General Etiquette > Life...in general

What's a wedding invite without family drama?

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TealDragon:
DF's mom's side of the family is difficult. I want to try to keep this brief, I am sorry if I fail. I'm not sure what's relevant and what I'm just overthinking. Many of these people are not very rational or etiqutte-y, from what I am told, if that influences your answers at all.

BG: There was a lot of unhappiness/abuse in that side of the family by DF's grandparents which resulted in a lot of anger and problems (mental illness, alcohol/drug problems, some criminal activity) for a lot of their children. When DF's grandparents were dying, no one wanted to do anything about it so DF's mom stepped up and took control over the situation and got the family's finances back in order and facilitated many members of her family going to jail/rehab/therapy as appropriate. She was apparently seen as controlling and selfish and difficult for this and much of her family cut off contact with her after the grandparents died. It's been many years, things are on the mend, everyone seems to want to patch things up and get along and it's been going well. DF's mom even went on a vacation with her sister this past summer after they did speak for almost 10 years.

Now: DF and I have just received a wedding invitation from his cousin Jack. Jack's dad is DF's mom's brother and they have the rockiest relationship at this point. We would very much love to go to the wedding because I've only met most of these people once and DF hasn't seen his cousins since he was pretty young and people have babies now and it's all just very exciting. However, the wedding isn't until July but the RSVP cards are due back by Christmas. In theory, this is fine with us, but I have had some serious health problems lately. There is simply no way to predict the state of my health in July. Most likely, I will be fine for a small trip (it's about three hours away), however with certain chronic conditions, flare ups are often unpredictable and severe and the medication leaves me in a permanently immunocompromised state. The invitation mentions dinner and dancing to follow at the reception location, however no options for food, so that makes me think that it's a buffet, which I cannot eat at. DF talked to his mom and she thinks we should just call Jack and explain and see if there is a plated option for those with health concerns, however we are all aware that Jack's dad still feels that DF's mom is difficult and demanding and I've never met him but I don't want to have him think of me that way forever over this or have him get angry that DF's mom and her part of the family are being selfish and special snowflakes and whatever all else. I really don't want to strain their relationship any further either.

We genuinely would love to go to this wedding, so while we realize that simply RSVPing no might be easiest, we want to try all other options first. DF and Jack were very close as little kids and haven't seen each other since they were in high school and DF's great grandmother is coming from Russia and seeing her frequently is something that does not get to happen, so we'd love to be able to go for that reason as well.

Which option sounds the best?

1. RSVP yes and call Jack and explain my health situation and that we can't really give a for sure answer. We can RSVP yes and as long as things are ok about a month out, I should be fine, but if an emergency situation pops up the week before, we'll have to deal with that and cancel but we have every intention of being there and if it turns out we can't, we'd of course give every possible bit of notice. And then ask about a special meal for me. This risks the discord it may or may not cause if his dad hears about it.
2. Assuming I can go and am healthy, eat before and after the wedding and maybe bring a light snack in my purse to eat in the bathroom or something but not actually eat at the reception (I have to eat frequently). This would be slightly unpleasant for me but worth it if it doesn't start a family feud.
3. Call my doctor and see if I can have a one time buffet exception (Oh how I'd love it if she'd say yes to this!). This is unlikely but would be easy and make me happy. :P
4.  Don't go, too much potential for problems (although DF's mom thinks that not going would actually present another set of problems in that they'd think we're refusing to go because we don't like them or some nonsense)
5. Other option?

RingTailedLemur:
I think you should RSVP yes, because you do intend to go and it's not rude to cancel at the last minute for something like serious illnes.

Eating before/after and having some snacks with you might be best as well.

Bethalize:
If you want to, accept the invitation but write that you have a medically restrictive diet which some people find strange so you will bring your own food. Say you prefer to do that as it's easier all around. It's not like you're doing it for fun, is it? People can bluster and blow but it's none of their beeswax.

Cancelling because you're unwell is allowed. However, I would make preparations for your DH to attend without you if possible, especially as it's his family. If DH is your nurse then of course that might be difficult but make what preparations you can. Would staying for a few days near the location be any help?

I do hope that you will (1) prioritise your own health needs properly (2) be assertive about what you need and give family the chance to make accommodations (3) ignore anyone who isn't kind towards you.

Two Ravens:
I would RSVP yes and then make plans to bring your own food/eat before you come, etc.

I would also have plans in place so that if you are not feeling well, that you husband can attend without you.

TurtleDove:
I'm curious what is about a buffet that would be automatically off limits? But yes, eat before or after and don't mention it to the HC at this point. RSVP yes and if you have to cancel, you do. But I wouldn't preemtively state you are RSVPing yes but probably won't be there and if you are you will need specially plated food. (I keep getting confused on this because it seems like it would be the same food as the buffet?)

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