How do I tell my mother she isn't invited to my son's wedding?

Ah, I see.

Does that mean she gets to keep both kitties then? YAY!

This is probably what it comes down to, except that I really do know why. iampunha explained it to me yesterday, but I’ll leave it to him to explain it to y’all. I really don’t mind doing this particular family laundry in public, but I don’t want to quote iampunha against his will on a rather sensitive subject.

Trouble is that iampunha has no contact with his grandmother. It isn’t like she notices, though. She communicates almost entirely through letters – she is 83 and still has a gut feeling that long distance is expensive, which is pretty funny but works to our advantage, so we don’t push it. And she told me that if he won’t write back, she won’t write him. (Oooh! The pain! :D) He doesn’t correspond by letter, so I never gave her his address, and she can’t get in touch with him even if she wants to.

That would be a wonderful solution. Then I won’t have to be faced with stammering and trying to tell the truth while not hurting her feelings, when I really want to tell her “You made your bed, now lie in it!”


It is a shame about alienating your grandmother. But it’s your wedding and you can do what you want.

That isn’t quite how it happened. After she had for the millionth time told the “amusing” family story of how upset she and my dad were when they found out they were expecting me, I said that it hurt me every time I heard that story. She was very much taken aback and hasn’t told it since, AFAIK. IOW, she did hear me. She isn’t saying that they really did want me, and that’s a good thing, because that would be a lie. But she understands that that particular story is not one that one tells around me.

You’re right, the issue is how to tell her. I’m not sure that telling her proactively is the right thing to do here, though I do appreciate your input.

What I have learned from my married life with relation to my parents is that you never, never make your child choose between you and his/her spouse. Ever. It’s a no-win situation, and the healthy child always chooses the spouse. And a similar corollary applies to weddings. So – no matter what iampunha wants, if he can get it himself, he’ll get it. If fizzes wants something I consider patently ridiculous, that’s her decision. I’ll certainly counsel them against things I think are dangerous or destructive, but the bottom line is that it is their life and they are entitled to live it as they wish, as long as they don’t hurt me in doing so. Other people have to stick up for themselves WRT the happy couple. If my mother wants to do that, fine. But that’s up to her to do.

Well, just tell her. I know she has the inability to take any responsibility for her past actions. But if you see it coming, maybe the “fit” she has when you tell her will be easier to handle.

All you have to say is, “Mom, I love you. iampunha is getting married soon and is not inviting you to the wedding. I’m sorry if this hurts you, but it’s his decision and I agree with him. I’ll let you know how it goes.”

(At this point, in my family, there would be the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. “Why doesn’t he love me? What did I ever do that was so wrong?”) blah blah blah It’s probably going to be ugly, but just remember that she has brought this on herself. And her NOT being there will make your son’s wedding day that much more special to him.

If having her at the wedding isn’t an option, I’m also assuming that you’re not looking for a gift from her. Dang it! Now they’ll have to only return 5 coffee makers rather than 6!

Good Luck with this!!

I like the letter idea best.

It gets Mom off the hook and accomplishes the task.

As far as timing goes, send the letter at the same time you send invitations.

Whady’all think about this?

"Dear grandmother:

blah blah blah blah. [I’ll edit that part out at a later date;)]

B and I know you’d love to be at our wedding, but we’re concerned about a few things that might make the experience less than enjoyable.

driving distance, weather, buncha strange people totally unlike her (and all about computers), lack of religious overtones.

What we thought might be a good idea, because we know you’d love to be included in everything, is to send you a copy of the video along with an invitation for your scrap book [and something else. can’t remember what my mother and I thought was a good idea a few hours ago. We’re also going to do this for some other folks we know would like to be there but can’t.



It doesn’t get into the whole “I don’t want you to mess anything up” things, etc. And it studiously avoids saying I don’t want her there.


Frankly, those sound like reasons that you wouldn’t invite someone to a dinner party, not a wedding. Weddings are a time where people are expected to travel great distances and hang out with strangers in order to be with the couple.

I can’t make a suggestion as to what to say, since I don’t know the reasons, other than the propensity to be hurtful. But I do think that you should tell her the truth in a concise way with as few details as possible.

I’m really sorry you and fizzy have to deal with this. I agree that a letter is the best way, and the letter should be sent far enough in advance that she doesn’t start making travel plans.

Phantomdiver, apologies if I’m completely off-base, but it sounds like you’re making excuses. So she doesn’t phone people ? good ! So she doesn’t know his address ? even better ! That way if she truly wants to know why she isn’t invited, she’ll have to get off her butt and expend some energy in contacting Iampunha. She’ll have to actually take the initiative and ask you for their postal address. Effort will have to come from her, rather than everyone tip-toing around her.

It’s win-win. If she does go to the effort of contacting Iampunha then he will have to deal with his decision to not invite her (which I fully support). It’s not your problem, hon. It’s Pun’s problem, he’s an adult, he can deal with it. Don’t make it your problem, just tell gran (if she even asks) that it’s none of your business or you don’t know, or you don’t want to get involved and that gran should ask Pun directly if she wants an answer. Minimise your involvement.

Pun, I don’t think that letter is a good way to go, simply because your grandmother might easily find ways to overcome every objection you’ve made, she may solve every ‘hurdle’ and then where are you ? You’re stuck with her still assuming she’s invited if she can get there. I think you have to either be upfront and contact her with the information that she isn’t invited/welcome or just not invite her at all and understand the possibility of a backlash that you may have to deal with.

Good luck, however you choose to deal with this shitty family situation :slight_smile:

Any chance you could do the wedding down in Mexico or somewhere in the carribean ?


Hmm, I’ve been following this thread, and after reading iampunha’s first draft I remembered that I was once in a similarly delicate situation of having to “uninvite” someone – a bit tricky since in this case I had already extended the invitation and now wished to retract it.

I considered various lies, but discarded them because of logistics. Ultimately I decided to put the reason for the “unvitation” on myself – that the person’s difficult personal situation had put me in an uncomfortable place as well. I exaggerated the truth a bit by claiming that due to my own problems compounded by other factors, I needed to retract the invitation. I wrote that I hoped the person understood, and sent my best wishes. Another similarity here was that a third person’s well-being was involved, and that person might have been adversely affected if I had told the unvarnished truth. (I wish I could be more specific, but I’d rather not. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and deleting here, even in anonymity.)

It worked. The person believed the sob story, “understood,” sent good wishes to me as well, and did not attempt to crash the event.

iampunha, maybe this approach can work for you. There’s really no logical argument for “I’m not comfortable having you there, and I’m sorry, but for personal reasons I just can’t invite you.” I like the idea of offering to send a video, scrapbook items, etc., so it doesn’t seem like a total kiss-off. But I’m afraid that, as Goo said, the only way to avoid having her think that you really want her there* despite any suggested “obstacles” is to come right out and tell her, as gently and objectively as possible. You don’t have to go into details, I don’t think – use the “broken record” technique if she objects.

*Of course, technically and etiquette-wise, the way you tell someone they’re not invited is to not send an invitation, but I think Granny would miss such subtlety. :dubious:

I am also against writing a letter to her. My gut feeling is to just not send her an invitation, and leave the ball in her court. I’m sorry, iampunha, but the example letter you wrote sounds terrible to me. If you really thought she would love to be at the wedding, you would be inviting her. The excuses you listed sound wishy-washy to me.

If you really want to send a letter not inviting her, I would suggest that it be a declarative letter, not an apologetic one. “Dear Grandma; B and I are getting married on such and such a date. We would have liked to invite you, but our personal conflicts have made that impossible.

No real advice, just thought I’d offer some empathy. Sliceguy and I are eloping because in this case, the offending party is my mother.

Although, I think I might have to caution against the letter idea also. Since you’ve noted that grandma likes to repeatedly bring hurtful things up, can you imagine what would happen if you wrote her a letter–she’d have a prop!

Congratulations to you, iampunha and fizzestothetop, and good for you phantomdiver for your support of his decision. Want to be my mom?

:smiley: Sure! Always room for one more. And you’re even in Northern VA, where I live!

Here’s a thought:

b]iampunha** and fizzestothetop just don’t send his grandmother an invitation. If she ever asks me about it – and she will, trust me, she will, eventually – I’ll say I’m not entirely sure why, she’d have to ask her grandson. She says, but he doesn’t write letters. (The idea of calling him would probably not occur to her.)

I’d say, hmmmm. How about I get him to write to you? She’d say, how about you give me his address and I can write to him?

I’d say, the only way I communicate with him is through e-mail and IM. (In theory, she has e-mail; in practice, I don’t think she’s gotten it to work yet. Long story.) Then I ask him to write to her.

But only if she asks. Which I think she will. What do y’all think?

I wish it weren’t my problem, but trust me, part of it is. He doesn’t have contact with her, but I do, so I have to figure out how to handle that part.

Oh, and I forgot to mention – iampunha hasn’t given his grandmother his address and doesn’t want me to do it. So if she asks for his address, that’s why I say that I don’t communicate with him via snail mail and that I will get him to write to her. Which he will probably do with no return address.

I am not taking the fall for iampunha’s decision, btw. I just know that he doesn’t want her to be able to initiate contact with him. I’m taking care of myself in this matter. Everybody who has said so is right that he is an adult and can clean up his own messes.

And FWIW, if it were my wedding, I’d invite her and deal with that particular mess. But it is not my wedding, so I don’t get a vote, just input as the mother of the groom – which the happy couple may feel free to ignore, but which so far they have been polite about.

Iampunha, I think we have the same grandmother. My grandmother is now estranged from just about everyone in the family after we finally decided we’ve had enough. Now we don’t have to cringe everytime she walks in the room and hope she doesn’t make a scene. Estrangement does have its privileges.

PD, since you seem to be the only one communicating with your mother, I’d tell her that your son is getting married next year, but I wouldn’t say anything about guest lists or give her the exact date yet. Be vague: “Sometime next spring.”

As the event approaches, if she mentions the wedding, I’d say, “Yes, it’s still on for the spring. But they’ve decided to have a very small, intimate wedding so you don’t need to hold the date.”

If she persists, then I’d be honest and tell her that she definitely isn’t invited. And then let her speak to Iampunha about it if she chooses to press for reasons why.

You could always send her the invitation the day of the wedding.

No, no, no, no, no!

The responsibility for your son’s relationship (or non-relationship) with his grandmother belongs to your son.

My suggestion when (not if, I think you know your mother) she asks why she was not invited to the wedding is very simple:

“Mom – you will need to talk to my son about that.”

Repeat as necessary which will no doubt be a lot.

Do NOT offer to get him to write to your mother. That puts you square in the middle of a situation that is not yours to solve. Have you read The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner? She describes unhealthy relationship triangles and what you are talking about doing is perpetuating exactly that.

While the details are different in my own family, there’s enough similarity between what you guys have described and my own – that book worked wonders in my family relationships. My unsolicited advice is to check out a copy and see if it works for you too.


I thought of another scenario that works in some families; don’t invite Grandma to the wedding, but invite her to a family party the next day or something like that. That’s what Dread Pirate Jimbo and I did with our wedding. It was very small, so all the people not invited to the wedding were invited to an open house the next day (with the understanding that they were not expected to bring gifts).

Can’t say that, though. Because he absolutely doesn’t want her to initiate contact, so she doesn’t have his phone number or snail mail addy. Remember what Portwest said?

It’s like that. iampunha has instructed me not to give his grandmother his phone number or address.

So while I like the idea of passing it right back to iampunha, saying “You’d have to ask him,” it isn’t practical. Do you see what I mean, Contrary?

Seems to me that really the best solution would be for iampunha and fizzes to elope just around the time that invitations would be sent out. Then they could have a non-binding ceremony and party instead of the wedding. fizzes would still get a public ceremony, iampunha would get a private ceremony, and they wouldn’t be inviting anybody to the actual wedding.

I do understand what you are saying – but I still think it’s not your problem to solve :frowning:

This reminds me of a very different situation with a good friend of mine – mostly because there were no good solutions for her either.

Possible solution for phantomdiver - when she eventually asks, respond with a query to the effect of why would he invite her when he’s cut her out of his life. Then refuse to discuss it further; it’s not your issue.