Wedding charity drama: mom won't come because she hates our choice of charity

Wedding charity drama: mom won't come because she hates our choice
When your politics gets in the way of the wedding
"Think Outside My Box" pin (to benefit Planned Parenthood)
My partner and I have a wedding website which has this neat feature where if you sync your registry with your site, they make a donation every time someone buys you a gift from the registry. You can pick from a list of charities. We unanimously decided on Planned Parenthood, since access to healthcare is really important to us.

My partner's mother recently noticed this on the site, and is no longer coming to the wedding, claiming that we are using it as a "platform to promote the murder of innocent children" (and also basically disowned my partner). My partner's mother is Catholic an adoptee and I knew she was pro-life, but I had no idea that it would be this big of a trigger.

We've already changed the charity on the site and tried to explain our choice, but to no avail. I can't imagine the wedding without her. Normally she is the most supportive, most loving person ever, and I am heartbroken. Any ideas on getting back in her good graces?

We've been writing quite a few advice posts about making your wedding a charitable affair, so it's no surprise that we're seeing these types of problems now. Charity can be a political statement and that can be divisive in itself. I'm so sorry that your choice caused so much strife.

At this point in the current political climate both in the U.S. and abroad, the divide is so vast and so heated that one tiny decision can cause an avalanche of drama. In this case, you seem very open to mending fences, which is half the battle. The other half, unfortunately, falls to your partner's mother.

You've already tried explaining your choice, but the healthcare angle will likely be lost on someone with such strong feelings against an organization. The challenge is going to be getting her to put the issue in the back of her mind and her feelings for her family in the front. I'd suggest using a letter format to get your point across. If she uses email, maybe it's an email, but a handwritten letter can be a real boon to that generation. You'll want to appeal to her usually loving side and her regret if she missed the wedding. Make it sincere and avoid discussing the actual organization if you can.

Here's a starting point you from which you could crib, adding on as needed:

Dear [mom],

We've been thinking a lot about our falling-out over our charity-linked registry. We love you and we know that our family's love is larger and stronger than any political or religious divide we could encounter. When it comes down to it, family is about overcoming obstacles and coming together to celebrate the love we will always have. We truly want to work this out with you, because not having you at our wedding would be one of the worst things we could imagine.

If you decide you want to broach the topic of the political/social/healthcare issue, you certainly can, but leave it until the day so that you can have some great moments with her to make the discussion smoother. Although in this case, it may be an issue too close to home to be able to make any headway. For now, focus on mending that fence and moving on to happier planning issues.

If it comes to you doing everything you can to make peace and it still doesn't work, it may be time to make peace with a wedding without her. Here are some posts to help:

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  1. I suspect your future mother-in-law didn't know you and your partner felt this way about Planned Parenthood. She probably assumed you both were in sync with her and now she has to go through… well, a period of adjustment. She has to get over the hurt and shock that her child could "betray" her like this. She might be questioning the quality of her motherhood. ("Where did I go wrong??")
    I think Catherine has given you the best possible advice: reach out to her but brace yourself for her absence. But I think even if she doesn't attend the wedding, she'll won't cut you and your partner out forever. So don't buy additional worry! Stick to the travel size. ­čÖé

    1 agrees
  2. How did you sync your registry to a charitable organization? Does it have to be on a specific registry? I'd love to do this for our registries on Amazon and at Kohl's!

    • I don't know for sure how OP did it, but my wedding website is with The Knot, and they offer this option! You could link both of your already existing registries to the website and use this feature.

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