I am at a loss of what to do in the situation that I find myself stuck in. I am currently planning a wedding, and we’re at the guest list stage of things. Most of the guests get an obvious “yes” or “no”.
Then there’s my Aunt P and Uncle G. G is my mother’s brother, and is a bit worrisome. At the last major family event (that he attended), he hipchecked his other sister in anger and stormed off. Before that, he regularly left family events in a huff after being insulted some way or another. He hasn’t been at any major event since, and I for one am happy. Him? I definitely don’t want at the wedding.
Then there’s P. She’s from another country, and moved here after getting married to G in her birth country. She’s sweet, nice, and would be great to have at my wedding.
So here’s the question. Do I invite P and not G? Do I invite P and G and hope that G decides not to come? Or do I just not invite either and try to make it up to P some other way?
G(r)oom-y Guest List Planner
I’m not a wedding expert. I’m fascinated by the way that weddings are so expensive and “must” conform to so many traditions and expectations while simultaneously being just unique and magical and special enough and how that links up to this massive industry. I get that they are emotional minefields of dealing with family and expectations, and I understand why people want advice about them. Should I ever get married I’ll be writing posts that say “Dear Commenters: Help me out with this wedding shite, ok?” and going to Hot Doug’s with Commander Logic every week. But really what I know about weddings is that a year later they all sort of run together in my mind and as a guest I don’t really remember what you wore or what the flowers looked like or anything, and if someone’s weird uncle throws a fit I probably won’t notice or will find it hilarious.
PFC Marie and the commenters hit it out of the park in this thread with a lot of advice for how to deal with situations that require a Trigger Warning, so if anyone reading this is in a really bad situation you may find it helpful. We’ve dealt with the threat of awful inlaws here and the question of calling off weddings here.
To your specific question, I think that it’s bad form to invite only half of a married couple to a wedding. That’s the kind of thing that the married couple would definitely notice. So either invite both (and potentially live with some weird hijinks from Uncle G. in the name of including his wife, Aunt P.) or invite neither but make some time to spend with Aunt P. just on an ongoing basis because you like her. Otherwise you are inviting Aunt P. AT Uncle G. as a message that you don’t like him.
If you can afford to invite both of them, chances are that day you’ll be totally swept up in events and not really noticing what one guest is doing, and you’ll have plenty of family buffers between you and Uncle G. Since he’s your mom’s brother, is this one case where you can ask her opinion and be ruled by that?
In the meantime, weddings can’t really be ruined unless at the end of the day the couple fails to be married, right? And the less you include “must” and “should” in your lexicon, probably the happier you’ll be. Also, keep in mind that certain relatives will find reasons to be upset about things because they are a baseline of difficult and sucky – it’s impossible to please everyone so you might as well please yourself first. Personally, I think it’s a mistake to treat wedding invites as a referendum on how much you like people, not least because I like WAY more people than I could ever feed at one party, and I can’t always afford to travel to weddings of people I really and truly adore.
So invite both or neither as your budget and tolerance for Weird Uncles allow. Congratulations to you.