Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions. Unfortunately, not everyone gets the memo – sometimes navigating the tricky waters of keeping your family and friends happy while also planning your dream day can get too much. Every week, I’ll be answering your burning wedding dilemmas and questions. If you have any questions that require a particular expertise (a floristry question, for example) one of my fabulous expert suppliers will step in and answer for me! This week I received the following anonymous email from a bride struggling to keep her family together in the run up to the big day! Please do leave your own advice in the comment box (and remember anything offensive or hateful will be removed) and let’s see if we can work together to help our lovely bride with her dilemma.
Dear confused bride,
I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with such an awful situation. I’m afraid there’s no easy answer to this, so I’m just going to tell you what I would probably do in your situation, and hopefully my readers will also be able to give some advice.
In both my personal and business life I have a zero tolerance policy for intolerance (if you know what I mean). I know you must love your parents, they are your parents after all, and at best you can put their feelings about your sister’s partner down to ignorance, but it sounds like you and I share the same feelings when it comes to LGBT rights (and common decency).
A lot of people will probably tell you that it’s down to a generational gap, to try and come to some sort of compromise, and not to educate your parents as they are stuck in their ways. A lot of people would try to justify their behaviour.
But you didn’t go to those people, you came to me – and in this situation (from my perspective) there is a clear right and wrong. Your parents are wrong to alienate your sister and someone she loves because of their outdated beliefs. Your parents are wrong to put you in this situation, and it would certainly be wrong for you to punish your sister and ban her life partner from the biggest day of your life because of this.
Yes, it will be heartbreaking not to have your parents there on your big day, but they have laid their cards on the table and sending the message that you will hide your sister’s partner away for the sake of making them more comfortable with their own intolerance will do no good in the long run. You have to be firm, brave and decisive – your sister loves you enough to be your bridesmaid. She has her own major life event coming up – are you going to damage this close relationship, miss out on her civil partnership (why should they invite you if you didn’t invite her partner to your wedding?) and make her feel ashamed of her life?
I’m so sorry that your parents can’t see past whatever views they have formed over their lifetime, it’s certainly a shame, but they have made the threat; all you can do is be strong in your convictions and hope that their threat was an empty one. If they are willing to miss out on their daughter’s wedding (or both of their daughters, as the case may be) then this is a tragic loss for them. It is also very sad for you, but you at least will have done the right thing.
Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but maybe this will be the wake up call your parents need to start supporting your sister and the life she is building for herself with the woman she loves.
Sticking up for what you believe in is never easy, especially when the people challenging your beliefs are not enemies, but the two people who have cared for you and brought you up, but your sister needs you to be in her corner. Don’t let her down.
Do you agree with the advice above? How would you handle the situation? Leave our reader some advice. If you have your own wedding dilemma, email firstname.lastname@example.org (happy to change some vital details to leave you anonymous) and we’ll answer your question on the blog.