Estranged Fathers...

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theoneandonly22 Posts : 14 Registered: 5/3/10
Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 3, 2010 6:49 PM

What to do...what to do....

My FH and I are planning a guest list for a wedding about 2 years from now. The guest list is only going to be about 50 people total. We can't afford, nor want a large wedding and do not see the point in a wedding outside of our means. Out of 50 guest, the only issue come to our fathers.

My father was not around much, even though my parents were married. They are now divorced and better off. We see each other maybe 3 times per year and are usually friendly with no hard feelings.

My FH's father has been gone for many years, without a word to either of his children. My FH thought it would be a nice gesture to invite him to the wedding. Although there are hard feelings there, he would like to at least give him a chance to attend the wedding.

I guess my issue is whether to invite either father. My father would be more likely to show; although he would probably want to bring his newer wife, who hates me. I am not sure whether my FH's father would show up, much less come without bringing drama with him as well.

Would it be wrong to send an announcement to the fathers after the wedding? We will need to send about 100 announcements to various friends and family members due to the capacity of our wedding.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 3, 2010 7:30 PM Go to message in response to: theoneandonly22

Dear The,

Given what you posted here, I'd say go ahead and invite both fathers, and any stepmothers.

This is not an easy call, but I'd err on the side of generosity. If the issue was anyone other than fathers (or mothers), then I'd go the other way, but, let's face it, you only have one father. His blood and DNA flows through your veins and arteries.

Your father, the guy you see maybe 3 times a year, is likely to show up. OK, his wife is a problem, but just put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

FH's father, who has been gone, is unlikely to show up, but it's still a nice gesture to include him.

My own father used to say "You can never do wrong by doing right." Inviting the two fathers (and stepmothers) is the right thing to do. You'll sleep better at night knowing you tried.

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 8:39 AM Go to message in response to: theoneandonly22

Totally agree with AOTB - I would invite them both, as well as the stepmothers.

Ultimately, however, it's up to you and your FH. It sounds like he wants to invite his father, so that decision is made. Whether or not he attends is up to him - I agree that it seems unlikely. As for your father, that's up to you. If I were in your shoes, I would invite him. Even though you're not close, you have a friendly relationship and not inviting him to your wedding would ruin that. Unless he's been abusive to you or your family, I think he deserves to see his kid get married, even if he hasn't been the best father in the world. You don't need to dance with him or have him walk you down the aisle, but an invitation would be a good acknowledgement that he IS your father. Again, whether or not he attends is up to him.

As far as the numbers go, you're talking about 2 extra people - 4 at the most, if both fathers are remarried and attend. That's not going to blow your budget, and it's the right thing to do.


DaisypathWedding Ticker

Vice President and Guardian of the Toilet Brush of POOP: People Offended by Offended People

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karebeartg Posts : 831 Registered: 6/25/08
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 9:31 AM Go to message in response to: ArtBride

I completely agree with AOTB and Art. While neither you nor FH have a great relationship with your fathers, it doesn't sound like either one warrants a "snub" by not being invited. Why make your relationship have more drama than needed - neither one seems to have done anything to warrant being not invited yet.

I do want to say that if you do decide not to invite your father, it would still be ok for FH to invite his (or vice versa). Even though you both have strained relationships, they don't need to be treated the same. Each of you should decide what will make you happiest regarding your own father, and follow that plan.


Like Art said, just because you invite him doesn't mean he has to walk you down the aisle or dance with you. He can just be "any other guest."


Good luck!


 

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 10:46 AM Go to message in response to: karebeartg

I agree with everyone else.
With my daughter, she had never met her bio dad. He was out of our lives when she was a month old, and had no contact with us at all. She invited him, and he showed. He wore jeans, but he showed. There was no drama, and I was friendly and charitable during the wedding. ALong with his wife and their 3 kids, who my daughter then got to meet and she remains in contact with them. They have even visited her now, a couple of times. I think it's a good thing, though, if my daughter can have a relationship of any positive sort with him. I don't care whether it's good for bio dad, but if it's good for her, then it's good. He didn't get to escort her in, my brother did that. And the dance was shared, her uncle (my brother) first, then my DH, then her brother, THEN bio dad.

It can change once people are grown, time has passed, etc, and if your FH wants to provide his dad an opening with an invite, then I think he should do what he wants to do. Who knows, he might surprise your FH. Without an invite, he'll never know.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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Agape14 Posts : 201 Registered: 12/31/08
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 12:12 PM Go to message in response to: theoneandonly22

I'm in a similar situation and I'm partially on the other side of the fence from the thoughts of the other PPs. If FH wants to use an invitation to the wedding as a gesture and means of opening lines of communication with his estranged father, that's great and I think you should support that. And if you're on cordial terms with your father and don't mind having him there, then absolutely extend the invitation (even if there are issues with the Step Mom).

But I don't think it's "the right thing to do" if it's not something you're comfortable with. And I definitely don't think that sharing DNA trumps bad behaviour. If a parent-child relationship is so bad, for whatever reason, that someone doesn't want to invite their mother or father to their wedding, I sincerely feel they shouldn't.

In my case, I have no contact with my father. And I have no desire to have any form of contact with him ever. I have no invited him to any event in my life for many years and nothing's changed that would make me consider inviting him to the wedding. And when people say "but he's your father", my response is that he's genetically my father, but that's where the relationship ends and I consider his actions over the course of my life to be much more important than whatever DNA we share. Similarly, there are people in my life who I'm close to that share no DNA with me whatsoever and they're not only invited to the wedding but will be especially honoured during the celebration. So, for me personally, "DNA" does not equate to "family".

So, OP, I definitely would support and encourage you and FH to do what you feel comfortable with. And if you want to have the fathers there, or at least want to encourage that relationship, by all means, extend the invitation. But if you aren't comfortable doing that, don't, and don't feel like a bad person for that decision.

 

 

~~Life's tough, wear a cup~~

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 12:36 PM Go to message in response to: Agape14

Dear Agape,

". If a parent-child relationship is so bad, for whatever reason, that someone doesn't want to invite their mother or father to their wedding, I sincerely feel they shouldn't. "

I agree with you 100%.

From the OP's message, I got the feeling that both she and her FH are "on the fence" about inviting the fathers. OK, if it's a toss-up, then why not go ahead and invite them?

Your situation is entirely different. You absoultely do not want to invite your father and you are annoyed with those who question your decision. I'm behind you on this one, entirely. To those who question your decision, you need only say "My decision is final." and leave it there.

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myras Posts : 396 Registered: 2/26/10
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 2:49 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I agree that it depends on the nature of the past and current relationships, as well as whatever hopes the OP has for the future. In the case of one father, there is at least a "friendly" relationship, if not a close one, and it seems only right to invite him (and wife). If the other father will bring "drama" with him, then blood relationship (sperm donorship) alone is not enough to require him to be there. The OP's FH might wish to talk with this "father" and assess the situation before he makes a decision.
myra@classysassyweddings.com

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theoneandonly22 Posts : 14 Registered: 5/3/10
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 2:53 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

We are on the fence. That's the problem. I am over all the hurt and anger of MY father's past relations with us. But about half of the other wedding guests are not. He is still my dad, but it is suppose to be a happy day.

My FH is not exactly on the fence. He is confused, and has seemed to be fine with inviting, but there is an undercurrent of unresolved anger there. Also, his mother will not let there be peace. (We mentioned inviting the father since I posted the thread.) She is bitter and says she won't attend if HE is there.

I do not want family drama, but I do not know if there is a way for everyone to be happy.

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hljanes Posts : 57 Registered: 12/31/09
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 3:29 PM Go to message in response to: theoneandonly22

My parents are divorced, and though I have a relationship with my father, it's not the greatest. My mother (and grandmother) can barely coexist in the same state as my father and stepmother, so I am fully anticipating drama and will be pleasantly shocked if there isn't any.

That said, I still expect everyone involved to act like adults for the two days they will have to be in close contact. If they cannot tolerate each other's presence during the rehearsal and wedding, they can leave.

Your parents (and presumably the family members who still have problems with your respective fathers) are adults and you should expect them to act as such out of respect for you and your FH. I say invite them and expect everyone else to deal with it like the adults they are.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 5:59 PM Go to message in response to: theoneandonly22

Dear The,

" She is bitter and says she won't attend if HE is there."

You are the only one who can make the final decision about inviting your father. You know the dynamics better than anyone here. Similarly, your FH knows his family dynamics better than any here.

Regarding the backquote above, let me offer you a little piece of wisdom. Life is full of people, not just your mother, who say "If you do X, I will do Y."

In this case X=invite your father and Y=Mom stay home.

My knee-jerk response to anyone, repeat, anyone (boss, husband, mother, co-worker, etc) who tries to blackmail me that way is to say "I'm sorry to hear that. We will miss having you attend."

If your mother is actually the event hostess (ie paying for it, even partially), then she has every right to veto any guest on the list, including your father. You, however, have the ultimate veto rights as you can decline Mom's offer to host or co-host the wedding. It is your wedding and the ultimate veto rights belong to you and your groom.

My best suggestion it to talk this situation out, thoroughly, with the man you plan to marry. Come to an agreement between the two of you, based on your family dynamics. Then, present a united front to the world.

If you are truly "on the fence", and all else was equal, I'd err on the side of generosity.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Estranged Fathers...
Posted: May 4, 2010 6:03 PM Go to message in response to: hljanes

Dear Hi,

"That said, I still expect everyone involved to act like adults for the two days they will have to be in close contact. If they cannot tolerate each other's presence during the rehearsal and wedding, they can leave."

Excellent attitude. I'm behind you on that one.

It never ceases to amaze me how two people can conceive a child together, then expect that child to, later, bear the brunt of the former-lovers' hatred for each other. You, the adult child of this relationship, are not responsible for anything that happened to make them go from lovers to haters. You, the adult child, should not have to apologize to anyone for trying to be civil to people who cannot be civil to each other.

You, the adult child of the relationship, are the INNOCENT party here.

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