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Author Topic: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama  (Read 18008 times)

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Chez Miriam

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #75 on: September 06, 2016, 11:06:37 AM »
I think if you read just the first few paragraphs of the letter you will see, "My daughter won’t stop crying and refuses to go. She imagined she’d be a bridesmaid, that her little boy would be a page and her husband at least an usher."

In other words, she planned her brother's wedding with her and her family as stars. Now she's peeved and making trouble because nobody is meeting her expectations. Not only are they not involved directly in the wedding, but their children are banned as well. Sadly, nobody has sat her down and explained to her that her expectations were entirely unreasonable and her fantasies weren't any one else's responsibility. She had her wedding. She got to be the star. She doesn't get a 2nd bite at that apple.
POD
She got to have her special day, and now she gets to have her brother's special day, too.

She does sound a proper little princess.  The letter says "My daughter won’t stop crying and refuses to go."  I bet she'd change that immediately if she was bridesmaid/her son was a page/her husband was an usher.  And dear old dad/grandad?  I suspect that's where Princess gets her entitlement from!

I know there are two sides to every story, but as the LW is presenting her 'side' I wonder what this looks like from the groom/bride/MOB's perspective?
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."  - Julian of Norwich

sammycat

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #76 on: September 06, 2016, 06:30:39 PM »
This isn't about the sister. Or her kids. This is a man s saying "this I s how our wedding is going to be". The sister is all "but what about *****my***** plans for your wedding?" That alone tells me neither the parents nor the sister care about the groom.

I agree.  Sister has had her wedding, presumably exactly as she wanted (I'd be shocked if she'd compromised on anything, or at least anything involving her brother). Now it's her brother's turn, and sister and parents need to butt out.

The parents look like they're doing an excellent job of making sure they're not going to see much of their son and DIL, plus any future grandkids, with this attitude.

artk2002

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #77 on: September 07, 2016, 12:57:41 PM »
If any messages are being sent, they're being sent by the parents and sister. The groom has really asked that they pay attention to him on one day and they're sending the message that his sister and her kids are more important.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

gellchom

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #78 on: September 07, 2016, 02:00:45 PM »
I understand that the HC should be able to have their wedding their way.

But I don't understand all the condemnation of the sister and parents for their feeling hurt at the exclusion of niece and nephew, even though other children will be included.  Yes, absolutely, they overreacted; I just mean characterizing them as "trying to make Brother's wedding all about them."

I mean, suppose Brother and Bride decided to invite Sister but not her husband?  What if the children (let's say they were twins to keep age out of it) and he invited one but not the other?  Or only those relatives they thought would look attractive in their photos?  Or insisted on serving only food to which some of them are violently allergic?  Or held the wedding in an inaccessible venue even though Dad is in a wheelchair?  Or gratuitously chose a date that would be impossible for a sibling to attend (like their own wedding day) when it would be just as easy to choose another?  If Sister and Parents were upset by something like that, would they be "trying to make Brother's wedding all about them"?

Yes, I know, the difference (at least for some of those intentionally extreme examples) is that there is an etiquette rule being broken, and Brother isn't breaking any etiquette rules in not inviting his nieblings even though other children are invited.

But the family isn't upset because he violated etiquette.  (They might well agree he hasn't.)

They feel personally hurt and distanced by his decision, as they would be any of those others.  I bet most of us would, no matter how much we agree that it's "their day, their way."

They certainly overreacted, and I hope they will just go along with a smile.  But no matter how much we want to sympathize with Brother, I don't think it's fair to say that they are trying to make the wedding all about them.

HannahGrace

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #79 on: September 07, 2016, 02:03:49 PM »
Aren't the only children who are invited in the wedding party? That's how I read the letter. I would think that's a distinction that makes sense - it's not that they are picking and choosing guests, but only inviting the two children with roles in the wedding itself.

Huh

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #80 on: September 07, 2016, 02:10:19 PM »
Just curious: for those who say they would be absolutely insulted to be invited with their spouses but not their children, what if, say, someone was inviting a group of couples to the symphony? Do you think it's insulting then that all members of your family aren't invited?

I'm not sure there's anyone on this thread who has said that would absolutely be insulted if their children weren't invited.

But since I'm the one who can understand why people might consider it hurtful, I'll say this:

   The once-in-a-lifetime wedding of a family member* is very different from an evening at the symphony with friends.

And a wedding has a far more emotional meaning.

You can't have it both ways--B&Gs often say, "we're inviting the people who are important to us!" The very wording of a traditional wedding invitation says "the honor of  your presence," underscoring that.
      Then, you don't invite your own nieces and nephews, and what message is that sending? You can't have Message 1 without risking Message 2.



*The children of family members are themselves family members. My children aren't just my children; they are my brothers' and sisters' nieces and nephews. They are my cousins' "cousins once removed."

There's also the matter of a lot of people use family as a babysitter. So an invitation out to a symphony with some other couples? Grandparents can watch the kids. But if it's a wedding, and the whole family is invited, you've somewhat cut down on the possible babysitter list. And if you don't have a babysitter, the option of saying, "Ooh, sorry no babysitter that night, I'll have to miss the symphony" is usually taken a lot better than, "Sorry brother/sister, I can't come to your once in a lifetime (I hope) wedding, I don't have a babysitter."

I originally said I had to read this twice to make sure it wasn't someone I vaguely knew. The brother wanted a child-free wedding, sister and parents were angry. An added complication in this scenario was the wedding was being held in the bride's hometown, in State A. Sister lived in State B. Parents live in State C. And Sister's in-laws lived in State D. Other than her husband, who is sister leaving her kids with for a weekend, especially since they wanted her husband to attend?

gellchom

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #81 on: September 07, 2016, 02:23:23 PM »
Aren't the only children who are invited in the wedding party? That's how I read the letter. I would think that's a distinction that makes sense - it's not that they are picking and choosing guests, but only inviting the two children with roles in the wedding itself.

To me, that doesn't really change anything -- it just frame-shifts it.  For that matter, it could even make it feel worse: why are these other children so important to the HC that they are in the wedding itself, and Niece and Nephew aren't -- in fact, they're not even important enough to Brother to be wanted there at all?  I have got to assume that Sister would not have felt quite as bad about her children not being in the wedding if no children were in the wedding.  Wouldn't you?

Yes, they can tell themselves that they are in the clear because they can draw that distinction.  But it doesn't mean anyone will feel any different. That's what I mean about the danger of trying to frame a personal issue as solely an etiquette question.  Look at the subject of the OP: "child free wedding drama."  It's not really about "child free weddings," is it?

In my experience, when I find myself trying to reframe things this way, it's usually a sign that I know I'm wrong or at least selfish on some level and am trying to rationalize it.  I'm better off starting fresh and looking at what I really want and why.  Often, I don't have to make a different choice at all, but I might choose to communicate the decision in some other way that is more considerate of others' feelings.

No one who ever felt hurt, excluded, or offended ever felt even slightly better by being told that "but it's etiquette approved!"  If anything, probably worse.

HannahGrace

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #82 on: September 07, 2016, 02:26:02 PM »
Aren't the only children who are invited in the wedding party? That's how I read the letter. I would think that's a distinction that makes sense - it's not that they are picking and choosing guests, but only inviting the two children with roles in the wedding itself.

To me, that doesn't really change anything -- it just frame-shifts it.  For that matter, it could even make it feel worse: why are these other children so important to the HC that they are in the wedding itself, and Niece and Nephew aren't -- in fact, they're not even important enough to Brother to be wanted there at all?  I have got to assume that Sister would not have felt quite as bad about her children not being in the wedding if no children were in the wedding.  Wouldn't you?

Yes, they can tell themselves that they are in the clear because they can draw that distinction.  But it doesn't mean anyone will feel any different. That's what I mean about the danger of trying to frame a personal issue as solely an etiquette question.  Look at the subject of the OP: "child free wedding drama."  It's not really about "child free weddings," is it?

In my experience, when I find myself trying to reframe things this way, it's usually a sign that I know I'm wrong or at least selfish on some level and am trying to rationalize it.  I'm better off starting fresh and looking at what I really want and why.  Often, I don't have to make a different choice at all, but I might choose to communicate the decision in some other way that is more considerate of others' feelings.

No one who ever felt hurt, excluded, or offended ever felt even slightly better by being told that "but it's etiquette approved!"  If anything, probably worse.

Fair point. It seems the couple doesn't have a relationship with these children, but that won't stop their family members from having feelings about it. This all makes me glad that my family, and my wedding, are/were both small and mostly uncomplicated. I tend to get my hackles up when I hear things like "the wedding is a family event!" and the substance of the complaints in this letter had that tone about it.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 02:27:55 PM by HannahGrace »

Hmmmmm

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #83 on: September 07, 2016, 02:30:37 PM »
I understand that the HC should be able to have their wedding their way.

But I don't understand all the condemnation of the sister and parents for their feeling hurt at the exclusion of niece and nephew, even though other children will be included.  Yes, absolutely, they overreacted; I just mean characterizing them as "trying to make Brother's wedding all about them."

I mean, suppose Brother and Bride decided to invite Sister but not her husband?  What if the children (let's say they were twins to keep age out of it) and he invited one but not the other?  Or only those relatives they thought would look attractive in their photos?  Or insisted on serving only food to which some of them are violently allergic?  Or held the wedding in an inaccessible venue even though Dad is in a wheelchair?  Or gratuitously chose a date that would be impossible for a sibling to attend (like their own wedding day) when it would be just as easy to choose another?  If Sister and Parents were upset by something like that, would they be "trying to make Brother's wedding all about them"?

Yes, I know, the difference (at least for some of those intentionally extreme examples) is that there is an etiquette rule being broken, and Brother isn't breaking any etiquette rules in not inviting his nieblings even though other children are invited.

But the family isn't upset because he violated etiquette.  (They might well agree he hasn't.)

They feel personally hurt and distanced by his decision, as they would be any of those others.  I bet most of us would, no matter how much we agree that it's "their day, their way."

They certainly overreacted, and I hope they will just go along with a smile.  But no matter how much we want to sympathize with Brother, I don't think it's fair to say that they are trying to make the wedding all about them.

I would have much more sympathy for the family if the letter had said "We are all hurt that the grandkids won't be attending and my daughter feels personally slighted that neither she, her son, or her husband were asked to be part of the wedding party. But we will be there to show love and support to my son. But how do we make him understand why it's hurtfull to us that the kid's are being excluded. Or are we being unreasonalbe to expect him to want them to attend?"

It's their over reaction that demonstrates they are putting their feelings above that of the couple... the daughter can't stop crying, the father refusing to attend, his feeling "humiliated"? Really, you're not going to attend your child's wedding over this? That's why so many of us see this as trying to make the event about them and the grandkids.

gellchom

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #84 on: September 07, 2016, 02:58:30 PM »
I see your point, Hmmmmm.  I did say I felt they were overreacting, but I do see how their attitude could be seen as making it all about them.

It made me go back and reread the original letter.  I have to say, I think this whole family, including Brother, seems to go straight for the drama!  I feel sorry for the mom who wrote the letter, although of course we are hearing only her perspective.

I also noticed that Niece is only 10 months old!  But I also noticed that Nephew is almost as old as Bride's niece, and there are apparently no other nieblings.  Honestly, it seems to me that the kind and smart thing to do in that case would be to go ahead and let him be in the wedding, too.  I'd let baby Niece be there in her fancy party dress, but stay with a sitter in another room the whole time, other than a quick walk around the room with Grandma and Grandpa during the cocktail hour or something and a family photo or two.  And then, for an otherwise child-free wedding and children so young, I'd actually have all the children (assuming Goddaughter is also very young, not a preteen or something) go off with the sitter shortly after the ceremony anyway.

In my own extended family, Sister would not only understand that, she'd actually appreciate it!  But then, this family is ... well ... maybe they'd find some other reason to be in a huff.

lmyrs

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #85 on: September 07, 2016, 03:10:51 PM »
I reread the letter and it reads 100% to me like a woman who is trying to show off her perfect happy family to everyone at her son's wedding. Which I suppose is nice if it were true, but it seems that it isn't. She wants this tight, close family and she doesn't have it. Her future daughter in law doesn't even know her son in law's name. That indicates an extremely distant relationship. As in, have they ever even met?

Honestly, I don't see how someone can claim that they have some automatic entitlement to a special status simply because they are faaaamily. This family does not know each other.

Anyone who suggested to me that I must include in my wedding party someone whose name I don't even know will be promptly ignored. They should be happy if that person is invited at all. There is not a family relationship here.

gellchom

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #86 on: September 07, 2016, 04:28:46 PM »
I reread the letter and it reads 100% to me like a woman who is trying to show off her perfect happy family to everyone at her son's wedding.

Where does it say anything about wanting show anything off to anyone?  She didn't say that.  She said, "I would do anything to have everybody at this landmark for our family." 

She also said that Brother is mad at Dad for not giving him money for the wedding.  She didn't say he was disappointed at the idea Dad and Sister might not even attend -- just the money. 

I know that we are only hearing her side, so it's important to make allowances for other facts and perspectives we don't know.  At the same time, I think we need to be careful about going too far in our negative assumptions.  It seems that with every page of posts (but no new information) this family descends to another circle of hell.

Honestly, it really sounds to me like they are all pouring gasoline on a situation that didn't have to become a big deal no matter what they decided about the kids.  It just seems like it would have been so easy for everyone to be happy or at least mollified.  But maybe this is a family that prefers drama to happiness -- we all know some like that, don't we!

sammycat

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #87 on: September 07, 2016, 05:55:58 PM »
I reread the letter and it reads 100% to me like a woman who is trying to show off her perfect happy family to everyone at her son's wedding. Which I suppose is nice if it were true, but it seems that it isn't. She wants this tight, close family and she doesn't have it. Her future daughter in law doesn't even know her son in law's name. That indicates an extremely distant relationship. As in, have they ever even met?

Honestly, I don't see how someone can claim that they have some automatic entitlement to a special status simply because they are faaaamily. This family does not know each other.

Anyone who suggested to me that I must include in my wedding party someone whose name I don't even know will be promptly ignored. They should be happy if that person is invited at all. There is not a family relationship here.

I agree.

As for suggestions/demands/expectations that the sister and her family should be in the wedding party - when DH and I got engaged, I had a very good relation.ship with his sister and she was a very nice person. But it didn't occur to me that she should be a bridesmaid.  I had my own sister for that, as well as two long term friends. A future SIL that I'd only known for a short time wasn't even in the running. Had anyone tried to force it, that would've been an automatic 'no' as no one was going to dictate my bridal party to me.

HannahGrace

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #88 on: September 07, 2016, 06:03:07 PM »
I reread the letter and it reads 100% to me like a woman who is trying to show off her perfect happy family to everyone at her son's wedding.

Where does it say anything about wanting show anything off to anyone?  She didn't say that.  She said, "I would do anything to have everybody at this landmark for our family." 

She also said that Brother is mad at Dad for not giving him money for the wedding.  She didn't say he was disappointed at the idea Dad and Sister might not even attend -- just the money. 

I know that we are only hearing her side, so it's important to make allowances for other facts and perspectives we don't know.  At the same time, I think we need to be careful about going too far in our negative assumptions.  It seems that with every page of posts (but no new information) this family descends to another circle of hell.

Honestly, it really sounds to me like they are all pouring gasoline on a situation that didn't have to become a big deal no matter what they decided about the kids.  It just seems like it would have been so easy for everyone to be happy or at least mollified.  But maybe this is a family that prefers drama to happiness -- we all know some like that, don't we!

See, "this landmark for our family" --- just, no. It's not a landmark for the whole family, some of whom don't seem to know each other's names. It's for the bride and groom.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #89 on: September 07, 2016, 06:41:02 PM »
I see your point, Hmmmmm.  I did say I felt they were overreacting, but I do see how their attitude could be seen as making it all about them.

It made me go back and reread the original letter.  I have to say, I think this whole family, including Brother, seems to go straight for the drama!  I feel sorry for the mom who wrote the letter, although of course we are hearing only her perspective.

I also noticed that Niece is only 10 months old!  But I also noticed that Nephew is almost as old as Bride's niece, and there are apparently no other nieblings.  Honestly, it seems to me that the kind and smart thing to do in that case would be to go ahead and let him be in the wedding, too.  I'd let baby Niece be there in her fancy party dress, but stay with a sitter in another room the whole time, other than a quick walk around the room with Grandma and Grandpa during the cocktail hour or something and a family photo or two.  And then, for an otherwise child-free wedding and children so young, I'd actually have all the children (assuming Goddaughter is also very young, not a preteen or something) go off with the sitter shortly after the ceremony anyway.

In my own extended family, Sister would not only understand that, she'd actually appreciate it!  But then, this family is ... well ... maybe they'd find some other reason to be in a huff.

I'll admit to never having been to a child free wedding. We didn't have many children at ours but I loved having the ones we did. (Especially the little 5 year old who told me I looked like a princess. He's now almost 27 and I get to go to his wedding next Spring). And I can't imagine anyone in our family not wanting the kids to be included. I agree the absolute best scenario would be for the kids ot attend the ceremony and the cocktail reception and then head off with a babysitter.