Dear Captain Awkward,
My wedding is in a month. There is new parental drama that makes me wish we were eloping. How do I still enjoy my wedding?
Fiancée and I are introverts and did not want a huge wedding. My parents do not understand why we would not want 300 guests (despite numerous attempts to explain). We compromised and invited almost everyone they wanted. We will have 100 guests (a lot!).
A few days ago, amidst a calm discussion about wedding logistics, my dad got unexpectedly angry and bitter and said (I quote) “You have made a lot of choices about this wedding that your mom and I would not have made and you just have to live with the fact that you can’t make everyone happy.” He said it in a way that clearly indicated he was bitter and resentful and unhappy. It was out of the blue and really upsetting, very much the “you are a child and I am not going to engage with or respect you” tone of voice. I am about to be 30.
I tried to engage in calm, thoughtful conversation (through tears) about his concerns, but to no avail. He does not communicate about feelings, apologize or have discussions about his behavior. My mom did not get why I was upset (???), but when I talked to her later she did commiserate that he does not apologize for things. I assume he is still upset about invitations, which pisses me off because we invited all of his family (except for some adult children, which caused other drama, long story). I may never know.
My primary concern is how to still enjoy my wedding next month. My mom is confident he will behave and be gracious, and she is probably right, but this outburst was unexpected so I am worried (A++ at anxiety). I also know that any conversation with my dad about this will a) not go anywhere, and b) make it take longer for things to cool down, making day-of wedding drama more likely. But I am both a strong communicator and a strong woman and it is hard to feel like letting it go is letting him win. Wedding planning has been a large source of stress for me (we had a variety of other family/friend invitation drama despite our best attempts), and this is just the icing on the cake. Right now I feel like I am going to burst into tears from one unkind word at the wedding.
I talked about this with my therapist and we are working on practicing being okay with people I care about being upset at/angry with me. I care about my parents very much, but my dad has been the largest source of wedding-related stress, and telling him that will only make things worse. I have a good Team Me in my fiancée and close friends, but it is hard to know what to do so that I can enjoy my wedding while also feeling angry.
Maybe I Should Have Eloped