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Author Topic: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama  (Read 17859 times)

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gellchom

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2016, 12:26:25 PM »


That said, I do agree it's odd that (a) the fiancee didn't know the name of the SIL; and (b) her sisters' husbands and children weren't invited to the restaurant for the engagement announcement.

Yeah, I think there is a lot of background going on here that frame the OP. That's why I prefer to read questions on ehell because the OP can then respond to questions, whereas those write-in questions sometimes create more questions for the readers. It sounds like there was probably some previous weirdness with either the son or the son's fiance which is clouding the way the family is reacting to the wedding.

This is how I feel, too.  I definitely agree that the family went too far in refusing to attend, and were at the very least pushy in trying to be included in the wedding party and have the children there.

But.

I also wonder what made them have such an enormous overreaction -- it doesn't excuse them for having it, but it puzzles me.  Many people in their situation, especially in families where siblings and siblings-in-law are customarily attendants and closely related children are involved, would be very surprised and disappointed, perhaps offended or humiliated, even.  Maybe they would ask something like "are you sure you can't included your niece and nephew?," not to say that that would be okay, but not so strange.

But to refuse to come to the wedding over this?  Your own child's/sibling's wedding?  It seems incongruous for it to be so important to them that they insist on being included and that they'd be willing be to skip it entirely.

There is something else going on here that we don't know, I strongly suspect.  I wonder how the HC communicated their decisions.


Twik

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2016, 01:28:11 PM »
People are strange about weddings. I had a relative who eloped, coming back a week later to announce she and her boyfriend had gotten married. His sister engaged in the Cut Direct for nearly a year, because "I'd always dreamed of being a bridesmaid at my brother's wedding, because he's so important to me."

So important ... that you stop talking to him because of the wedding he chose. Yep, makes sense.  :o
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Elisabunny

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2016, 01:31:26 PM »
People are strange about weddings. I had a relative who eloped, coming back a week later to announce she and her boyfriend had gotten married. His sister engaged in the Cut Direct for nearly a year, because "I'd always dreamed of being a bridesmaid at my brother's wedding, because he's so important to me."

So important ... that you stop talking to him because of the wedding he chose. Yep, makes sense.  :o

And somehow I think that's why he chose to elope.
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ladyknight1

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2016, 01:44:55 PM »
People are strange about weddings. I had a relative who eloped, coming back a week later to announce she and her boyfriend had gotten married. His sister engaged in the Cut Direct for nearly a year, because "I'd always dreamed of being a bridesmaid at my brother's wedding, because he's so important to me."

So important ... that you stop talking to him because of the wedding he chose. Yep, makes sense.  :o

And somehow I think that's why he chose to elope.


My father's family did not accept my mother or their children because my parents eloped.

I know of several families that consider child free weddings to be odd and would not be happy with them, but I doubt they would say anything about it.
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gellchom

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2016, 03:12:58 PM »
Three years ago, my brother and brother-in-law got married at the courthouse in their city (which is thousands of miles from the rest of the family).  They went with another couple who were getting married, too, and were each other's witnesses.  No one else.

They called and told our mom the night before, and of course she offered to jump on a plane, but they told her nope.  They told me the next day by texting a photo with some caption that I forget but that made it obvious it was a wedding photo -- it wasn't "Here come the grooms!" but something like that.

We (Brother, BIL, Mom, my DH and our grown kids and I) are all very close and have great relationships -- we are super lucky, I know.  And of course we were all disappointed!  We would have loved to have had a fun wedding and participated -- I am pretty sure that if they had had a BWW, my DH would have officiated and I would have been Brother's honor attendant, if, at their age (60ish), they would have had any.  I would have loved that.  I would have traveled to Mars for their wedding.  I would have paid for and hosted a wedding, any kind they wanted, for them.  I know we all felt that way. 

But were we angry?  Not a bit!  We understood why they did it the way they did (had to do with BIL's family and the fact that if BIL -- wonderful but let's face it rather obsessive BIL -- started planning a wedding, he would never finish and it would never happen).  We were disappointed but not offended or hurt.  I still secretly hope that sometime, maybe on our next family vacation, we can have a little wedding -- they haven't had a Jewish wedding yet, so ....  :)  But I certainly don't expect it.  So all the more so, if there had been a wedding but he didn't have me as an attendant, as disappointed as I'd be -- there is no one in the world for whom it would mean more to me -- it would never occur to me to boycott the wedding.

Of course, when I spoke to him (immediately upon receiving the text, of course), he was very sweet and said he knew we'd be disappointed and was sorry, but he knew we understood and wanted them to do it the way that worked for them.  He didn't say, "Why are you trying to make this all about you?  It's our wedding!  You have no right to try to tell us what to do!"

I'm telling my family's story because that is why I think that there simply must be more to this story.  Where the relationships are good, and the decisions are communicated in a kind and respectful way, acknowledging and caring about the other people's feelings, people might be disappointed, but they get over it. 

No one is saying not to do exactly what you want.  But usually you can find a way to do it that makes others feel valued and loved, in which case they are much less likely to overreact.  Which is why I suspect there is more to this story.

lmyrs

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2016, 03:48:20 PM »
And, I suspect that the more to the story is that the Letter Writer is a constant and incurable boundary stomper who can't tolerate not getting her own way. If you are wondering why I interpret it that way it is from the part where she discusses the Engagement Announcement dinner.

Quote
When we were invited to a restaurant, we did not realise they were going to announce their engagement.


Quote
There was some awkwardness when my daughter arrived with both our son-in-law and children and her mother-in-law, as they had been out together that day.
My son’s fiancee didn’t know my son-in-law’s name when she introduced him to her family. We were mortified.


Quote
My son’s fiancee and her family seemed completely bewildered and her mother asked who my son-in-law’s mother was and why did she think she was invited?
The engagement was announced and they were all cheering. We were happy, as we do like our son’s fiancee — but still shell-shocked by the exclusion of half our family.


Those are the pieces I picked out, not the entire letter.

But, the LW was invited with her husband and daughter. It does not say who issued the invitation, but it was not known to the LW that this was an announcement. Seems she thought it was just dinner. But, it isn't up to her to decide that her daughter's MIL is part of a social unit with her, her DH, her daugther, SIL and grandchildren. I actually agree that the SIL should have been invited to the restaurant. But, given that he wasn't, why would the LW think that his children and mother should be included? Especially since the fiancee didn't even know SIL's name, why would she know his mother, for Pete's sake. Boundary stomping entitlement is the only explanation.

The fiancee's mother could have been more tactful, but really I would be wondering the exact same thing if my BIL's parents rocked into an event that I was having for my family.

CocoCamm

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2016, 03:51:12 PM »
The whole story is bizarre. Who has a family dinner to announce an engagement and doesn't invite spouses of the siblings? Kids, ok, maybe this is an ongoing theme that this couple prefers not to attend events with children.

I can also see how at first it must be hurtful to realize that not only is your brothers choosing kids other then his neice and nephew to be in the wedding party but that your kids aren't invited at all. But one would think in a normal family this hurt could he overcome with a conversation about feelings and expectations.

I agree the fallout is such that it makes you wonder what's really going on here.

TootsNYC

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2016, 04:46:17 PM »
If your son wants his wedding to be an infant-free zone, that doesn’t make him a nasty person, just a normal man who wants his mum and dad to focus on him for once, and not be fussing over his sister or her kids.

I think this line is key. I suspect that the LW has a habit of fawning all over her DD, SIL and grandchildren at family events, to the exclusion of her son. I think it's perfectly reasonable of him to want just one day where he and his Bride (and not the grandkids) are the centre of attention.

That said, I do agree it's odd that (a) the fiancee didn't know the name of the SIL; and (b) her sisters' husbands and children weren't invited to the restaurant for the engagement announcement.

I agree. I bet these grandparents are really, really enmeshed w/ those grandkids:
Quote
my son has said that he doesn’t want to look around on his wedding day and see me holding a baby or his father being clambered on.

I have forgotten a family member's last name, in the moment. It was embarrassing. If the bride hasn't heard the last name often, it can slip your mind. And maybe it's just never, ever come up! I meet cousin's boyfriends all the time as "Larry," and nobody tells me their last name. If the groom handled the inviting of his own family, maybe there wasn't any occasion on which it came up.

But I think it was only the mother-in-law that was "not invited," bcs the mother of the bride said, "why did she think she was invited?" and there was no mention of "why did the husband think he was invited." Though maybe kids hadn't been expected (again, no mention specifically)

Mopsy428

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2016, 08:54:23 PM »
My mother-in-law thought that my [then fiance's] brother's in-laws should be invited to our wedding. My husband kept hemming and hawing until I finally said, "Our guest list has exceeded the limit as it is. They did not make the cut."

(My mother-in-law was exhausting when it came to the guest list. She didn't seem to comprehend that it was OUR day, not hers, so we were not inviting her other son's in-laws, her college roommates (that neither of us had met), or the couple that lived next door to them in 1984.  :o )

hopeful4

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2016, 10:41:29 AM »
WOW!  My guess is, daughter has been spoiled rotten by her parents all her life.  What a drama queen she is! I would say that, after the engaged couple, I feel sorry for the daughter's husband but I wonder if he is not also just as entitled. Brining his mother to the restaurant?  I wonder why he could not drop her off before dinner?  And the father being so 'humiliated' that his grandchildren aren't invited  that he may not attend his own son's wedding?  Well, I guess we know where the drama queen/entitlement gene came from!

Bert

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2016, 12:45:39 PM »
My takeaway from this is that when people throw a wedding, and want it to be child free, they get all kinds of grief from people with kids because they have to find child care.

So this couple throws a dinner to announce their engagement and don't want kids there, so they don't invite spouses of brothers and sisters, so that the couples don't have to find child care, and they still get grief for it.

Darned if they do, darned if they don't.

Also, If letter writer can't understand why the hosting couple didn't want what I count as 6 extra people at the restaurant for the engagement announcement, then clearly she is not the one making reservations or paying the bills.

I always get a real bad vibe from the type of people who can't understand that if you start saying "well just this extra person and their kids, oh and their mom", these events can turn into a circus really quickly. 

Luci

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2016, 02:09:58 PM »
I do sort of understand why the grandparents wanted the grandkids at the wedding, and of course I wouldn't have attended the engagement party without my husband, even my own family dinner. If DB has his SO there, then my DH or even SO will come if I do. I don't understand why the other MIL was expected to be included at all. We frequently include DIL's parents at our family get togethers when we are hosting, but never expect them to be included when other families are hosting. In fact, in this case, I would be expecting her to be the sitter for both events.

Mostly I don't understand how the parents of the groom expected to have any say in the guest list and reacted so strongly to the couple's choice of childfree. We just simply shrugged and got a sitter or declined the invitation with no reason. Certainly we never questioned the, let alone make a fuss about it. And write the newspaper about it! Goodness.

lmyrs

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2016, 02:34:14 PM »
You know I just reread the original letter and 2 things struck me:

1. She imagined she’d be a bridesmaid, that her little boy would be a page and her husband at least an usher.

The sister's grand dreams do not take into account the 10 month baby at all. Where would this baby be while she was doing bridesmaid duties and her DH was doing usher duties (at least - maybe groomsman duties). Especially since the little boy page would be getting ready with one or the other. Where does the 10 month old go during the ceremony? On the altar?

2. There is no indication that the SIL was not invited to the engagement announcement. She claims that the bride's brothers in law were not invited and that may or may not be true (they could have just chosen not to attend). But even if I take her at face value, she never once says that her own SIL was not invited. Only that his mother was not invited. So, while she may not believe that the husbands should have been excluded, it's fine. No one tried to exclude any husbands from her side. They only expressed surprise that an invite for 2 adults seemed to include those 2 adults plus 2 children and an extra adult. If the SIL chose to leave as a result of feeling bad that he added 3 extra people to an invite with no prior notice, then good. He should feel bad.

gellchom

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2016, 02:36:22 PM »
I also see how they would feel.  And I think that the letter writer did, too.  This appears to be yet another of someone trying to win their point by reframing a relationship/family issue as an etiquette issue -- in this case making the question "whether it is okay to have a child-free wedding, and if you do, are people wrong to fuss about it?" to which of course the answer is yes. 

But that's not what's going on here, is it?  This couple is in fact including other children, in fact as attendants IIRC, but not even inviting the groom's niece and nephew.  I can certainly understand the groom's family having feelings about that.

Double or triple that if in this family children, especially such closely related ones, are customarily included in weddings.

As to wanting to include the other in-laws, well, no one really has the right to expect that.  But in many families it wouldn't be all that unusual to include them, depending upon the type of event.  And they may have misunderstood the nature and importance of this event, especially if they didn't realize it was going to include an engagement announcement, when they asked. 

Certainly excluding spouses, if that's what happened, is a much clearer etiquette lapse, and for such a major event, particularly rude -- what was the point?  Pretty ironic, in fact.  And I can see feeling stung at the bride's forgetting her future SIL's (is that right?) name.  This is her fiance's sister, not some family neighbor she just met.

My point isn't to say who is right and who is wrong -- which doesn't matter -- just that there are a few little facts that support the suspicion that there is a lot more going on here that would explain the big overreaction.

lmyrs

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2016, 02:43:27 PM »
All spouses were included in the wedding and there is no indication from the LW that her family's spouses were excluded from the dinner. She never once says that they were. She says that the bride's sisters' spouses were excluded. Not her daughter's spouse.

Maybe they made their age cut off 5. Or 7. Or 10. The LW never tells us the age of the kids that are in the bridal party - just that they are older than her grandchildren.

I don't think it matters how important you think an event is. If I am invited to a fancy 10 course meal or a backyard BBQ, I am not hauling my MIL and children along unless they've been invited.