Should I Invited My Estranged Father to My Wedding?

Etiquette

Most brides hope that their father (or even both of their parents) will walk them down the aisle at their wedding ceremony. For a variety of reasons, however, many know that their dad won't even be around on their wedding day. Should a bride-to-be even invite her estranged dad to her wedding? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your family and guest questions in our daily post.

My father has never taken responsibility for me, except when it was convenient for him. Should I invite him?

If you don't feel comfortable inviting him, you shouldn't feel pressure to do it. "You don't have to invite him just because he's your father," says long-time family therapist Sylvia Bigelsen, author of The Ties That Bind. And Bind. And Bind (Element Books, 1999). "He hasn't earned the dad role. A biological connection is not what being a dad is all about." If you decide not to invite him, just be sure to let him know your decision before the invitations go out. "Tell him that it's best if he not come, but if he really wants a relationship with you, you'll be willing to give him a chance after the wedding," Bigelsen advises. That way, you can enjoy your day without having anxiety about his presence. You can also plan to have your mother, brother, or best friend to walk you down the aisle—or you can walk with pride toward your future husband by yourself! When you're back from your honeymoon, you can start working on your relationship with him—if he's game.

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