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A Reader Asks: Should Grandmothers Be Included in Wedding Decisions?

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Grandparents dream of sharing the joy of a grandchild's wedding.

Grandparents should be assets, not liabilities, at a grandchild's wedding.

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Question: A Reader Asks: Should Grandmothers Be Included in Wedding Decisions?

Our daughter, who is 29, is getting married in three months. In the last week, both grandmothers have butted in on who is invited and who they want invited, saying that if their wishes are not respected, they will not attend. The family has two aunts and one uncle that the bride has not seen or spoken to in over 11 years. (They were never really part of the family.) My husband and I made the choice that our daughter does not have to have them, neither them nor their families. For one thing, that would be 20 extra people at a wedding with 356 already invited. Now due to the ultimatums handed down by the grandmothers, my husband and I are fighting all the time. Also the bride, who lives across the street, has not come over in weeks to see us or her baby brother, who is 14 years old. This is causing a rift in what was a great family. Help!

Answer:

As a rule, I support grandmothers, but they are out of line this time. Grandparents should be included in wedding plans, but not in planning the wedding. There is a difference. A wedding is stressful enough for the couple and their parents without the older generation stirring up conflict. Weddings should bring families together, not tear them apart.

Before you take any action, have a heart-to-heart with the bride. If she would prefer to invite the family members in question and keep the grandmothers happy, let her do so. Twenty extra people will not break the bank, and it is unlikely that all of them would attend anyway. If the bride does not want these particular relatives at her wedding, then the grandmothers who are threatening not to come to the wedding should be told to go ahead if they cannot respect the decisions of the bride and her parents.

The fact that you are fighting with your husband over this issue also gives me a bit of pause. I just want to be sure that it is not you and you alone who wants to exclude these relatives. If you've been distorting the facts a bit, and you are the only one opposed to including the relatives in question, then it will be your turn to accept the majority opinion graciously.

Response From Another Reader: Sometimes there has to be a limitation on guests, so maybe the bride should send invitations only to those whom she wishes to invite. That way anyone not invited will know that it was her intent, not yours or any one else's, and not get offended at you or your husband or in-laws. There may be some who get upset or disagree. Maybe you or your husband might even disagree with her choice, but it's really your daughter's wedding, and she should make the decision. If it's about who is paying and those paying think they have a say so, still let it be the bride who chooses. Better this way than to have the family separated in the future. Call the bride and tell her you will help with only the things she requests you to and that you want this to be the special occasion she wants it to be. Tell her that you are there to give her all your support. Ignore the two grandmothers. They seem to have forgotten that it's not about them. It's your daughter that counts. Speak to your husband and try to make him see this. I hope things get worked out soon.

Adapted from a post in the Grandparents Forum. See more questions from readers.

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