Post # 1
Hi Bees I need your help!
FH and I are planning a small wedding for about 20 guests (mostly immediate family) followed by a casual “newlywed” BBQ a few months later for everyone else. The reason for such a small wedding is that we only want people there who know us well and who we are really comfortable around. We are a private and shy couple! So far our non-traditional plans are going well, but we are having trouble deciding whether we should invite my sister’s boyfriend to the wedding. After a very rocky and flighty first 6 months of dating (think drug abuse and the like) they packed up and moved in together on the other side of the country. FH has never met my sister’s boyfriend and I have briefly met him once, we definitely do not know him or feel comfortable exchanging our vows in front of him. Honestly, it seems wrong to invite more or less a stranger to our wedding when we have dropped other friends and family members we know from the guest list. On the other hand etiquette says we have to invite him as he is living with my sister. My sister is a volatile personality, so while they may be cruising now, the relationship may end at any point. Is it ok for us to invite my sister’s boyfriend to the casual BBQ only? I would of course call my sister and word her up before sending invites for the wedding.
Here is our guest list to give you an idea of the overall dynamic:
Bride’s Grandmother + Grandfather
Bride’s Mother + Partner (Know well, de-facto for 10+ years)
Bride’s Father + Partner (Know well, de-facto for 10+ years)
Bride’s Sister + Niece + Partner (I’ve met once & FH never met, living together for 6mths, dating 12mths, FYI he is NOT my nieces biological father)
Maid of Honour + Fiancé (Known for 5 years)
Grooms Sister + Brother-in-law + Niece + Nephew
Grooms Uncle + Partner (Know well, de-facto for 10+ years)
Any help or advice is greatly appreciated
Post # 2
Notcool: You should invite him. You say “it seems wrong to invite more or less a stranger to our wedding when we have dropped other friends and family members we know from the guest list” – but he is much more than a stranger, he is your sister’s partner. By being her partner he is in effect “immediate family”.
Of course it’s your party and you can invite who you want, but your sister is 100% within her rights to refuse the invitation if you don’t invite him. Especially since she has to travel across the country.
Post # 3
Notcool: My general view is all partners of people get invited to stuff like weddings regardless of how well you know them (I actually met the newish girlfriend of one of my husband’s friends for the first time at our wedding because he lives in DH’s hometown and I hadn’t been up there for a while) but that aside – if your sister is a volatile personality, how will she react if you don’t invite him?
ETA – just to add, on my wedding day I really was not thinking about who was watching me exchange vows. You really are just focussed on other stuff in that moment. And neither of us particularly like being centre of attention either. You don’t have to put him in all the formal family portraits though.
Post # 4
If you don’t invite him your sister may not attend, and whether you like it or not he is apart of her life now. He has a right to attend the ceremony with her, and he may even appreciate the thought. It could give your Fiancè and him an opportunity to meet and get to know one another.
Post # 5
Thanks for your honesty Bees!
We will invite him, but will organise to have a section of formal family portraits without him. To answer your question Lollybags, yes my sister would throw a tantrum as she loves drama, so its a good plan to not give her any ammo! Also I guess I should give him a chance to bond and become a part of our family, the wedding will be a good opportunity for hi to do that. Both FH and I’s family and friends are scattered across Australia, and neither of us have any family where we live. Every guest will be travelling a minimum of 2hrs to the wedding, so yes it would be rude of me not to invite him as well as my sister and niece.
Post # 6
I am glad you are going to include him, no sense making needless drama. Just tell your photographer you want lots of permutations of the family, that way if he sticks around, you have pictures with him to make your sis happy, and if not, he doesnt have to be in all your wedding photos forever.
Post # 7
Notcool: It looks like many other people at your wedding will be attenting with their unmarried significant others. I think when the wedding is that small it feels pretty obvious if everyone else was given a consideration and one person is excluded. They’ve been together over 6 months and are living together, throw in that she lives across the country and I think you’re stuck inviting him. I’m betting many of the ladies here can think of someone who attended our wedding who we wish hadn’t (DH’s ex-girlfriend…hissss haha) but it isn’t a day to be selfish. Your sister’s happines will totally make her boyfriend’s presence worth it 🙂
Post # 8
He has no chance to NOT be a stranger if you don’t give him the opportunity to meet you.
And if your sister is as volatile as you say, then there is a chance they will break up before hand anyway and you won’t have to deal with him, but at least you will have done the right thing.
Hopfully they’ll be able to spend a little time with you before the wedding so that he isn’t such a stranger on W-day.
Post # 9
Yes, invite him. You can get into dangerous territory when you start trying to judge whether a relationship is good enough for your standards to earn an invite. Even though it’s only been 6 months, even though you determine this may not last, even though he isn’t your neice’s bio father, that’s irrelevant because he is currently your sister’s partner and that deserves respect.
Post # 10
- Wedding: November 2009 - New York, NY
I think you’re doing the right thing by inviting your sister’s SO. As for the moment you will be exchanging vows, don’t worry; it is very unlikely you’ll be thinking of his presence or anyone else’s for that matter, during that sublime moment.
Post # 11
- Wedding: March 2014 - A castle!
Notcool: Absolutely, yes, you should invite him. I had a small wedding of 20 ppl and didn’t bat an eye over inviting my MOH’s boyfriend, who no one in my family even knew. It’s about making your guests comfortable and happy!
Post # 12
This seems pretty obvious, of course you invite him. He’s her bf.
Post # 13
Notcool: Glad to hear that you’re going to invite him — it’s the right thing to do!
Post # 14
Good to see you are inviting him. Its the right thing to do. I’d make sure he was on the end in any family photos he’s in.
Post # 15
- Wedding: June 2014 - Baby #2 due Sep 2017
Notcool: Assuming your wedding date of April 2016 is accurate, they’ll probably have broken up by then, but at least you’ll be on good terms with your sister. Or better yet, if it really is a year and a half away, just don’t mention the guest list or say it ‘isn’t fixed yet’ up until there’s less than 6 months to go. Your sister’s bf doesn’t need to know if he’s invited or not until the wedding invitations (or STDs( are sent out, surely.