Post # 1
I made the classic mistake of thinking that if my Mister and I paid for the wedding ourselves, we wouldn’t have to take my family’s wishes and opinions into account. Yeah, I was really wrong about that. Turns out that the people who raised me (and some who didn’t) feel like they have a right to a whole lot of say into how we get married and who’s there to witness it.
There are plenty of choices we’ve made so far that they’ve expressed their displeasure with (we’re not inviting children, we only want to invite people we actually have relationships with) but by far the biggest hurdle is coming in the form of someone I’m not even related to: My stepbrother, who I will refer to going forward as Ignatius (after the literary character he so startlingly resembles).
To clarify, my mother married my step father 8 years ago, when I was already well into my 20’s and his son in his late 30’s. Ignatius now lives off the disability in county housing after being diagnosed as mentally ill following multiple suicide attempts and other unsavory incidents. Needless to say, we have had very little interaction over the years, the majority of it being unpleasant.
On each of the rare occasions when I have seen him in any sort of group setting, Ignatius has done at least 2 of the following things:
A) made one of my girlfriends uncomfortable through aggressive sexual innuendos,
B) made a nasty and/or aggressive comment towards me; and
C) stolen something (usually a book) from wherever we are.
When I spoke to my step father about our guest list, I explained that I would be happy to invite his daughter and her husband (since my mother had already told them they were invited!?!) but that I did not feel comfortable with having Ignatius there. He said he understood and that was the last I’d heard of it… until my mother called me in tears to say that she and her husband had gone into counseling over the issue, that both he and his daughter thought I was being horribly disrespectful and that I would hurt both his and Ignatius’ feelings by leaving him out of a family event. Most of all, she said that my stepfather had offered to pay for his son to be there and that if I didn’t change my mind, he might refuse to attend all together which would effectively “ruin my wedding – and marriage” for her.
Hurting Ignatius’ feelings? That I can live with. But now I feel like I am being blackmailed into including someone I dislike seeing on a regular day on my wedding day in order to maintain a relationship with my own mother. As far as I can tell, my options are as follows:
1) Not invite Ignatius and risk my step father not attending and my mother barely concealing her histrionics all day (and oh boy does she have a real flair for the dramatic).
2) Not invite Ignatius and have to deal with my step father and his daughter throwing me nasty glances all day.
3) Invite him and have to deal with all the snarky chatter, burping, farting and grab ass as well as repaying the vendors for anything he swipes.
I ran this by my sweetheart and his response? Hell no I don’t want that man at our wedding. I spoke with my step-father and explained that there are a number of relatives (cousins, etc) whom we are not inviting as our wedding venue is small and we only want to have people there whom we have actual relationships with but he still says tha huis son has changed and he doesn’t understand my refusal to invite him based on his word that he will “watch him and make sure he doesn’t do anything funny.”
Post # 3
You do what you want. I did not invite my brother who sounds exactly the same way as your StepBro. If people take issue with it, it’s their issue. On that day you won’t notice any of your concerns anyways. Just keep your mother away from you (I know that sounds harsh, but you just need to protect yourself from her drama on that day) My DH also did not want my brother there, and that was enough reason for me.
Post # 4
Oh my goodness. Some people just need to create drama! Your mother and her husband going into counseling over your guest list shouldn’t be on your shoulders.
Post # 5
Stand strong and invite (or don’t invite) whomever you please. The wedding is about you and your future husband’s marriage and you are well in your right to dictate who can and cannot attend. And it’s foul that your mom and stepdad are trying to guilt you into something you are not comfortable doing with many good and documented reasons.
Stay strong and do YOU!
Post # 6
Thank you both – I love these boards so much…
I feel fine about my not inviting someone like that so I guess my real concern has been that I will be distracted by all their drama while I’m trying to celebrate our marriage.
You’re right though – I’ll just stay away from them and there will be 90 other people there who are happy and joyous and don’t feel entitled to celebrate with. And as far as keeping them away from me, well, that’s what bridesmaids are for, right?!
Post # 7
How many guests are you having? Because if its around 100 people, you probably wouldnt even have time to see him or talk to him. Personally I would just invite him and seat him in the back some place to just kill all the drama
Post # 8
Perhaps you can invite him and have the groomsmen “on alert”??
Post # 9
I vote for leaving him home. If he’s bad enough for your FI to say “hell no”, then “hell no” it is!!!
Stand strong and tall, and have your FI at your back.
Your mom and step-dad’s marriage isn’t YOUR problem to deal with and if they’re going to counciling over a guest list, then they’ve got bigger problems to work out. 😉
good luck and sorry you gotta deal with this!!!
p.s. my mom ALMOST hinted that I should invite my cousins, but knew I’d shoot her down with enough fact and history that she’d have to shut up. Also, my FI would’ve flatly refused
Post # 10
Point A makes me nervous. I think it is fair to say “On ___ occassion when Ignatius was with my friends, he made aggressive sexual innuendos, therefore I would not want to risk making my friends uncomfortable again. Given that I rarely see Ignatius, I’m sure he will understand.”
Post # 11
Like the others said, invite who you want. If he makes agressive sexual comments or steals things you may end up with a legal issue at your wedding and is it really worth it to appease your step-father? Sorry but I don’t think it is. You shouldn’t have to worry about apologising for him, trying your best to avoid him if he gets nasty towards you or having to repay people for what he steals. This is a happy day and should not be tainted with thoughts of “What all am I going to have to pay for” “He said what” or “Please dont let anyone call the cops…”
Post # 12
Maybe do a trial. Have a get-together, and if and when stepbrother gets out of hand because his father failed to keep an eye on him, then I would say, There you go, he just demonstrated how he cannot behave, like every other time before, and FI and I will not tolerate this at all. I would turn the table on them and express very strongly how his behavior is having a toll on YOU and FI. Remind them that the wedding is about you two. It would just be gosh darn awful for both you, your guests, and vendors, to have to deal with stepbrother on your wedding day. Even if he’s kept out of sight, you don’t want stories of his antics coming back to you.
Post # 13
@Elle_Neotoma: I think this is probably the best course of action. This way, no one can claim that you didn’t give Ignatius a chance to prove that he can’t handle himself in these kinds of social situations.
Post # 14
@Elle_Neotoma: This is a really good idea. And, the proof of what she’s worried about would be right in front of her mother and step-father.
@ranchorelaxobride: I would have a get together like Elle Neotoma suggested and see how things go. IF he seems to behave alright at that dinner/get together, then invite him to the wedding (out of the kindness of your heart, be the bigger person), but talk to your mother and step-father about everything you’re worried about and make it clear that if he is to be invited, they will have to be responsible for him all day/night and anything that he does. (Also, make sure that every groomsman, usher, and male friend of yours and FI has a picture of him and a warning. If he acts up, he’s out on the spot.)
Post # 15
I can guarantee their marriage was having issues unrelated to you. What BS for her to pull that card! They have a troubled son – that’s on THEM, not on you.
Decide what the tradeoffs are and what it’s worth to you either way. Weddings are, in large part, about setting boundaries and establishing you and your FI as a new family. Sometimes feathers get ruffled along the way!
Post # 16
@Elle_Neotoma: Brilliant advice. I think thats a great idea. You can either A. show them what you are talking about and the reasons you don’t want him there or B. see if he really has changed and then you might not feel bad about inviting him.