My step-daughter, who I helped raise and with whom I have a close relationship, is getting married. While visiting last weekend, she mentioned casually that there will be a wedding shower on a date we have a family vacation planned (with the rest of our immediate family and to which she was invited). These plans have been known for months, the travel is booked, and no one asked us about this possible shower date. Some of my other children (who hadn’t yet booked their travel) are now backing out of our vacation, and I’m left feeling hurt and excluded. We discussed this calmly with our daughter and her partner and were told that while they knew it conflicted, the date they chose was most convenient for the majority of their guests.
I am incredibly hurt, partly because no one asked us about a possible date and availability, and partly because we will miss participating in the shower. We received a rather cold reply from our daughter’s partner about all of this (admonishing us, which added to the feeling of being hurt and excluded). Do you have any advice?
A: Dear H,
Hurt is legitimate here. I would be hurt.
But, let’s start by giving these two the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been to weddings where it was assumed that each family would be hosting their own shower. Could some sort of family-culture misunderstanding be at play here? Maybe; maybe not. But even if that’s not the case, most couples don’t have experience planning weddings. Most are jumping into completely unknown, totally stressful territory without any practice (and usually with a whole lot of pushy and nosy opinions being shoved in from all sides). Excluding you from the shower was thoughtless, but it’s possible it was the kind of unintentional thoughtlessness that comes from stress and confusion, rather than the willful, cruel kind.
The sad truth (which it sounds like you’ve already acknowledged) is that it’s too late for you to work out a way to attend the shower or force them to reschedule. I’d suggest you throw your own, but I imagine there’d be major overlap in the guest list, and it’d all be pretty redundant. So the only thing to do now is gently let them know you’re hurt, and that you hope to be included in the next chance to celebrate the two of them.
If your daughter and her partner haven’t excluded you before, chalk it up to a misunderstanding. Who knows how many family members are pushing their agendas, feeding them misinformation about how to plan weddings, whatever. It’s likely this won’t happen again. But it’s important you let them know your feelings just to be sure.
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