Do You Have To Invite Your Step-Parents?

Today we have a great little debate from ‘My Honest Answer‘ who solves your dilemmas daily. Join a group of smart women (and a few men) as they share their life lessons and give good honest advice: minus the sugar-coating, plus a bit of sass. Today the discussion is about who we invite to our wedding. Who should be invited and who should do the inviting.

Weddings traditionally signify the coming together of two families: the bride’s, and the groom’s. I think most people who have walked this road will agree that joining two families really is complicated enough. But what about when each of those families has its own problems and divisions?

A question that I have been asked more than once, is whether you are obliged to invite step-parents, -brothers and -sisters to your wedding.

Dealing with the aftermath of failed marriages – especially your own parents – is unpleasant at the best of times. But add in the occasion of your own marriage, and the potential for drama is matched only by the potential for awkwardness and irony.

Some people would say, ‘It’s YOUR day. Do what makes you happy. Only have people there who you want to be there.’

I’m not really of this camp though. Yes, it is your wedding, but you don’t own the whole day. You still need to look after your guests, and you should still be aware of other people’s feelings. No, you don’t need to pander to your mother’s every whim about tablecloths. But to disregard her chosen husband? That’s a different thing.

Under the Vintage Veil does not own the source of this photo

If one of your parents has remarried, I think you should respect that. Yes, you might not think of the new spouse as your family. But they are your parent’s family. That’s a choice they have made, and I think you should respect that.

Of course, they’re are extraordinary circumstances under which I would not recommend extending an invitation. Perhaps there are issues of abuse, or addiction. But genuine reasons aside, to NOT invite such a close family member (and that is what they are, whether you like it or not) you are making a big statement. A statement that you not only don’t like that person – but that you don’t respect your parent’s choice to be with them.

Similarly, your step-siblings might not feature heavily in your life. But they are one of your parents step-children. By choice. It seems cruel to disregard a huge part of your parent’s lives when, in reality, you probably wouldn’t have to see that much of them on the day anyway.

So I would urge people to take the highroad on this one. But what does everyone else think? Are there circumstances in which it’s fine not to invite step-parents? What about step-siblings? Or do you disagree with my premise and think that yes, you should be able to dictate exactly who is there on your big day?

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