I’m in the same boat with most of my family! My extended family is a mess. They were in and out of our lives growing up and usually it wasn’t good when they were around. My mother has been mentally ill for as long as I remember and my father, after living with her for 30+ years, is now, too. My sister and I both decided that we had to cut them out of our lives after they made a mess of her wedding and tried to blame us for it. We have barely spoken since and it’s been almost 3 years. It was a matter of necessity for our health and well-being but it’s still incredibly hard. My sister is able to see and remember the positives from her wedding day and appreciate the fact that she at least had some nice wedding-related moments with them leading up to the big day. I won’t have any of it, the good or, thankfully, the bad. It’s incredibly hard. I have a hard time watching the reality wedding/dress shows on TV and I have anxiety about having to explain where my parents/extended family members are. Thankfully Fiance is extremely supportive and my sister/MOH and I are close.
FI’s family is a mixed situation. My soon-to-be Mother-In-Law has a lot of the tendencies for control and manipulation that my own mother had, although possibly for different reasons. The worst part was I figured out a lot of this while we were visiting a few times and working on wedding-related things, like looking for a dress. I was so excited to go shopping with her, and probably was thinking of it as a replacement experience (as much as it could be). At least I would have a mother figure to go with…. However, it quickly led to spiteful comments when I wasn’t leaning towards the dresses she liked or manipulation by making disparaging comments about my body parts in front of other brides/families in order to try to get me to do things like pick straps instead of strapless dresses. We are also VERY different when it comes to our views on the world, which has made things very difficult too. FI’s sister is a lot like their mother too, which hasn’t been helpful.
Fiance and I have generally great friends but we’re learning just how close some of those relationships are or aren’t. I have tended to keep a smaller circle of close friends because of my experiences growing up and they have all been great for the most part. There are, of course, exceptions. I’m pretty sure when it comes to weddings, everyone loses their damn minds! For example, I had a Bridesmaid or Best Man alert me that another friend, who decided not to be in my wedding essentially because of finances (which I totally understand, but still probably wouldn’t have made the same choice if I were her-I would’ve cut out a few happy hours a month or something), that she would be upset if she didn’t get a +1 to the wedding even though she wasn’t planning on bringing anyone/wasn’t dating anyone/didn’t have any love interests. Our budget is extremely tight because we’re paying for much of the wedding ourselves (and FI’s mom added 32 people to the invite list through another manipulation-whole other story). I felt like, if she wanted me to be understanding about her not standing up there with me on my big day because money is tight, I would expect that she would be understanding that she wouldn’t get a +1 just for the sake of having one because money is tight. In the end I decided to give the +1 rather than have it turn out to be a fight/drama on the day.
Before that, the same Bridesmaid or Best Man came up with this over-the-top plan for my shower/bachelorette that included a trip to NYC and a long train ride there. It was a great idea but I was just thinking of staying in our home city because we were already asking people to travel for the wedding. I went along with it and told her to work with my sister/MOH because she was really excited and we were going to be able to cut a lot of the costs through various connections. Then I got an email from Bridesmaid or Best Man when it came to actually planning the event, saying that I need to keep in mind that not everyone can afford such things and keep in mind that I’m asking them to travel for the wedding. I thought my head was going to explode. I decided to do what I wanted to do, have the shower at my house, a dinner in our city and have a sleep-over after going out to the bars. Even then, getting suggestions for bars from Bridesmaid or Best Man and other friend was essentially impossible.
Anyhoo, as for FI’s friends, it’s been pretty bad. He’s had friends RSVP but not show up for things, not say nice things about us behind our backs about us being plus-sized people (except I was within ear-shot and heard everything), etc. He’s been really disappointed/upset by the behavior of friends and family too.
As I’m sure you can imagine, there’s so much more that could be said. Bottom line, though, is that through all of this, Fiance and I have figured out what we truly want and have learned a lot working through these issues with family and friends. We are lucky in the regard that it has made us stronger as a couple.
My advice would be to take it one day at a time, keep the end goal in mind at all times and ask yourself if worrying about/being upset about X,Y, or Z is going to help you. Of course you need to grieve for your loss and you will likely be doing that throughout your life. But as for the other stuff, you and your Fiance will be building your life and your circle of friends together for the rest of your lives. The suggestions above are all great as far as broadening your circles and opportunities. As long as you are focused on the kind of day you two want for the start of your journey, that’s all that matters. Everyone else who misses out or can’t be a part of it, well it’s their loss, their problem. If they don’t like your choices, well it’s a good thing they aren’t the ones getting married that day. You and Fiance are going to be happy together and there’s nothing that anyone else can say/do to change it. 🙂
Good luck and hang in there!