I plan on getting married next year (or in 2020 if plans aren’t finalized). We want to have a small event after the religious ceremony. I’ve been estranged from my younger sister for several years.
She recently moved back in with my parents after being evicted and becoming unemployed. I don’t live at home but whenever I visit, we do not speak.
I do not want her to be a huge part of my wedding. I’m sure I will have no choice but to invite her, but if I decide on having my other sisters as part of the bridal group, I don’t want to be forced to include her.
I’m no longer angry with the things she did many years ago. I’d summarize my feelings towards it all as "indifferent.” I’m not interested in having a relationship with her.
Now that I’m planning this new chapter in my life, I want as little drama as possible. Is this wrong of me?
Wedding Without One Sister
Misguided, is the word I’ll use in response. By visibly leaving out one of your sisters in your wedding party, you’re the one inviting drama.
You say you feel indifferent about her, yet you’ll arrange a public insult to her… a slight even more visible and ripe for gossip at a small event.
You don’t have to be close to her. But don’t fool yourself that you’re ready for “starting a new chapter” when you’re still willing to punish her for the past.
The point of a religious wedding ceremony is not just about the bride and groom… it’s about truly new beginnings, with vows before witnesses - family, friends, and guests - such that all are participants in the wedding covenant.
Include this sister in the bridal party among your other sisters, who’ll help deflect/avoid awkwardness between you two.
Once again, my sister-in-law’s brother emailed that he’s coming for Christmas dinner. My wife and I invited him when he was single, and five years later he just assumes he’s invited, and brings his girlfriend-of-the-month.
Last year, even his sister hadn’t met her until they arrived, bringing nothing, though he’d been asked to contribute a dessert because everyone contributes something to the meal.
The girlfriend was embarrassed when he was asked what they’d brought, loudly telling him off for not getting something. He lamely answered, that he remembered “too late.”
We’re happy to invite our own family which has us, three teenage-to-adult children and two long-time significant others, plus my wife’s brother and wife, along with their three adult children and partners and two grandkids. That’s 17 of us already.
We understand that he’s just one guy and don’t want him to be alone, but his taking the invitation for granted and coming empty-handed, rankles me.
How do we handle this without losing the goodwill we want to feel at Christmas?
Send him an email reminding him that everyone who attends contributes to this Christmas dinner. Then be specific about what he needs to bring as his offering – e.g. exactly what kind of pie for dessert. Even tell him where he can get it and when is the best time to buy it for freshness.
Since he brings his own guest, ask him to also bring a drink of their choice – if you don’t serve alcohol, then a juice. Also, if you have certain house rules – e.g. no smoking inside – remind him to tell this to his latest companion.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young woman living with/supporting an abusive man who doesn’t work (Nov. 23):
Reader – “You’re adamant that someone shouldn't consider entering into a prenup because doing so would not be a “loving act.” Yet, when someone says they’re dissatisfied in a relationship, you don’t mention anything about love at all. Instead, you immediately jump into the financial repercussions of the end of the relationship.
“Why not tell this woman to “stand by your man”?
“I do agree that she’s in dire financial straights. She has common-law obligations to support him plus she has obligations to her landlord under the lease.”
Ellie – I’d never stay “stand by” anyone who’s mentally and emotionally abusive! Also, I’ve recommended a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement whenever appropriate and I’m asked.
This situation was not about “love.” The woman wants out. She’s being taken advantage of financially, and that’s the concern she wrote about, considering her common-law relationship.
Tip of the day:
A wedding event’s “fresh-start” attitude is more possible if old baggage isn’t carried forward and in public view.