(Closed) How to tell a family member their special needs daughter is not invited…

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: How would you handle this?
    Sit down and talk with her. : (80 votes)
    53 %
    Send one invite to her&husband, then a second invite to her other kids. : (2 votes)
    1 %
    Other. (Explain!) : (70 votes)
    46 %
  • Post # 77
    482 posts
    Helper bee

    @Soon2BeeMrsG:  well it sounds like those ppl who left you out of events based their decision out of pure ignorance. but one thing i would do is be careful not to project what was done to you onto the OP as her predicament is slightly different.

    ive never had someone not invite my son based on his disability, fortunately he is not severe to the point where it could even be a concern. but if he was anything like the OP described about the 4th child, its understandable why shes hesitant. i would be too.

    i still say let the brother talk to the sister first. see what happens.



    Post # 78
    10649 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: January 2011


    However we do not want to invite her 4th daughter who is very, very special needs. I say this with the most sensitivity

    (She’ll have a fit over nothing) plus she is a deaf-mute and does not understand most of what is going on around her. She is a lot to handle, when she was living in her home state her family had her in a special needs home and my Fiance has never been that close with this girl so we don’t want to invite her.


    If you are being sensitive , you shouldn’t be referring to her as ‘is very special needs’ and ‘is a deaf-mute’.  She has special needs, that doesn’t emcompass all of her though.

    Has she ever been to a wedding before?  If so, how did she react?  Some kids do really great if there’s a special occassion that’s occuring, and some tend to need to stick to their routines.


    Post # 79
    561 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @AB Bride:  +1.  I have a learning disability myself and I get offended when I am defined by it.  I’m a person WITH a disability.  I am not THE disability. 

    Post # 80
    39 posts
    • Wedding: May 2013

    +1 to everything BartenderPlease said about “othering”

    So, I’m trying to read this post objectively, but it is proving very difficult to do that.  I am an early intervention teacher for young children who experience disability, and the way you speak about your future niece is pretty upsetting to read.

    It seems to me that you have already marginalized this child and are just seeking the most tactful way to exclude her from your wedding without losing face in front of more typical family members.

    Anyway.  In terms of etiquette, you have two choices.  Invite the parents.  Invite the entire family.

    I realize that this is your wedding, but discrimination, whether it is based on gender, race, or disability, is not only “impolite” it is also unconscionable.

    Post # 82
    5950 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2018

    The fact that this post exists at all makes me terribly sad…the OP may have written this with the best of intentions and meant no harm, but reading it breaks my heart.  This young lady cannot help the issues she has, and I can assure you that both she and her family are all too familiar with being treated to similar “talks” by people of all walks of life….surprise this amazing family unit, invite them all and discuss with her mother some things you can arrange as her hostess to set this young lady up to succeed and enjoy the family celebration, it will be a breath of fresh air to them all, an affirmation as a society that differently abled individuals deserve our respect and consideration and that you love and accept everyone in your family, no matter what.

    Post # 83
    3696 posts
    Sugar bee

    As tempting as it is to idealize weddings and want everything to be perfect, our weddings are reflections of our lives, our families, and our relationships – and those are often messy and real. All four of these children are part of that.

    You might think about having an adult wedding (pleading your small, tightly limited budget) and doing some other, less-formal get-together to celebrate with all the kids?

    Post # 84
    76 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    I think you should sit down with your SIL to let her know you are planning the logistics of the wedding. As PPs have suggested, ask her if you think her special-needs child would enjoy the wedding. Tell SIL about the timeline of your wedding day. I would specify how long the ceremony is, how many speeches you are expecting, whether there will be a slide show, etc. These are the portions of the day her child may not enjoy sitting quietly for a long time through. Take the conversation from there and let SIL decide if she wants to bring the child, arrange for a caregiver, have the child attend reception only, etc.

    Post # 85
    758 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2011

    @AB Bride:  +1.  It really bothers me every time I read something like “her kid is handicapped” or “he’s autistic”, or “she’s a deaf-mute“.  She’s a PERSON first and foremost.  I wish people would be more sensitive to others and use terms that are a little more respectful.  I don’t want to reference “political correctness” because it really isn’t a political issue.  Its about respecting people and not defining them by using labels.

    More appropriate and respectful language would be to refer to the indivdual as a person with a disability, a child/person with autism, a person with a hearing impairment, etc.  This language is much more inclusive.

    By the way, OP, this post isn’t meant to attack you for the language that you used, but moreso to inform you so that in the future, you can use more inclusive language with your Future Sister-In-Law and her family.

    Also – please invite your Future Sister-In-Law and all of her children.  Speak openly with your Future Sister-In-Law about accommodations for your neice, but please begin with the attitude that you would like to include her in whatever way makes the most sense for everyone involved.

    Post # 86
    719 posts
    Busy bee

    @Luayne:  I agree…I think it would be a mistake to invite only 3 of the kids. 

    Post # 88
    719 posts
    Busy bee

    @JoJoDahling:  I am glad you were able to get some positive feedback about this situation.  It is definitely sensitive, and I don’t think there is any “easy” way to handle it.  You sound like a very kind and sensitive person!  🙂 

    Post # 90
    132 posts
    Blushing bee

    I’ve just seen this thread. I have an adult son (age 22) with severe autism, and bipolar disorder who still has disruptive behaviors and lives in a group home. He also is very tall (6’9″ due to a chromosome disorder). I think the resolution you’ve reached is a good one- to have your husband talk to the parents and approach from the point of view of concern on how to make your niece comfortable rather than automatically not inviting her. The other posters have rightly pointed out how it often feels as a family with a child with severe disabilities, especially if they have severe behaviors.

    My own daughter got married in August. Her brother did not attend as we felt it would be too much for him and he would not enjoy it (even with extra support). However prior to the wedding, she introduced her fiancee to him during a visit. It was very sweet, she told him she loved her fiancee and he smiled (he is nonverbal and his functioning level is about age 2 1/2).

    Thanks again for the update.

    Post # 91
    1399 posts
    Bumble bee

    @AB Bride:  +1

    OP – She is a person.  She may not be able to communicate but she has feelings.  There are 2 options.  Invite the whole family or make the wedding adult only.

    EDITED – Just saw the update.  Thank you.

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