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Sisters' wedding in a week... starting to freak

(19 Posts)
pimmsy Sat 13-Aug-16 21:20:42


Very long post... Sorry

I am 27.

My lovely older sister 29 year old is getting married in a week to her adorable long term partner. The wedding is happening in their town, abroad. I separated from my partner of 7 years a couple of months ago, so will be going alone. My sister is my rock, and my soon to be brother in law is adorable.

My parents are divorced. I have been NC with my father since I was 13 because I couldn't deal with his alcoholism. I have been NC with my mother for 12 years for various reasons.

My mother threw my sister out at 16 ( She thew my little brother out at 14, I left for boarding school paid for by my grandparents at 14 and my step father split from my mother when my "half" sister was 13 and she went back to the UK with her father .)

My sister always maintained contact with my father and started seeing my mother again about 8 years ago, My sister has for reasons I cannot comprehend continued to see my mother and has supported her financially for a couple of years.

( My mother has never worked, was supported by my father while they were together, when they split my father had a breakdown and went from city boy to non working alcoholic, she was then supported by my ex-step father, when they split she maintained all assets, but managed to burn through over 600 000 € in 5 years.... she never gave me, my elder sister or my younger brother a penny once we had left home, I worked through my studies as did my siblings)

I find my mother abusive and down right unpleasant and my father useless.
My mother smokes cannabis pretty much all day, everyday or at least she used to.

My brother is NC with my father , but supports my mother, as when she kicked him out, he went to live with my alcoholic father in the UK and apparently things were worse at my fathers.

My Ex-Stepfather who was our SF for 7 years didn't even apply to the wedding invite and is not coming, my 18 year old half sister didn't reply either and is not coming either. My maternal grandmother is coming, my maternal grandfather is not coming because my future brother in law didn't ask his permission to marry my sister...

My sister has had to pay for the plane tickets and accomadation for both of my parents.

I'm freaking out about seeing my mother and father.

Any advice? Apart from a shit load of vallium ?

HeddaGarbled Sat 13-Aug-16 22:32:20

Oh my goodness me, what a nightmare.

My advice is to just keep reminding yourself that this is your sister's wedding, a landmark day for her, and that you are going to grit your teeth and get through it and be there for her and your BIL to be.

You could also maybe think through some possible situations and how you will deal with them e.g. One or both of them tries to hug you, blank you, make a nasty remark etc.

Plus be aware of your escape routes if it all gets too much. How will you get back to where you are staying if it's a different venue to the wedding/reception?

HeddaGarbled Sat 13-Aug-16 22:36:35

Also, just noticed about your grandmother coming but your grandfather refusing. Do you get on OK with your grandmother? She may be feeling a bit vulnerable too without her husband, so you may be able to support each other.

pimmsy Sun 14-Aug-16 07:01:04

Hi Hedda,

I went off to bed last night and I'm about to do a long train journey to get to my sisters. I'm staying with friends of my sisters walking distance from the venue so that should be okay.

My grandmother and grandfather are divorced ! So she'll be coming with her husband ( who we've always known.). She can be quite mean sometimes, but she means well I think and I've seen enough of her as an adult to know how to deal with her and how she makes me feel.

What is really worrying me is that I am pretty sure that my mother will try and hug me, and I don't want to make a scene because I refuse to let her/ them hijack this day for my sister. My mother has already spent the last 6 months threatening not to come etc and has caused many tears for my sister.
I just don't know what I'll do if she tries to hug me, and I'm scared I might just collapse in tears.

Aussiebean Sun 14-Aug-16 08:14:11

Spend the wedding being very busy.

'Nice to see you, I'm just going to get a drink.'

'I'm fine thank you, oh I think the presents are about to fall off the table. '

'Oh I think I see so and so from back in the day. Must go get their number. '

'Oh really need the toilet. '

MatildaTheCat Sun 14-Aug-16 09:57:02

Do you know your sister's friends well enough to ask them to provide human armour? Surround you whenever your mother is nearby and help you to deflect any approaches? I also suggest doing a lot of practice this week to rehearse any possible exchanges. As you say, it's your sister's day and you love her so you cannot allow any ugly scenes. Hopefully your mother has also been primed.

If your brother is in contact with her as well can they ask her to keep contact to a minimum of politeness and absolutely no hugging? Good luck and I sincerely hope you can enjoy the day. You all sound remarkably resilient.

Justaboy Sun 14-Aug-16 14:52:30

God what a toxic cocktail that lot are!.

I had a similar situation years ago with a very toxic relative, won't go into detail here but sounds like your mum BUT after she passed away I discovered what she had gone through when she was younger and if I'd have known, in fact if anyone else had known, then it might have all been different and understandable etc.

Perhaps the time might have come, not suggesting quite at the wedding that some element of reconciliation might not be a bad thing that's no sign of weakness on your part at all but more a strength that you could try to find out why they are like that being an alcoholic is responsible for a pile of grief but sometimes ask why and how do people get like that whet befell them etc.

I never thought that people are born bad.

Sorry re the lecture and I do hope all goes well for your sis and her bloke but remain strong, It seems to me you do have that quality .

I wish you well too:-)

pimmsy Sun 14-Aug-16 22:48:12

Thank you all for your replies, I've just arrived and am settling into the appartement here, I will take the time to read through them tomorrow.

springydaffs Sun 14-Aug-16 23:01:33

The grandmother 'who can be quite mean' - is she your maternal grandmother?

pimmsy Mon 15-Aug-16 09:19:25

So I've arrived here and am feeling a little calmer! I'm staying at friends of my sisters but have the appartement to myself as they are away.
The wedding is going to be quite draw-out as people are coming from different places.

Thursday evening is a meal with close friends and family
Friday evening is drinks
Saturday morning is the ceremony
Saturday evening is meal/party
Sunday there is a brunch
There are 200 guests

I have planned to be busy and we are self-catering so I've rented a professional kitchen and have a team of friends helping with the food so Thursday and Friday I will be able to disappear to the kitchen and keep busy

I know some of my sisters friends and also have a "safer space" with them as most speak german (We're in Zurich) and my mother does not. Yesterday my sister and I met with the friends who will be putting up my father and explained that he was an alcoholic and they were really great and have promised that they would chaperone him, i.e. make sure that he is up for the ceremony, make sure they don't have any visible bottles of spirits out at their place and try to keep him on only beer/wine as well as make sure that he gets his flight back. So I'm reassured about my father. I was most worried he'd make a very drunken scene. I will ask my brother to suggest this to my mother, however it could just end up being awful for him as it could blow up in his face.... she has always reacted very badly to any expression of sibling solidarity.

I know that my mother has always been unhappy, she went to boarding school at 4 and I think that this must in someway of contributed to making her the way she is. I also think that the fact that all her siblings have high flying careers and that she chose to become a housewife ( married young and didn't go to uni) must play a part, once she got divorced the first time she couldn't give off the aura of the perfect housewife/mother, and given that my family is unforgiving this must have been terrible. I know a time will come for reconciliation will come but I am not strong enough yet, I am starting to forgive, but I have not yet forgotten. I haven't lived with her for over ten years and I still have nightmares that I wake up and she is in front of my door. My sister speaks to her, but more often than not ends up in tears. I am not strong enough yet. Just the thought of her touching me is enough to make me want to cry.

Yes! My mothers mother! She is also NC with my mother however she is very present in her other children lives (My aunt and uncles.) I can remember seing bits of my mother and thinking "ah, thats just like granny" however my mother seems to have taken the bad traits and multiplied there amplitude.

I am trying to think that I will get through this because I love my sister, and the love I have for her makes me want to ensure that she has the best wedding she can.
I have spoken to my ex ( We are still on good terms) and although she's working this week, she has said that if it is all to much by Friday she's get a late flight down in the evening and be here to hold my hand on Saturday.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 16-Aug-16 10:30:16

How's it going pimmsy?
I really hope you are enjoying it and having some down time.

furryminkymoo Tue 16-Aug-16 11:33:54

I had a similar experience for my sisters wedding and actually on reflection I can say the whole wedding and overseas stay was an enjoyable one.

My only advice is to don a professional exterior/armour. Treat meeting your estranged relatives in a way that you would treat colleagues, this isn't a time for heart to hearts, talks of reconciliation, if your Mother approaches for a hug then a quick hug and kiss on cheek would be fine then pull away with a smile and say something like "gosh its been a long time, how's things?" keep it super breezy, be super busy and smile a lot. Don't get stuck with either parents at all.

pimmsy Tue 16-Aug-16 22:45:07


Thanks hellsbells
It's going okay so far, people will start arriving on Thurdsay and we're pretty much set! (I have polished enough silverware for a lifetime today!)

I think the treat them like colleagues tip is a great one.

I'll let you know how things go!

Justaboy Fri 19-Aug-16 18:57:13

Yes do i hope something positive comes from it for all your sakes.

And of course let us know when you've recovered a bit;)

pimmsy Wed 24-Aug-16 14:09:41

Hello All of you,

Thank you so much for your encouraging messages!

The wedding was beautiful and we were surrounded by so many people and so much love that I think our parents were just about drowned out. The parents of a friend of ours when we were teenagers came, and because they had witnessed my mothers behavior whilst we were teenagers they made me feel so safe. All in all, this wedding just reassured me that even if our parents are crappy... we are surrounded by love.

My mother turned up earlier than expected on the Thursday and did a big kiss and hug to me in front of everybody who was at my sisters, I escaped asap to where I was staying as was actually physically sick, I must have been quite freaked ... normally this is a city where we don't lock doors... when I woke up in the morning I realized that during the night I must have woken up and double locked the front door and the bedroom door of the place I was staying at ... which I can't remember doing!

My mother for some reason decided to boil wash my sisters dress at 1 in the morning the day before the wedding because it "smelt bad" ( it was just back from the dry cleaners after last adjustments ....) and broke the whole of the zip, and didn't tell my sister until two hours before the ceremony but luckily my sisters other witness found an absolute angel of a seams master who changed the zip in 20 minutes on a Saturday morning at 8.30... for free!

My sister was radiant!

furryminkymoo Wed 24-Aug-16 14:38:39

So glad it went well! Well done on getting through it and from the sound of it enjoying it?

FetchezLaVache Wed 24-Aug-16 14:43:46

It sounds like a lovely ceremony! But OMG, how your sister didn't just explode when she found out about the dress on the Saturday morning... Thank heavens for the angel of a seams master!

hellsbellsmelons Wed 24-Aug-16 16:21:20

Good grief.
Your mum is a feckin' nightmare.
Your poor sister having to deal with all that on her wedding morning.
I'd have killed her! Talk about sabotage!

But very glad you managed to get through it and enjoy it.

MatildaTheCat Wed 24-Aug-16 17:33:16

Oh my, that's one hell of a wedding surprise shock. Your sister must have been absolutely stunned. Thank goodness the dress didn't shrink to dolls size.

The rest sounds amazing and despite your DPSs you had a wonderful occasion and some happy family memories.

Well done!

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