All in the Family

There are plenty of dicey family dynamics that can muddy up the wedding planning process. I just (like, literally JUST as in 5 minutes ago) finished watching an episode of Bridezillas where the girl’s crackhead dad reappeared after years and the alcoholic mom decided she didn’t want to go to the wedding if he was going to be there, and then went anyway and tried to make out with her daughter’s gay friend. This is why I watch Bridezillas: It *always* makes me feel better.

So what came up for us? Pretty tame stuff, comparatively speaking. We’re in no way worried about anybody causing a scene, being difficult, or making us cry. But we did have some decisions to make on details here and there.

The invitations

Invitation wording seems to be one of the more controversial wedding issues. For us, it was a non-issue simply because we didn’t ask anybody to “approve” the wording. We’re paying for 85% of the wedding ourselves, with each of our dads kicking in a sum. I hammered out the wording in about 2 minutes with Designer Mama, she designed and printed up the invitations, we showed our parents the final product. Done.

Traditionally, the bride’s parents’ names went on the invitation because they were footing the bill, therefore hosting the party. This was clearly not the case with us. I’ve also seen grooms’ parents’ names as the hosts and both sets of parents for split bills. We opted for “Together with their families” because we did want to recognize the effort put forth by our parents, monetary or otherwise, and call it was it was — a joint effort.

The reception events

Other things can be tricky, though. My mother passed away 5 years ago, and Mr. Ladyfingers’ parents are divorced. We are therefore basing a lot of decisions on this dynamic. For instance, when our caterers asked us if we wanted to have the DJ introduce the parents as well as the bridal party, we scrapped it — we didn’t know how we’d handle introducing my dad with his fiancée, or his parents separately, so rather than try, we said no thanks.

We also passed by the idea of an anniversary dance, in which all the married couples congregate on the dance floor and the DJ dismisses couples by the least amount of time married, so that the bride and groom are the first to leave the floor, and the last couple remaining is the one married the longest. Again, I didn’t want to bring up unnecessary sadness for my dad, who will likely be emotional enough as it is, or alienate FFIL and FMIL Ladyfingers.

The gifts

The latest question for me was the parental gifts. If you’re gifting based on monetary contribution, would we only get FFIL Ladyfingers and my dad a gift? What about FMIL Ladyfingers and my dad’s fiancée? We couldn’t give joint gifts because of the situation on his side, so what to do? After gathering some online advice, we finally settled on gifts for all – so 4 separate gifts – to recognize their emotional and familial support, and their being part of our big day.

Did family dynamics color the way you worded invitations, structured your reception, etc.? We were lucky because everybody’s fairly normal and non-dramatic, but I know this isn’t always the case in others’ weddings. How did you deal with sticky relationships?


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