Dad's wife at wedding AIBU to ask for advice how to handle this

(596 Posts)
ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:05:38

N/C regular...

I'd prefer not to have my Dad's wife at my wedding.

My Dad remarried about 5 years ago after my parents divorced when I was an adult. I have a very good relationship with him, but his wife is pretty much a stranger to us. Their relationship strikes me more as that of convenient companionship as opposed to any great love match. When I have encountered of her, I've felt she is someone to whom I wouldn't ordinarily warm regardless of circumstances. We have never really had the opportunity or desire to build a relationship, which suits all parties fine for the most part, but when it comes to our (intimate, close friends & family) wedding, it poses a problem as I'm not sure I feel comfortable having a virtual stranger there. Particularly one whose presence is certain to make my Mum feel extremely uncomfortable and for whom my sister and Grandma have very little time (to put it mildly)

I'm also concerned that my Dad will be fulfilling a traditional role on the day, escorting me to the ceremony - giving me away, and helping host the reception, so his wife will be on her own for big swathes of time. The only people at the wedding she knows are my aforementioned sister and grandma, neither of whom will be falling over themselves to make her feel welcome. It's hardly likely to be an enjoyable occasion for her, but she's a bit emotionally neutral, so I think she would just get through it without feeling particularly bothered.

I know I need to have a frank conversation with my Dad since as it stands, I have no idea what his expectations are regarding her attendance. He could be completely in tune with my concerns and have assumed his wife would not attend anyway (although rather unlikely), or equally not have given any thought to any potential issue and be put out at the suggestion she doesn't come. It's very hard to gauge. I know I just have to tread very carefully to ensure this doesn't blow up into a massive, upsetting issue for everyone...

How am I going to handle this? AIBU to ask the advice of strangers on the internet?! Don't want to dripfeed but reluctant to drone on so feel free to ask me to expand on stuff.

squeakytoy Mon 23-Jul-12 11:09:49

I do feel a bit sorry for his wife here, unless there is more to it. Was she involved in the break up of the marriage?

whois Mon 23-Jul-12 11:12:33

If I read your OP correctly, you don't activly hate her you just don't have much of a relationship with her?

In that case why would you want to offend your Dad and cause a massive issue by NOT inviting her?

CeliaFate Mon 23-Jul-12 11:13:03

I think you have to invite his wife, or risk a monumental falling out with your dad.
She may refuse the invitation, but at least you've done the decent thing.
Can you put her on a table with elderly relatives, who are probably at ease making general chit chat?
Don't be the woman who didn't invite her dad's wife. Invite her and don't worry about her. It's your day, she can look after herself.

snuffaluffagus Mon 23-Jul-12 11:13:27

Well it would be a bit of a slight to her to not be invited.. it would probably upset your Dad not to invite her.

PilchardsonToast Mon 23-Jul-12 11:13:48

I think you know you've got to invite her and expect her to attend. After five years of marriage she's not a new girlfriend she is his partner.

If your worried about how her presnence will affect the dynamics of the day and how she will feel then you should talk to your dad beforehand, tell him what you are planning - where she'll sit, who she'll know and ask him if she'll be OK or if he has any suggestions but be firm on the bits that matter to you i.e she doesn't get to sit on the top table etc (if thats the case!)

Hope it works out OK!

Mrsjay Mon 23-Jul-12 11:13:56

HAs his wife did anything to offend you or do you just not know her very well maybe she doesnt know how to talk to her husbands adult children. Invite her to your wedding you will offend your father , how would you feel if your husband was invited to a wedding of somebody you both knew and they just didnt like you ,

Don't be surprised if your dad doesn't want to come without his wife. Could she be 'emotionally neutral' to mask the fact that she is hurt at being quite obviously disliked?

Jackstini Mon 23-Jul-12 11:14:15

YANBU to ask for advice, no. Probably do need some more info though...

How many people in total will be at the wedding? If it's a dozen, is very different to it being 60.

When is the wedding - have you got time to get to know her a bit better? (Not sure whose choice it has been not to get to know each other so far)

Re how you see their relationship - this is really none of your business and should not have an effect on your decision; It is their relationship & it doesn't sound like you see them together enough to comment tbh.

How close are you to your Dad & has this changed since he married her?

Presume he met her after your mum and nothing to do with the split?

What have your sister/Grandma specifically got against her?

How does your df feel about it?

sleeplessinsuburbia Mon 23-Jul-12 11:14:17

I would invite the wife and assume everyone will act like adults. Do you have reason to suspect they won't?

Noqontrol Mon 23-Jul-12 11:15:12

Id just invite her, I'm sure she will manage to look after herself. She can always choose not to come. I don't think it would be worth the fall out not to invite her tbh.

Cluffyfunt Mon 23-Jul-12 11:15:18

Invite her and leve it up to her wether or not she comes.

To snub her would be unforgivably rude IMO.

I would also have a word with your DSis and ask her to be nice to your Sm if only for your big day.

If your Sm has done nothing nasty to any of you, I can't understand why you would consider leaving her out.
You never know, you may get to know each other a bit smile

Mrsjay Mon 23-Jul-12 11:16:17

My friends had this with her dads wife her parents dicorced when she was 20 he remarried she still invited her anyway , and she sat with some relatives on her husbands side , there was no fuss or anything ,

patosullivan Mon 23-Jul-12 11:16:41

I think that it would probably cause upset for your dad and his wife if she was not invited, even if she doesn't want to come.

Could you put her on a table out of the way?

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:17:32

No she was not involved.

I just read that back and you're right, it does portray her a bit as the victim here. I guess I'm just trying to present the situation as fairly and neutrally as possible.

My sister and Grandma don't like her because she's quite odd, cold and difficult to engage with. I found that to be the case too, but have had less occasion to gauge an opinion, so have been reluctant to be too prejudiced against her. She is also a born-again Christian, with some extremely divergent views and values to my family's. I have nothing against her choices in this respect in particular, but my family see that as further evidence of her peculiarness.

She was also quite rude to my Mum at the one family occasion where everyone has been there together, making comments about the nature of the occasion and how in her community things are done such-and-such a way, and heavily implying that the way things were being done on the day were inferior. Again - I wasn't privvy to all this so have just tried to remain neutral.

emsyj Mon 23-Jul-12 11:17:47

I think it depends how your mum feels about it (since you seem fairly neutral about her). If the new wife had any part in the break up of the marriage, it would NBU to speak to your dad and explain that you want your mum to be able to enjoy the day and that he is very much wanted there, but can he find a way to come without his wife for your mum's sake. But you'd have to be prepared for him to say, 'both of us or neither'.

If your mum is prepared to put on a brave face, and you have a nice bridesmaid or friend who can be nice to the wife on the day and give her some company/keep her discreetly away from your mum, gran & sister, then you should invite her.

There's no good way to handle split parents where the break up is still raw IMO. In an ideal world, the parents would put aside their own needs, wants & feelings for one day to make sure the couple are happy, but this isn't an ideal world.

The other alternative is to just invite everyone (including the new wife) and then let everyone decide whether they want to act grown-up and be pleasant on the day, or not come.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:18:47

sorry, wrote that reply after 1st response - thread's moved on a bit since! Will read & reply now...

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:18:53

I can't understand why you don't want her there, sorry. If she had been out-right vile it would be a different matter. But it sounds to me that the lack of a relationship with her is in large part down to lack of effort from your family.

You are right to think it would be a massive slap in the face to your father, and you love him, don't you? For that reason, I'd want a bit more justification for excluding her than you seem to be giving.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:19:39

X post. Will read what you have written again.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:22:20

Right, have read now.

I have relatives who some of my family find annoying/difficult - for reasons of their own. I don't have the same issues with them that my relatives do. I think you should take her as you find her and be the gracious host.

Sorry this is causing you stress, but the implications of not inviting her would probably be worse.

NarkedRaspberry Mon 23-Jul-12 11:24:13

Sorry but I think you have to suck it up. She's been married to your father for 5 years. She wasn't involved with the break up. She needs to be invited.

If you have a relative/friend coming who is good at dealing with tricky people could you ask them to 'mind' her for the day? Sit with her in the church and try to steer her away from your mother?

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:24:42

.... P.S. I am sure your mum is lovely, but she's not exactly an unbiased voice, is she?

Mrsjay Mon 23-Jul-12 11:26:16

just out of curiosity did you go to their wedding ? if she donly knows your grandma and sister sit her somewhere else maybe ,

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:27:53

Ok,

How many people in total will be at the wedding? about 80, comprising about 60 close friends our age, 25 DPs family and 15 my family (all Mum's side - Dad has no family except Grandma in question - his mum, but he is very close & friendly with all of Mum's side - no animosity, apart from none of them having much time for his wife)

When is the wedding? next May. Plenty of time, but Dad lives the other end of the country and tends to visit here (where my Grandma and we all live) without her - probably because he knows none of them like her.

Re how you see their relationship - this is really none of your business and should not have an effect on your decision; It is their relationship & it doesn't sound like you see them together enough to comment tbh. Fair enough - I only added that to emphasis that my Dad doesn't give the impression that he would feel unhappy without her around on any particular occasion.

How close are you to your Dad & has this changed since he married her? We're actually much closer now, We fell out big time around the divorce as he had had an affair for which I really struggled to forgive him at the time. Over the years we've made an effort and get on great now.

How does your df feel about it? He doesn't really appreciate the dynamics of the relationships involved, and is trying to stay out of it.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 11:28:47

Appalling to be even considering not inviting her - she hasn't done anything wrong.

caramelwaffle Mon 23-Jul-12 11:29:16

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

My very first thoughts on this are that you and your soon to be husband are going to be standing up publicly to state - for example - that you will "become one" "forsake all others" "choose each other over all other people" (you get the drift) but will not afford your dad and his wife the same respect for having done the same.

From what you have said (or rather not) she is not a highly embarrassing fall down drunk, or annoying coke head. Not a shouty person, or similar.

If you are expecting people to respect your vows that will both be stating, then the least you could do is respect those of your father.

I agree with Jamie. Be a gracious host.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:30:42

"I only added that to emphasis that my Dad doesn't give the impression that he would feel unhappy without her around on any particular occasion"

I think he would at your wedding. I don't know him, but there's huge symbolism here that people really feel. A non-acknowledgment of his marriage, at your wedding is a biggie, IMO,

PenisVanLesbian Mon 23-Jul-12 11:30:42

Invite her. Anything else is unacceptable.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:31:24

X post caramel. My sentiments exactly

AfternoonDelight Mon 23-Jul-12 11:31:59

I could have written your OP. I'm getting married in September and I really don't want my dad's wife to be there.
I have spoken to my dad about it, and at least he now knows how I feel about her. My problem is she knows no-one from my family at all (she hasn't spoken to my grandmother, her MIL, for two years). I want my dad to be at the top table with me, but I don't feel like she should be at the top table. She's done nothing for me the whole time she's been married to my dad (since I was a teenager). She doesn't go out of her way to speak to me, my children, or my sister.
I have told my dad I don't want her on the top table or there at all but she's still coming. I know that they'll all be civil, but I just can't stand the woman.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:33:49

No, I didn't go to their wedding. My Dad said we could if we wanted, but it was a very low-key midweek affair the other end of the country and he made it clear he didn't really expect us to come, particularly since there was hardly any notice and we wouldn't have been able to get the time off work in those circs.

Re: where she sits at the wedding, she won't know a soul

Re: My Mum, she has remained pretty much silent on all of this, short of saying a genuine, heartfelt "whatever you decide to do on the day, I will completely support you" but I know that she will be anxious to the point of illness if she knows Dad's wife is coming. She would never let on though or allow it to spoil the day.

I have no idea where we would sit her.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:34:03

oops, misedited re: seating her.

Rindercella Mon 23-Jul-12 11:34:17

"He doesn't really appreciate the dynamics of the relationships involved, and is trying to stay out of it." Wise man! grin

Right, 80 of your closest family and friends is not really that intimate is it? 15 would be intimate, 80 is a fair sized gathering.

You really must invite your father's wife, who appears to have done nothing wrong other than be a little bit different to the rest of your family. To do otherwise would actually make you appear to be quite an unkind and ungracious person and I am sure you are anything but that. There will be plenty of people at your wedding with whom your step mother can socialise with.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 11:34:58

If the worst she has done wrong is make a few inappropriate comments, you have to invite her.

It makes no difference that you Mum and family don't like her, your Dad does like her, she is his wife, and she should be invited.

If you were having a wedding with only parents and siblings, you might have had a valid point about not inviting her, but even then I think it woudo be wrong not to. At a wedding with 80 guests, you do have to invite her. It will be a vary rude snub not to.

I had 80 guests at my wedding, a couple of those were friends of DHs parents that I don't like and didn't really want there. I barely saw them all day. I spoke to them once to thank them for coming and be nice, but it was really very easy to just get on and enjoy the day without their presence being a problem.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:35:15

Afternoon Delight What did your Dad say when you voiced your concerns? Where are you going to sit her?

Thank you so much for your post.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:37:07

There will be plenty of people at your wedding with whom your step mother can socialise with.

Like who? 60 or so of mine and DP's 30-something friends? DP's sisters and brothers (almost militant in their atheism) and their children? My Uncle, Auntie and cousins who think she's an oddball? No it's just not that simple.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 11:37:22

Caramels post is a good one that I completely agree with.

You cannot create a marriage when you won't respect other people's marriages.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:37:53

I feel for your mum, I really do, but she sounds like she'll be OK. My MIL had a great time at my wedding, formed a lovely bond with my Nan. I know she was dreading seeing my Step-MIL (and there was an affair involved).

Seating plan will be your friend. Find another religious person

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:38:29

X post - draft in a vicar grin

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 11:38:49

Are you having a best man, bridesmaids and ushers, and will any of them be on the top table?

You coud sit her with the other partners of people that will be on the top table, that's what we did.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:39:06

friends of DHs parents that I don't like and didn't really want there. I barely saw them all day. I spoke to them once to thank them for coming and be nice, but it was really very easy to just get on and enjoy the day without their presence being a problem.

Yes but were these people who a large portion of the guests would prefer weren't there? People who didn't know another soul at the wedding and you had no idea where to sit them?

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:39:25

What, no thanks for our posts?

<huffy>

Rindercella Mon 23-Jul-12 11:41:29

I feel for your mother, but it is an unfortunate fallout following divorce. Children's weddings, grandchildren's christenings, etc., there will quite likely be the ex's new partner there. Your mother will be fine I am sure, she will just need to keep her dignity and her distance.

Wrt where to sit her. Well, put her on a table of less close family/friends. Definitely not on the top table (I have a stepson, I wouldn't think for a moment I should be on the top table when he gets married). One of the most difficult aspects of our wedding was the bloody seating plans. Try and seek out one or two people who you think she might be able to have a conversation with and sit her on that table. This is a gathering you are hosting, and call me old fashioned, but it should be your duty to make sure all your guests are as comfortable as possible in the given circumstances.

I am sure you will have a lovely day, regardless. But your day will be all the better knowing you have done the right thing. God, that sounds so smug and condescending. I do apologise blush

NunTheWiser Mon 23-Jul-12 11:41:47

I think it would be incredibly rude not to invite her. Stop looking for reasons to make it ok to exclude her.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:42:17

You coud sit her with the other partners of people that will be on the top table

On our table will just be our parents, My Grandma (Dad's Mum) and the best man. The best man's wife will have a 4yo and 3m/o so I am making sure she is sitting with close friends of hers (and ours) who will be able to help her out a bit and won't mind messy kids shrieking at their table.

tartyflette Mon 23-Jul-12 11:42:32

I do think you should consider how your DM might feel about it, she too has a big role in the day's events. If she's OK with it, then fine, obviously, but if it will upset her then perhaps you should tell your Dad that it's a difficult situation, and that your Mum is unhappy. See what he has to say, he might agree to her not coming.

AfternoonDelight Mon 23-Jul-12 11:42:34

My Dad pretty much just sat and listened (I'd brought my sister along for support). I tried to explain to him, without trying to be nasty, the reasons why we don't like her and the way she has affected our relationship with him, and in turn, with my children.
I also explained the seating arrangements to him and told him I didn't want her at the top table. When I explained my reasons why, he did agree with me.

Unfortunately my Dad is very much a "bury his head in the sand" type of person, so he didn't offer any practical solutions. He has now started wailing about the "huge rift" in our family because me and my sister don't like his wife (absolutely nothing has changed in our interaction with him and her since we spoke).

As an alternative, I am proposing a top table in which she sits next to my dad, but on the end. Failing that, we are going to arrange the tables like a huge E shape, and she'll be on the first seat next to the top table (hope that makes sense). I know it sounds petty but it's a huge deal to me.

diddl Mon 23-Jul-12 11:42:58

When I was a 30 something I could happily get on/socialise with people my parents age at such a function.

As for the atheists-tell them-and your step mum not to talk about religion!

You seem to be looking for problems where there are none.

She´s an adult who will be seated with other adults!

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:43:59

God sorry you're right Jamie, thanks all for your posts! Genuinely. I loathe aibu posters who only want justification for their unreasonable actions.

I'm just trying to tread a file line here of presenting a fair account of the situation, and explaining why I really don't want her to come.

PenisVanLesbian Mon 23-Jul-12 11:44:11

Your family sound delightful; ostracising the woman because she is an "oddball". hmm So she's different from you, your father loves her and is married to her, try having some respect for him if you can't find any for her.

Rindercella Mon 23-Jul-12 11:45:12

Well, it is that simple isn't it? You have a duty to invite your step mother - who you are at pains to stress how you are keeping an open mind about - to your wedding of 80. There will be people who don't get on, and they will avoid each other. Your step mother is an adult, who is able to hold a conversation. I am sure she will cope very well. Once invited you really don't have to worry about her.

2rebecca Mon 23-Jul-12 11:45:33

If your stepmother wasn't involved in the break up of your parents' marriage why is your mum getting in such a tizz about her coming? Your mother's reaction sounds completely OTT. Even if she had been the OW in the break up most people would still invite their father's wife to their wedding if they get on with their father.
I see no reason not to invite her. it's a wedding for 1 day, not a 2 week holiday. the people who don't like her can ignore her, or just be polite. People often go to weddings when they don't know anyone except their spouse. that's her problem not yours.
I don't see any reason not to invite her. Just seat her near some people who aren't antagonistic towards her eg your family. Does your dad have any siblings coming she can sit with or do you have any older friends? She won't be sat near your mum anyway.
If you don't like the being given away aspect you could have opted for a nontraditional wedding when you walk down the aisle with your husband.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 11:47:30

No, they weren't propel that a large proportion of my guests didn't want there, although by the end of the day my Mum was wishing they weren't there.

But either way, it's not about the rest of your guests, it's about you and your future dh. It's good to take your other guests into consideration, but your Dad is one of those too, and what he wants is equal to what your Mum wants.

You will find somewhere for her to sit, seating plans are always difficult but as long as you don't have a tediously long and drawn out meal which is likely to bore most guests anyway, then it doesn't tend to be a problem on the actual day.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 11:47:38

OP having been married after my parents divorced when I was an adult I do understand how hard it is to accommodate the new parental dynamics. I didn't invite my Dad's new partner, she was the OW, they weren't married and the situation was still very fresh, and my Mum probably wouldn't have come. As it was no one on my Mum's side came because my Dad was still invited, in fact my Mum very nearly didn't until she realised she would be the one missing out.

However, in this case, unless you see potential for a similar family feud from extending an invite to her and from what you've said it doesn't sound likely, then you should invite her. I imagine your dad would be really offended if you don't. If this is likely to be a larger event than the last then hopefully her and your mum won't even cross paths.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 11:48:40

It is that simple - anyone with an ounce of respect and manners, for you, Dh and your dad, can accommodate your sm for your wedding.

If they can't - they shouldn't be there.

If you have any respect for your dad - you'll invite her - the simple fact is you don't like her and you don't want to invite her.

Sit her with best mans partner and children.

Proudnscary Mon 23-Jul-12 11:48:43

Extremely and unnecessarily rude not to invite her - and potentially damaging to your relationship with your df.

(And this is coming from someone with a very strained/unhappy relationship with stepmother).

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 11:50:09

Maybe you need to work on explaining the reasons why you don't want her to come a bit more, because at the moment the reasons you have for doing something so rude and disrespectful are pretty flimsy!

Sorry to sound harsh, it's not meant unkindly smile

WorraLiberty Mon 23-Jul-12 11:51:36

I feel really sorry for her...she's done nothing wrong.

If your Gran finds her 'cold' well perhaps she should try putting herself in your Step Mum's position and welcome her a bit more.

If she tries properly to do that and still finds her 'cold', then fair enough but she should at least give the poor woman a go.

Invite her to your wedding

Who she does/doesn't talk to is not your concern really once she's there.

PrimaBallerina Mon 23-Jul-12 11:52:55

You have to invite her. Who she will socialise with and where she will sit are non issues you are making into reasons she shouldn't come.

You don't sound like a mean person - do the right thing.

MmeLindor Mon 23-Jul-12 11:53:39

A wedding with about 80 guests is not what I would call an 'intimate' one.

Can you really say that you know well and like every single other person who will be invited? Even partners of all your friends, or your relatives? I doubt it.

Invite her. To do otherwise will hurt your father.

I feel sorry for your mum but I do think this is a case where she and your dad, plus his new wife, will have to suck it up and forget their personal griefs for the sake of their daughter.

paddlepie Mon 23-Jul-12 11:54:17

I think you're over thinking it. Invite her, she's your Dad's wife! Ask her and your Dad if she has any preference who she sits with at the meal since your Dad will be at the top table. If she doesn't mind, just sit her with other adults. It will only be for the meal anyway, I'm sure she'll be fine. Surely your family and friends will be civil and nice to someone on their own at their table??

squeakytoy Mon 23-Jul-12 11:57:03

It is a wedding, not all of your side of the family will know all of his side of the family, and surely there is some relative on one side who will not have a partner, who you can seat her with for the duration of the meal.

80 people is certainly not "intimate".

I do feel sorry for the woman as it sounds like none of the family have made any effort at all to welcome her, and she is in law your stepmother, not a girlfriend of your dad.

2rebecca Mon 23-Jul-12 11:57:05

Is the granny who calls her cold your father's mother? if so she sounds quite rude. I can't imagine telling my son's adult children (if he has any he's only a teenager now) that I find his current wife cold. that seems very disloyal and hurtful. Plenty of people have a relative, often BIL, SIL etc that they don't get on with. Sometimes appearing cold is just shyness.
Whether or not she knows anyone is her problem not yours. That isn't a reason not to invite her.

Shelby2010 Mon 23-Jul-12 11:59:03

I don't think many people would describe a wedding with 100 guests (you say 60 friends & 40 family) as 'intimate', so not inviting your SM would be a massive slight! Also your father does have other family - his wife !

YABU if you don't invite her, however you could always have a quiet word with your father, saying that you are happy to see her but would understand if she feels uncomfortable & doesn't want to come.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:59:33

Thank you for all these responses. I do wonder if I hadn't N/C and written a less neutral account of the situation more biased from my own PoV if the responses would have been the same, but that was the decision I made when I started this thread, so I have to stand by it.

It feels petty to get into the nitty gritty about seating, but this is a genuine concern. Looking at the guest list, there are distinct family/friend groups who divide very equally into tables, I'm keen that everyone present has the most enjoyable time possible, so seating old friends together, family members together etc. I genuinely cannot see anywhere that she would fit in (see my earlier posts) Do I sit her on the table of my old uni mates? Or on the table of my Aunt, Uncle (mum's brother) and cousins? Or with the best man's wife and DP's school friends and their DWs? It just doesn't fit no matter how I look at it.

you don't like her and you don't want to invite her
That's partly true, yes. From what I have encountered of her, I don't really like her. My sister and her husband don't like her. My Dad's Mum doesn't like her. She was rude in my house too, but I didn't think it would be that relevant to the thread, when really is is. I should have mentioned that before as now it just sounds as though I'm clutching at straws because I don't like the way the thread has gone.

DizzyKipper Mon 23-Jul-12 11:59:39

My MIL might describe me as "emotionally neutral", in fact she has said that I'm not emotional before. It's not that I'm unemotional, it's that I don't feel comfortable expressing them around her (since it's more likely to lead to further put downs). Perhaps your dad's partner feels similarly?

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:01:45

Is the granny who calls her cold your father's mother? if so she sounds quite rude. I can't imagine telling my son's adult children (if he has any he's only a teenager now) that I find his current wife cold

She is my Dad's Mum. Dad's wife has rubbed her up the wrong way on several occasions, but she has bitten her tongue with my Dad, instead venting her annoyance about it to me and my sister.

Bongaloo Mon 23-Jul-12 12:01:55

60 close friends? You might have a problem selling that as 'intimate' to your dad and his wife.

squeakytoy Mon 23-Jul-12 12:01:59

Has your mother remarried or got a partner who will be going? Where are you seating them if so?

FateLovesTheFearless Mon 23-Jul-12 12:03:04

Yabu. Your fathers wife. I would never dream of disrespecting my father enough to not invite the woman he chose to marry to the wedding. She hasn't done anything wrong.

Proudnscary Mon 23-Jul-12 12:03:08

Why would it make a difference if you hadn't namechanged?

Do you mean because you have a lot of friends on here? If so, yes maybe you'd have got more accomodating answers but surely you want the truth?

Or do you mean there is a back story that is relevant to this? In that case, you're not furnishing us with a true picture.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:03:16

Sorry, it's not 100, it's 80-90 (90 if everyone rsvps in the positive, anticipating 80) but that's just splitting hairs I know. My sums are awry as I'm trying to respond quickly!

catus Mon 23-Jul-12 12:04:15

YABU. I am amazed you're even considering not inviting her!
First of all, 80 people is not an intimate affair, and she's not a girlfriend of 3 months, she's his wife.
Second, I'm sorry to say your family sounds unkind. So she is different to them, so what? Is that a reason to activally dislike her and gossip about her behind her back?
It is a wedding, an event where we socialise and make small talk to people we are not always close to. She will probably be fine.

WorraLiberty Mon 23-Jul-12 12:06:02

Who cares where she sits really?

The meal is just one small part of the reception.

Thank you for all these responses. I do wonder if I hadn't N/C and written a less neutral account of the situation more biased from my own PoV if the responses would have been the same

My response certainly would be.

Rindercella Mon 23-Jul-12 12:07:10

The wedding is 10 months away. Commit to inviting her and then work out the seating plan nearer the time.

I am sure your SM will find the wedding very stressful herself - going somewhere out of duty when she knows the vast majority of people either don't like her or have nothing in common with her. Not really very nice is it?

If I was worried about anyone, I would be worried about the 'almost militant in their atheism' relatives who would think it appropriate to discuss religion with someone they know have radically opposing views at a wedding.

MainlyMaynie Mon 23-Jul-12 12:07:46

I am just grin at the intimate wedding which turns out to have 80 guests. Just 60 of your closest friends eh? I think I''d still be giggling at that if you hadn't name changed.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:07:56

Has your mother remarried or got a partner who will be going? Where are you seating them if so?
No she has not remarried. She will be on a table with us and DPs parents.

Proud I totally get your point. I don't think I have a load of friends on here, but there is a bit of a happy backstory to my wedding (unrelated to this scenario) that quite a few people might recognise.

That and I would suspect that those who 'know' me on here would vouch that I am always extremely fair-minded and not prone to dramatic bouts of bridezilladom or acute unreasonableness.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 12:08:37

You are just making excuses - she is your dads wife, you have no real reason not to invite her - it would simply be downright rude.

What difference does a name change make? My views would stand regardless of who you "normally" are because what you are proposing is downright awful - and quite frankly cruel.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:08:41

I am sure your SM will find the wedding very stressful herself - going somewhere out of duty when she knows the vast majority of people either don't like her or have nothing in common with her. Not really very nice is it?

Well precisely, I wouldn't want to go if I was her.

lambethlil Mon 23-Jul-12 12:09:32

Really don't worry about it, it's not that small a wedding; it's not your responsibility to find her like minded friends. Just invite her, put her the same table as Dad's Mum and enjoy your day.

Rindercella Mon 23-Jul-12 12:10:55

"Well precisely, I wouldn't want to go if I was her." So invite her, and then she can make a choice about whether she makes a damn good excuse not to attend, or sits through her very own version of hell to please your father.

squeakytoy Mon 23-Jul-12 12:11:16

Maybe she wont want to go, but it would be extremely rude for you not to give her the opportunity to make that choice.

I truly do feel sorry for this woman, and also for your father too.

AfternoonDelight Mon 23-Jul-12 12:11:41

OP, I think the best way forward is for you to talk to your Dad on his own (if you can) and take it from there.

My reasons for not liking my dad's wife are complex, but if I wrote them here they would appear simple and I would probably get a slaughtering on here as well.

Only you know what is best for your wedding - if you feel that her being there is going to cause tension, you need to get that ironed out as soon as possible if you feel you have to invite her. The only person who can help you sort this out is your Dad.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 12:12:10

She will go if invited because no doubt she has some manners.

badtime Mon 23-Jul-12 12:12:11

People who don't know me often think I am arrogant or cold when I am actually just shy. And even if your stepmother is a bit odd, that's not a crime.

And, although I don't believe there is absolutely nobody going to your wedding who could spare the time to talk to her, even if this were the case, that is not really the issue.

And please, don't hint at deeper reasons for not wanting to invite her - either leave it as it is, or state your further reasons. 'She was rude in my house' is still pretty subjective, and there are degrees of rudeness.

You should invite her - she is your stepmother, and on this occasion you really just need to suck it up, even if you never speak to the woman again in your life.

Rindercella Mon 23-Jul-12 12:12:23

If it helps Flower, I am sure your step mother is dreading your big day just as much as you are dreading having her there wink

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:12:55

Dad's Mum will need to be on the top table as she is registered blind has to have assistance eating and is only comfortable receiving this from My Dad, My Mum or me.

Sounds like I'm making obstacles, I know sad

catus Mon 23-Jul-12 12:13:59

About the seating, I understand you want people to have a good time, but IME people at weddings don't expect to be totally confortable and intimate with everyone on their table. Surely, at least some of your friends would try to include a person who is alone in their conversations? That is being polite and it doesn't stop anyone from having a good time.

JennerOSity Mon 23-Jul-12 12:15:52

I went to a wedding recently where one guest had their invitation cancelled because they were excessively rude and aggressive to the groom whilst drunk.

The rationale was that the rudeness was very fresh, quite extreme, and made to the groom himself. The Bride and the Groom are the two main people who should feel comfortable at their own wedding.

The cancelled invitation applied to an actual guest not just a +1 person, so I think there are circumstances where it is justified to exclude a person.

I imagine most guests would have a +1 / named partner on their invitation so unless this person has been blatantly very horrible to key players there isn't much of a justification for making the exception based on personality dislikes, doubt over legitimacy of their relationship etc.

It sounds like she has been rude, but usually there are 2 sides to a story so caution should be exercised.

I think bad behaviour is the only valid reason for specifically excluding her. So it is a judgement call as to whether any bad behaviour is concrete enough and bad enough to warrant the exclusion. The rest is a red herring.

Wedding politics can be a total nightmare – I married recently so the bickering is still very fresh in my mind. We invited ALL of our step parents (Both mine and DH’s parents are divorced and remarried, so we had 4 step parents to deal with). We didn’t want some of them there, but for us, not inviting them would have crossed a line, and we weren’t prepared for the fall-out that we would have had to endure had they been excluded.

However, we were very strict with other people our parents wanted to invite – we simply said “our wedding, our choice”, and faced the consequences and squabbling that followed. Yes, some people were offended, but ultimately it was OUR day. It helped that we paid for it all ourselves. Had our parents contributed we would have had to be more accommodating, I think.

So having rambled about my own wedding (sorry!), I think my answer is, it’s your day, your choice, your problem, but are you really prepared to deal with your Dad’s inevitable reaction? I think you need to think about what sort of relationship you want with your Dad and his wife in the future, as whatever decision you make now will obviously affect that.

MissAnnersley Mon 23-Jul-12 12:17:01

Would any of your friends help out on the day? I know if one of my friends asked me to sit next to/make conversation with an 'awkward' guest I would be happy to oblige.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 12:17:46

You could sit her on a table with your DHtobe's relatives perhaps.

RSVP Mon 23-Jul-12 12:18:15

It's only fair and polite that you invite your father's wife of five years. Especially as she has not done anything to you or your mother.

Will there be any relatives of your father's side she can sit with?

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 12:21:33

missanserley brings up a good point, some of my friends were put on 'mum watch' at my wedding, they were responsible for keeping my mum out of my Dad's way (and to stop her getting too drunk and making a show of herself blush) you may not need something quite so extreme but sitting her with some friendly open people for dinner shouldn't be that hard.

Follyfoot Mon 23-Jul-12 12:21:59

Could you perhaps try putting yourself in your Dad's shoes in all this? Surely he would be really hurt if you did this to him (my DH would be devastated if one of his boys didnt invite me to their wedding). If you dont owe it to her, you owe it to your Dad to invite the person he is married to along to your wedding day and to see his special part in it. Do it for him.

Saying that she wont know anyone is surely a bit of an excuse - it wont affect your day if she is sitting with strangers, it might make her day a bit more uncomfortable, but not yours.

Invite her, have the comfort of knowing you have done the right thing, and then put it out of your mind. You will still have a wonderful day you know.

Pooley42 Mon 23-Jul-12 12:23:27

My father refused to come to my first wedding (which lasted 20 years) because I didn't want to accommodate his new wife at the top table. I was 19 and petty. We never spoke again as I felt be had put her first and he felt I had insulted his wife. I think he died last year but I don't really know.

Looking at it now, from a very happy second marriage, I was wrong. He may be your father but you are starting out on your marriage and if he can accept your husband and your life together, then you must accept his.

I am lucky that my 3c adore my new husband whilst still getting on well with their father. Things like dc1s graduation last month go ok with all involved. Polite, not friendly, but no-one excluded. It's what grown ups do.

At 19, I couldn't see it. It was MY day and stamp foot I wanted it MY way. I use my age as an excuse for my behaviour. He should have behaved better too - she was invited to the wedding after all.

It may be your day, but your father's chosen partner for life is a part of your family now - whether you like it or not - and if it causes issues in the seating plan, grow up and come up with a solution.

WorraLiberty Mon 23-Jul-12 12:23:50

Would any of your friends help out on the day? I know if one of my friends asked me to sit next to/make conversation with an 'awkward' guest I would be happy to oblige

Oh yes that's a brilliant idea.

Are any of your friends bringing their children? If so, maybe sit her with a family as kids are a great conversation starter/ice breaker.

"She was also quite rude to my Mum at the one family occasion where everyone has been there together, making comments about the nature of the occasion and how in her community things are done such-and-such a way, and heavily implying that the way things were being done on the day were inferior. Again - I wasn't privvy to all this so have just tried to remain neutral."

Are you afraid she's going to be sitting there at your wedding criticising how it has been arranged?

Dprince Mon 23-Jul-12 12:28:05

Tbh I don't really know how to answer this. You clearly think you are being reasonable and I can't advise you on how to approach it as I think yabvu.
It makes me wonder why you are getting married. Somebody being married clearly doesn't mean much to you.
Also for somebody who is neutral you really seem to be on the side of not liking her for very little reason.
I also think you may be more concerned about your mum than she is herself. Why would your ex-hs wife, who had nothing to do with the split coming to a family occasion make her ill?.
Remember she is your dads family, regardless of what you think of his marriage.

ThePigOnTheWall Mon 23-Jul-12 12:28:31

I'm sorry but you have to invite her. As everybody here has said.

Send the invite and hope she declines wink

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:28:46

ok complete transparency.

Sounds Petty, but here you go.

There was heavy snow. We'd not been able to clear up the dog mess in the garden for a day or so. When she visited, she asked to go and have a look in the garden. We said something like "oh you'd be welcome to, but we've not had chance to clear up the dog mess since yesterday because it's covered in snow" She kept insisting that it didn't matter, she really wanted to see the garden (as there's a prominent feature my Dad had raved to her about) and let herself out. She was out there a minute (there was nothing to see - it's all covered in snow) before coming back in, proceeding to walk big poo footprints through the sitting room. We were made to feel that it was somehow our fault. Probably due to me apologising profusely to her (godknows why). She then went to my Grandma's and had bit of a whinge-up about the incident (which my Dad later told us)

At my nephew's catholic christening (not my bag but hey ho) she was rather vociferous about her distain for the proceedings.

There are many small, petty, snarky comments that she has made to my sister that in isolation are insignificant but together have coloured my sister's view of her.

When my Grandma went to stay with her she was incredulous on her return, saying she's never been made to feel so uncomfortable, unwelcome, and burdensome. As I have mentioned, she has certain needs related to her blindness and she felt that Dad's wife was unsympathetic and unhelpful. My Grandma finds her extremely difficult to get along with.

These are all things that I didn't feel are major enough to have a grudge against the woman, as Afternoon says, if I wrote them here they would appear simple and I would probably get a slaughtering on here as well.

Those closest to me will be uncomfortable with her at my wedding. I will feel uncomfortable with her at my wedding. But it seems, as decreed by MN jury, in the interests of doing the right thing, I ought to invite her. I'm genuinely grateful for all these perspectives.

2rebecca Mon 23-Jul-12 12:30:29

After the speeches I presume your father will go and sit with his wife anyway, so it's really just the meal she will be talking to people she doesn't know for anyway, and for alot of that time people will be eating so not saying much, people don't usually talk during the speeches. If a friend of mine was getting married and asked me to talk to an awkward relative during the meal i would happily oblige. It's just a couple of hours, not worth ruining your relationship with your father for. It doesn't sound as though your dad will have that many people to socialise with either if even his mother is rude about his wife and prefers to socialise with his exwife. Your father may be glad of her company. Even if he isn't it should be their choice whether she comes or not.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 12:31:12

Sorry - I still think you Should invite her - she is your dads wife.

My nan is notoriously fussy - no-one is good enough for her except one aunt and my mum.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:32:01

Are you afraid she's going to be sitting there at your wedding criticising how it has been arranged

Genuinely no. I'm not worried about her opinion at all.

JennerOSity Mon 23-Jul-12 12:35:13

Doesn't sound very cut and dried at all. It is a big thing to not invite someone, so the 'punishment' has to match the 'crime'. It does sound, however, like there are good reasons for not inviting her.

I think this is a very finely balanced scenario with no win-win solution at all.

If you do invite her, on the day everyone will be feeling so buoyed up and happy that any minor niggles from poo-poo-toes will not be able to burst the bubble.

If you don't invite her it sounds like your Dad won't sulk forever, but it is likely to make future relations even frostier, which also doesn't seem much of a problem from what you have said.

I recommend - you toss a coin! grin

ThePigOnTheWall Mon 23-Jul-12 12:35:16

Just invite her. Seat her where you've got a gap. Accept her congratulations graciously when you see her. And forget all about her. Really. You're over thinking this now

And, like I said, she may decline by the sound of it in which case, problem solved!

catus Mon 23-Jul-12 12:35:16

Well, clearly she is not a pleasant person. My sympathies for that, it must be difficult.
But YAstillBU, I'm afraid. She is your dad's wife, so you've got to invite her. The end.
You don't have to talk to her much on the day, you can just forget about her. Most people have at least one not very nice person at their wedding. Such is life and you've just got to deal with it, I guess.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:36:20

your dad will have that many people to socialise with either if even his mother is rude about his wife and prefers to socialise with his exwife. Your father may be glad of her company.

No this is not the case. He and my Mum now get along famously. He has a great relationship with my uncle (Mum's Brother), aunt and cousins and knows many of my friends really well. I wouldn't consider not inviting his wife if I thought he wouldn't have a nice time without her.

If I do end up having her there, I will go down this suggested route of asking a friend to 'chaperone' her as it were. Although I feel pretty uncomfortable about expecting a friend to have to do this with her.

Follyfoot Mon 23-Jul-12 12:36:45

Comeback, if you re-read the reasons you dont want her to come, much of it is 'he said, she said' stuff. Your grandma said this about her, your sister said that....your grandma isnt keen, your sister's view of her is coloured. She doesnt actually seem to have been nasty to you. Just invite her, its the right thing to do if you love your Dad.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 12:39:14

I had to do it - my friends husband is a complete knob - shed have been devastef if she wasn't invited and there was no way of not inviting him - I sat him next to my least offendable friend and forewarned them.

Ita just for the meal anyway.

paddlepie Mon 23-Jul-12 12:39:18

What do you think your Dad would suggest if you ask where to seat her?

Hesterton Mon 23-Jul-12 12:39:32

Is there any way you can invite her with the understanding that she needn't attend if she doesn't feel 100% supportive? I'm not sure how, but she ought to understand the importance of backing you and your DH-to-be all the way by being a splendid guest.

Perhaps make something of it not being a church wedding so you understand she might not feel comfortable considering her beliefs?

I do understand what others are saying about the need to invite her, but I also understand how you want your much-loved family to feel comfortable.

I think the answer is more likely though to be in managing her AT your wedding than not including her in your wedding...

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:40:02

Somebody being married clearly doesn't mean much to you.

This isn't true.

I have a deep seated respect for marriage and what it represents.

My Dad wan't that interested in getting married to her, he'd happily have carried on as they were but due to her religious beliefs, she refused to continue the relationship unless they were married. So no, their marriage doesn't mean that much to me. <Sorry - only just remembered this>

"Genuinely no. I'm not worried about her opinion at all."
Sorry, I wasn't particularly clear there was I? What I meant was were you worried that she would sitting there criticising, and make the people she was sitting with uncomfortable?

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:43:43

Jenner your post really struck a chord. It is complex. Probably too complex for AIBU, but I really wanted to hear all of these perspectives as views different to mine really help formulate my own opinion with more empathy.

What do you think your Dad would suggest if you ask where to seat her?

that is a REALLY good question! I hadn't thought of that. He's probably say "oh next to Mum (ie Grandma)" as he's not particularly empathetic and wouldn't appreciate the implication of this.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 12:43:50

Well a) if your dad discussed that with you - he is a bang out of line b) he did chose to marry her rather than end relationship.

Pooley42 Mon 23-Jul-12 12:45:35

* So no, their marriage doesn't mean that much to me. *

How on earth would you feel if someone felt this about your future marriage?

What did you want, a thread full of replies saying " it's your day princess, do what you want. "

breathtaking hypocrisy and pettiness.

QuickLookBusy Mon 23-Jul-12 12:45:55

comeback As my parents split up when I was only 3, I have had years of having to "put up" with my Mum's second H. [I was brought up by my Dad] I couldn't stand him. I had a very small wedding of 24 people and he came. I just accepted I had to invite him and let my brother and Dad keep an eye on him.

If most of your family think she is "odd" they should be prepared for that and not let it upset your day in any way. Just ignore her, tell your family you don't want a blow by blow account of what she's said/done, because that will spoil your day. Ask a couple of friends to keep an eye on her. Just accept she can be a bit different to the rest of the family and get on with having a lovely day.

Antalya1 Mon 23-Jul-12 12:47:03

You must invite her, as everyone is saying, she is your Dad's wife, his choice of life partner and not to invite her would be disrespectful.

I recently married and had to do some re-jigging around, due to personality clashes, but on the day as I had fully expected, everyone had a great time and made the effort with people that either didn't particularily like or know.

I've been to a few weddings where I have only known my DH, however I was fine and it was my responsibility to either sit in a corner or make the effort to speak to people. But that was my responsibility to be sociable not the brides or grooms.

Your Mum's feelings have to be taken into account but as she has already said that she will happily accept your decision, then any uncomfortable feelings she may have, I'm sure will be put aside on the day.

Lastly, this really isn't such a biggie, the bottom line is that your Mum & Dad are no longer together, as per many families today and there are new dynamics. I know that you are worried about this, but can you honestly say when it's all over and you look back that it was worth all this angst???

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:47:52

Sorry where you left it I see what you mean.

Maybe she might, but it doesn't bother me as I know there wouldn't be much of a receptive audience for her opinions among the other guests.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:49:31

b) he did chose to marry her rather than end relationship. That's a good point.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 12:49:39

Stop over thinking it and just invite her, there is someone like this at every wedding, if it wasn't her it would be an objectionable aunty or uncle or the like. Despite your opinion on the marriage, she is married to your dad, is not the OW, has not done anything that offensive and therefore gets an invite.

if your family start moaning about how her invitation makes them uncomfortable, tell them to catch themselves on, it's a big enough wedding that they won't really need to talk to her, and their objections are more likely to put a damper on your day than she is.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 12:53:08

She obviously means enough to your Dad that even though he wasn't bothered about marriage, he was bothered enough about her to want to do it any way. It is not for you to judge whether their marriage is 'worthy' or not, it was their choice and it should be respected.

Would you say to one of your friends that they couldn't bring their long term partner because they weren't married? Or would you see that they are in a committed long term relationship and that should be respected?

I think from what you have said, you have reason to not like the woman. But that's not the same as a reason for her to be excluded from her step daughters wedding.

I don't think anything she has done warrants her to be treated with so little respect. Nothing your Dad has done warrants him to be treated with so little respect either.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:53:33

Your Mum's feelings... will be put aside on the day.

She would never allow her feelings to spill out, but this is what worries me. She has a habit of internalising everything to keep everyone happy and ends up making herself ill over it. And even then, we only find out indirectly much later that she was ill as she is so concerned not to burden anyone with it. She knows it's irrational but she won't be able to prevent her anxiety from growing before the wedding if Dad's wife is coming.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:55:32

Nothing your Dad has done warrants him to be treated with so little respect either.

Hmm, after his affair, I wasn't sure whether I'd ever speak to him again, let alone be inviting him to my wedding 10 years later. I'm not trying to punish him here, I'm just saying that he's no innocent victim in all this.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 12:56:53

What's she ever done to your mum?

This whole thing to a woman who has done no one any harm
Sounds appalling to me. Your mum just has to suck it up and if she is making you feel like that - it's your mum you shouldnbe talking to .

The more you post - the more you seem to be just looking for excuses. She is your dads wife - end of discussion really.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 12:57:46

It is not for you to judge whether their marriage is 'worthy' or not, it was their choice and it should be respected.

It was others on the thread who brought my views toward his marriage into all this. I just said theirs is more a relationship of companionable convenience more than anything, an impression that has been instigated and reinforced by my Dad.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 12:57:58

Your dads affair wasn't with his current wife though so that's got nothing to dO with not inviting her

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 12:58:52

Your dad sounds like a complete waste of space - no wonder his wife feels uncomfortable.

QuickLookBusy Mon 23-Jul-12 13:00:58

If you are really intent on this, I would ask your Dad "would you like your wife to come to my wedding?" But be warned, he will probably be very shocked you are even asking.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 13:03:19

What's she ever done to your mum?
On the one occasion she met my Mum, she made disparaging comments to her about her grandson's Christening. Not the best first impression.

It's not that my mum has reason to dislike her or not, it's how my Mum feels on the day with my Dad's wife there. It may be irrational to an outsider, but it is how she feels and I respect that.

you seem to be just looking for excuses

I'm just stating facts.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 13:03:22

It sounds like your Mum has issues with anxiety that are going to worry you understandably, but she does not expect people to revolve their plans around her to accommodate that.

Your Mums anxiety issues are not this woman's, or your Dads fault, and are not a good reason to treat them so badly.

OP, I do understand how you feel, I really do. My step dad was horrible to me when I was a child, not in a way that woudo give SS concern, but in enough of a way that growing up with him around was far from ideal. When I moved out of home at 17, I chose not to speak to him for another few years until ds was a toddler and I started wanting to spend time at my Mums house again. At one point, he had an affair and he split with my Mum, so for those reasons, and his general demeanour of not being a particularly nice person (it woudo take forever to expanding everything), my Mums family hated him. My uncles (mums brothers) wanted to find him and knock him out at one point.

But then he and my Mum worked out their differences and got married. He came to my wedding because it would have been horrible to my Mum to not invite him. The rest of the family were polite to him. It was a wonderful day. Inviting him was by far the best thing to do, and looking back, it really made no difference to my enjoyment of the day, or that of my family at all. If it had, then that would have been because of them, not because of my descision to do the right thing.

catus Mon 23-Jul-12 13:03:49

Ok, you're still trying to find excuses. The bottom line is : she is your dad's wife, so she is invited.
You're in danger of ruining your wedding day by going on and on about this. You've got time to put a plan in place to manage her on the day, like by asking a few trusted friends to make conversation with her (this is not a big deal to ask, BTW, don't feel bad about it).
At the moment, it looks like instead of trying to solve a minor and very common problem, you're trying to create big and unsolvable ones. Sorry, maybe it's a bit harsh but it would be a shame to not enjoy your wedding day because of this.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 13:03:52

If you are really intent on this, I would ask your Dad "would you like your wife to come to my wedding?" But be warned, he will probably be very shocked you are even asking.

I thought that too.

QuickLookBusy Mon 23-Jul-12 13:08:01

Comeback, do you mean you thought about asking your Dad or that you thought he would be shocked you are asking?

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 13:08:34

Thanks for sharing that, Outraged

The bottom line is : she is your dad's wife, so she is invited. Why though is this such an automatic assumption?

What I think a lot of people are missing (because I haven't conveyed it properly) is that I genuinely think there's a good chance my Dad might actually see the reasoning behind us preferring her not to attend.

it isn't a minor problem. It's a major issue, the only issue with our wedding. My Mum, Dad's Mum and sister will be extremely uncomfortable if she attends. I'm not keen on the idea of her attending.

So I guess what your saying is if these concerns are that important to me, I have to accept that this could well spell the end of my relationship with my Dad. That's it isn't it. sad

JennerOSity Mon 23-Jul-12 13:09:33

Great post outraged

JennerOSity Mon 23-Jul-12 13:12:36

Their discomfort is for one day, albeit a day which makes lasting memories; while excluding her is in effect telling her, in no uncertain terms, she is not liked or welcome in the family - that will last a lifetime.

It is up to you to pick out which matters most, which is not so simple.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 13:13:23

I have been thinking a bit more and 2 things occur

1) Ask your dad. I wonder why you have not done that - are you as certain as you have said, that he wouldn't mind?
2) Exclude her, which is up to you. But do it knowing the implications - that you are pretty much saying you have no relationship with her, and will never have one, Which is fine, as long as you know that. This is because, regardless of what your dad says, I suspect she'd be hurt. Or see it as a sign that you and she mean nothing to each other - to put it in a less emotional way.

Having made decisions at my own wedding that I now regret, because I didn't think it through enough. I just want to caution you.

catus Mon 23-Jul-12 13:14:45

But why would your family be that uncomfortable that it prevents them from enjoying the wedding? There will be 80 to 90 guests, that's plenty enough to avoid people you're not keen on!
She is not a nice person, but so what?
It all sounds like over dramatization. Why would it spell the end of your relationship with your dad?!

paddlepie Mon 23-Jul-12 13:15:09

Does she have any children of her own or maybe a sister who you could invite so she is not left on her own? Is that an option?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 13:15:09

The automatic assumption is that she is invited as your Dads wife because it is considered polite to invite married couples as couples to weddings, because to not invite is a snub, and disrespectful of your Dads relationship, and because not inviting her sends a very strong message that if she is not welcome at your wedding then she is not welcome in your life.

And yes, if your Dad is a half decent husband to her, then it will affect your relationship with him, because you aren't a child any more and you have to accept his choices as much as he has to accept yours.

I don't understand why all these people will be so extremely uncomfortable with her there. She's just a bit unpleasant, she's not the child snatcher! Why is it going to be that hard for them to be at the same very busy day with her when there will also be at least 80 other people around?

QuickLookBusy Mon 23-Jul-12 13:15:21

I think your Mum, Dad's mum and sister are making this very hard for you. They should be supporting you and helping you enjoy your day. Every family wedding has people who others don't get on with. But most people accept this and just get on with it.

It's YOUR wedding day, not your Mums/Grans/sisters.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 13:15:51

P.S. thankyou for thanking us. I do have sympathy. But I just think there are ways around this. My answer would not be different if I knew who you are. I can tell you are trying to do your best. I still think YABU!

TheCraicDealer Mon 23-Jul-12 13:16:42

I think you need to give her the option of saying "no" tbh. If you don't invite her you will be the baddie for forever and a day, this is the type of stuff family rifts are made of. It doesn't sound like your Dad's wife really wants to go anyway, there's every chance she might politely decline.

It doesn't sound like she's done much wrong, apart from be a tad rude. I don't really get why your Mum feels so strongly about her being there...she wasn't involved in their break-up, everyone prefers her anyway, no animosity between ex's, etc.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 13:19:17

Based on what you have said about your dad so far - he sounds like a selfish prick - he may be ok with you not inviting his wife she may not be ok - disparaging comments about a catholic christening - stock in trade sadly (am catholic) - not a reason to do something so rude.

Not inviting your dads wife to a large wedding (and lose the small wedding idea) is a huge thing, it's insulting and it's cruel.

If you can live with that - fine, if you wish to undermine and damage your dads marriage - and if he agrees to this then that will damage it immensely - that's fine too.

If you want to be cruel to someone who hasnt done anyone any harm - that's fine too.

But remember in life you tend to reap what you sow. I wonder why exactly your mother has such issues with a woman she doesn't even know.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 13:20:17

Your mum and your sister need to be the bigger people here, if they react badly to your Dad's wife being invited, it is not your Dad or his wife's fault that they react this way it is theirs and in doing so it is your feelings about your wedding day that they are disregarding.

Stop drip feeding and stop looking for confirmation that not inviting her won't be extremely rude, you're not going to find it here.

By all means speak to your Dad about this or just don't invite her but accept that this is likely to have Unpleasant consequences, far more so than inviting her would do.

Bongaloo Mon 23-Jul-12 13:20:25

Well your mum, your dad's mum and your sister have at least all got each other there - so they can all roll their eyes and tut amongst themselves about her for the day.

badtime Mon 23-Jul-12 13:20:40

I still don't understand why your mother would be so anxious about your stepmother attending, and why you are not thinking that perhaps, in this case, your mother's reaction is unreasonable.

What you need to decide is whether making some of your relatives feel 'uncomfortable' would be worse than how you make your dad feel by not inviting his wife.
There is a good chance he would feel a lot more than uncomfortable.

If, as seems to be the case, you are determined to find a good reason to keep your stepmother away from your wedding, you might just have to bring this up with your dad at this stage.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 13:21:03

1) Ask your dad. I wonder why you have not done that - are you as certain as you have said, that he wouldn't mind? No I have not said I'm certain. I've said it's hard to gage, but there's a good chance he might be ok with it. I say this because he gives us the impression she is just a convenient companion rather than his soulmate-life-partner-most-important-person-in-his-world. I've not spoken to him about it yet because I want to explore the implications, possible outcomes etc (hence coming on here!)

excluding her is in effect telling her, in no uncertain terms, she is not liked or welcome in the family
But that's pretty much the truth, harsh as it sounds.

Having made decisions at my own wedding that I now regret, because I didn't think it through enough. I just want to caution you.

Precisely. This is why I am making such a 'fuss' of this.

Why would it spell the end of your relationship with your dad?! well that's the impression I'm getting from the responses on this thread if I don't invite her.

JennerOSity Mon 23-Jul-12 13:24:55

" excluding her is in effect telling her, in no uncertain terms, she is not liked or welcome in the family
But that's pretty much the truth, harsh as it sounds."

Well that makes it less of a dilemma then? So long as you don't mind blatantly making that point, and your Dad won't be hurt, you can keep your other relatives happy without a qualm. No?

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 13:25:07

Your dads disloyalty to his wife astounds me tbh, although I wonder if he just goes along with the rest of you, to a) keep the peace and b) because he still feels guilty about the original affair.

If his wife really means so little to him, I don't think he would have married her and I think it would be appalling to expect him to make this choice - upset his daughter on her wedding day, or upset his wife.

Honestly you all sounds about 5, you, your mum, your sister and even your gran - although the elderly are often picky about peole they don't know.

steben Mon 23-Jul-12 13:25:11

I think a lot of posters are being harsh here. I am firmly in the camp when it comes to weddings of 'it is your day - ONE day in your whole life when you can have a day completely for you and your other half'. Therefore you should be ableto have it how you like - kids or no kids, on the moon.another country etc...gift lists, money - whatever YOU want.

Why people can not puttheir feelings aside for one day for other people is beyond me. If they dont like it they dont have to come.

From the sounds of it she would not care if she came or not - and the fact you are worrying about this shows that you are highly considerate of others feelings. Talk to your dad - lay your feelings out and give him the choice.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 13:26:26

Based on what you have said - I think your dad would go along with this - doesn't make it right though.

squeakytoy Mon 23-Jul-12 13:28:04

"I say this because he gives us the impression she is just a convenient companion rather than his soulmate-life-partner-most-important-person-in-his-world"

Poor bloody woman. sad

Or maybe your dad is trying not to upset you, your mother, his mother and all the rest of you that seem to be very judgemental and critical, and he prefers to be less demonstrative of his love for her in front of you all, and plays down any romance, because he knows that is likely to cause some sort of offence or gain disapproval from everyong.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 13:28:09

Ok then so nothing has changed. If you don't want a relationship with her, then don't invite her.

I wonder about your dad, I do, if he really would be happy about this. It sounds weak to me. Poor her, if he doesn't care that much. Not your problem though.

WorraLiberty Mon 23-Jul-12 13:28:39

So I guess what your saying is if these concerns are that important to me, I have to accept that this could well spell the end of my relationship with my Dad. That's it isn't it

I think you're being a teensy weensy bit dramatic now.

At the end of the day, you have to remember that as much as it's your special day, it still just a wedding. No matter how much you mean to your family, it really is still just a wedding.

The most important part of all this is your marriage...not who should sit next to who and who said what about so and so.

It's one day...it amounts to a few hours out of everyone's lives to just get along or at least pretend to.

Just invite her, ask someone to sit and talk to her during the meal and then your Dad can spend the rest of the night with her.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 13:28:55

Does she have any children of her own or maybe a sister who you could invite She is estranged from her sister and does not have children. She is not a very family/children-oriented person (absolutely not suggesting that one equals the other, that's just what my Dad has told us)

Stop drip feeding and stop looking for confirmation that not inviting her won't be extremely rude, you're not going to find it here.
I get AIBU, I get frustration at dripfeeding. I'm trying my best not to, just issues are being raised which are prompting me to remember/include additional relevant info. I'm also not looking for people you tell me what I want to hear. I use AIBU to ascertain views opposing my own, so I am better equipped to move forward to resolving a situation with minimal upset for all concerned. I'm listening and responding fairly and honestly if you read my posts.

Ha, Bongaloo that's a good point smile

I'm really trying to find the words to explain my Mum's and sister's feeling as they are crucial to this, and a lot of you think my Mum IBU, when really she is the most selfless, reasonable person. I will think on...

diddl Mon 23-Jul-12 13:29:48

Surely there´s no need to ask whether or not to invite her-but more who does he think she should sit with?

Lalilalaland Mon 23-Jul-12 13:30:17

She is his wife, she needs to be invited, end of. If you don't invite her then you risk your dad either not coming to or wedding, never speaking to you again or coming to you wedding in a mood. Not worth it.

DontmindifIdo Mon 23-Jul-12 13:30:18

Right - if you don't invite her, you are making a huge statement and you shouldn't be surprised if your Dad decides he can't go. For the sake of your long term relationship with your father, you really should make an effort to invite her, you should make an effort to at least be polite, if nothing else. if you don't invite your step mother to your wedding without good reason, you will be being incredibly rude. Even if your father sucks it up and comes along, you/your dad might have to fend off 'where is [step mother]?' questions and then you'll look a bit of an arse without explaining the whole thing, then feel you have to justify yourself and it'll be an 'issue' on the day.

you are inviting 90 but expect 80 ish, so I assume you have spare capacity at the venue and could afford 81... My suggestion is you invite her and ask her if she would like to bring a 'date' as your father will be on hosting duties and on the top table. This solves the 'where to put her' issue if she has someone with her.

If she doesn't want to being a 'date', pick a couple who you are close too, sit her next to them and say that she doesn't know anyone so ask them to engage her in conversation at the meal. That's all you need really, the rest of the time she can be with your Dad while he's 'hosting'.

For your mum, could you give her the option of bringing a 'plus one'? It might make it easier for her to see her exH with someone else if she's not 'on her own'.

liketochat1 Mon 23-Jul-12 13:30:36

I'm not in the 'it's your big day camp so do exactly as you please' camp because decisions that are made often effect other people. As in this situation.
Honestly op, in families there are often one or2 people who make snarky comments and rub others up the wrong way. It's part of being a family and you have chosen to make this a family occasion.
And your dad's wife 'is' family. Yes, she may be annoying and rude at times but none of what you describe warrants not inviting her or upsetting your dad. Leaving her out might have long term effects on your relationship with her and, more importantly, with your father. I would think long and hard before I risked that.

WorraLiberty Mon 23-Jul-12 13:31:39

"I say this because he gives us the impression she is just a convenient companion rather than his soulmate-life-partner-most-important-person-in-his-world"

And would you rather he gave you a vivid description of the hot sex they have?

Or would you rather he disrespect you and your Mother by telling you that actually, he loves this woman more than he's ever loved anyone else?

You really can't judge your Dad's marriage on what he's willing to tell you about it...not if you have any respect for each other.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 13:34:15

steben

I think people should put their feelings aside for the sake of one day. Those people should be the OPs sister, mum and grandmother.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 13:34:53

If your mum has Only met her once - and they didn't end up fighting I ponder your mothers feelings for your dad - there is no reason forbyoir mum to have such an issue with her - if she is as socially inept as you make out - I don't understand the big issue with her coming.

You sound like a family deliberately setting out to dislike this woman - as if she is a substitute for venting your feelings about the original OW.

I think your dad cares for her a lot more than he is letting on - because having had an affair - he doesn't want to "lose" you all again.

Cruel - all of you - it reminds me of teenage girls.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 13:35:54

Good idea about the "plus one" for the mother. My MIL brought her best friend. They had a laugh

whackamole Mon 23-Jul-12 13:35:56

I wouldn't invite anyone to a wedding without a partner - it's rude. Regardless of whether she knows anyone and where she will be sitting, there will be people there she can speak to. It's not your job to socialise her if she refuses - anyway, she can decline the invite can't she?

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 13:36:49

The thing is your mum and sister are making this into a much bigger deal than it needs to be and I do understand that pressure, but then your sister clearly invited her to your nephew's christening as that was the right thing to do, so she doesn't have a leg to stand on in regards to criticising you for inviting her to the wedding. As for your mum she just has to accept that this is how things are, as others have said she is clearly in the more positive position to the new wife so she just needs to stop being a drama queen. As does your gran.

At the end of the day, it is a party with 80 people, neither your mum, your sister or your gran need to do more than say hello, they don't even need to do that. I find it hard to believe they would genuinely feel uncomfortable all day if your Dad's wife was there surely they'd all be too busy celebrating with you and enjoying your special day.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 13:36:51

Good post sighing.

Moonery Mon 23-Jul-12 13:37:21

It would be poor manners not to invite her, as she is your father's wife.
It's not up to you to worry about whether she'll have anyone to socialise with.
She may decline anyway, if she has similar concerns to you.

I can understand that your mother may be uncomfortable with her presence, but really, that is not your concern either - why risk a rift with your father because of it? Your parents are both adults, and they need to communicate with each other to resolve any problems, rather than expecting you to do it as your role of bride.

I think you're allowing yourself to absorb potential issues that are not of your making, nor within your gift to resolve.

Your family should be supporting you and assuring you that there will not be a problem - getting married is stressful enough without having to be a referee.

boschy Mon 23-Jul-12 13:37:43

I think you have to invite her, for all the reasons given already.

I also think that your mother has no business to play the martyr - you said something earlier about how anxious she will be, that she will make herself ill; then you said that she is always so selfless... IMO, selflessness does not include making your about-to-be-wed daughter choose between her Dad's family and her Mum's family at her wedding.

catus Mon 23-Jul-12 13:38:03

To be perfectly honest, I think she should get invited because she is your dad's wife, even though she can be rude. To me, anything else is just making a big drama over nothing, and if your family can not manage to enjoy the day with her present, they're drama queens.
Obviously, you disagree. Well, don't invite her then. Maybe your dad won't be bothered. Talk to him and see what he thinks you should do?
On the nature of their relationship, it's not a crime to marry even if you are not deeply in love. Simple companionship is underrated in my opinion.

2rebecca Mon 23-Jul-12 13:38:48

Your mother doesn't sound reasonable if she'd have anxiety attacks at the thought of her exhusband bringing his wife of 5 years to her daughter's wedding. I'm amazed she'd expect anything else, and surely a reasonable person would have gone and got some psychological help if they are still that traumatised by their marriage break up well over 5 years down the line. You make her sound neurotic and martyry.

RumpleStiltzkin Mon 23-Jul-12 13:39:40

Since you didn't want to invite her, the best angle was really to explain how much the day means to your mum and that as your Mum will be uncomfortable with your Dad's wife there, would your MIL be okay with not attending. You could have written a letter to HER explaining the situation, apologising, hoping she doesn't mind and being otherwise as nice as possible about it.

I say you 'could have' because you've already done this...

"I tried to explain to him, without trying to be nasty, the reasons why we don't like her"

That was a really bad move. However un-nasty you think you were being, there is no way to politely explain that you don't like someone's partner and I guarantee you hurt your Dad's feelings immensely, especially as you had your sister there which you felt was necessary back-up but he probably experienced as ganging up.

I originally had sympathy with your situation, I didn't invite my Dad's partner to my wedding and they were very understanding about it, but I think you've backed yourself into a corner now.

You seem like a thoughtful person from your posts so I would do the following: Be totally gracious, invite her and be especially lovely about it to boot. It's your wedding, so if you really don't want her there then don't invite her, BUT do it knowing that the way you've handled this so far will cause an even bigger rift with your Dad. Someone has to make the effort with these things and everyone all ways thinks they're the side that's done the lion's share. Make the effort and show her how it's done. You will benefit in the long run. Grace is a virtue for a reason.

Good luck with it and congratulations for your big day.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 13:40:14

2rebecca - interesting you should say that, because that's exactly how my MIL was - after 12 years apart. She managed to cope on the day, though.

I'm a Christian, can be socially awkward and shy and I am good at putting my foot in my mouth sad blush So I really feel for her actually but perhaps I am projecting my own experiences here. In fact the more awkward I feel and the more I think I am disliked, the more stupid things I say too sad And I am not an unkind person at all. I would find it hard being in a family situation like this if I was your step mum.

I also wonder if a lot of the perception of her due to her faith: "being a born again Christian" as you put it, has also skewed things your family have seen her do and say. It honestly feels like your whole family look down your noses at her due to her faith and for her wanting to marry him. Perhaps I am seeing things that aren't there though? It's never possible to convey fully on a thread everything that is said and done.

I think she knows she isn't liked or welcome in the family, she cannot be immune to it, no matter how polite people are to her face.

I think if she is invited she will come, to do the right thing but won't enjoy the day. But I would have invited her, been kind to her and tried to be accommodating on seating to be sensitive to everyone involved.

Speak to your Dad as others have said. You've had some very good and candid advice here. It is going to be a hard decision to make and to speak to your dad, so I wish you luck and I hope you come back and tell us what you decided smile

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 13:41:45

I don't think your Mum IBU, if she has anxiety issues then those generally are unreasonable, that's why anxiety issues are so hard. But I don't understand why your sister and your Gran will be 'extremely uncomfortable'.

They might not like it, they might prefer to not have to face her, but how does that equal 'extremely uncomfortable'?

If they really would be that uncomfortable that it will ruin the day for them if she's there, then I think they must have their own bigger issues that have nothing to do with your dads wife. It is unreasonable to get that upset about having to attend a wedding with someone you don't like but can easily avoid.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 13:42:28

Oh and in my experience family love to make a big drama about such things in the run up to an event then on the day have a couple of glasses of champagne and forget all about it making you wonder what all the fuss was about.

DontmindifIdo Mon 23-Jul-12 13:43:18

Steben - the problem with that is, if you offend other people having 'your big day' then you can't be surprised if that has knock on effects in the future, and if you make offensive decisions for your 'big day' other people will judge you from those decisions forever, not just for that day.

But then I'm slightly biased here, my now SIL (married to BIL) decided after inviting DCs to her wedding that just over a month before (when invites were sent a year before) that she'd uninvite some DCs, not all, just the ones she thought might 'ruin it' - my DS was too young to really understand, but it did mean she cancelled two little neices from being bridesmaids... Funnily enough those little girl's mum hasn't spoken to her since. She didn't understand why she couldn't just 'have her day' well she did, it's just that she's suddenly found a few friends aren't quite so keen on meeting up.

I'm too slow at typing. I've cross posted with loads of you. RumpleStiltzkin makes some very good points.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 13:50:35

Honestly, just invite her. You'll have the glow of knowing you were the bigger person. Anything else is a shoddy sop to people who should be a bit more grownup (easy to say, I know).

Do a thought experiment - you are inviting her, you tell anyone who questions it (will they question it??) that of course your dad's wife is coming - she's his wife! You think about the seating. You are sweet and welcoming to her. You let the rest of them get on with it

scorchienne Mon 23-Jul-12 13:50:55

As the majority have said, I too think you must invite your dads wife to your wedding. I also think people will be more gracious at her attendance there than you might be giving them credit for - at the end of the day everyone there will want you to have a wonderful day so will do their utmost to ensure that happens.

As way of an example: At my own wedding we had 20 people, including the new wife of my fil. Fil had an affair with new wife for 15 years before he split from mil. DH and I chatted prior to our wedding and both agreed that she must be invited, regardless of the fact that there were so few people attending, and most of those were the relatives of mil. Mil put her own feelings aside, other relatives spoke to new wife and were perfectly pleasant to her during the day. What we did do which helped I think, was we went for a meal with fil and new wife, mil and new partner a week before the wedding so the first time they all "met" as is were was not our wedding day smile

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 13:51:01

So long as you don't mind blatantly making that point, and your Dad won't be hurt, you can keep your other relatives happy without a qualm. No?

That's what I'm hoping it's just taking that leap into having the conversation with my dad without being sure whether he will be hurt or not...

squeaky
Honestly, my Dad will not be trying to spare any feelings with the way he conveys his relationship. He's rather insensitive (rang my Mum for a chat the other night and ended up regaling her with tales of his and his wife's recent holiday and saying "oh you'd have loved it" not out of malice or spite, just PURE insensitivity - he didn't realise what he was saying, just honestly thought my Mum would have loved it!!!!!)

I'm not in the 'it's your big day camp so do exactly as you please' camp No, neither am I. This is primarily a celebration to thank all the people who have played a part in our relationship. We are going to great lengths to ensure various people's needs are accommodated. There are no +1s as we don't need them, we've been together 9 years and know everyone and everyone's partners, it's an intimate wedding in that respect - everyone knows everyone else and is very close.

your sister clearly invited her to your nephew's christening No, that was my brother's son's christening. Dad and wife were newly together then, and we were all making an effort to get along.

And your dad's wife 'is' family I think that's the crux of it - she really doesn't feel like family. They live far away and I've only met her on a couple of occasions. She does not feel like part of my family.

You sound like a family deliberately setting out to dislike this woman That's not true. At the start we were so relieved he had found a companion that we were falling over ourselves to welcome her.

My Mum really isn't being a drama queen or playing the martyr. She is not making me choose and as I have said, has remained quiet on the whole issue. I'm still trying to find the right words to explain her feelings.

RumpleStiltzkin

I never said that. It was another poster who did. But thank you for the rest of your post.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 13:51:49

Or don't invite your dad.

MardyArsedMidlander Mon 23-Jul-12 13:58:46

You know -your parents might not like your husband to be. Or one day, you'll have children and loathe their chosen partners. But this is when good manners come in handy- part of rubbing along as a family is being a little bit accepting.
BTW I think it's bloody cruel of your dad to intimate or state outright that his wife is a compromise or convenience on his part. Poor woman!

Lemonylemon Mon 23-Jul-12 13:59:13

OP: I think (in my opinion) that it is a fact of life that not everybody gets on. That's the way it is. BUT to be divisive is acting in a way that is not necessary or helpful. Yes, it's your wedding, and yes, I know the saying "Your day, your way". But, have some compassion. I don't think that you can really comment on your Dad and step-mother's marriage (or anyone else's marriage, for that matter) as nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors.

Seating plans at weddings tend to be a bit tribal - maybe lateral thinking about a seating plan might not go astray? Round tables instead of long ones? A round top table with best man and gf/wife and bridesmaid and bf/husband? Tables can then be split into groups and you can then avoid the usual politics of the top table + grandmother. (If your g/m is registered blind, does she have daily carers coming in? Is she in a home? If so, can one of the carers come with her?)

You could also put someone on Mum watch too? A cousin, sister, etc? A G&T before the dinner may also work a treat ;)

At the end of the day, all these people are adults and should know to contain themselves/behave themselves on someone's big day. I would think very, very carefully about not inviting your step-mother - as someone else has said, the knock on effects may be more than you bargained for.

If you invite her, hope that she doesn't come along. If she does, then arm all and sundry with the tried and trusted MN phrases such as "Oh, I hope you didn't mean to sound so rude" etc. if she passes one ascerbic comment too many.....

2rebecca Mon 23-Jul-12 14:00:28

It sounds as though your mum does have unresolved problems with your father. My ex can happily say "you'd have loved it" to me about a holiday he's been on with his partner and I don't find it insensitive or upsetting because he is my EXhusband and I no longer want to go on holiday with him and I know he is not trying to wind me up or upset me, just showing that we had alot of years together and he knows my likes and dislikes.

emdelafield Mon 23-Jul-12 14:03:22

Many years ago I went to a wedding where I knew no one apart from the bride. She made every attempt to make me feel welcome and I was very touched.

I went to the hen night and the "show of presents" (don't think people have them now-like a baby shower in bride's mum's house). By the wedding day I at least knew a few people.

On the day I had someone to sit with in church and a lively mixed age table who made me feel very included.

I am now in my 50's but have friends aged from mid twenties to mid sixties. I can speak to anyone and I am sure your dad's wife will have a good time if you put some thought into seeing things from her point of view.

RumpleStiltzkin Mon 23-Jul-12 14:06:34

Ah I see, apologies for the misread. In that case, is the polite letter to your MIL an option? The key thing would be to respect their relationship and make the point that of course she would ordinarily be invited but that you're concerned for your Mum.

sugarandspite Mon 23-Jul-12 14:11:05

Apologies if this has already been mentioned and I missed it, but how committed are you to having a traditional top table? I only ask as it would seem to solve this problem for you - each set of parents could 'host' a table and you and your DH get to sit with your best mates. We did this and it was so so much more enjoyable than being watched while you eat!

Asan aside, I bet your best man's wife would be grateful - a 4yr old and 3 month old on your own during a formal dinner will not be fun!

JennerOSity Mon 23-Jul-12 14:15:39

Do you have a friend of family / less close relative who you could get to ask your Dad something like - 'chat chat, so is your wife looking forward to ComaBackAsaFlower's wedding?' Then see if you can gauge from the answer whether an invitation is presumed/expected/of interest/likely to be accepted etc.

That could help take some of the uncertainty out of your decision making process

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:18:38

Ok,

Your Mums anxiety issues are not .... your Dads fault

Well they kind of are, coming home and announcing you had an affair but it's all over now, that's ok isn't it? What's for Dinner? Might have a bit of an effect on one's anxiety.

My Dad would have quite happily have just carried on as they were. But in the end they split. He has made it pretty clear that he hates being alone and must have a companion, he wasn't banking on this 'companion' insisting they marry. He went along with it out of fear of being alone. He told us this pretty much verbatim. See various posts above for his habit of not sugarcoating the truth to spare feelings.

I suspect my Dad would take my Mum back in a heartbeat if she'd have him. She is very content on her own. For the sake of a quiet life she has settled into an easy friendship with him. He phones her for chats all the time (when his DW is out - of course) and is planning to visit her next week.

When he got together with his now wife, my Mum was as relieved as the rest of us as it meant he might be less miserable and able to move on and stop bothering my Mum all the time. At my nephew's christing, my Mum fronted it out although it could have been a little awkward that he was there with this new wife and she was still alone. She was adult about it though.

The first exchange she had with Dad's wife was this sneery comment about the christening. My Mum wasn't precious about that in itself, she possibly wasn't that enamoured with the pomp of a catholic christening herself deep down. No, it was more the insensitivity and inappropriateness of the comment, on their first conversation, one which my mum had been steeling herself for, and had hoped would be cordial and polite. She hasn't based her entire view on the woman on this one remark, but it didn't help her to be unbiased when my sister and nan would subsequently complain to her about Dad's wife's behaviour over the years.

My Mum is not an outwardly anxious person, she's very composed. She does however worry extensively about situations which may be awkward or uncomfortable, and rightly or wrongly, the thought of having this lady there and all she represents is enough to cause that worry. The ironic thing is, her utmost concern is that I am as happy as humanly possible, and she is probably frantic with worry that I am worried about her! She has never said anything about her feelings about my Dad's wife at my wedding. But I know she would have an infinitely better time were she not there. When we initially got engaged, I'd flippantly said Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it' when mention was made of any potential issue. It was my sister who pointed out, quite correctly, that Mum will make herself ill if Dad's wife comes to the wedding. She'll have a string of migraines leading up to the day and her blood pressure will rocket. She won't tell us this though. On the day, she will be as composed and convivial as ever, I certainly do not need to put anyone on MumWatch.

Whether it is her problem or not, my Mum's happiness and well being is more important to me than my Dad's when all's said and done. And when I couple that with the happiness of my Grandma, sister and yes, myself, I conclude that I'd rather not have my Dad's wife there.

Plus, now, if my Dad thought my Mum were suffering in any way, I think he'd do anything to assuage it. I actually believe he would put my Mum's wellbeing over that of his wife.

I'm genuinely grateful for everyone's responses and hope the above goes some way to explaining the situation. I still can't really put into precise words why my mum is so upset at the thought of Dad's wife being there if you can't understand it from the above, which I understand and appreciate many might not.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 14:26:08

So no one including her own husband like her or want her to be there, sounds like a decision made.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:27:15

That made me lol a bit two. Thanks. I needed that.

CotesduRhone Mon 23-Jul-12 14:29:53

YABU and rude, to be honest. Like it or not she's your dad's wife, you would be putting them in a mortifying position.

CotesduRhone Mon 23-Jul-12 14:30:37

Although I understand not wanting to upset your mum, she is an adult and should behave as an adult.

RumpleStiltzkin Mon 23-Jul-12 14:30:41

Hmm.. yes it is a little difficult to understand exactly why your Mum would find it so difficult. But then emotions are not rational and anxiety can be very complex so it's not necessary to understand it, just be understanding iyswim.
I totally get, also, why you feel you want to prioritise your Mum's feelings over your Dad's and certainly over you MIL's, given all that you've said.

RumpleStiltzkin Mon 23-Jul-12 14:32:53

two made me laugh too. But it also makes me feel a rather sorry for this poor woman. Even if she has been uncouth in the past.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 14:33:09

It wasn't meant to! I actually feel quite sorry for the woman, your examples of her behaviour just make her sound a bit socially awkward, your sister and Gran have basically bitched about her like teenagers to the rest of the family so now no one will give her a chance, her husband acts like she means nothing to him and she's about to get shown in no uncertain terms that she is most definitely not a part of the family she married into.

Lemonylemon Mon 23-Jul-12 14:33:44

OP: When I said this .... I certainly do not need to put anyone on MumWatch I meant it in the spirit of making sure that your step-mother doesn't get close enough to make any disparaging remarks or the such like - not that I thought your Mum would lose her composure etc.

RumpleStiltzkin Mon 23-Jul-12 14:36:46

Cotes

It doesn't have to be mortifying does it? A polite letter directly to the MIL almost asking permission not to invite her based on her Mum's feelings would give MIL the opportunity to be generous and helpful and respects her realtionship. (Although there is no way to know how this would go down. She might be lovely, she might go spare.)

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:38:04

Cotes Do you really make that comment after reading all of my posts?

RumpleStiltzkin Thanks for understanding. I know it's irksome when AIBU posters cherrypick the posts that support their argument, it annoys me but it does feel that you have read and understood what I've put and aren't just saying "YANBU you're squeaky clean here"

I would feel more sorry for my Dad's wife did she seem keen to want to "be a part of the family she has married into." Over the years it seems to suit her as well as us that we are not part of each others lives, it's only an issue now there is a wedding that according to this thread it would be unspeakably rude not to invite her to.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 14:39:54

A polite letter will make the ops mum look ridiculous.

Follyfoot Mon 23-Jul-12 14:40:31

To be honest, I think your mind was made up before you posted on here and nothing that the majority of posters can say will change your mind. As you've clearly said, your Mum's happiness is more important to you than your Dad's. Thats that then really isnt it?

I do feel desperately sorry for your Dad and his wife though. Did you say earlier that he will be giving you away or did I misread that? That seems a bit disingenuous to me given all you have said on here. Perhaps you should ask someone else.

hippermiddleton Mon 23-Jul-12 14:40:42

Everyone I know who's got married has said that the whole day went by in a blur, far too fast to enjoy the good bits, let alone to notice how animated the conversation was around so-and-so's new wife.

Not inviting your dad's wife is pointed, and will blow this up into a Huge Issue; chewing the decision over between your mum, your grandmother, your dad and your sister for the next few months is almost certainly going to inflame it even further, regardless of what you decide. Just calmly invite her - it'll give you the moral high ground, and in the end, you probably won't even notice she was there. And if the rest of the family care about giving you a lovely day, they'll have a glass or two of wine and get on with it.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:41:14

Ok I understand, Lemony. Sorry for that.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:42:31

I do feel desperately sorry for your Dad and his wife though Have you read all my posts, Folly?

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 14:43:10

Is your dad helping to pay?? I just realised you said he will be "hosting" the reception.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 14:43:49

I've read everything - I feel sorry for your dads wife - I don't feel sorry for your dad at all.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:45:02

chewing the decision over between your mum, your grandmother, your dad and your sister for the next few months is almost certainly going to inflame it even further

I agree, hence coming on here and not engaging with these people over this.

I need to just sit down with my Dad and gauge his feelings on it, which was really the thrust of my original OP. All I really wanted was some advice on how to handle that conversation.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:46:53

No he has mentioned that he'd like to make a contribution, but I have not accepted or pursued this. I recognise it wouldn't be fair given these circs.

Follyfoot Mon 23-Jul-12 14:48:21

Yes I have read all your posts. Did you say he was giving you away?

lagartija Mon 23-Jul-12 14:48:24

I've read the whole thread and i still think ou're being petty and that everyone should grow the fuck up, be polite and invite the woman and get over themselves.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 14:49:42

Blimey. The more I am hearing about your father, the more I can understand your previous difficulties with him. His wife has come to represent all that is not right with him. Not fair on her. Your mum's issues are with your dad. This is all a bit fucked-up, to be honest.

It seems you are taking on board all the emotional fallout from this.

Sounds like he might well find it easier all round if his wife was not there.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:49:47

Would you like to come, lagartikja? smile

Folly it hasn't been discussed but I guess it is assumed by all parties. I would want him to. As I have said, we have a very good relationship now.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 14:50:44

Well like it or not it is rude not to invite her, she's married to your Dad, and as such should be on the list. But you do run the risk of not having your Dad there and only you can decide if that is worth it.

If you decide not to invite her then your reasons are your reasons, but the 'right' thing to do is invite her and hope she doesn't come

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:51:06

Sounds like he might well find it easier all round if his wife was not there.

The truth is, I believe he would have a much better time, larking about with his ex-BiL, having a relaxed chat with my Mum etc etc

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 14:52:08

If his wife doesn't come, he can pretend she doesn't exist.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 14:53:19

No one is helping you handle that conversation burcause you simply shouldn't be having it - it's just wrong - plain and simple and your dad joining you and going along with this wouldn't make it less wrong - it would make it worse.

The way you post - he is having an emotional affair with your mother - and she is a party to that - she doesn't have to take his calls you know. Sounds to me like her anxiety has it's roots in your dads emotional unfaithfullness to his wife with your mum.

And you want to have a happy little wedding and collude in pretending his wife doesn't exist.
The way your family is treating this woman - and your dad is at the forefront of this - is shocking. She is not the OW - she is his blameless (being cuckolded) wife.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 14:53:35

Which, you must admit is fucked up. Poor wife. Are you, in your heart of hearts, hoping your mum and dad can reconcile? Forgive me. It's popped into my head.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 14:54:07

Sighing. Yes. That's summed up what I was thinking.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:54:17

Jamie that's kind of how it is when he comes to visit. He comes alone, stays with my Grandma, drops in on my Mum for a coffee and a chat and it is like she doesn't exist.

I don't want her to cease to exist, she has a role in his life which I recognise and respect. But that role is hundreds of miles away from us, in their home, outside of my family.

CatPower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:55:01

I actually feel really sorry for your step-mum.

Like it or not, she is family now she's married to your dad, and it would come across as incredibly petty and cruel to not invite her.

She is your step-mum, that counts as family, and if the rest of the family (eg sister and gran) can't keep their feelings in check and be civil for one bloody day, it says a lot about more about their immaturity and rudeness.

Sorry OP, but YABIncrediblyU.

CatPower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:56:20

And if your Dad uses your wedding to ignore HIS WIFE, lark about with his ex's family and reminisce about the good old days when we were married, he's a prick.

happyhazydaze Mon 23-Jul-12 14:56:28

I really think you should invite her. It seems you have a choice between making a mean decision or making a magnanimous one. She may well come up with an excuse to not attend if she realises she would feel uncomfortable.

Your mum and sisters feelings are not a good reason to leave her out, they are an excellent reason to not seat her next to them, and to spend extra time with them on the day having fun with them. But I have read all your posts and I'm afraid that I have not read one good reason why you can't just send the invite, hope that she says no, and if she says yes seat her with her some friendly chatty people away from your mum and sister.

If she had beaten someone up or shouted abuse at you I would say differently, but she's just a bit socially inept and not brilliant at integrating into a strong family unit, that's not really such a terrible thing. I suspect if someone wanted to exclude your husband from a family event on such grounds that you might have an issues with that.

Your mum and your sister will have a lovely day, spend loads of time with you and enjoy being part of your celebrations regardless of who else is in the room.

RumpleStiltzkin Mon 23-Jul-12 14:57:07

Sighingagain

"A polite letter will make the ops mum look ridiculous."

Possibly, but is that really the most important thing here? The MIL gets respected and the Mum has an anxiety free day without her.

Iburntthecakes Mon 23-Jul-12 14:57:09

If your mother is genuinely selfless and reasonable then i should think the idea of her daughter not inviting dads new wife would be mortifying to her too. I'd hate to think I'd brought my daughter up so badly she'd be that rude.

I speak as someone who had similar issues at my wedding and did not invite a number of relatives I 'should' have invited as I was worried about how they might behave and how others would feel/react to them. I felt as you did that it would make me and my other guests more comfortable on the day which it did. But - it was not worth the fact that I have never really got over my feeling that it was the wrong thing to do and what kind of person that decision makes me. That feeling taints my memories of the day. I would also say the relatives I did not invite were probably more disappointed/slightly offended than massively offended and it was far less rude than what you are proposing.

In answer to your question, there is no way you can handle this well because it is a bad and unreasonable decision.

lagartija Mon 23-Jul-12 14:57:25

fucked up indeed Jamie. The more I read of this the more I feel sorry for your stepmother. You all sound about 12. The right thing to do is invite her and be gracious if she accepts. Anything else is rudeness of the highest order, it really is.

Olympicnmix Mon 23-Jul-12 14:57:40

Your situation could have been mine. My father, now widowed, was married to a woman I felt completely neutral about. Had nothing in common, polite conversation, couldn't see what the attraction was between them. She was never a 'step-mother' in my eyes, just my father's wife, if that makes any sense.

However, of course she was invited to the wedding although she didn't come as my df and she split up for 2 years just beforehand! However, there were no plans to seat her on the top table, but I planned to place her with members of my father's family.

I would suggest you place your father's wife with significant members of your finance's family with a request to one of them to keep an eye out for her, make her feel welcome. That way your father can concentrate on fob duties and you can relax knowing it's a job delegated.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 14:57:42

Btw YANBU not to talk to your family about this, my Mum and her family's behaviour regarding my own dad coming to my wedding was emotionally draining and went on for a year. Everyone kept saying well I'm sure they'll behave on the day, tbh I'd rather they'd have had a massive fight on the day, on the altar in the middle of our vows than have had to put up with the amount of shit that went on before hand angry

Sorry I know this isn't about me.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 14:57:56

Sighing I can see he reasoning behind your post and it is precisely posts like this why I wanted to share this here.

You are painting me somewhat as a spoiled little princess though which I think is rather unfair.

JennerOSity Mon 23-Jul-12 14:58:15

From the sounds of it, a chat with your Dad to explain the lack of invitation is to try to respect the feelings of your Mum and his Mum, will solve that possible upset. He knows his wife best so can answer any queries she may have about not going in a way he sees fit (perhaps not very diplomatically - but hey, she married him) It doesn't sound like she or you will lose sleep over it affecting your relationship long term.

It is as good a solution as any.

Sighing good post.

It is very clear you absolutely want to slam the door in this woman's face. To be truthful I think you are focussing your anger and frustration at your DF's previous bad behaviour on to her because it is much easier to be angry with a stranger than with your own father.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 14:58:36

same here Iburnt

Olympicnmix Mon 23-Jul-12 15:00:17

A wedding is a very public family showing and to not invite her would be a tremendous snub. You would be instigating that rift. There is no expectation or reason to have her involved in the wedding party, but you do need to treat her with courtesy and warmth as you would all your other guests.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 15:00:48

It's an affair without the sex - and the whole family is a Party to it.

No wonder the woman keeps making social blunders - no doubt she is aware of her part in these shennanigans - poor poor woman.

Your family set up is toxic - your dad is no better than he was before.

The only victim in this is your SM.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 15:03:19

comeback I don't think you are being a princess - I think you are so in the middle of this situation, you can't see the wood for the trees, this is bad for your mum - her anxiety is no doubt in some way related to this and it prevents her fully moving on, it's bad for the rest of you - your mum and dad are still a "couple", it's bad for his poor wife - the only person not really suffering in this is your dad who gets to lead 2 separate lives with the full blessing of his family.

Dprince Mon 23-Jul-12 15:05:44

Tbh reading this thread it seems like the OPe mum is not over the OPs dad.
There is nothing wrong in him saying 'you would've loved it' there were together a long time, I am sure he know what she would have enjoyed.
The more I read the more I think no one wants her there because its harder to pretend your all one big family.
You want him to have a laugh with his ex wife and ex bil. Your parents are having an emotional affair and I think everyone would like to pretend everything is like it was before the divorce. Having your dad wife there will spoil that.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 15:05:52

Sighing. I agree.

This is why weddings are hard. Not table decorations and money. They force emotional and family issues to a head. Sorry OP. This is probably making you feel worse in the short term,

Olympicnmix Mon 23-Jul-12 15:07:35

And it isn't right that your wedding brings to the fore the issues between your father, his wife and your mother. That's for him to sort out (or slope off an and have an affair and 'solve' it that way) You should still invite her as your father's wife. .

Roseformeplease Mon 23-Jul-12 15:08:37

I am afraid I am with those who feel you have to invite her. However, there might be a way of doing it without offending your Dad and get her to not come on the day after all. Perhaps explain to him that she can't be on top table but will have to sit elsewhere and do they have some mutual friends who could be invited to keep her company. Emphasise that you want her to be happy and enjoy herself and then cross your fingers that, as you say, they don't have anyone to bring and he will get the subtext and leave her at home. However, in her position, I would be insanely jealous of him sitting with an ex at a wedding / party and me not being there to oversee things. It sounds as if she is a bit short on social graces and has been snide and unkind, perhaps from sheer discomfort. My Dad had a second marriage and, although it sent my very sensitive and alcoholic mother into a drunken rage, we still had to invite her to various weddings. She was not responsible for the end of the marriage but was controversial when my mother was alone.

Perhaps you should speak to her directly. Saying that you dn't want her to feel left out, would she like to bring a friend to keep her company. That way you don't have to worry about her and, it is just possible, she might then not come.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 15:08:38

You do sound a little bits spoilt to be honest, something about how everyone at the wedding means something special to us, being used as justification for not inviting your Dad's wife. Slightly nauseating and with your numbers a little hard to believe that every single guest is a flawless perfect additio to your life. is there no one else coming that has ever irritated you even a little bit, perhaps even made a bits of a mess of one of your carpets or ever said anything inappropriate at any point within your earshot?

It also sounds slightly like you all want to play happy families with mum and dad back together for the day without that pesky reminder that things have moved on in the room.

HawthornLantern Mon 23-Jul-12 15:10:02

If you respect your father’s new marriage and if you ever wish your own marriage to be publicly recognized and respected by others whom you meet in life you should invite your father’s wife. That is what respecting your father's marriage and his wife’s role in his life actually means. You know that. You would prefer that there is no fly in the ointment on the day of your wedding and that’s understandable. Maybe the wife will recognize your discomfort and oblige you – but if you fail to invite her you should be ashamed of yourself. But as I say, I think you know that.

RumpleStiltzkin Mon 23-Jul-12 15:11:47

Out of interest OP, do you see where certain posters are coming from when they say your Dad is having an emotional affair with your Mum? Does that wound like it might have some truth in it to you?

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 15:11:48

I agree you have to invite her. Otherwise, you are the one making it clear that she's not important, and be dishonourable as a result. Frankly, it's your dad who should be doing that.

Dprince Mon 23-Jul-12 15:11:48

X post with furry. smile

diddl Mon 23-Jul-12 15:12:04

Gosh that poor, poor, woman.

Married so her husband won´t be alone.

And your mother pandering to him.

I´d be ashamed of them.

RuthlessBaggage Mon 23-Jul-12 15:12:18

Sorry, Flower, but the thread does read like "Can I get away with excluding my stepmother?" and all the additional details just reinforce that.

I think it's ok not to want to invite her, by the way. I also think almost everyone ends up inviting someone they dislike to their wedding, or the dcs' christening, or whatever.

I also think both your parents sound annoying, and it's pretty obvious why they split up! Also obvious why father would prefer someone emotionless after a martyr. Finally, I genuinely don't understand how mother can be such a friend to father and so anxious in the presence of stepmother unless she has some jealous idea that they should never have split up...

We have a family member who is very like this woman. But we all suck it up for her husband's sake, and over time she has shown her better side (helping care for housebound relative, etc). Maybe your pain-in-the-arse relative will have a hidden redeeming feature after all. She might be shit hot at wedding presents!

In conclusion, YABU to exclude her, even though YANBU to want to.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 23-Jul-12 15:13:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Journey Mon 23-Jul-12 15:13:58

I think you're going totally overboard and getting obsessed with not wanting to invite your Dad's wife. Of course she should be invited. She's your Dad's wife. Imagine if the table was turned and your Dad didn't invite your future husband to a big family event.

You give the invite to both your Dad and his wife. You can tell your Dad that if she doesn't want to attend you understand thus giving her an escape clause if need be, which in turn may get you what you want!

I think you need to grow up and stop getting so engrossed in this. Your Dad chose to marry the woman so show some respect. No wonder she might be a bit cold towards the family with such hostility been given towards her. You seem to have a high regard for your Dad so I think you should respect his life choice of marrying the lady.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 15:15:36

sorry re: my last post. I don't mean your father should be excluding your stepmother. But if he really is happy for her to be excluded, he has to take the responsibility and the consequences of that.

I think you feel conflicted enough to post on here, because being put in the position of doing other peoples' dirty work is very uncomfortable.

Dprince Mon 23-Jul-12 15:15:57

I am the only person here who doesn't adore all their extended family?

liketochat1 Mon 23-Jul-12 15:16:29

It seems to me the op is actually thinking of her mother more than herself or anyone else. However, her dad's wife needs to be invited in my opinion so as not to create any further upsetting rifts and awkwardness.
If I were your mum op, I'd actually want his new wife there seeing me happy and proud. I wouldn't want her to think I was in any way bothered by her presence.

Journey Mon 23-Jul-12 15:17:16

Twofurryones - good post.

RumpleStiltzkin Mon 23-Jul-12 15:18:59

liketochat1

*"If I were your mum op, I'd actually want his new wife there seeing me happy and proud. I wouldn't want her to think I was in any way bothered by her presence.*"

That's a good point. op could you suggest this to your Mum as a way of dealing with it?

2rebecca Mon 23-Jul-12 15:19:43

Your dad is sounding increasingly horrible here. He married a woman with strong religious convictions just so she would have sex with him but enjoys socialising without her and meets up with his exwife and phones her regularly. He openly tells people he only married his wife for the sex.
Why on earth does your mother want to have anything to do with him? He sounds creepy and I would have thought she was well rid of him.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 15:25:43

It's not a stuffy formal sit-down meal. The idea is that it is a relaxed, informal gathering. I don't want it to be a free-for-all though. As booster seats, high chairs and other child-related paraphernalia will all be needed, it's easier to have a table plan. I prefer to have a table plan too. It may be hard to believe, but every single person there is a very close family friend or relation whom we see frequently and have a great relationship with. I never said they were perfect additions to our lives, but we've been together ages and there's been countless social occasions over the years where everyone has bonded. Its close knit, I don't think that's a bad thing.

I do get the emotional relationship thing, I'm not denying it but please be assured my Mum does NOT encourage this. She certainly does not pander to him. She only knows he is visiting this week as my Grandma mentioned to her that he'd mentioned he'd drop in on her after visiting his Mum. She often doesn't take his calls and the other day he range me to see if Mum was alright as she was trying to get rid of him off the phone and he'd not finished what he was saying.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 15:27:15

That IS a very good point, like to chat

I'm adding that to the blurry mess I'm compiling of How To Deal With This.

parachutesarefab Mon 23-Jul-12 15:31:41

I think you should invite her (but you can hope she declines).

You could wait till your Dad visits, tell him about your wedding plans - and ask how your SM would find it, given that she doesn't really know any of you. From what you say, he tends to speak honestly (=sometimes insensitively), so you'll get a lot from his reaction.

I think you and your DF should go and stay with your Dad and SM. You mention him coming to visit, but only your granmother going to see them. (If their home is very small, stay locally in a B&B.) That will give you a chance to get to know her better. You may find you quite like her. Things may blow up, giving you a genuine reason not to invite her.

Do look at non-traditional seating plans. A round table rather than a long top table would probably suit your Grandma better, especially if she needs help eating. (You only say top table, I just assumed a long one.)

Why not put your Dad and SM at a table , Mum with her family somewhere else, DF's parents somewhere else again. Ask Grandma if she'd rather sit with Mum or Dad (and SM). Split up groups of friends. They'll have been speaking to each other for the rest of the day, and it's nice to chat to some new people too.

You could sit with siblings / best friends / bridesmaid / BM and ushers... You'll spend most of the meal wandering around seeing people anyway.

tinkertitonk Mon 23-Jul-12 15:35:21

I have read the OP but not the thread (11 pages ffs).

As soon as the thought crossed your mind of not inviting her you should have killed it. Of course you invite her.

But you knew all that.

AfternoonDelight Mon 23-Jul-12 15:37:59

RumpleStiltzkin It was me that said I'd spoken to my Dad, with my sister there, to explain why we don't like his wife.

I realise there's no "un-nasty" way to do this, but the way we did it was to take certain examples of her behaviour and then explain them to him from our point of view. He took these on board and at the time seemed fine, bus as I said, he's now gone overly dramatic that there's a "family rift" even though nothing has changed in anyone's interactions with each other in our family.

I felt it was especially important to tell him before my wedding, but also because of other events that have happened recently.

I have to say, I'm very surprised that there aren't more posters seeing things from the OP's point of view. My DM hates my Dad's wife, and it has nothing to do with any affairs. Not every family gets along, and I mean this in all sincerity - there is no-one that my Dad's wife can sit with at my wedding apart from him. I don't agree that just because my Dad chose to marry a random woman, that all of a sudden I have to welcome her into my family. It works both ways, and it seems like the OP's Dad's wife has done the same - if there's no effort on her side, there's no effort on mine, and you end up with the situation we have now.

OP, I really think you should talk to your Dad about your concerns. What does your future DH think?

RuleBritannia Mon 23-Jul-12 15:39:36

I have read only a few pages on this thread but has anyone thought about the step mother's family? I don't mean in relation to the wedding but suppose she has an elderly mother/father who has to be looked after or in a care home so she hasn't had much time to 'socialise' with the OP's family, extended or not. We have no information about the stepmother because the OP probably doesn't know anything about her.

Did you attend your father's marriage to your step mother, OP? You father has been married for 5, presumably happy, years. Did your mother remarry?

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 15:40:25

I still think you should invite her

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 15:42:09

I am thinking of the OP. I can see the dilemma. But I think the fact she doesn't really warm to her is not sufficient excuse the exclude her. And I think it's not right, and I think it's not very healthy in the circumstances.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 15:43:54

Lastly, I think if it were all right, The OP would have done it without any qualms.

bran Mon 23-Jul-12 15:44:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 15:56:59

What would it be like if you started a conversation with your Dad about how you were worried that his wife would feel awkward on the day? Start with the assumption that of course she is invited, but that you are worried that she will be uncomfortable.

You don't paint a glowing picture of your Dad tbh, does his wife know that he regularly chats to your Mum? I chat to my dc's Dad a lot but it's generally about our children because they are still children, I can't imagine that we would have such regular contact when they are fully cooked adults. If the wife doesn't know, then your Dad might already be worrying about the situation, and about whether your Mum would accidentally say anything that will let it be known to the wife how much contact they have.

I think that if you put your manipulative head on, you can engineer this so that you invite her but don't actually have to have her there. Everyone's a winner. But then you would have to be a conniving bitch like me to be able to pull it off successfully blush

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:03:38

What would it be like if you started a conversation with your Dad about how you were worried that his wife would feel awkward on the day?

That was what I'd initially planned to do, but he's quite emotionally unaware, and he'd just say 'oh she'll be alright. Don't worry about her. She can look after your Grandma'

I'm going to ask him if he'd considered how each individual person is going to feel at the wedding. Him, His wife, my Mum, grandma me, etc and just have a conversation about how he pictures the day and take it from there.

Inertia Mon 23-Jul-12 16:05:33

I've seen the fallout from new wives not being invited to weddings and it isn't pretty. In those circumstances, the new wife wasn't invited due to her history of drunkenness and fighting at other weddings, and her hostility and outright aggression towards the groom- which makes the lack of invite understandable. The weddings were wonderful, but the father has completely cut off his children over this.

In your case, your SM is snarky and rude, and difficult to seat. It sounds unlikely, however, that she'll cause any kind of public order offence at the wedding. The repercussions from not inviting her would be much worse than trying to find somewhere for her to sit. She doesn't have to be on the top table - I like Bran's idea of seating her with a "minder"- somebody she'll never have to see again, but who is a skilled conversationalist.

She might even decline the invite- in which case, everyone's winner.

I think that if you explain to your mum that you are inviting your SM to protect your relationship with your dad, she'll understand. It sounds as though you have enough family to ensure that your mum is looked after. Does your mum have a companion or family friend that could be invited, to redress the balance?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 16:09:23

Didnt you say your Grandma was going to sit with your Mum? Sorry if I'm forgetting things.

Maybe if you point out to him that it will be difficult to seat her and that you are really really worried about everyone feeling happy and comfortable, he will come to the conclusion that it's best if she doesn't attend all by himself.

Lambzig Mon 23-Jul-12 16:10:10

My father has been with my step-mother for 30 years now (God I am old) and until recently I had always found her cold, rude and completely disinterested in his children. She is extremely blunt and rude and has said far worse things to me and my siblings (nasty comments about the IVF I was having, the fact that I had a boyfriend 6 months after my first marriage broke up, my sister's engagement ring, my miscarriage, the list could go on and on).

However, the thing is she is my Dad's wife and I wouldn't have even considered not inviting her to my wedding (both actually, but thinking of my second one). She came, sat with my father and it was fine (sample comment from the day on my bias cut, 1930's style long wedding dress "Oh, have you come in your nightie?"), I didnt even think about it.

Actually, she has really come into her own as a grandparent and we are much closer these days, but thats a separate issue.

It seems to me that you had already made up your mind before your post and I do get your reasons, even if I dont agree with them, but I do feel terribly sorry for your step mother.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 16:15:04

Of course the dad will find a way not to have his wife there - that way he can continue his emotional affair with ops mother unhindered - he can act like a total shit while looking like the good guy.

What I don't get is why the op thinks this is good for her mother.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:20:34

My Grandma would probably sit next to my Dad, my Mum or me as we're the only ones she feels comfortable with assisting her to eat.

Maybe if you point out to him that it will be difficult to seat her and that you are really really worried about everyone feeling happy and comfortable, he will come to the conclusion that it's best if she doesn't attend all by himself.

What a nice, simple post. Yes I know I know, cherrypicking what I want to hear. But this actually does make sense amid all the aibu furore.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 16:21:08

It doesn't sound like it is good for her Mother, but that's not really within OPs control as they are all adults that can do what they want.

It sounds to me like the family would be much happier if everyone just respected everyone else's boundaries.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:23:02

All those who said I'd already made my mind up, well I kind of had. I never said "AIBU not to invite my Dad's wife to our wedding", The aibu was actually "to ask for help how to handle this" Some people's responses are you handle it by INVITING her which is fair enough.

steben Mon 23-Jul-12 16:23:22

DontmindifIdo that is clearly outrageous behaviour and not at all acceptable in any form.

The point I am trying to make is that you see a lot of posts with people up in arms about choices people have made about their weddings (dc's invited or not) and I have seen and experienced the fall out it can cause and it just irritates me that people get angry about where they seated/where it is held/who is isn't invited/dress code etc...But I truly believe that as far as possible (and everyone I know has and does make allowances for other people) people should try and fit in with others wedding plans as it is their day -often paid for by themselves.

In this case I don't envythe OP as I probably would not want her their either, and it is a tricky discussion to have. I do agree with other posters though that on the day it probably wont matter.

Inertia Mon 23-Jul-12 16:26:56

I think you still need to invite her- even if in your discussions with your dad, he comes to the conclusion that it would be better if he came alone.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:27:07

Did you attend your father's marriage to your step mother, OP?

I've just spoken to my sister as I really couldn't remember the ins and outs of this. Apparently we were told a few days before the weekday wedding several hundred miles away from where we live that they were getting married, and we could go if we wanted. My sister perceives this as a bit of a snub, as they knew full well we wouldn't be able to get leave at such short notice. I said perhaps they were trying to make it easy for us to decline attending as they suspected we wouldn't want to.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 23-Jul-12 16:27:36

My last post sounds snippy and I don't mean it to. I just meant that I think your Mum would probably be better able to handle her emotions if your Dad didn't keep chatting to her while at the same time being in a relationship with someone that she is so uncomfortable around.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:30:03

No chance, Inertia why would I do that? Just because it's cruel not to? I am not a cruel person, I'm really not. If my Dad was ok with it, why would I risk upsetting people I care about so as not to be 'cruel' to a virtual stranger?

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:30:56

No that's OK Outraged - that's kind of how I read it. Your most recent post hits the nail on the head.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 16:35:45

There will be little hassle and fallout from this in the short term, as long as your dad's OK with this, so I can see why it will be the best option for you. Trying not to say this in a passive-aggressive tone.

The wider question of why it might be OK with your dad, and precisely what he is up to are a bit more tricky.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:37:33

Jamie (and others) I just wanted to say as well, even though we kind of disagree, thank you for sticking with this and reading and understanding. I'm all up for people having a different viewpoint to me, it's when people just jump in shouting AIBU without fully following the gist of the situation that is annoying and unhelpful.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:38:10

cross post - I posted that before your recent post!

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 16:38:24

She is not a virtual stranger she is your Dad's wife, whether you like it or not. Do you honestly not see how not inviting her is a very horrible thing to do? Are you honestly so wrapped up in your own idea of a perfect day that you can't even extend the hand of friendship to your Dad's wife, because you find her a bit cold and your sister and Gran don't like her, and she was once a bit rude to your Mum, in what was probably quite a socially awkward situation for her as well as your Mum. Are you really so self absorbed that you can only imagine that people you know well will have feelings about your actions?

Honestly OP you may think you're a nice and lovely person but you are starting to come across like a total bitch. I could understand if she had actually done something of substance wrong but you are basically just making excuses to behave shoddily.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 16:39:14

Has your response changed wink?

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 16:40:18

Well I think that as the OP is paying, the woman hasnt had any involvement in the OPs life and she doesnt like her, she shouldnt be invited.

Unpopular opinion I know, but I bent over backwards to include people in my wedding who made a fuss and then didnt turn up anyway. i wish i had just stuck my original feelings of not inviting them. Wouldnt have changed the outcome and would have made life alot simpler.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:41:03

The wider question of why it might be OK with your dad, and precisely what he is up to are a bit more tricky

Well quite. For an educated and intelligent man, he can be a bit of a simpleton. He likes having a wife. It's nice to have someone to do things with and keep him company. And my Mum won't fulfil that role so someone else has to. But then my Mum - she's nice - he enjoys her company, it's nice to have a chat and spend time with her, even though she does discourage it (honestly she does.) So he does. Without really thinking through the implications.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 16:41:07

OP before you accuse me of not understanding fully, I would like to say I have read every post and every excuse and still think you're in the wrong. That was in response to the scenario where you find out she won't come and you still won't invite her because that would be the polite thing to do.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 16:42:08

It's cruel because she is your dads wife - her place is with your dad not "hundreds of miles away".

I don't really believe you can't understand that - I think you know it already - it's even worse if your dad accepts it.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:42:09

No it doesn't change Jamie - you've been fair and reasonable throughout smile

Bogey I love you a bit. Then I always have ;)

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 16:43:04

She is not a virtual stranger she is your Dad's wife

She can be both you know. I have a relative by marriage who is a complete stranger, I have never met him and I wouldnt know him if he smacked me in the mouth.

Just because someone is married to someone you are related to doesnt automatically mean that you owe them anything and in the case of the OP, I would say that there is no relationship here. Why is her not inviting someone who has never made any effort with the OP "cruel"? If her step daughters wedding was so important to her then surely she would have made sure she actually had a relationship with the step daughter?

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:43:23

Ok two, I accept that. (You mean find out my Dad's ok with it but still not invite her - not being snippy, just double checking we're on the same lines)

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 16:44:01

If she is having conversations with him behind his wides back - she isn't discouraging him - she is indulging him - it's not hard to discourage him - just don't ans phone - be out when he calls.

Let's be honest - his affair was a rejection of her and it's nice for her to feel like she has the upperhand now.

StrawberryMojito Mon 23-Jul-12 16:44:09

Someone came up with a good idea earlier about allowing step mother to bring a guest which would solve the problem of her not knowing anyone else and I don't think OP responded to it.

I'm 2 weeks away from my wedding and I can tell you that even amongst your close friends there will be changes to your numbers. We've had someone pull out (and their children) due to a marriage separation, ill health and a back operation all meaning changes to our table plan. There will be space for this woman and if your friends are so wonderful they will make conversation with her during the meal and make her feel welcome.

The reason you can't adequately explain why your mum will be so anxious is because she is either not over your dad despite what she may say or she knows full well that she is still having some sort of relationship with him behind this woman's back.

You have to look to the future, unless she is a saint, she is only going to feel more awkward and distant from you if you don't invite her and that will only give your family more ammunition to use against her. But maybe that is what you want?

For all you say that you are taking people's opinions on board, you don't really appear willing to look for any solution that doesn't involve excluding her.

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 16:44:45

grin comeback

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:46:01

her place is with your dad not "hundreds of miles away"

Her place with my Dad IS hundreds of miles away though, that's my point. Both literally and metaphorically. When he is here, she is not. It is like she doesn't exist.

Just because someone is married to someone you are related to doesnt automatically mean that you owe them anything and in the case of the OP, I would say that there is no relationship here.
Exactly. And how often on here do we sympathise with posters with difficult relationships with blood relatives and say "well just because you're blood related, doesn't mean you have to get along"

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 16:46:24

Agree with sighing again.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 16:46:35

It's cruel because she is being excluded because her husband is still involved with his ex wife and they all want to pretend the new wife simply doesn't exist.

brdgrl Mon 23-Jul-12 16:47:22

You really would be being very rude to invite anyone and not invite their partner. The fact that it is your father's long-term partner would actually make it even more appalling.

Certainly, sometimes people make the decision to do the rude or unkind thing, because it seems to be the lesser of two evils. Inviting a relative who abused a member of the family, or inviting 'the other woman' who was party to the break-up of one's family - these are cases where a person might reasonably decide that even though it cannot be justified in terms of etiquette, they still feel strongly enough to exclude the person.

I think you'd be making a mistake to do that, given what you have posted here. You just don't really like the woman. And while it is good to consider your mother's feelings, they really can't be managed by simply excluding this woman, who may be a bit unlikable and may bring up negative feelings for your mother - but really, from everything you say, her offenses are pretty minor.

I had worse at my own wedding...but once you choose to have other people involved in the wedding, you will have to accept some compromises, I think. Don't let this spoil your day or further complicate things with your dad.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 16:47:46

I think it's not healthy for you to collude with your dad either.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 16:48:18

She does exist - are you not a little concerned for your mum in this - he is leaving his wife at home to keep you all happy - this little triangle is very unhealthy.

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 16:49:06

But Sighing it sounds like she has never bothered to get involved with his family herself, its hardly fair to blame the OP for choices her dad and his wife made. If she has never forged any sort of relationship with the OP then she can hardly expect the full on "step mother" treatment at the wedding.

I dont think that she is a step mother, she is the OPs fathers wife, thats different.

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 16:51:11

You really would be being very rude to invite anyone and not invite their partner
Then why have there been threads on here where an OP has been told its fine to invite someone but not their partner if a)they have never met the partner and b) they cant afford to invite both?

I have read several threads where that has either been OK'd by mners or suggesting by some as a way of cutting costs!

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 16:52:07

Would you in this situation - she probably stayed away out of respect - or more likely - the dad has simply excluded her and not included her in visits - he is making calls to his ex wife while his new wife is out. Approve of this do you?

Sounds like the ops relationship with her dads was tenuous for a long time. She may well have responsibilities where they live.

That doesn't mean they should snub her while they all indulge in their new wife doesn't exist fantasy.

brdgrl Mon 23-Jul-12 16:52:59

It doesn't even matter if she has been "involved with the family" or not (and seriously - this is a real 'damned if you do, damned if you don't position!) - she is the partner of a family member . You can't exclude your BIL, your SIL...even if you invite your married boss, the polite thing is to invite the spouse!

And what difference does it make if she is "stepmother" or "dad's wife"? This isn't even a matter of what table she sits at...the OP is talking about flat out not inviting her father's spouse. It's really bad.

NunTheWiser Mon 23-Jul-12 16:54:05

So you actually want advice on how to exclude your step-mother without appearing mean spirited, cruel and downright rude in the eyes of everyone else you have invited? There is no way you can do this and come out looking like a nice person.
I think you should do the right thing and invite her and stop enabling your father's twattish behavior towards the woman he chose to marry.

brdgrl Mon 23-Jul-12 16:54:24

Then why have there been threads on here where an OP has been told its fine to invite someone but not their partner if a)they have never met the partner and b) they cant afford to invite both?
I can't say why, but I would tell them that was rude! So would just about any etiquette book...

NervousAt20 Mon 23-Jul-12 16:54:49

Haven't read the whole thread but from what I have YANBU. If it was me I would want my mum to feel completely comfortable and enjoy the day and I wouldn't want to put it onto any of my thee family members or friends to spend their day trying to entertain her. If you feel you have a good open relationship with your dad then try and talk to him about it and get his views, he might have a better day without her if he gets on well with everyone else there

Congratulations BTW grin

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 16:54:50

you don't really appear willing to look for any solution that doesn't involve excluding her. That's not true. I said I was planning to take on board ILikeToChat's idea about putting it to my Mum that its an opportunity to show how happy and proud she is. I wouldn't still be posting if I wasn't digesting and considering every suggestion. I'd have sent an invitation "To Dad" by now.

I'm not enamoured with the idea of inviting her to have a plus 1 as I've said times, there's no plus ones at my wedding as there's no call for it, We'd rather not have any strangers there. I don't think my Dad's wife would be particularly uncomfortable without a plus 1.

At my Nephew's christening she was perfectly relaxed and confident, chatting away to my SiL like they were old friends. My SiL was a bit confused just because she'd barely met her, not because she had any feelings positive or negative toward her. (As I said, it was right at the start when we were all trying to be welcoming)

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 16:57:15

I cant pass comment on what the father is doing as we dont know why he calls the mum, whether his wife knows and what is in it for the mum.

I am saying that it is nothing to do with the OP as to why her father behaves the way he does and makes the choices he makes. She has to decide whether to invite a woman to her wedding who she doesnt have any kind of relationship with, doesnt like, wont know anyone and will make the day awkward for several people. I am coming down on the side of Dont Invite.

As I said, having had a similar situation before my own wedding, I wish I had just drawn a line under it instead of trying to keep people happy who would have been a pita no matter what I did.

squeakytoy Mon 23-Jul-12 16:57:20

Your mother is obviously very close to her EX MIL, so I guess that probably doesnt make his wife feel too comfortable either..

I am not saying that she shouldnt be friends with her, but I do imagine that it leaves no place for your dads new wife to fit in at all.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 16:58:09

For all you say that you are taking people's opinions on board, you don't really appear willing to look for any solution that doesn't involve excluding her.

That's it in a nutshell.

If the OP will just admit she's being a total Bridezilla about the whole thing I'll be able to leave the thread alone. I've read the whole thing and haven't come across one good reason not to invite the women other than the Bride doesn't want to. Which only isn't reason enough, because she doesn't want to admit to herself that she'd be doing a not nice thing, and that would be a bit of a dent to her self image as she likes to think of herself as a good person.

Dprince Mon 23-Jul-12 16:58:18

I have never advised someone its ok not invite a partner.
I think the OP and family don't want her there so they can pretend to be a family. The dad probably won't mind as he can carry on his EA with the mother without his wife there.
I think she will be hurt not to be invited but after reading this I think she would be better sending him on his own and changing the locks while he is gone.

emdelafield Mon 23-Jul-12 17:01:41

Surely if you invited her and did your level best to make her feel happy and included that could only be a good thing?

You may not see much of her now but things could change-you could move/they could move/you could have DC's/your Dad could have health problems.

This wedding could be the start of better relationships all round.

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 17:01:48

The dad probably won't mind as he can carry on his EA with the mother without his wife there.

Talk about assumptions! When did the OP say it was an EA? Perhaps, just perhaps, he gets on with her and likes talking to her? I have long chats sometimes with my ex, no EA there I assure you!

I am gobsmacked at the accusations being thrown at the father here! You dont know why he is doing what he is doing, so dont make assumptions!

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 17:01:48

bogey the op said somewhere in this mammoth thread that the dad is ringing her mum when his wife is out. so we do know that.

StrawberryMojito Mon 23-Jul-12 17:02:21

So she is relaxed and confident with people she has only just met, would be fine without a plus one, your mum (according to you) has moved on from your dad, er...what's the problem then? The people who aren't keen on her can sit elsewhere and just have to remain civil when they encounter her. How do you really consider this a dilemma?

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 17:03:14

You know he rings when his wife is out, you dont know that she doesnt know he is doing it. Assumptions again.

He is a man therefore he is a cunt.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 17:03:15

See my post we
Cross posted bogey the op has also made it clear in numerous posts that the dad is belittling his relationship with his wife tO the op and her maternal family.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 17:04:30

Yes she is NOT my step mother. She is my Dad's Wife I have met her all but 4 times. She has made no effort to have a relationship with us, as we have not with her and that SUITS US ALL FINE (as I said in my OP) In fact , I wouldn't recognise her if I passed her in the street.

So you actually want advice on how to exclude your step-mother without appearing mean spirited, cruel and downright rude in the eyes of everyone else you have invited?
No this is not the question at all. I am not concerned that this will seem rude to the other guests. Most of them don't know her from Adam and don't care. The rest of them don't like her very much and would prefer her not to be there.

I also think too much has been made of some seedly little semi-affair my Dad is having with my Mum. While I acknowledge that there is some sort of emotional situation going on, the long and short of that is, like I said he is simple, he likes chatting to her and likes her company, and she tries to discourage it. That's all really.

In simple terms, we (Me, Mum, Sister Grandma) just feel awkward and uncomfortable at the idea of having someone at the wedding who we don't know and like very much and I accept that that might seem rude.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 17:04:37

It's nothing to do with him being a man - and everything to do with the things the OP has posted about via behaviour towards his wife

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 17:08:08

And I will say again, what has that got to do with the OP? She isnt his marriage counsellor, she is planning her wedding and doesnt want someone she hardly knows to be there.

Whether the father has behaved honourably or not has nothing to do with it and is not the OPs responsibility to put right.

And nowhere can I see that the OP has catagorically stated that her mum and dad are having an affair, emotional or otherwise, or that his wife doesnt know about the contact. You are making assumptions to fit your judgment of the father without actually knowing the facts.

pinklaydee Mon 23-Jul-12 17:11:32

My dad and step mum had an affair, then got married about five years ago. We had a bad relationship with him for a couple of years then decided that in order to have a relationship with my dad, we had to build a bond with her. There was absolutely no question about not inviting her to our wedding six years ago - I hardly saw her, and they had a great time. It really didn't impact on my day, or my mum's.
Dad and my step mum died suddenly earlier this year within six weeks of each other. Imagine if we had just cut them out of our lives, how much I would have regretted that.
OP, sounds to me as if you have already made up your mind. I urge you to invite her. I don't see why your mum would be upset. Life is too short and you will end up regretting it.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 17:12:12

I did admit that there could be an emotional relationship going on from his PoV but that if there is, my Mum actively discourages it. I did say that he calls my mum when his wife is out, what that proves/disproves is not strictly related to my OP.

pinklaydee Mon 23-Jul-12 17:12:40

Just to clarify, they were together for about five years before deciding to get married about a year after my wedding.

twofurryones Mon 23-Jul-12 17:12:56

In simple terms, we (Me, Mum, Sister Grandma) just feel awkward and uncomfortable at the idea of having someone at the wedding who we don't know and like very much and I accept that that might seem rude.

No OP it doesn't seem rude, it is rude. Honestly, just do what you want but, stop trying to justify it as the 'right' thing to do, it isn't, you know that, that's why you're getting your knickers in a twist trying to justify yourself and and hanging on to every word of anyone who might agree with you.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 17:13:27

"While I acknowledge that there is some sort of emotional situation going" clearly the op does recognise there is an issue - she has posted more than enough about her dads behaviour for me to recognise a bastard when I read about one.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 17:16:17

in order to have a relationship with my dad, we had to build a bond with her. But we have successfully built a good relationship with our dad without having to do this.

It's not like we've ever been given the impression she was keen that we all be a part of each other's lives and why should she? we're grown-up offspring, we live a long way away and it's never really been an issue (between myself and my Dad's wife) in fact, the very first Christmas, my dad said "DW said there is no need for you to buy her a gift, your gifts will be from me, she thought it would be easier that way" And we were like, ok cool. At that point we hadn't even met her. I didn't think that was rude of her, just a way of handling a grown-up situation.

2rebecca Mon 23-Jul-12 17:17:06

Your father's wife is your stepmother, in the same way that your uncle's wife is your aunt. You can't just pretend she isn't. The word stepmother is just a description of the situation, it says nothing about how close you are.
I really don't see why this woman brings out nastiness and anxiety in your family.
She doesn't wipe her feet properly and is a bit rude and socially inept, that's all.

brdgrl Mon 23-Jul-12 17:17:29

twofurryones is exactly right. You can't justify what you're planning. If you don't care about doingthe decent thing, because you just want to please yourself as it is Your Big Day - then really, just say so and go ahead and do it. People do. Don't try to justify it, in that case.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 17:19:28

I never said it was the Right thing to do - where did I say that, two I acknowledge it's a difficult, messy, unpleasant situation

hanging on to every word of anyone who might agree with you. That's not really fair is it? I have acknowledged Jamie's input and she certainly doesn't agree with me, as well as several others.

I'm AIBU veteran enough to know that it doesn't pay to put your fingers in your ears. I actually want to hear this stuff and learn others opinions.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 17:21:01

I'm not trying to justify it either brd. I just don't think it's as cut and dried as "well it's just rude if you don't invite her - end of"

whathellcall Mon 23-Jul-12 17:21:50

Another one here who feels really sorry for the poor stepmother. There's alot of bitching going on in your family, and whilst I can understand that you need a good moan when you don't like someone, to actually consider excluding her from a major family event is despicable.

I also think you're in complete denial about your father's relationship, both with his wife and with your mother. Look at the facts, he MARRIED this woman, she is his WIFE. You admit that you never see them together and know nothing of their married life, yet you've decided that he doesn't really love her. You've tried to justify this by saying that your father is giving this impression, but I doubt very much that he has ever said anything that would confirm that he doesn't love his wife. I think it's your impression because it's what you want to believe.

You're also at great pains to defend your mother and explain that she has no residual feelings for your father, in fact that she has to try to avoid his calls, get rid of him etc. However you then say that she is so anxious at being in the same room as his new wife that it will make her ill!! A woman she has barely even spoken to??? If your mother is the one who wouldn't have your father back and has to avoid his calls, would she not be happier if his new wife was at your wedding to keep him out of her way?

diddl Mon 23-Jul-12 17:22:11

"in fact, the very first Christmas, my dad said "DW said there is no need for you to buy her a gift, your gifts will be from me,"

You write that as if it´s unusual.

My husband & I have neer bought seperate presents for children-let alone adults!

Are there any other married couple where you are seriously considering inviting only one half?

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 17:23:20

I've got to go out. but A genuine thank you to EVERYONE who has replied. Each and every response has been helpful. All be it some rather frustrating/hard to hear. I'd be genuinely interested to hear anyone else's take on the matter. All godknowshowmanypages of the matter (I don't know, I have continuous thread set - cba with pages)

emdelafield Mon 23-Jul-12 17:23:28

Me again-I just can't help getting drawn back in. How would you feel if Mum, Sis or Gran met new partner who you "didn't know very well"?
Would you invite them?

mynewpassion Mon 23-Jul-12 17:23:46

You don't want to invite her. Then don't. Let the chips fall where they may.

Simple as that.

Crazyfatmamma Mon 23-Jul-12 17:23:47

Sorry but I have to agree with some of the posters who have suggested she is being snubbed so you can portray the perfect family set up with your mam and dad.
Try to think how you would feel if you were in this womans place in the future, it can happen. I know I would be utterly gutted.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 17:27:35

How would you feel if Mum, Sis or Gran met new partner who you "didn't know very well"? Would you invite them?

Good point. I probably would. In fact my cousin is single and while she says she's not bothered about having a plus 1, I said if she's seeing someone by then he would be welcome. But then it's fairly likely that we would have met him a couple of times if he's in her life. If he's rude to my Mum or upsets my Grandma though, I'd rather he didn't attend.

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 17:27:37

Ok so the father has an emotional attachment to the mother that isnt appropriate.

I ask again WTF has that got to do with the OP? She isnt guardian of her parents morals, they have to answer to themselves and their spouses, not her.

Who cares if he is a bastard? What business is it of anyones except his wife? It certainly has no bearing on what the OP should or shouldnt do in this situation.

Yes, strictly speaking she should be invited as per ettiquette. But if the wife (NOT stepmother imo, that implies a relationship) doesnt want to be involved, the father doesnt care and it will make OP, sis mum and gma happy then I simply dont see the problem.

I will not be invited to any events held by my husbands family, ettitquette or no, and I dont care. THey dont like me, I dont like them and the only reason i would kick up a fuss is to make a point and I see no point in that.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 17:29:25

Sorry but I have to agree with some of the posters who have suggested she is being snubbed so you can portray the perfect family set up with your mam and dad.

That simply isn't true. I'd rather she wasn't there because I don't know her very well, and what I do know of her, I'm not particularly keen on. And those members of my family who have encountered her, do not like her at all. I'm 34. I'm not living in a fantasy world where Mummy and Daddy get back together, please be assured.

brdgrl Mon 23-Jul-12 17:29:34

My DH's father has been married three times. I have met his current wife once. My DH was in his thirties by the time his father married this woman, and living some distance away.

Third Wife was close to my own DH's first wife (deceased) and did not hide her belief that DH should not remarry, to anyone.

DH's mother was the first wife of FIL. She is deceased, but would of course have been asked to our wedding. FIL's Second Wife came to our wedding. Let's just say that she would have every reason, as would her children, to wish to avoid Third Wife.

Did we consider, ever, not inviting Third Wife to the wedding? Not for a second. It is his father's wife. (And just to be clear, there is no way anyone else in the family would have expected or asked us not to invite her!)

She 'had a prior engagement' and could not make it, as it happens. smile

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 17:30:28

I should add that I am not a stepmother, but my husband has a son. There is a MASSIVE difference between fathers wife and stepmother.

And before you ask, his son attacked him, threatened to kill me and my children and we have had the police involved. I am not an evil queen a la Snow White!

Dprince Mon 23-Jul-12 17:30:29

Because bogey, I think she is buying into the 'happy family' bit and encouraging it.
She is trying to find a way to not invite the wife so her mum and dad can pretend for the day. Which imo is awful for the wife.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 23-Jul-12 17:32:11

Do you have any trustworthy single men (uncles, whatever) who could be sat near her so that when your Dad is busy at the centre of family bits, SHE has somebody to talk to and is not left feeling pretty seriously left out.

Be thankful.
My parents could not be trusted to be on the same continent so I had two half weddings. AND had to write to various members of my family reminding them that I would march them off the premises if they kicked off.

squeakytoy Mon 23-Jul-12 17:32:41

I find it quite unbelievable that all of your family are such good friends with all of his family actually.. or that all of your friends are good mates with both families.. very unbelievable.

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 17:32:52

Dprince the op has said that isnt the case and i am happy to take her word for it.

CagneyNLacey Mon 23-Jul-12 17:32:54

I have read every single post and actually cannot believe OP still considers herself to be even vaguely reasonable.

bogeyface Mon 23-Jul-12 17:33:37

Why Squeaky? My dad plays in a team with my ex husband and ex FIL once a week, and my H sometimes goes along for something to do!

Kladdkaka Mon 23-Jul-12 17:33:41

Blimey, even I wouldn't do this because I know that no matter what the justification, it's downright rude.

Crazyfatmamma Mon 23-Jul-12 17:34:18

Thanks for your response why dont you try to get to know her on a one to one basis and then from there make a decision on whether you want her to be there or not. If you do find her downright unpleasant then the decision not to invite her would be easier, or she may just surprise you and you may actually like the person married to your dad.

squeakytoy Mon 23-Jul-12 17:40:44

Bogey, I mean "all".. every single person.

I have been to close family weddings and even then the grooms family have not known all of the brides family.. some of them yes, most of them perhaps, but not every single one.

Dprince Mon 23-Jul-12 17:46:12

Bogey I disagree. The OP has no real reason to now want her there. Everything is very vague.
I genuinely think the family and OP don't want her there as she is a reminder of the less than perfect family.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 18:03:59

Don't believe it, Squeaky but it's true. We had a huge party for DPs 30th. All but a handful of the wedding guest list came away for an entire weekend. There have been countless other celebrations. Most of our wedding guests are 30 something friends. Family comprise brothers, sisters and their kids and one set of aunt, uncle and cousins on my side. And my grandma. That is all.

Anyway, I've decided what I am going to do. I will tell my dad I cannot accept his kind offer of a contribution because we won't be having the big celebration we planned. And if he asks why, Ill tell him because it was too complicated with the situation between his wife and my family.

It's not an idle threat. I'll tell him that because that's what I'm doing. So thank you all for helping me to decide.