Post # 1
My Fi has a sister with a severe mental disorder who makes noises at unpredictable times, regardless of her surroundings. I am learning to love her and getting to know her, and it has already helped me to become more aware of and compassionate towards the disabled.
One thing that has come up is whether she should be present or even play a special role in our ceremony. My Future Mother-In-Law has mentioned this several times, about how Future Sister-In-Law should be a greeter or a bridesmaid, and i couldn’t tell if she was just playing around or if she really meant it. I would have absolutely no qualms about FI’s sister being present at our reception, where people will be talking and music will be playing, or even being a greeter prior to the ceremony would be a sweet way to include her. However, if she is in the ceremony, she will make unpredictable and loud noises — it’s not a matter of “if” — she will definitely make loud shouting sounds, because this is what she always does. If she is in the ceremony, or present in the congregation, I really believe that poeple will start laughing at her noises, and it will disrupt our vows and ceremony. I honestly don’t even know how to begin talking to Fiance about this, because he loves his sister so much and anything to do with her is a sensitive spot for him. I don’t feel like I can say anything about how I’m worried that her shouting will detract from the wedding.
I feel like being concerned about this makes me look selfish or shallow, and that I should just say, “Oh, it’s no problem if she shouts throughout the ceremony and during our vows, because she’s family and we want her present” . . . but really, the thought of it does bother me, and I’m afraid it will take the focus off the wedding.
Thoughts? Has anyone else gone through this, or found special ways to include mentally disabled family members in a wedding while not causing distractions in the ceremony?
Post # 3
Hmmm…I think while it wouldn’t be ideal she is an important part of the family, and she can’t help that she has this disability. So I would leave it up to your Fiance how he would like to have her incorporated. And if he wants her at the ceremony, I’d just grin and bear it and if other people are a-holes about how she’s being than they’re the ones that will look like a tool for laughing at a disabled person.
Post # 4
Yeah, I hear you that it’s not an ideal situation; and you’re in no way wrong wishing it weren’t this way.
But I think you’re going to have to suck it up and go with what your Fiance wants. If she is loud during the ceremony; at least half the people in the room will think nothing of it, right?
Post # 5
I understand your concerns but being that she is your Future Sister-In-Law I think you may have to “suck it up” as PP said.
I am marrying into a large LDS family with tons of children and babbies who will be at our ceremony. As much as I would love a quiet cry free ceremony I am bracing for the worst. :/
Post # 6
I am honestly a little offended by this. I understand that there is a lot of stigma associated with mental illness, but shame on your guests if they laugh at her. It sounds like your new sis-in-law is very important to your fiance, and if it were me, I couldn’t imagine telling him she was not allowed to be present. Your fiance’s sister cannot help the fact that she has a disability.
Post # 7
my nephews wifes brother has autism and during their cermony he made noise and even yelled (nicely) at the couple once, he even ran off giggling at some point and it didnt matter – he was excited and happy for his sister getting married
now they have been married a few years its one of the things i remember (fondly) about their wedding, i cant describe her dress or the Bridesmaid or Best Man colours, dont remember the cake or what the favors were but the fact her brother was so excited and happy for them and he was welcomed to be part of it is what sticks with me
Post # 8
I actually work with children (up to age 25) who have various mental health issues (adhd to autism to bipolar) and have actually invited a few to the wedding who have autism knowing they make noise. It’s a part of me and I love them!
Clearly I have biased thoughts on this subject but really.. she’s going to be your family. My sister has tourettes syndrome and makes goofy faces due to her ticks. She will be standing in my wedding. I cannot even consider not asking her to be there because she might get laughed at or noticed. She’s my SISTER and I love her.
I know you are not trying to sound selfish or shallow. And it’s your day and it’s all about you so it’s the one day you should be selfish. But I don’t see how this is an area that should be about you as much as you accepting the family you are joining.
Maybe rather than worrying about it, embrace it. Be happy she can be there because she is going to be your sister. And just make sure she has someone with her who is calming to her. Think about her – without knowing what her diagnosis is, is this situation going to cause anxiety for her? Give her a job that won’t cause her overstimulation and stress so she is more calm and not acting out. Maybe you should have a heart to heart with your fi and fmil and discuss what will help her be a part of the ceremony in a positive way for her.
Post # 9
Okay, so she’ll probably be distracting during your ceremony. However, I can imagine it would be devastating for her to be told that she’s not allowed to attend her brother’s wedding ceremony just because she’s disabled and may make noise. Is the hurt you would cause her really worth having a “perfect” ceremony?
Post # 10
All of these responses have been so helpful. Thank you ladies 🙂 You are right — if I start feeling concerned, I’ll remind myself that it’s much more important to honor family than to have a perfect wedding. 🙂
Post # 11
@Miss Mochaccino: awesome. More power to you.
Post # 12
And a ‘perfect’ wedding is relative too. I imagine the attendance of family is part of your FI’s vision of a perfect wedding and looking back on it, maybe yours too, you just didn’t know it right now. Honestly, I was initially offended, but can be understanding of the fact that this is a new life experience for you and you are maybe in the early stages of being comfortable with it. And really, there is no excuse for the general population over the age of 8 (give or take a few years) to be laughing or even staring at anyone’s disabilities. If that were the case, they’d be hearing a mouthful from me and it probably wouldn’t be my vows! You will grow to love your Future Sister-In-Law more each day and defend her to your core. And that can take time with any new family, regardless of their abilities.
Post # 13
I think ppl will be understanding of the issue at hand…and if anyone laughs at her noises shame on them….if there is away yo keep her occupied (a small snack, colorful items etc.) with something during the ceremony that may be helpful
Post # 14
I’m curious to know what type of disorder you’re talking about. It sounds like Tourettes, not Autism. Depending on which one my advice would be different.
If it’s Autism, then yes a reinforcing item will work as a distractor. (I work with kids with Autism)
If it’s Tourette Syndrome that you’re talking about, and it sounds like you are, than offering a colourful item (hypothetically) is just plain insulting. My cousin has Tourette’s and makes very noticeable vocal tics and noises. He’s coming to my wedding, because he’s family and he can’t help it.
I sympathize with you though, because I have wondered myself how to handle my situation – should I warn people ahead of time, etc. Of course we would prefer he not make noises through our ceremony but it’s not something that can be helped. And I know he will be doing his best to control and stifle it. It’s a tough situation.
And anyway, it’s no worse than a baby crying or a cell phone going off – both of which I’m terrified of happening.
Consider your SIL’s point of view – she is already living with a terribly embarrasing disorder that she can’t help. And not only that, but if it is TS, then she is TOTALLY AWARE of it. Please don’t give her a ‘special’ role that will only highlight her and make her stand out even more.
People with Tourette’s are not considered ‘special needs’ – it’s a completely different thing. Tourettes is a mental brain disorder where the person still functions at all normal levels except that their brain misfires and causes vocal and motor tics. Completely different than a developmental disorder where the person’s mental age and capacity is delayed. Got it? Also, please stop calling her disabled. She isn’t if she is only making vocal tics.
Post # 15
My understanding is that people with disabilities who make those noises generally make them when their passionate about something – so, like a pp said… She’ll likely just be expressing her excitement for you two 🙂 I think she needs to be there. Perhaps as a greeter, but I don’t think that is necessary… I just feel that she shouldn’t be left out due to her disability