Wed­ding re­quests and woes

Cape Breton Post - - IN MEMORIAM / LIFESTYLES - Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Dear An­nie: My daugh­ter is get­ting mar­ried in two weeks. My 80-year-old mother-in-law is un­able to at­tend, but she called us with a re­quest. Her daugh­ter, “Donna,” the bride’s aunt, will be fly­ing across the coun­try with her two young chil­dren to at­tend the wed­ding. She asked whether Donna’s two chil­dren could have a role in the cel­e­bra­tion be­cause she thinks Donna as­sumed they would be asked to par­tic­i­pate af­ter go­ing to the ex­pense of buy­ing three tick­ets to at­tend.

We do not feel this is an ap­pro­pri­ate re­quest and it puts us in an awk­ward po­si­tion. My mother-in-law is try­ing to make us feel bad for say­ing no to some­thing that was never a con­sid­er­a­tion. Donna has a history of be­ing ma­nip­u­la­tive. No other chil­dren were in­vited and we do not want other par­ents to feel bad that their chil­dren were not in­cluded at all.

If we say no now, my moth­erin-law will push even harder, adding more stress to an al­ready stress­ful event. Can we sim­ply say we are “tak­ing un­der ad­vise­ment” and let it go? — Stressed in Shrews­bury

Dear Shrews­bury: Yes, that is one way of deal­ing with a pre­sump­tu­ous re­quest. You also can bite the bullet and say firmly, but po­litely, “No, but we ap­pre­ci­ate that Donna is com­ing and bring­ing the chil­dren.” What some­one spends to at­tend the wed­ding is up to them. It should not be used as black­mail to get a star­ring part in the pro­duc­tion.

Still, you might con­sider find­ing a small role for the chil­dren, pos­si­bly hand­ing out pro­grams, ask­ing guests to sign a welcome book or di­rect­ing them to their seats if the kids are old enough to han­dle the re­spon­si­bil­ity. It’s a mi­nor ef­fort that will make the chil­dren feel im­por­tant and as­suage your in-laws.

And please don’t worry about not hav­ing in­vited other chil­dren. The bride’s first cousins are in a sep­a­rate cat­e­gory. But you should not be held hostage by some­one else’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate de­mands on your daugh­ter’s big day.

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