Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The best laid plans

We've worked really hard on our wedding. The hardest bit has been keeping the respective families happy: sufficiently involved, but not required to do any actual work.

Getting the invitation list together was really hard. We asked each family for a list of people they'd like to invite, then combined the lists with ours, and then mad some preliminary decisions based on criteria we agreed on.

Criteria like, do we know these people? If we don't, we're not inviting them.

We then submitted our suggested list back to both families for feedback. We reiterated that these would be the people we invited, and no one else. No complaints, so we did the invitations.

Fast forward to Monday night. It's after 10, I'm in bed, and my dad calls me. I say I'm in bed, and tired. He's babbling on about someone whom he leads me to believe is someone I have met before, and how they'd heard about my wedding. Then he hands me over to my mother, who eventually explains that he's invited this person - apparently his cousin - to our wedding. We establish that I didn't know know she even existed, and that my mother has never met her. Dad shouts inb the background that I need to send them an invitation right now.

We end the call without me agreeing to do anything, and being tired I forget about it all and go to sleep.

Only to wake up the next morning with the full picture (cheers, subconscious!): my father invited his cousin - whom I haven't even heard of, let alone met, in 21 years of living here - to our wedding. In spite of knowing everything I've outlined above.

We're both pissed off, because we went to great pains to get the invitation process right. We were clear that we weren't inviting "randoms" - people who we didn't know but our parents liked. hell, The Trouser had to tell his mother that the person she invited to "just turn up" at the ceremony was not, in fact, welcome, because this is an invitation-only event.

So I send a polite, formal email to my mother explaining that these people will have to be uninvited. We don't know them, and no one can just randomly invite people.

Last night, all hell broke loose. My father calls, shouting and demanding to know if I've read "my email". He's obviously pissed off when I tell him I haven't. He keeps shouting at me, so I hang up.

So he calls The Trouser's cellphone, because obviously he needs to speak man to man about this issue, and I am obviously being a nasty little bitch. How unfortunate that I answer and tell him that he cannot shout at me. So he shouts anyway and makes all kinds of rash statements. Apparently he didn't know about the invitation process. They did us a favour by not inviting many of their friends initially. These people are family. I'm ungrateful. They can't invite anyone to the wedding they're paying for [in my dreams!]. If Im going to be so hard-line, then he won't come. And then he hangs up on me.

About an hour later, my mother calls to talk to me. I can't believe that they're tag-teaming me. She's never defended me, but they've never done this before. So I give her the same reasons. She tries to defend what my father did. She can't really defend it.

Throughout all of this, I keep super-calm. I don't make rash threats. I don't shout. I stick to the facts. I point out the obvious, since my parents are both trying to ignore it. I point out that they have the right to make their own choices in life, and that if they feel so strongly about these people not being invited, then it is their decision whether they attend the wedding or not. I point out that our shaky-at-best relationship has been further damaged by the wild accusations and threats. I also point out that while I had no choice but to submit to my father's bullying as a child, I am no longer a child, and will not condone his behaviour.

It all took me back to being a kid, when he and my mother would tell me off. Then she'd go and he'd threaten me further, really frightening me. And when I told my mother, he would always deny it. He was so vindictive that at one stage my mother told me that I was going to live with my aunt and uncle - but he quashed that idea because it made him look bad.

Right now, The Trouser and I do not intend to reverse our decision. We know it means my father will be bitter, and that on our wedding day he will go out of his way to try to make me feel shitty about these people not being invited. He won't want me to be happy when he isn't, because he's that kind of person.

Frankly, I'd rather have him not attend. I'd rather have an invitation-only celebration with the people who truly love us and wish us well. But that isn't an option anymore.

I didn't think we'd planned for every contingency, but I thought we had this bit covered. Shows you how much I know.

I feel sick about it all.

I wish we could just escape and never come back.


Blogger Julie said...


I would give serious consideration to telling The Father that he's not invited either since he doesn't seem to understand etiquette, but then, I ran off to the Justice of the Peace on a Wednesday afternoon and cancelled my own wedding, due to stuff just like what you're dealing with.

If you draw lines now, and really hold to them, like you're doing, it may suck in the short term. But you'll be amazed at how long people remember, and don't pull this crap again. No one's tried to push me around since the wedding cancellation, though that was a pretty extreme solution.

Good luck. IMHO, you deserve a medal for not shrieking at everyone involved.

11:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is crap. Really crap. I stuck to my guns too and we are happier for it. Small and intimate, no randoms. You know what gets me? Who WANTS to go to some stranger's wedding? I don't. All that small talk with family you don't know, standing in a corner trying not to look like a loser because you're up to your 20th drink just to get through the boredom of a wedding where you don't know anyone. I hate that. Why would anyone want it?

I've learned how to stick to the facts in face of parental bullshit lately and how to stay calm when it's all a nightmare. Sounds like you have too. You really will be better for it. And parents who threaten not to attend get all sulky and show up anyway. Oh wait, not always. My grandmother didn't attend my parents' wedding (she sat with her knitting at home instead!).

Families can really suck. You're doing great though.

11:15 am  
Anonymous ruth said...

ditto on what everyone else said. this is common wedding planning crap.. and unfortunately you were not spared of it. =(

the way we dealt with it - we stuck to our guns and our excuse was that there was limited space and money, sorry! =P

1:30 pm  
Blogger Violet said...

That sounds terrible. You shouldn't have to deal with people being so inconsiderate. Now I realise why people often just elope.

Would it have been possible to just invite them to the ceremony and not the after-function? Anyway, that's not the point is it?

9:12 pm  

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