Planning a wedding should be a time filled with joy and the promise of a bright, loving future together. Unfortunately this is also a time when old family feuds come to a head. The invitations you give out or deny can shape how family members treat you for years to come. What is a bride to do? Who gets the invitation and who gets cut?
If this is a feud that has nothing to do with you, try not to take it personally and by all means, avoid being Dr. Fix It! Feuds need to be settled by those involved in them. Trying to patch two people up when you do not have a vested stake in the argument is never a good idea. Wedding planning is emotional and draining at the best of times; try not to get caught up in the drama of others.
If there is someone you really want to invite and the feud is over something trivial such as an insult over a dress or unreturned soup ladle, be assertive. You do not have to invite or cut anyone just because someone says so. An appropriate response to Aunt Mary’s biting remark, “I hope you are not planning to invite Uncle Marty. He never did apologize for scratching my car” would be to say, “Both you and Uncle Marty mean a lot to me and since I want everyone I care about to be with me on my wedding day, I will be sending an invitation to both of you.” Then dole out the invitations to both parties and let them decide if they will show or not. You may be setting off another family feud by being firm on your guest list, but those that choose to drag out small arguments for years have much deeper issues than who shows up at your wedding.
What if you are part of the feud? If you are fighting with someone and are ready to negotiate a truce, sending an invitation (plus a quick note expressing your desire to be on friendly terms again) is a wonderful way to initiate a resolution. If your feelings are so strong, however, that you never wish to set eyes on him or her again, spare yourself the emotional turmoil and don’t send an invitation.
However, not all feuds are trivial. Some are very serious and should result in the offender not receiving an invitation. If the potential invitee is a person that has done you or another family member physical or emotional harm to the point where contact with him or her would be damaging, you need to leave this person off your list. You are not obligated to invite someone that is dangerous or would cause discomfort to other guest(s). If this person is someone you are close to but is dangerous to someone else you want to invite, you need to decide between them. Some actions need no explanations. If someone assaulted you or another family member, they should not expect an invitation or explanation. However, if you feel you are being hurtful to the uninvited guest and the nature of your relationship with them is good, you should explain why they are were left off the guest list. This should be done in person. Do not rely on the grapevine to get word across – as that will only breed more resentment and hard feelings.
Sometimes there is nothing you can do when people disagree and while that can put stress on your wedding planning, remember that it is a day of celebration. Perhaps not everyone can celebrate it with you, but your true friends will be there physically or in spirit to wish you well.