Post # 1
Okay, I’m sticking this in etiquette because I figure you all can set me straight about this situation.
I have a cousin that I’m not close to at all whom I’ve cut contact with because I think he’s toxic. The problem is that he’s my dad’s nephew and as such “must be invited because he’s family.”
This guy is an alcoholic, heavily in to hard drugs, and in the last few years has descended into a mess of paranoia, megalomania, and plain destructive behavior. He’s started making youtube video manifestos where he rants about how no one supports him or will give him money to fund his random inventions, how his life has been so hard but that is a higher power’s way of prepping him to be the saviour of the world (I’m not kidding, his words), and meanwhile he’s slurring his words, speaking in half-sentences, and looks completely strung out.
I don’t want him at my wedding. I am legitimately concerned that he will show up drunk and stoned, that he will steal from the gift table, that he will go off on a loud rant about how we’re all destorying his “beloved Gaia earth”, or that someone will find his body and a dusting of coke in the men’s room.
I wish I was making this up. I’m not. Do I have to invite him just because he’s “family”? If not, can you all help me find a way to approach the non-invitation with my parents?
FWIW, my dad isn’t close to him either, my mom can’t stand him (although still insists that we must invite him), and he’s exhibited the above types of behavior at previous family events. Any and all advice is appreciated. I don’t know if this is relevant but I have a different cousin on my mom’s side who exhibits about half of this behavior, and my mother has said without a doubt that cousin will NOT be invited to the wedding. So why do I “have to invite” the one who’s worse?
Post # 3
I say no. Etiquette be damned, I would not invite such a potential landmine to the wedding.
If you are old enough to get married, you are old enough to assertively tell them ” We are not inviting ___ to the wedding.” Don’t make excuses, don’t engage in any discussion or argument. Just keep repeating ” We are not inviting ___ to the wedding.”
Post # 4
I’m not inviting my mom’s brother – several members of my family, including my mother, cut ties with him years ago.
Post # 5
I agree… don’t invite him… it’s YOUR and FI day!!!
Post # 6
If it were me, I wouldn’t invite them. If they’re that out of it and pose a legitimate threat to the success of the day, (ie stealing gifts, making rude speeches, being obnoxious) then you have every right to not invite them. Regardless of what your parents say, ultimately the day is about you and your fiance and what you want. If neither of you are comfortable with him there, then don’t invite him.
On the flip side, if your parents put on enough pressure and you decide to invite him AND he shows, I would tell your dad then that he’s responsible for him since he insisted he come. Meaning he needs to keep his behaviour under control, have an eye on him at all times, and if any gifts go missing, he can replace them.
That would be my approach. Because ultimately, it’s your wedding day and theoretically you only get one. Don’t worry about making anyone else happy but you and your husband.
Post # 7
Who is telling you that you have to invite him?
Post # 8
I have 8 cousins. I invited 1 of them. And mine arn’t nearly the mess that your cousin is.
Post # 9
@Sugar_and_Spice: there is no etiquette rule of “all or nothing”. Many brides choose to follow this, because they don’t want to deal with the fallout.
The only thing etiquette says about who must be invited, is that both halves of social units must be invited. That is it.
I voted other in your poll, since there is no need for a pass, as no rule is being broken.
Post # 10
@Sugar_and_Spice: pass!! People like that are etiquette fails in and of themselves!
Post # 11
Nope! Haha your poll has ZERO for inviting him.
Post # 12
@andielovesj: Thanks for clarifying this for me. Does it make a difference if we’re inviting this cousin’s mother (dad’s sister)? Cousin is a 26yo adult and doesn’t live with her, but she’s still in contact with him. I’m never clear about what makes up a social unit.
You ladies are quick and fabulous. It’s my mom who’s insisting we have to invite him. My dad hasn’t said a word about it, so I have no idea what he thinks (he’s always been relatively reserved about his feelings and only speaks up when he has a clear opinion about something).
I know I’m an adult (I’m 30) but my mom is having a hard time dealing with the various life changes that are going on– my marriage and our plans to start our own family soon, among other things. I just want to make sure we approach the situation in a calm and rational manner (and try to keep it that way).
Post # 13
Double-posting to say thank you, all of you, for your responses. I really appreciate the advice and support. 🙂
Post # 14
As long as you’re not worried about offending him, I wouldn’t invite him. This doesn’t seem to be a problem since you mentioned that you already cut ties with him.
Post # 15
@Sugar_and_Spice: Don’t bother inviting. If your parents ask, simply explain that it’s your decision not to include such a toxic person at your festivities. It’s a day of celebration, not ranting like a certain well-known male celebrity who had a meltdown (minus the ‘adonis DNA’ and ‘godesses’). Just make sure either you have security to escort him out should he arrive, or make sure he doesn’t know the date of the event. Good luck!
Post # 16
If your mom would like to babysit him for the entire evening – i.e. making sure he doesn’t steal ANYTHING (people will be leaving purses out), making sure he doesn’t put on a show and steal your spotlight, making sure he isn’t getting high in the bathroom – then maybe I can see it. I’m betting she won’t go for that. Therefore there is no reason for him to be there.