In this week’s column, the Wedding Maven answers a question about family members who are less than kind.
Dear Wedding Maven,
I am getting married in October for the second time, and I remember what my family did days before my first wedding.
My mother and sister are a bit neurotic and crazy. They are pretty much selfish and attention hogs. So, during the rehearsal dinner they secretly told my future in-laws all sorts of made up thing about me, from being arrested to wild parties to dating bunches of different men. Of course none of this came out till about an hour before the ceremony when I had to drag three of my closest lifelong friends and my childhood pastor in the bridal dressing room to refute the accusations, but the damage was done. They never really did welcome me into their family.
I am seriously considering not inviting my family to my second wedding out of fear of what they will do, am I over reacting or is this something that I can do?
Obviously, the behavior of your mother and sister was wrong. Even if all the stories they told were 100% true, it was not their place to share them with your future family.
However, it sounds like you’re still somewhat in touch with them, so I don’t think not inviting them to the wedding is a good plan of action. Eventually, they’ll find out you’re married and will then pick an even worse time to spring their shenanigans (labor and delivery room?).
A better tact would be to sit down with your fiance, and his family and explain the situation. You can tell your new in-laws that one of the reasons you’re so happy to be marrying their son is because you love their family. Let them know that you have not been quite so lucky in your birth family. If your mother or sister is truly unwell, with a diagnosed condition, you can share the name of that condition.
If not, just tell the new in-laws that sometimes your mother and sister can behave a little strangely, and tell them the story of your first wedding. Try and do this as nicely and calmly as possible. Make it clear that you aren’t angry with your family, but you worry about them and worry that they’ll make your new family uncomfortable.
Ask your new in-laws to please let you know if they hear anything that makes them uncomfortable, and ask them if they would like to discuss the issue with your childhood pastor.
Good luck to you, you certainly deserve it!
Do you have a question about wedding relationships, etiquette or traditions? Write The Wedding Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org