Unwelcome at the Wedding

16 Jun

Dear LetterBalm: My fiancé and I are planning a winter wedding. Three years ago, my mother divorced my stepfather after a long marriage because he was violent with her and me. He’s an alcoholic, but he didn’t abuse my half-sister, who still sees him. I’m pretty close with my father, and I’ve asked him to walk me down the aisle (my mom is O.K. with this). I don’t want to invite my stepfather to the wedding because he might get drunk. My half-sister really wants him to be there, but I’m afraid he might be hostile toward my mom. My mom is anxious about having him there, too. How can I make my sister see that not inviting her father is the best thing for everybody? She can be a drama queen.

–Nervous Bride

Presumably, your sibling is a grown woman, old enough to set aside her wishes in favor of the happy couple. Ms. L.B. thinks someone needs to sit down with your half-sister and firmly inform her that when she gets married she can invite her father (which probably will precipitate its own uproar). But since he is an alcoholic with a history of violence towards her mother and half-sister, who happens to be the bride, she needs to shelve her ego, smile sweetly, wish the bride and groom well and stow any snarky comments. Is there a neutral party, someone your half-sib respects, who can talk sense to her? As the bride, you must approach that person and ask for help:

Lisa, you’re Diana’s godmother, and she respects you. I need your help. Diana is insisting on her dad being invited to the wedding. There are major problems with this – he being at the wedding is out of the question. As you know, my stepdad continues to drink, and he has a history of violence towards my mom and me. Mom is understandably worried about him showing up drunk and becoming abusive. Can you please talk with Diana? She needs to understand that this day isn’t about her – when she marries, Diana can have her dad there. At my wedding, she needs to be cheerful and upbeat and not take her disappointment out on the wedding guests. I love her, but God knows Diana is perfectly capable of staging drama. Can you have a private talk with her for me and Brad? We’d be so grateful for whatever you can do.

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