Post # 1
Need some advice bees!
My father and I have never really had a good relationship. He’s an alcoholic, used to be verbally abusive, selfish and generally not interested in my life. My mother raised me on her own (parents divorced when I was 2) and when I was younger, my dad saw me every other weekend. Now the visits are very rare. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve seen him, which isn’t uncommon (he lives an hour away). He didn’t come to my college graduation, he regularly says upsetting things, he never visited me at college, didn’t help me pick out my first car, only sporadically paid my mom child support as I was growing up..basically, he deserves no credit for raising me in any way.
HOWEVER, in his deluded mind, he seems to think we’re super tight and have a great relationship (!?!!??) Additionally, my grandmother and aunts (on his side) seem to think he’s a great Dad and basically will never acknowledge his shortcomings.
Which leaves me in a bind. I don’t want him to walk me down the aisle, make a speech, or dance with me. But I know cutting these things out will be a major shock to him and a big no-no to my family. I love and have tremendous respect for my paternal grandma & aunts and I don’t want to upset them, and this definitely will. But……erg! He sucks!
I know the logical healthy thing would be to sit him down and have an honest talk about how he’s made me feel unloved all these years, but in truth.. I don’t want to. I’m not sure he’s the type of man I want as a father. I’m really past the point where I want to repair our relationship. This is more just because I’m afraid of hurting my aunts and my nonna (and my dad for some reason, I don’t like hurting anybody, even him).
Any other bees in a similar position?? I feel trapped between a rock and a hard place.
Post # 3
I have a deadbeat dad, but I haven’t seen him or anyone from his side of the family since I was a little kid so I suppose my situation’s a bit different than yours. I’m having both my mom and my step dad walk me down the aisle. Would you like someone else (ie: your mom) to walk you down the aisle or would you like to walk down yourself? What about a father daughter dance? Skip it, dance with your mom, some other idea? I think if you know the answers to those questions that will be a good starting point. Then, think about the reason why you would prefer your choices. Try to focus on things like “I’m really close to my mom and I’m proud of all that she’s done for me so that’s why I want her to give me away” rather than “My dad’s a deadbeat and I want nothing to do with him”. Once you have reasons that are focused on the positive aspect of your choices, then you can confront your dad and his side of the family and explain your reasons. It will probably shock them, but hopefully they’ll accept it. Also, think about the worst case scenario and then decide if you can live with it. That usually helps prepare me for tough situations. I do wish you luck though, this sounds like a very tough spot to be in.
Post # 4
I’m really sorry you have had such a bad experience with your father, especially if most of the other people in your life don’t recognise it! I don’t have the same experiences as you, so take anything I say with a grain of salt….
Another option would be the groom walking you down the aisle (yes, it has been done!), and it’s a nice way to symbolise you two starting your new journey in life together, as opposed to the tradition of “Who gives this woman to this man?”With regards to the father/daughter dance – I’ve been to many weddings where this didn’t occur, I think it’s more a regional/cultural thing, so you can get away with it without too many strange looks. Also, it’s easier for the party dancing to flow from the first dance, which is usually slow – e.g. first dance, EVERYONE GET UP AND PARTY, as opposed to first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance THEN everyone get up and party.
The speech could be a little harder to get out of, but my SIL didn’t have a FOB speech (even though she has two dads she’s very close to), just because she wasn’t comfortable having a man speak “on her behalf.” Also, traditionally it’s supposed to be a speech from the hosts of the wedding (which is usually the FOB), but if your mother has had more input than your father (both in your life and in your wedding), then it would be acceptable for her to give a speech. Failing that, just skip it entirely.
Having said all that, I entirely support @AllTheGoodUsernamesAreTaken‘s suggestion – make your reasons for everything positive. Try not to leave any hurt feelings and make it all about what you feel – it’s harder for people to argue with feelings (e.g. “I’m not comfortable with someone giving me to my husband,” or “You’ve been there for me a lot, dad, but mum’s the one that raised me and put in all that hard work, so I really feel I owe her the chance to make a speech at my wedding and be acknowledged for that. I really hope you understand.”)
Post # 5
If your dad hasn’t been a positive part of your life, then you don’t need to include him in positive parts of your life. My dad wasn’t a deadbeat when I was growing up. But, he and my mom divorced and he always tried to stir up trouble and make everything all about him. He was just not a nice person or a positive influence that I wanted in my life, so I quit making an effort to include him. Once he realized that I wasn’t listening to his BS and that I won’t be manipulated, he cut contact. I’m ok with that and it makes my life easier, not having to negotiate his crazy behavior.
My grandma is adamant that there should be a reconciliation with my dad and that he should have the traditional dad role in my wedding. I didn’t invite him and I’m planning to eliminate the traditional Dad roles from my wedding (I’m walking the aisle alone, skipping father daughter dance, etc). Because my dad wasn’t invited, my grandma refuses to attend. Really, I feel like she’s cutting off her nose to spite her face. She complains constantly that she’ll be gone soon and doesn’t see us (grandchildren) often enough. Well, this summer has been full of pre-wedding events and she hasn’t come to any. It’s her choice.
Anyway, the point of my long ramble is that it’s fine nof to follow tradition. It can even be freeing. But, there are some people who won’t like it. What’s more important to you, having your wedding in a way you’re comfortable with, or making everybody else happy?
Post # 6
My bio dad is one of the most pathetic people I have ever known. He is not even invited.
My step father is pretty awesome, but it still feels weird knowing my bio dad has been such a let down, so I have nixed all fatherly traditions except to let my step dad walk me down the aisle.
You can totally forgo all that stuff, it’s actually kind of the norm these days. If you’re comfortable having him as a guest, leave it at that. Just tell your family you want a really untraditional wedding, out of the box. They don’t need to know what you really think and it will save you the hassle.
Post # 7
@MrsCreeToBe: I’m sorry you have such a horrible relationship with your father. If i were you, I’d have my mom walk me down the aisle and cut out the toasts.My dad can’t walk so my brother is walking me down and the dance will be with the moms. 🙂
Post # 8
My parents are divorced and really don’t get on well.
Whilst I love my dad, he’s a stoner and hasn’t been the greatest father figure over the past 15 years. To add insult to injury, when he came over for our engagement party (he lives 1500 miles away in Spain) he barely spent any time with us, preferring to get drunk with his friends.
At the actual party, he sat in the corner crying and telling everyone who would listen that my mum, cousin and aunt were all evil witches (well, a word that rhymes with witches).
Anyway, after that I called him and told him that he would simply be a guest at the wedding rather than taking the ceremonial role of “father of the bride”. Once I told him that, I felt free to relax and make the wedding ours.
I walked down the aisle myself (there wouldn’t have been room for him anyway) and only DH, the best man and I made speeches at the wedding.
He actually ended up having a great time and even danced a spontaneous cakewalk with my mum.
Post # 9
Do whatever makes you comfortable and happy. As long as your tactful and kind about it, everyone should understand. If not, then it’s their loss. It’s your wedding day and to have or to not have traditions should be your choice. 🙂
Post # 10
I too have a dead beat dad, and my mom will be doing everything in my fathers place. example, walking me down the aisle, and our mother daughter dance,.
Post # 11
Just out of curiosity, if your father did not come to your college graduation, do you really expect him to come to your wedding? If you are, I think you’re setting the bar too high, worrying about nothing, and setting yourself up for disappointment at the same time.
Your dad has communicated to you over and over again with his actions where you fall as a priority in his life.
Please do not take my response as ill-meaning or snarky. Your father could be mine. Mine did not show up to my wedding, nor did he even mail back the RSVP card. I wasn’t worth his time to walk to the mail-box.
In the spirit of you fully enjoying your day, I encourage you to let go of the worry, and plan on him not being there whatsoever. If he shows up, it will be a pleasant surprise. If he stays home, well…. what have you lost? You didn’t think he was going to anyway.
Post # 12
@MrsCreeToBe: Nix the fatherly traditions. My dad is even more of a deadbeat (I haven’t seen him since I was 14). Just because you’re blood related doesn’t mean you need to a) socialize w. him b) include him on something as important as your wedding. Have your mom walk you down the aisle. Have your grampa do it. Have your best friend do it.
Think about it.. if he shows up, it’ll be awkward all around.
Post # 14
I voted that you nix all traditions.
My deadbeat dad doesn’t even know I’m getting married – and wouldn’t turn up if invited. I am having a close male friend walk me down the aisle, but no “giving away” (feminist sensibilities!)
Unfortunately my mother is also a deadbeat, so I will have no parents at my wedding to take on any of those roles. I think we notice all of these things much more than anyone else, and I’m not convinced people will be able to tell half of the things I’ve cut out because they’ll be busy having such a great party! 🙂 🙂
Your wedding should reflect the things that are special for you, in your life. You will regret compromising and giving control of your special moment to other people’s wishes – this only happens for you once (hopefully!), make it count.
Post # 15
I’m a waiting bee, but I completely empathize with your situation. Just thinking about what I’ll do about the father related wedding stuff makes me tense up. My dad is not in my life, but, similar to you, I am very close to my father’s side of the family (in fact, they are the majority of my family). I wouldn’t want to offend anyone, but honestly, I know that I am not going to invite him when I get married. I have only seen him twice in the past ten years, and I don’t know him. He wasn’t around growing up, either. Add the fact he is an alcoholic with mental handicaps and that I don’t feel comfortable around him, and that pretty much seals the deal for me. I am not at all interested in building a relationship with him, but I feel bad because I don’t want to hurt his feelings (his mental issues make him hyper emotional, another reason why I wouldn’t invite him). I would nix the traditions if I were you, and have your mom walk you down the aisle, or you could walk yourself half way, and your FI could come down and meet you and you could walk the rest of the way together. Don’t feel bad about it. You should be able to feel comfortable and focused on your marriage on your wedding day, not feelling uncomfortable because you are trying to pretend that you have a relationship with your dad. Best of luck to you! Let us know how it turns out.
Post # 16
I have a POS father who has never been there for me so I refuse to include him on this very special day in my life. I will be doing traditions with my mother instead.