster mentioned 'immediate family'. Nephews aren't immediate family in the same way brothers are. They're immediate family to you but not to your brother.

Hunter-Gatherer

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Yes, exactly. Another poster mentioned 'immediate family'. Nephews aren't immediate family in the same way brothers are. They're immediate family to you but not to your brother.

I guess that's the difference for me.  I come from a very small family (I'm an only child and my parents have one sibling each, with my mother's brother only having two step-children).  To me, my mother's brother is considered "immediate family".  I've also been to more than one family wedding where no children were there, except for the children of the happy couple's siblings.  For me, Aunts/Uncles/Nieces/Nephews DO qualify as that same level of immediate family that are must-invites. 

I had absolutely no problem with it when I was invited invited to my second cousin's wedding and my son wasn't, even when it wasn't a completely child free wedding (the children of a first cousin of his with whom he is very close and who was in the wedding party were there).  Neither he nor the bride had any nieces or nephews yet.  On the other hand, if I had a sibling and they were to get married without inviting my child, I'd be bothered by that.    While you can say that "they just wanted a child free event" and it's perfectly true, it's also true that part of the decision making process of deciding on a child-free wedding is that it's just particularly important to you to share your life-changing event with any of the children who might have been invited.  It does send the message that none of the children in question are all that important to you, whether that's what you intended or not.  If, as the OP said, there are only 4 kids in question, and only two of them are really old enough to understand (her two), then yeah, I can see the father feeling hurt on their behalf, and not wanting to attend himself.

What I will say though is that I can definitely see where something like this would be different between large and small families.  If the bride and groom are each the youngest of six children and their combined siblings have 20+ kids between them, then the relationships are very different from what they are if there are only two or four nieces and nephews.  Of course, a lot also depends on the individual family dynamics, but for my, pretty small family, not inviting a niece or nephew to your wedding, no matter what the age would be considered a very bad thing.

My argument would be that an obligation can't exist one way.  If you day it exists it should exist both ways. If you say it doesn't exist on one side then it is unreasonable to hold the other side to it.

But it does exist both ways - it would send a very strong message to not invite your brother to your wedding and may well damage the relationship forever. Similarly we are saying that if you don't attend your brother's wedding without a very good reason then it sends a strong message and may well damage the relationship forever.

I'm trying to make this really clear so forgive me if I am a little long winded; Brother/brother is a different and usually much much closer relationship to uncle/nephew. I love my nieces dearly but I didn't grow up with them, they didn't share the ups and downs of my childhood and I don't turn to them in times of trouble. I don't have an adult relationship with them because they aren't adults. They really *don't* care about the state of my life, finances and marriage and they really shouldn't, because they're children. However if I was on the brink of divorce or struggling with debt or something I know my brothers would care and offer help if it were possible/relevant. If they didn't I'd be deeply hurt. Similarly attending my wedding (hypothetically, I'm already married) would only be a chance to dress up and go to a nice party, to my nieces. Attending my brother's wedding was a beautiful and moving occasion where I was overjoyed to see him so happy and deeply pleased to welcome my new SIL, who I love even when she drives me mad, into the family.

I hope this helps you see why to me, and perhaps other posters, not inviting a nephew is not even remotely comparable to staying home from a loved brother's wedding for no good reason other than to sulk over the guest list. That is why I, along with other posters, suspect there MUST be some kind of backstory.

ETA - typed all this up then read the update. Sounds like you have a plan in place, so good luck with it BrisVegasGirl.

I guess this is the difference for me.  My maternal uncle is 10 years younger than my mother and only 15 years older than me.  In many ways our relationship bears more similarities to that of siblings.  He also, for various reasons reasons that aren't really relevant to the discussion, didn't get married until he was in his late 40s, and when he did so, the ceremony was in my house, with me as the best man... so that probably explains at least a part of why I see that relationship as a more important one than a lot of other people seem to.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 11:04:51 PM by Hunter-Gatherer »

June24

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TBH I think not wanting to show up to your brother's wedding without your kids sends a heck of a lot stronger message than the brother/wife-to-be wanting a childfree wedding. The latter wouldn't even register in my family whereas the former would cause worry that a cut-direct was forthcoming (from the person who didn't show up on such feeble grounds. Everybody would assume there were bigger issues behind)

See, to me that seems so strange.  That you it could go one way but not the other.  To me it seems like a take but not give kind of approach/expectation.

It's because the two situations aren't remotely the same to me (or my family). Not going solely because you're upset your kids aren't invited (and not because lack of babysitting etc. is an issue) would be the nuclear reaction. This isn't just a random friend getting married - it's his brother. Assuming no other toxicity I have no understanding for the OP's husband's position.

Not inviting kids isn't even in the same ballpark. Chances are they'd be bored stiff anyway.

I completely disagree. I think it's exactly the same thing. This isn't just random people the brother is choosing the cut from the guest list - these are his nephews. And they're not so young that they can't understand or appreciate a wedding. At that age I would have been VERY disappointed to be excluded from my uncle's wedding, and it would have sent a strong message to me that my uncle didn't care about my presence. I attended my uncle's wedding when I was about 7 actually, and I have very vivid and happy memories (and pictures) of the wedding itself, the reception afterward, and seeing my uncle and his new wife dancing together for the first time. Of course the uncle can choose to exclude whomever he wants, but to say that excluding very close relatives (even if they are children) shouldn't have consequences doesn't make sense. It's difference for the 3-5 year olds because they may truly be too young to appreciate the wedding. But mist kids 8+ will be able to understand what's going on and have some idea of why it's an important and special moment.

HonorH

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My argument would be that an obligation can't exist one way.  If you day it exists it should exist both ways. If you say it doesn't exist on one side then it is unreasonable to hold the other side to it.

The problem is, not attending, in the OP's DH's case, would be a disproportionate response and would only escalate the situation. Not inviting children to a wedding is not an insult. Yes, it may create problems for some guests, and the HC must understand some will be unable to come because of their decision. That's consequences in action.

The DH, though, is threatening to not attend in order to punish the HC when they've done nothing wrong--assuming, of course, that the OP's hunch is correct and children won't be invited. It won't cause them any inconvenience, as childcare isn't an issue. The DH is talking about refusing to attend purely out of, basically, anger that the brother didn't do things the way he wanted them to do. A wedding isn't just any event, either. It's full of meaning and emotion. So, if the DH doesn't attend, the brother will be hurt, and their relationship will be impacted. It may not stop there, either, as these things tend to get the rest of the family involved.

So, basically, we have two paths this could take if the brother doesn't invite the kids:

1.) DH is miffed, but puts up and shuts up and attends anyway. Life goes on.

2.) DH is miffed and refuses to attend. Brother is even more upset because DH isn't there for his once-in-a-lifetime event. Other family members weigh in on one side or the other. relationships are impacted.

Option 2 escalates the situation. It takes the it from the brother doing something that DH doesn't like to DH doing something that will wound his brother deeply. And that's what DH needs to be aware of before he does something he may well later regret.
William wondered why he always disliked people who said "no offense meant." Maybe it was because they found it easier to say "no offense meant" than actually to refrain from giving offense.

--Terry Pratchett, The Truth

johelenc1

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I just want to be sure I'm clear - the invitation has not actually been sent yet - correct?  You are just thinking that the kids might not be invited and hubby has decided to go ballistic if they aren't.

I'd liked the advice on page one - husband needs to get over himself. 

My second piece of advice would be to you, OP.  When the invite arrives and if kids aren't on it (or if hubby brings it up before then), I would simply tell him, "ok.  Fine.  Don't go.  I'm going to see your brother get married and I'm going to have a great weekend.  You can have a great time taking care of the kids.  And, Hub, I would start thinking now about what you are going to tell your mom, dad and mostly your brother as to why you aren't there."  Then I would shrug and walk away and refuse to discuss it.

This is your husband's issue.  If he really decides not to go, he can figure out how to explain it.  The only way I would put my foot down is if he tries to guilt trip or blackmail (I'm not coming unless....) his brother into letting the kids come.  In fact, I would do everything possible to make that not happen.  If hubby mentioned he was going to call brother and ask, I'd call first and tell him not to dare let hubby guilt trip him. 

This is just me.  I would have no tolerance for my husband behaving like this.  Not would I let him drag the kids somewhere they aren't invited.  I'd be willing to go to the mat to make my point that he's acting like a buffoon and brother has the right to have a child free wedding - especially if the child free part may be entirely because the location is not child friendly.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 11:36:08 PM by johelenc1 »

Sharnita

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I guess I don't see "I'd rather not go if the kids aren't going to go" as going ballistic.  DH hasn't called his brother and said anything.  He hasn't tried to involve his parents.  He hasn't threatened to do any of these things.  He has indicated his intention do decline.  I don't see that as going ballistic, I don't see it as trying to dictate who they invite, I don't really see it as escalation.  He isn't  talking about trying to guilt them into changing their mind or anything else people do in many of the stories we read here.  He is talking about deciding whether to accept or decline what is still an invitation, regardless of the fact that it is extended by his brother. And his reasons for declining shouldn't matter because a host would be boorish for demanding an excuse, would they not?

June24

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But then shouldn't the HC also be able to handle it if people, even family decline the invite?  I actually agree that people should accept not being invited, I just don't get how it wouldn't work the other way as well.  If the family shouldn't read into the invites then why should the HC read into the responses?  I do think the OP has a say.  I mentioned that she could go even if her DH wanted to stay home.
Couldn't agree more.

Aeris

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As a *host* I wouldn't generally expect an explanation for a decline. As a *sister*, I would dang well want to know why my brother wasn't coming to my wedding.

LifeOnPluto

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I've been thinking some more about this issue.

If it's regular practice for the OP's DH's family to invite kids to every event, including weddings, then having an "adults only" wedding is admittedly a radical departure from that norm. As such, I think it would be polite for the OP's BIL to offer a brief explanation as to why he and his fiancee have decided not to invite his nephews to their wedding. Then based on that explanation, the OP's DH can decide how he wants to proceed.

That said, my opinion still stands that the BIL and his fiancee are NOT rude in wishing to have a child-free wedding. But excluding kids where they'd normally be invited, without any explanation, does seem a little "off".

Allyson

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I think it depends on how your husband is acting about it, too. If it's, "I'd rather not go if they aren't invited" and he's going to talk to his brother and nonjudgmentally explain that he only wants to go to events if the kids are included, that's one thing. But if he's going to lash out at brother, or do it to make a point that your brother is Wrong to have a no-kid ceremony, I don't think that's a good idea.

I get scared to ever have a wedding/big event, because of all the inadvertant offenses and 'sending a message' that can happen.

Firecat

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I've been thinking some more about this issue.

If it's regular practice for the OP's DH's family to invite kids to every event, including weddings, then having an "adults only" wedding is admittedly a radical departure from that norm. As such, I think it would be polite for the OP's BIL to offer a brief explanation as to why he and his fiancee have decided not to invite his nephews to their wedding. Then based on that explanation, the OP's DH can decide how he wants to proceed.

That said, my opinion still stands that the BIL and his fiancee are NOT rude in wishing to have a child-free wedding. But excluding kids where they'd normally be invited, without any explanation, does seem a little "off".

I think, though, that it's also important to consider and remember that the norms of the bride's family may be very different. Maybe in her family, the norm is that weddings are adult events, and so the couple has decided to go by that. Or maybe the brother has never really liked the "kids come to everything" model, and so has decided that he doesn't want to do it that way. Either way, I don't think the couple is doing anything wrong, and I think the DH is WAY out of line and, as previous posters have stated, needs to get over himself. 

gollymolly2

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As a *host* I wouldn't generally expect an explanation for a decline. As a *sister*, I would dang well want to know why my brother wasn't coming to my wedding.

Totally agree.

Sharnita, I don't think your argument about dual expectations really applies here. I could see if they were equivalent actions.  Declining an invitation to your brothers wedding when theres no logistical/practical reason you can't go is a BIG deal. Hosting an all adult wedding (even though it has the unfortunate side effect of excluding your nephews) is not a BIG deal or a statement or whatever. They're not equivalent actions.

If the groom had instead invited some children, but explicitly excluded the nephews, then I could see it rising to the level of BIG deal, and we could start talking about dual obligations. But to skip a wedding because you don't agree with the hosting choices? Seems a bit over the top to me.

 I doubt if I skipped my sisters wedding because it's a dry wedding and I find those to be boring, anyone here would argue that she had to accept my decision as a normal and socially acceptable consequence of her choices, which is what you seem to be suggesting is the case here.

Sophia

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If my BIL had skipped our wedding it would have been a HUGE hairy deal, and he lives maybe 1000 miles away.  If he'd had a reasonable reason for not coming then no problem.  But because he was in a snit?  HUGE!  I do think snit is the right word. 

drzim

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I'm kind of shocked at some of the responses here....how many times have I read "an invitation is not a summons"?  The HC has a right to plan the wedding they want, but that does not mean guests, even family members, are obligated to attend.  Why should the OP's DH have to suck it up and deal?
Why can't he just simply decline the invitation? If the groom calls his brother and demands an explanation as to why they aren't going, then he is the rude one in my book.

I know in this particular situation, the OP stated that it was not a problem to get a sitter.  But that is often a problem with family weddings when all of the family members who usually act as sitters are attending the wedding.  Destination weddings involving significant travel can also make it hard for family members to attend.  But the HC makes their choice: certain aspects of their wedding will make it difficult/impossible for certain family members to attend, and they have to live with those consequences.  One of which is accepting declines politely.

Maybe I am just biased because we missed my BIL's wedding due to the fact that they decided not to invite our DD's, then 11 and 9.  Because the wedding was during a busy time for DH and I at our respective jobs, we couldn't take extra time off and would have to fly in and out just for the weekend.  We were planning on going, we started setting aside $$ for the plane tickets.  MIL made the mistake of mentioning the upcoming wedding
to the DDs and they were excited (not out of malice--she assumed wrongly that they would be invited).  DH's other brother had gotten married, as well as his cousin, and the DDs were included both times.  DH's other brother had actually had an adult only wedding, but they made an exception for their nieces and nephews.

So, we were a bit surprised when the DDs weren't invited.  We didn't have anyone to babysit them for the entire weekend, so we declined.  DH's brother was confused.  Of course we had to come!  It was his wedding!  He understood that we couldn't just leave the kids at home by themselves all weekend, but he didn't understand why we wouldn't pay for 4 plane tickets to fly the whole family in, then leave the kids at MIL's condo.  Of course everyone he knew would be at the wedding, so he couldn't recommend a babysitter.  DH called his other brother, who lived locally, to see what arrangements they had made for their kids.  It turned out that his kids were invited, because they were acting as the ring bearer and flower girl.  DH was miffed, so we ended up sending a gift and regrets.

The most ironic thing is that DH and I actually had an adult only wedding ourselves.  There were no kids there except DH's brother who was 11 at the time......yes we made an exception for him because he was family, and MIL and FIL were flying in from out of town and would have no access to a babysitter.