Yesterday, I received an invitation to my cousin's wedding. Due to a falling out, my mother and her cousins (including the brides's mother) hadn't spoken since the bride and I were about six years old. I don't even remember anyone from that side of the family. My mother and her cousins reconnected via Facebook about a year and a half ago and made amends. My Mother's side of the family lives about eight hours away from us, and I've only met the brides's mother once since they started talking to each other again.
My mother was trying to plan a family reunion for some time this summer, but her cousin suggested that my mother, my mother's sister, my father, my fiancÚ and I should attend her daughter's wedding in July and consider it a "family reunion".
To me, it seems a little bit inappropriate for a bunch of strange relatives to attend my cousin's wedding as a "family reunion". My gut tells me that someone's wedding just isn't the setting for that sort of thing. Am I off-base? I'm not sure who is paying for the wedding, but the invitation stated that the parents of the bride were inviting us.
Also, my fiancÚ and I are getting married in December. Should I invite my Mother's formerly estranged family members to our wedding, now that my fiancÚ and I have been invited to my cousin's (we are paying for our wedding)? Does it depend on whether or not my fiancÚ and I attend my cousin's upcoming wedding? I don't mind inviting more people, I just want to know what's appropriate.
Here's my take on it - sounds like they just want to see the extended and what a better way than to do it at a wedding! By "family reunion" it seems to me that what they mean is let's all just get together and celebrate together - hit two birds with one stone. Obviously the parents are paying for it, hence the wording on the invite, so I would go to the wedding, but would not at all feel obligated to invite them to yours, considering the circumstances.
In my family and my husband's, we tend to use weddings and funerals as reasons to reconnect and have a mini reunion with relatives we rarely see. I think it would be fine to attend the wedding and plan activities with your extended family for after the wedding, not before.
As for inviting these relatives to your wedding, I would see how things go at your cousin's wedding. You may find that you really made a strong connection with some of the relatives and you would like to invite them to your wedding. If that doesn't happen, then there is no obligation to invite them. Just don't spend much time talking about your wedding plans if you don't intend to invite them.