I refuse to wear a fake smile on my wedding

January 16 2012 | Guest post by LaToya
Ellen and Scott Engagement-32.jpg
Photo by Whitney Lee.

After a very hard year with lots of family drama, I came to the realisation that the definition of family does not limit itself to one's blood line. With my upcoming nuptials, many family members have been asking whether I will be including members of the family that they know for a fact have nothing but bad wishes for me. To which I have honestly said "No."

My reasons are simple:

I refuse to wear a false smile at my wedding.

I refuse to have that moment where I really don't want to go over to a particular table to greet them as a newly married woman.

My only fake smile should be directed at the photographer as I pose in every which way in my gorgeous dress. It will not be directed at individuals who would show up out of spite and maliciousness.

I want to feel gorgeous from the inside out, be beaming with love and affection for my new husband and newly adopted family. And while many think I will regret my decision, I truly believe that my wedding day is not a day to fix wrongs — that can be done in therapy.

So! To all those asking if I'm inviting those said individuals: again I say no. I am a woman of my word and I want to begin my life with my husband floating on a cloud of good vibes and best wishes. Save the drama for group therapy.

What if you didn't invite certain family members… but they RSVPed anyway? Ariel has some advice for THAT sticky situation.

  1. Kudos to you! When it's time for me to get married I plan on having the same philosophy. Even if it means the only people on my side of the aisle are my parents :)Enjoy your day!!

    13 agree
  2. That's awesome. I did the same thing at my wedding. We just chose not to invite people that we knew were gonna cause drama and ruin the day for us and our family. If they choose to take that as an insult, well that's their choice.

    14 agree
  3. Rock out girl!!

    I did the same thing back at my first wedding and it was oh so worth it. Being strong and making it your day is the greatest gift you can give to yourself, your fiance and your guests because it will be the most relaxed and fun event ever.

    Enjoy!! <3 <3 <3

    4 agree
  4. Good philosophy. The people attending your wedding should know this. It will definitely make them feel special and contribute towards making the event more intimate.

    3 agree
  5. I am going to do the same thing, I'm glad I'm not alone. I always get the "You HAVE to invite your mother"…but actually I don't, because she never does anything but stress me out and make my feel guilty and tell me what a horrible person I am. Thank you for helping me not feel so alone. 🙂

    16 agree
    • I am also in your boat – "But it's your MOTHER!" "oh but you'll regret this looking back" etc etc… well no, actually, i won't regret not giving myself serious anxiety on my wedding day (and every living moment between then and now), and frankly she is not part of the family I am creating here.
      I really needed an article like this right now, and I feel a lot better about being able to explain when people inevitably ask me why and how i could do that.

      25 agree
      • I applaud all of you for doing what is right for you emotionally. Especially when it has to do with parents! When you are the child of a parent who is abusive or who has a personality disorder (both my mother and father have clinical narcissistic personality disorder and have been mentally/emotionally abusive throughout my whole life), so I have finally (after 40!) cut off contact with them. People who know me and my story have been wildly supportive, but friends and acquaintances who don't know the full story keep pressuring me to "just let it go"/"they're the only parents you have" etc. No one who has not had an abusive parent will ever be able to understand the hell or the toll it can take.

        Long story short, definitely no room for hostile, selfish, or abusive people at (y)our wedding, even if they are immediate relatives.

  6. I completely agree! There are certain family members who will not be invited to my wedding. I don't want to be around you any other day, so what makes you think I wanna start over on my wedding day???

    Folks love to make things about them. Kudos to you for standing your ground!

    7 agree
  7. I didn't invite my own father to my wedding for similar reasons, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made during wedding planning. Good luck to all you ladies, and happy weddings!

    5 agree
  8. I've never even met my husband's biological father, but from what I have heard, I don't blame my husband for not inviting him. Both my husband and my brother in law have told me that this guy was nothing more than a sperm donor and they consider their step-dad to be their real father. No one needs to deal with that kind of drama on their wedding day.

    1 agrees
  9. Well done for taking a stand. Your wedding day is about YOU and your happiness.
    There are no rules when it comes to your guest list, just a hell of a lot of old-fashioned expectation and familial obligation.
    No couple should ever have to justify or even explain their guest list, even when the reasons aren't obvious to everyone else.

    3 agree
  10. Thank you x10000! The ONLY stress ive had during my planning process is the guest list and i refuse to let it anymore! I couldn't have said it any better 🙂

    1 agrees
  11. I'm not inviting them either! My stepmom found out on fb, "i have to tell your dad!" Reality check, he is the sperm donor as that is all he has ever done for me. Several people from that side of my 'family' have messaged me, "i heard you're getting married." "Yep, he's the most wonderful man I've ever met!" I have, for the most part, kept my bridal glee off fb so I don't have to field any further questions from the uninvited…

    Stay strong! We're here for you!

    In fact, as much as I love my mom, last week she almost got herself uninvited. She is too much drama for me most days…

    2 agree
  12. Good for you! I'm doing the exact same thing! There are a lot of people that "should" be there by tradition that won't even know it happened until it is too late, haha. Even the family members that barely made the cut are getting only invitations like everyone else, not a role in the wedding. I WILL NOT have the energy of my wedding tainted by people like that.

    2 agree
  13. i did the same thing! i got many many rude questions from people about why i didn't invite my mother to my wedding. out of spite, pretty much my entire family didn't attend b/c i didn't have her there. but you know what? i was so relaxed and happy about the people there that were supporting me that i didn't have to deal with any nastiness. it made such a big difference to have only people there that loved us and supported us.

    4 agree
  14. Amen! I'm not inviting my paternal grandparents to my upcoming wedding. I was kind of worried about that decision so I asked my Dad what I should do. He actually looked relieved and agreed that I shouldn't invite them because of how they have treated my family. They didn't even come to my parents wedding 30 years ago because they thought my mom was too 'low class' for their family and my dad was making a huge mistake. Mom and Dad are still happily married so nanana to them. Haters gonna hate.

    7 agree
  15. I was *that* person, I was going through a crappy time dealing with abuse and as a byproduct, got uninvited to my fiance's friend's wedding.

    I'd make it clear that you as the bride and groom made the decision.

    I ruined those poor people's wedding because I was told first by the bride that I was indeed invited, and then told by my fiance that her dad wanted me out. Because of my history with an abusive, controlling father, I decided to show up instead.

    If she'd just told me the truth outright "I don't want you here" I'd have backed out right away no questions asked.

    I guess what I'm getting at is to PLEASE be honest if you don't want someone there.

    There are stupid people like me out there. 😛

  16. I think you have a great attitude. The only thing I'd suggest is not faking your photo smile, either. I'm a photographer and, trust me, it comes through when you're faking it. (Looks less like a smile and more like a grimace. No one wants that…) It sounds like you're going to have an awesome day, so just be yourself. It's your photographer's job to capture your genuine, newly married, joy.

    3 agree
  17. I applaude your strength. My family drama almost ruined my reception and I wound up going back and forth between two sides trying to keep the peace when all i wanted to do was drink and dance.

    There is a stark difference between being selfish and simply refusing to be a doormat. Sending you mad love and peace.

    5 agree
  18. GOOD. Why be miserable just be someone expects something of you? That's stupid. Those people would've been miserable and so would you. Might as well make yourself happy on the day that counts!

  19. This is exactly the way I feel. My wedding isn't even until next year, and I already know I'm going to encounter this problem.

    "Why didn't you invite your aunt and uncle?"
    "Because they're overly religious and judgemental."
    "But they bought you things."
    "And that was very kind of them, but they only did it out of obligation to the family."

    So, I'm very much behind this. Stick to your guns. It's your wedding. Yes, your families are coming together, but it's you and your to-be-husband that really matter in the moment.

    3 agree
  20. Like others, I really needed this article. Unfortunately, I legitimately can't imagine not inviting certain members of my fiance's family… my big stress is trying to not have his incredibly religious, incredibly bigoted/homophobic, and incredibly intolerant sister be a bridesmaid…

    1 agrees
    • I had a similar situation…with both my immediate family members, and the church organist, believe it or not. My approach was to ask a close friend or relative to be the "handler" for each difficult person, and keep them under control and out of my way. Biggest regret: Not assigning someone to myself to make sure I relaxed!

      2 agree
    • I guess its a cultural difference, I understand having your own siblings as your bridesmaids or groomsmen, but I don't get having each others. Unless you really want them of course x.

      • We come from pretty FOB-ish European families, where having anyone outside of the wedding party is generally "odd," but the newer generation is veering from that.

  21. Yes. Thank you for writing this.

    I truly believed our wedding (and time around it) would be drama-free as me and my now husband aren't drama people, and neither is my big (awesome) family.
    My husband has always had some issue with certin members of his family, but little did he or I expect to have to un-invite the best man aka his brother from the wedding the morning of! It was painful, and we wished we had realized it would be an issue beforehand (esp. because they all flew from across the Atlantic!) but we had no idea that our wedding could bring out such drama in people. We are still unsure of what happened but I will say, as selfish as it may sound not knowing all the details, we are confident in the decision we made. We would have dealt with drunk drama and an explosive temper.
    My sister's healer gave us some advice post-wedding since we were going through lots of emotions: Because of our society we feel the need to invite people out of obligation, but these types of ceremonies and events should only include people who love and accept you. And thank fully we did end up feeling that in the end!

    1 agrees
  22. Good for you! Thank you so much for writing this. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, I too have found the meaning of true family outside of blood relations. And I too value their live and support, and see them as far more worth my time and energy than some of my family. I've decided not to invite my mother after years of painful, awful things she's done, and thankfully, everyone who knows me accepts this decision. Best wishes to you on your big day, may it be filled with lots of genuine love and smiles!

    2 agree
  23. Thanks for this post. I have to say I am looking at it from a different viewpoint. Now I am not engaged or married but I have been talking seriously with my bf about getting married and the wedding. He does not want his family there at all and I have always dreamed of having my family at my wedding so we are trying to find a compromise. And this just may be part of it. We make a pact to only invite people we want to be there and who love and support us. And that may not include his family. Anyways, thanks for the support.

    1 agrees
  24. I applaud you. My fiance and I made the same decision. At the time, it was so brutal and stressful, as many people were forcing down unsolicited opinions. However, the day of our wedding was beautiful and was shared with people who were truly happy for us.

  25. Congrats on your upcoming day & your confidence in knowing what you need for said day! I did the same thing in Aug. when I re-married, after MUCH family drama the year leading to my wedding….no one on my mother's side attended (mom included) and our wedding day was brilliant! Everything I could have hoped for! Good luck on you future journey!

  26. OHGODTHANKYOUSOMUCH.

    Like, I-want-to-print-this-out-and-put-it-on-my-wall thank you. I am leaving out several family members, passing over close family that I hate for more distant family that is functional and well-wishing, and I get no end of hell for this. So thank you – I may quote you.

    1 agrees
  27. I brought up an issue much like this in the tribe forum not too long ago and did not receive this type of support. I'm glad there is someone who could express things more eloquently than me. Everyone just assumed I was being selfish and only cared about me and my day. I'm with you, why should I have to avoid people at my own wedding?

    4 agree
  28. Thank you for this post, I've gotten a lot of flak from people when I tell them that my mother is the ONLY member of my blood family who is invited to our wedding. frankly the rest of my blood relatives are mean spirited, judgmental and actually pretty awful. My "side of the aisle" won't be empty though, I have plenty of soul family members which I love and who love and support me and my Partner-in-crime.

    Blood is overrated, do what makes your day happiest!!

    1 agrees
  29. This is such a wonderful post. *saves into inspiration folder for future wedding* My husband is transgender MtF and I plan to propose and re-marry her once she is further along in the process. Sadly we have already begun to receive some hate about this from family members. And I'm worried there will be more as she comes out to more people. And if it means telling family and friends "nope, I don't wanna see you on OUR day" then so be it. If you can't support love in any form, then we don't need you. We have enough people who do love and support us and those are the people we want around us.

    7 agree
  30. I want to have this mentality so much. So much, although pathetically terrified of it. The flip side is I also cant handle the thought of dealing with crappy people on our wedding day.
    There are certain family members who ditched me when I needed them the most, and although we are on semi ok terms now (I avoid any contact and therefore drama but make small talk if i have to) I really get hebejebies thinking of them there on my wedding day – yet everyone expects me to invite them!
    Bleh.
    I applaud you.

  31. I was asked the same thing about inviting my father.

    I've spent years trying to undo the mental damage he inflicted on me growing up, and I definitely didn't want that stuff resurfacing on what should be (and was) one of the happiest days of my life!

    People sometimes don't stop to think that the street runs both ways. If my father wanted to be a part of my life (and my big day), he should have been contributed in a positive way. He had 18+ years to do so, but chose not to. I have no regrets about not inviting him and honestly I don't think he was expecting me to.

    Just because you forgive blood for their actions doesn't mean you ever completely forget or want to be reminded.

    4 agree
  32. Good for you! I have this horrible feeling if I don't invite 2 people from my family, then I will hear it from the rest of my family. Luckily I have some time to think it over and if I should invite anyone other than those family members that know they're my favorites and my immediate family. Serious pickle.

  33. my name is cindy and my fiance brent and i are getting married in august of this year. so far i have let people in my family know we're getting married and none of them (whatsoever) have made any comments or even remarks about our upcoming day. it is very hard for me since i was raised in a family of 9- 6 brothers and 2 sisters. and my mother hasn't said a word either. my fiance and i are trying real hard to make some great solid plans about the reception but we're having a real difficult time because on both sides of our family there are some real problems. my fiance isn't even on speaking terms with his mother. through the years some of my siblings have done things/ said things to me i will not soon forget. my fiance and i have made a solid decision of not wanting any of them there. why put on a show for other people? and in our view, we would be putting a party on for them. my side love to party and find any reason for getting together although they have let me out of many things. bottom line neither one of us want any family members at our wedding. we're very happy and we want our day very special. i am really looking for some answers for having a beautiful wedding and reception with minimal people there. i am 47 and brent is going to 51. this will be my first marriage and brent has been married before. any answers would be welcome.

  34. I have been with my man for 12 years. We were married for 10 and broke up for 6 months because of in law drama. His parents refuse to respect me and have completely cut me out of their lives. We are planning a big wedding next year to reaffirm our vows and make it legal. It has been a long and hard struggle and the in-laws have only made things harder for us. We have not talked much about inviting them but I'm trying to be the bigger person for my partner. They haven't welcomed me in their home for about 5 years and haven't visited us in about 8. I think I will invite them for my partner and also so they can't play the victim as usual. I have mixed feelings. What is worse, having them not show and hurting my partner or having them show and put on a friendly act for friends and family then go back to complete exclusion and alienation? There is a snow ball's chance in hell that his dad will show and I imagine his mom will make a last minute excuse. Worse case for me is they actually show. Guess there is not real happy solution, but it isn't about them and I just want to get married again!

  35. My biggest problem is that the people who disapprove or cause problems happen to be on his side of the family… and the way their family handles things like that is a) Yell at each other until you're blue in the face, or b) Ignore them completely. Neither is appropriate or satisfactory for me, so… -_- Must find nice way to ask him to please decided what to do about them.

  36. I completely agree!
    I am not inviting my biological mother, who I haven't spoken to since my sister's funeral 2 yrs ago. If I won't speak to her on a normal day, why would I suddenly start speaking to her on my wedding day??
    We are also not inviting my fiancee's father, who was abusive to him in childhood and useless in adulthood.
    If you do not have a good relationship with someone, why should you include them in your special day??

    1 agrees
  37. I am so relieved I came across this, after just reading about how to sort out people that invite themselves to your wedding. It got me thinking and although it may upset some of my family that I have significant family members that probably should be coming to my wedding, but arn't! They choose not to have anything to do with us so basically i'm just trying to say your right and i'm glad I saw this because I feel like we're not the only people who feel like this.

    1 agrees
  38. As a wedding photographer, it pains me to tell you how many weddings I've shot where the couple did not make the choice you've made and the day ended with people fighting in the parking lot. If your dad is a butt, he doesn't deserve to walk you down the aisle, but maybe the uncle (or brother, or mother, or neighbor) who stood by you through everything does. I tell all my clients, do what makes you smile (genuinely, that is!)

    2 agree
  39. It is comforting knowing I am not alone. I am having a small wedding in October. We are only inviting immediate family and close friends who are "chosen family." I am not inviting an uncle because his wife is a racist. We all know she is. The group of people at this wedding (including my fiancé and myself) will be a very diverse group of races, ethnicities and religions. The last thing I want is that ugliness at our wedding (and the potential scene that could happen). Two days ago I tried to explain to my distraught mother why I was not inviting her brother to the wedding (only because she called to ask if I was inviting him– Mind you, I'm not inviting any aunts, uncles, cousins). She knows this woman is a racist, and I am marrying someone that my uncle's wife is likely to say something hateful about. My mom just couldn't understand. It was frustrating and I've been depressed about that conversation ever since. I hate that I had to have that conversation. I know that in principle I am right. I know that the author of this post is right. The hard part, for me anyway, is getting past my mom feeling hurt over it. This was the whole reason that we are not accepting financial help with the wedding– so we didn't have to answer to anyone for who we did or did not invite. Yet we are still stuck with the issue.

  40. I love this article SO much!!!! I just got married at the end of August and I have ZERO regrets about some of the "family" members I did not invite. I wanted my day to be about love…. NOT drama.

    1 agrees
  41. I needed to read this post in the worst way today! We've been having MAJOR issues with the fi's family over the last few days with less than a month to go and this made me feel so much better! Thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone!

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.