11/23 {Ask Liz} Well, We ARE Family

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So, how was YOUR family gathering on Thanksgiving?

All I’m saying is, you know, I’m just sayin’…

Dear Liz,

I’m getting married in June and need advice about a guest list dilemma.
My father has two sisters and a brother we’ll call Bill. Dad doesn’t speak to any of them unless it’s unavoidable and would prefer if none of them were invited to my wedding. I have better relations with them than he does and am definitely inviting his two sisters and their families; the problem lies with Bill’s family. My dad and Bill had a falling out about five years ago, and long before that things were tense – despite living not that far away, we stopped visiting Bill’s family 12-15 years ago. I’m 28, and I think I was in late elementary school or junior high when we last spent any amount of time together.

My sister and I have made some efforts at reconnecting with Bill’s two daughters over the past couple of years but literally haven’t seen his two sons for over a decade. This past summer one of Bill’s daughters got married; my sister and I were invited to her bridal shower (though neither of us was able to go) and my whole immediate family was invited to her wedding (which my parents and sister attended; I live across the country and couldn’t go, but sent a card, which my cousin thanked me for.) Up to this point, all of the first cousins have always been invited to each other’s weddings. I would hate to be the person that further deteriorated relations in our family by not inviting Bill’s family. On the other hand, numbers are tight (Bill’s family, all-included, makes 12), I don’t know any of them very well compared with our other guests, and none of them has thus far acknowledged my engagement – plus, my father can be difficult in a lot of social situations and I can’t imagine that having Bill’s family around would lead to him being very agreeable at the wedding. In a recent conversation with my mother it became clear that she also thinks it would make more sense not to invite them. Most of Bill’s family lives near where we’re getting married, so there’s a good chance they’d be able to come. Oh, and my mother also doesn’t think it’s OK to invite only Bill’s daughters and not his sons (and, reluctantly, I tend to agree). 


Family Fracas-ed Out

Dear Fracas,

Your Dad and Bill do not get along, but his family has obviously tried to reach out and establish a relationship with you, as part of their family. You want to invite them, but the big sticker is Bill and Dad’s feud, which is why you hope that they won’t come.  I get that you’re afraid of the tension, but here’s the thing:  If your Dad went to his niece’s wedding, then they’ve already had to deal with each other, and quite recently. They are grown, and they will get through it. And, if you invite them all, some of them will come.

That being said, if you really don’t want to deal with the possible stress on your wedding day, then don’t invite any of Bill’s family. Making his daughters choose between you and their Dad isn’t fair…sort of like how your parents making you choose between them and Bill’s daughters isn’t fair. There is room for all, or there is room for none. I’m just saying.

What do you think? Should her Dad suck it up, or should she just give it up? Let me know in the comments below!

And HEY, are you in Los Angeles? I have a great Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday Wedding deal for you – $500 off Day-Of Coordination. You get me, my lovely assistant, and all the joy and peace we’re going to bring to your wedding day. But, only if you book online by Monday.  There’s some other lovely discounts to get you down the aisle too, so GO.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith is the owner of Silver Charm Events, a wedding planning service in Los Angeles. She's also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of "DIY Your DOC: Do-it Yourself Wedding Day Coordination." Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.