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My Cousin Is Bringing Her Kids to Our Wedding Even Though We Said No

Now my sister and aunt are taking her side

Q:Dear Amy,

I am getting married in a few short months and while most of the planning has been pretty smooth, one part that has been contentious is who we are inviting. Specifically, not inviting second cousins. We are paying for the wedding ourselves, so we had to draw the line somewhere and the line was second cousins. No second cousins, no matter the age, are invited.

While most people totally seem to understand, I have one cousin who does not. First I made certain the save the date and invitation were clear that just the couple were invited, but they did not get the hint, so, unfortunately, I had to have the uncomfortable conversation of telling them that we are only inviting first cousins. Apparently, I am a “bridezilla” for not inviting her children, and my sister seems to back her up. This is not a cousin I am close with; in fact, we haven’t spoken in two years. I only invited her because we invited all of our other cousins and it is only polite. To add insult to injury, my aunt is now saying some hurtful things about me because of this. I am also being told I am horrible because they booked their hotel with the kids included (even though the invitation was only addressed to the adult couple).

I operate on the “all or none” philosophy, so if I invite my cousin’s kids, then every other second cousin has to be invited.

Am I in the wrong for not inviting my cousin’s children? This has clearly been an issue, so any insight would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

—Out of State Bride

A:Dear OOSB,

First of all, technically these are not your second cousins, they are your first cousins once removed. I honestly don’t care enough about this to type in an explanation of why, but just noting that so we are all on the same page.

Only inviting kids in circles is a lovely, perfectly appropriate choice to make. Much easier to explain than “Oh Susie’s kids yes, Karen’s no, and only Betsy’s oldest we all know why.” But unfortunately, even when you have been polite sometimes you run into someone determined to be rude.

That said, you could bend here. You don’t need to operate on an all or none philosophy. You haven’t invited these children, but you could permit them to attend, and not invite all other second cousins (or here, first cousins once removed). But I don’t think you have to. You don’t care at all if this cousin attends. And turns out you’ve got a rude aunt too, so again, who cares if she doesn’t come? (She will come. Your rude auntie wouldn’t miss it for the world) And tell your sister you didn’t ask for her opinion and don’t care to hear it, thank you very much.

I’ll give people with kids a lot of leeway. But if your kids were not listed by name on the invitation, minimum you need to ask if they are invited before you book a hotel room. Full stop.

(And drama and gossip is always rude.)

—Amy March

HAVE A WEDDING QUESTION?
EMAIL ME: AMYMARCH [AT] APRACTICALWEDDING [DOT] COM

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