How to deal with misbehaving guests & abusive relationships at your wedding #Friends & Family Advice#family#family drama#guests Updated Oct 2 2017 (Posted Jul 7 2014) Guest post by Anonymous Villains Poster by Oneskillwonder My wedding was amazing… but for one guest. We'll call her Cruella. She has a history of unruly behavior, and had even sent me threatening texts before the wedding. And then Cruella hit me at my wedding… right after the toasts… and somehow she was allowed to stay and eat the cake. While she didn't ruin my wedding, my reflections on the event are definitely influenced by her behavior, and I ended up spending most of the reception in a bit of shock. When we got home from our honeymoon, I learned more about the "Cruella Sagas" — I was not the only person she got out of line with at the wedding. Looking back, I would have trusted my gut and handled the situation differently. Here's the advice I would have given myself about dealing with a difficult wedding guest, having now been through it… 1. Trust your gut This is by far the number one thing I wish I had done. I had concerns about Cruella before the wedding, but I let people talk me out of getting a private detail officer, and I dismissed my own concerns because other people made me feel that I was being unreasonable, and that I was catastrophizing. Listen to yourself, and not the people who don't know your situation and previous experiences. 2. Don't expect good behavior because it's a wedding Related Post The drama-minimizing guide to not inviting family members to your wedding Ug. This is a post no one wants to write, but that definitely needs to be written. Unfortunately, for a whole bunch of legitimate reasons... Read more I went on the assumption that certain things wouldn't happen: Cruella wouldn't make a scene, and would behave for the sake of making herself look good and give herself something to lord over me later. I was completely wrong. She behaved very badly, and I was not the only person she caused major problems for at the wedding. A lot of us assume people will behave well at a public event for the sake of making themselves look good. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition… or a wedding guest to show up and assault the bride. 3. Be explicitly clear about what warrants asking someone to leave And don't be afraid of seeming like a jerk. There are some clear lines that the law will have your back on, even if your family doesn't. If someone violates any laws, or even any of your personal boundaries, they are not entitled to stay. That goes for someone mistreating your guests and my family as well. Let certain people know about the situation and to not just put up with misbehavior to "protect you" from hearing about it. 4. Don't assume that people are used to bad behavior and know how to react to it Every time someone found out what happened, there was a universal "If I had any idea I would have [insert action taken]." Then it dawned on me: most people have no idea how to react to being bullied or abused, and have even less of an idea of what to do when someone they love is misbehaving. Which leads me to… 5. Designate a point person to deal with badly behaving guests Related Post My son has an alcohol problem. How do I handle him with an open bar at the wedding? I appreciated your article about how to handle a abusive/misbehaving wedding guest. I am getting married next year and I have a son with an... Read more This is something I did do, and it prevented a lot of escalation from happening pre-ceremony. My best man was the designated person for dealing with badly behaving guests, and I specifically gave him the heads up on what Cruella might do. If I could have done it again, I would have hired a detail officer and had the best man be the person to get the officer if needed. Even just having a uniformed presence may have helped cut back on any bad behavior, but if it doesn't, there would be zero questions on who to go to when someone starts acting awful. 6. Have a game plan and write it down While I implemented rule #5, I didn't follow up with rule #6, and I wish I had. If I had written out a game plan and given it to the wedding party and my family, the people I told would have known to go to my best man. He would have known that Cruella had to leave, and would have known how to make it so. How do you come up with a game plan? Ask the venue what their policy is on making misbehaving guests leave, and write that down, along with rule #3: what you personally decide warrants someone getting kicked out of your wedding. Print it out and give it to family, your wedding party, hired help, and anyone else who might need to know. Moral of the story: If you think someone may cause problems at your wedding, listen to yourself. Make a plan. Then if something bad happens? It's all taken care of. If not? Now you know how to help make a safety plan for anyone else who might need one during their wedding. Updated to add I wrote this so that people who have to endure unfortunate guests for any reason (history of violence or not) can come up with a safety plan — not so that we could discuss who people should or should not invite to their weddings for whatever reason. I do have two points of consideration: 1. Someone who is disentangling themselves from a chronically abusive situation often relies on other people for a sense of normal. They are also very sensitive of not wanting to seem dramatic or "victim-y". Because of that, any invalidation of a person's concerns are taken very critically and personally. Drawing boundaries while you still have a foot in an abusive situation is not easy. I was told by everyone around me that no one would ever [insert abusive behavior] at a wedding. I decided I must be overreacting and that my gut was wrong on telling her she was not welcome. My husband was the only one who really stood by me on how I felt, but having grown up in a non abusive family, he didn't know what to do to help. The threatening text I received were not of physical assault, otherwise she would have been blocked from entering. That said I would not blame anyone for not knowing how to respond to threats of physical assault. I was expecting some drama from this person and they did follow through on what they texted, but I was prepared so they didn't succeed. Since they didn't succeed, they escalated. It's unreasonable to expect someone to forsee that they will be assaulted. 2. Stating that someone should have just not been invited is getting mighty close to victim-blaming language. It is not my fault that this guest hit me. If you ever encounter anyone in this situation, I encourage you to be a validator. Validate the person's feelings about the potential offender. Offer solutions, because the person may not know what their options are. Don't assume someone who's been entrenched in maltreatment just knows what to do. We aren't taught those kinds of boundaries and often need to learn them the hard way. If someone had just said to me: "What the hell is that person thinking?! Ugh, UNINVITE THAT PERSON" things may have turned out differently. The more I extricate myself from the abusive situation I was born into, the more used to victim-blaming I've become. There is a reason that people in abusive situations don't talk – they're told not to talk, and when they do, people blame them for being mistreated. Unfortunately the only way out is to talk. Worried someone will cause problems at your event? Or did you worse fears already come true? What did y'all do to combat Cruellas? Anonymous Super geeky Offbeat Bride with a blended family and a love of home cooking. Can often be found reading a book with a cup of matcha, and the phone on silent. PREVIOUS Steve & Kimberly's "sports bloggers in love" boat wedding NEXT Casey & Chad's family-friendly magical Harry Potter wedding Show/Hide comments [ 61 ] Augh. My heart goes out to this bride. Anonymous internet high-fives for choosing to share that experience to maybe spare someone else suffering through the same thing! Reply urrg, that sounds awful. I had to UN-invite my MIL, her sister and her mother to my wedding because they caused a huge scene at my shower. Even though the choice was hard to make, I am so glad we did. Our wedding was drama free and I was able to establish boundaries. You gotta be respectful if you want to be in our lives Reply I'm so sorry this happened to you. And I'm so glad you took the time to explain how to deal with a situation like this. I hope and trust you are in a good, safe place now. Take care. Reply Yup, things are good. That person is cut out of my life, along with all of their enablers. Reply I am in awe that 1. she wasn't in turn hit back and 2. that no one manhandled her ace out of there. I guess if she is a loved one or family member, it is harder, but that does not mean she has a be bitchtastic pass. I wasn't physically assaulted, but every time I think of my wedding, one person's behavior always sticks out to me as well. She was supposed to be a trusted friend and her actions totally ruined our friendship. Reply Author here – I didn't hit her back because it's just not in my nature to hit people, and also because I knew she desperately wanted a scene to ruin the wedding. My suspicions were confirmed later when I found out she outright threatened to make a scene, and tried starting scenes with several other people. She has been fired from my life. No thank you card, no goodbye. But in hindsight, I wish I had given people a list of behaviors that people should be booted for. She wouldn't have lasted to the ceremony. Reply I'm very curious to know the relationship of this person to you. I need help understanding why you would invite a guest you knew in your gut would cause issues in the first place. I understand they may be a family member or somebody's close friend but I can't see how it would be worth it to have them there. I would rather deal with drama before the wedding then deal with drama at the wedding. This article is great as a contingency plan if guests get unruly but I would imagine you shouldn't be inviting somebody you know is violent, regardless of the relationship. Reply This was my question, too! I'm assuming she was a close family member or something along those lines? Someone who everyone else felt had to be there, for whatever reason? Otherwise, I don't fully understand why she was allowed to come if she had been threatening the bride prior to the wedding… or allowed to stay after hitting her. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that, whoever this person may have been to you. I would personally add that part of Step #1 should be evaluating if it's worth allowing the person in question to come at all. Dealing with a little bit of minor tension is one thing, but a guest who is actually a threat to your (or anyone else's) safety is another. Reply I wrote this so that people who have to endure unfortunate guests for any reason -history of violence or not- can come up with a safety plan, not so that we could discuss who people should or should not invite for whatever reason. I do have two points of consideration: 1. Someone who is disentangling themselves from a chronically abusive situation often relies on other people for a sense of normal. They are also very sensitive of not wanting to seem dramatic or "victim-y". Because of that, any invalidation of a person's concerns are taken very critically and personally. Drawing boundaries while you still have a foot in an abusive situation is not easy. I was told by everyone around me that no one would ever [insert abusive behavior] at a wedding. I decided I must be overreacting and that my gut was wrong on telling her she was not welcome. My husband was the only one who really stood by me on how I felt, but having grown up in a non abusive family, he didn't know what to do to help. The threatening text I received were not of physical assault, otherwise she would have been blocked from entering. That said I would not blame anyone for not knowing how to respond to threats of physical assault. I was expecting some drama from this person and they did follow through on what they texted, but I was prepared so they didn't succeed. Since they didn't succeed, they escalated. It's unreasonable to expect someone to forsee that they will be assaulted. 2. Stating that someone should have just not been invited is getting mighty close to victim blaming language. It is not my fault that they hit me. If you ever encounter anyone in this situation, I encourage you to be a validator. Validate the person's feelings about the potential offender. Offer solutions, because the person may not know what their options are. Don't assume someone who's been entrenched in maltreatment just knows what to do. We aren't taught those kinds of boundaries and often need to learn them the hard way. If someone had just said to me: "What the hell is that person thinking?! Ugh, UNINVITE THAT PERSON" things may have turned out differently. Reply Go you. I was trying to figure out a way to respond to say pretty much just this. I'm so glad it's already on your radar. You made the best decision for yourself, with the info you had. She is the only one at fault, because she is the one who decided to assault you. Reply The more I extricate myself from the abusive situation I was born into, the more used to victim blaming I've become. There is a reason that people in abusive situations don't talk – they're told not to talk, and when they do, people blame them for being mistreated. Unfortunately the only way out is to talk. It shouldn't be that way, but I think that the same dynamic of disbelief that led people to tell me "no one would ever _______ at a wedding, you must be overreacting." is at the root of victim blaming. Thank you so much for sharing! Unfortunately the person who is threatening me regarding the wedding happens to be my mom. And while most people screech "JUST DON'T INVITE HER" no matter how tumultuous and abusive my childhood was, I just can't see not inviting my own mother to my wedding. Which I'm sure makes no sense to most people. I promptly forwarded this whole article to my fiance and the bridal party so we all know what to do. You may have just saved my wedding ! Reply I'm so glad this can help you! Your situation makes perfect sense to me, and good for you for taking steps to protect yourself! I definitely hope you're on the tribe, because that's a really good place to get support. what do you do about family members related to your mom who believe she is a victim. Do you still invite them and do you worry they will inform your mom of your wedding and she will show up anyway? Sorry Im kind of on the same boat. I appreciate you sharing your experiences, people like myself don't feel so alone. Sarah, My mom has alienated most of her family over the years of acting like an insane person. She has some friends, however, who have been calling me and stopping me on the street proclaiming :" what are you doing to your mother!?" One even got in my face at my shower. I have decided to invite them since there are only a few and I figured they'd probably keep her occupied and far away from me on the day since they all see me as "a miserable b." Hope this helps :/ Just remember there will be lots of people there who love and support you xo Ally! I appreciate your words so very much. More than you know. I have some family who sides with her…family is family. Despite whatever damage shes done to her kids. Which boggles my mind. Anyway, hoping for the best outcome, truly hoping she doesn't show up uninvited. I applaud you for still inviting yours. Cheers to you and all the happiness and love you deserve. xoxo Sarah, I'm so sorry you're going through this. If you ever need any advice, input, or just to vent, please shoot me an email 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org! agreed. my person is my younger brother. thank you for sharing. I'm really sorry that this came off as "victim blaming" – that wasn't my intention at all. It's absolutely not your fault that she acted out. I just thought it was worth saying that people should feel empowered to not invite someone they aren't comfortable with. I'm sad that more people in your life didn't encourage you to do that. Reply I think those of us who don't come from abusive backgrounds have a really hard time understanding the dynamics that go on here. For us, it's simple. Suspect someone's going to be a complete beast at your wedding? Don't invite 'em! But when you've got people who make you question your own gut feelings, it's not so simple. It's important, if you have a friend who has an abusive family, to validate her feelings and let her know that she's not the bad guy here, she's being perfectly reasonable. I can understand where the author would call what you said as getting close to victim blaming, but I see a different side to it. I have certain family members that have issued threats and caused scenes at different family functions. My fiance' also has people in his family that will cause drama as well. When I brought up my worries about our families clashing and something happening, my mother and other family members made the statement "Well I don't think ___ will do anything, you HAVE to invite them." I responded by telling all of them " Fine, I will invite them but if anything happens at my wedding, I'm placing the blame on you because I warned you something could happen and the only reason I invited them is because YOU pushed for it, not me." Of course I'm not the recipient of the comment but I don't think it was meant as "victim blaming" they were just trying to better understand your view. Certain personalities don't even bat an eye at doing what they are sure will be best for themselves while others agonize about doing what is best for all parties. I think this comment was about understanding your view. I think a comment along the lines of "You shouldn't have invited her" is very different from what was written. Reply Was she a relative like a grandmother? I know it may be low to say, but I'm glad my grandmother isn't alive to do the same thing at my wedding… Reply Ugh, I'm so sorry that happened to you. 🙁 Reply My wedding was just a few weeks ago. During the wedding my mother-in-law started acting out in a big way, which caused a stand off between her and my husband in the middle of the dance floor and again in the parking lot. She was emotional that day, understandably, but she also drank…a LOT, which is completely out of character for her. A few days after the wedding, I found out that my (sort-of) aunt who lives with me because she has nowhere else to go, was introducing herself to our guests as my maid! I still don't understand why either of them decided to act out with such passive-aggressive behavior in front of 100+ people. Reply Thank you for sharing your experience with all the world. I'm so sorry you had that happen at your wedding. Here is my suggestion: a Wedding Coordinator! That's what they are there for, to take care of things like unruly guests and make sure everyone has a wonderful, stress-free time. It's her job — and your wedding isn't the first, or last, to have some kind of issue. While it's great to have a member of the wedding party as the "go-to" person, a Wedding Coordinator is able to deal with the situation without any of the "baggage" or distractions. Also, if you tell her about your concerns before the wedding, she will help you determine whether you should "un-invite" them or need to hire security. And she can keep an eye on the guest(s) and be prepared to act before the situation escalates. So many people think a Wedding Coordinator is a fluffy job and she just "makes sure everyone enters the ceremony in the proper order" but it's much more than that! It's her responsibility to take care of all the messy details — and having a guest who can't behave is one of the messiest. And it's not something the B&G should even be aware of that day, let alone have to deal with. Reply I absolutely second this, if you can afford it! In hindsight, a wedding coordinator would have been worth the financial costs, and not just because of Cruella. What I would have given for a full night's sleep the week before the wedding ;P Another alternative is to look into hiring a detail officer. You can do that by calling the county the wedding will be in and asking if they do details for weddings, and if not, what they suggest as an alternative. Having someone there in uniform can deescalate situations before they happen, and if you have a Wedding Coordinator, they can even get things set up for you 🙂 Reply Thanks for sharing. My mother decided not to come to my wedding, because of her divorced husband (my beloved daddy) and his new wife. And what can I say? I am happy, that she doesn't come. She is that person who misbehaves like you mentioned in your text. I made my deal with this situation. Reply The only thing that makes me sadder than this post having to be written, is the number of people writing below that they have been in similar circumstance. My grandmother was violent and abusive to not just myself, but my daughter and my partner too; she will not be invited to our wedding. My partner comes from an abusive family who are also not invited. It's a little easier for us as we are not in contact with these people day to day, and we have ongoing police investigations in both instances which (we hope) discourages them from turning up guns ablazing. But we did have to decide what to do with their 'enablers', people who would either try to get these people invites/reprieves or at the very least pass on info so they could show up (regardless of how well meaning their intentions that is absolutely what we don't want to happen). So we came to the decision that we will be honest with people. We are explaining, one on one, the situation. And if they don't agree, or they feel awkward, that's totally fine – they don't have to come. We want our wedding to be a celebration. The last thing we want is seeing guests not having a good time because they're worried about a grilling afterwards. Likewise there's people in our friendship circles who are not our close friends (and if I'm honest don't even like us) who we initially we were going to invite so as not to leave anyone out. But knowing that they will only be coming to snoop and be being all judgey/snarky left us stressed. So they have gone off the guest list too. It's a shame, and it may seem harsh, but this is our wedding day and we only want people who love and support us there. Anyone who could put negativity onto it, unfortunately, hasn't made the cut. I hope things are better now Anonymous. Focus on the happy moments you had, don't let one person's actions dampen your wedding day memories <3 Reply I want to THIS your comment about a billion times. There were several people with a history of violence that were not invited, and we explained the situation to everyone who may be an enabler, including Cruella. There was no getting around her not knowing "abuser x" was not invited, and I felt that transparency was the most important thing: let people know, and let them decide for themselves if they want to come or not. Unfortunately, Cruella decided that if I was going to make them (the abuser she was upset I didn't invite) look bad, she would try to make me look bad. I wasn't able to put all the pieces together until after the fact. I urge you to be cautious and have a safety plan anyway. Some enablers are slippery as heck. Wishing you all the best. I've found the wedding to be one of the most rapid, effective social filters I've ever experienced, even though it was painful. Reply When people behave that way it convinces me they must be very unhappy people inside. There's no reason for someone at peace with themselves and with life, to behave that way – especially 'on behalf' of others. Still, understanding that it is not specifically about you doesn't take away the pain of their actions. I'm definitely going to take your advice on board and have a plan in place. We have one photo of each person connected to the police investigations, for identification purposes. I'm going to discreetly hand copies to the ushers so they know who is not permitted into the ceremony. It's the best I can do, I just hope that those who are invited understand the severity of enabling them and urge them to stay away. I'm also going to add a 'game plan' into our wedding manuals that the wedding party will get. hopefully that will be the best damage control we can muster. Wishing you all the best too. Huge hugs x Reply My BIL's wife did not come to our wedding (my BIL came only for the ceremony) because of a family feud which she was the centre of. We invited her and we wanted her to come (and we even made it clear that we wanted her to come). We were pretty nervous about her coming though (she has treated my husband pretty terribly in the past). If she had shown up she would have sat with my in-laws since she is better behaved around them then around other people. If she did show up we had a point person (if I was a bit more level headed at the time I would have picked a different person because the person I picked out have probably escalated things and not de-escalated things). Also a number of people knew about her past behaviours so they were on the lookout (my aunt actually approached our MC to ask if my SIL was at our reception). I am glad my SIL didn't show up since she admitted that she would have drawn attention and caused drama (even if it wasn't intentional – even if she was on her best behaviour her presence would have resulted in drama because of the things she has done in the past). It would have been way more stressful for me and my husband. There were things that people didn't tell me throughout the day to remove me from the situation of dealing with her which I was thankful for. The biggest one was that my SIL had to go to work that day. On one hand at least I would have known she wasn't showing up but on the other hand it would upset me since it meant that she had no intention of coming to our wedding and she made us jump through hoops in the hope she would come knowing that. Since our wedding we have worked on our relationship with my BIL and his wife and things are much improved. She even recognizes how her behaviour affected my husband. Reply So freaking awful that someone hit you on your wedding day…I can't even imagine how that must have been and how you must have felt. But I've very glad to hear that she didn't manage to ruin your day for you and your loved ones. Thank you for sharing; hopefully some good can come of this by way of others learning from your unfortunate (that's the understatement of the century!!!) situation and applying it to potential trouble makers at their wedding. Cruella will get what she deserves!!! You can hit her back at her wedding (just kidding!!!). 🙂 Reply Bookmarking this for a family wedding later in the year… Not mine, or my relative, but I can see this coming in handy. Hopefully it won't have to be used, but thank you for writing it. Reply I don't anticipate there being any problems at my wedding, but I think having a plan like you suggest is a good idea anyway. I think I might circulate pictures through my bridal party of people who are not invited and should not be there under any circumstances, just in case. It's really sad that there's no day off from persistent toxic relationships. Lots of hugs your way. Reply mother in law acted up terribly the week before our wedding, and really ramped it up the day before. She didn't do anything over the top at the wedding (besides wearing white/not looking at me when I walked down the isle and not talking to anyone at the wedding (which might have been a good thing)). He behavior hangs like a shadow over the day even though everything else was great. We don't talk to her anymore…she still looms in the background:( Reply How awful. I'm glad you've done what you need to do to keep your life nontoxic. Now you know how not to act if you have a son one day. I continue to be amazed at how many women act like infantile fools when some woman dares take their little baby boy away. Frankly, they act like jilted lovers, and it's creepy. Reply Yes, that is very creepy and immature. Reply This ! Thank you for sharing, I have been trying to come up with ideas to be prepared in a worst case/similar scenario. Your list made it dawn on me that I have people I can rely on in such situations. All the best to you Anonymous ! Reply Loved one or not, the moment she acted up and hit you. She was done! I would not have allowed her there after the way she acted before the wedding. It's not hard for me to remove toxic people from my life. I don't allow myself to be bullied, but I won't partake in childish drama either. Reply I think it's really awesome that you're able to take good care of yourself with boundaries. If someone around you seems disempowered in that area please teach them. Most people who end up in situations like this have been gaslit for most of their lives. They may be fighting their way out of a situation or not know there are alternatives. For example, it simply did not occur to me to yell at Cruella or hit her back, because past experience taught me that doing so would label me "histrionic" and that walking away quietly and cutting her off would be mentally and physically safest for me. There would be no way for anyone to twist the scenario to say that I caused the scene even though she did hit me. To put a point on it: I have actually been complimented for "taking the high road". I don't know how I feel about that. What are some things you've found effective in dealing with people who have to be cut off? What has worked for you? Reply My daughter is getting married in December. My sister in law has always thrived on drama and being the center of "bad" attention. She has not spoken to us in 6 months because she didn't like something I said (she would have found ANYTHING to be mad about at the moment – I just happened to be the scapegoat that time). It has caused division in my hubby's family because his mom (my MIL) chooses to stay away from us so she doesn't upset her spoiled brat daughter. We are seriously considering whether to invite the sis-in-law to this wedding. She doesn't deserve to come, that's for sure. But more importantly, we are concerned that she will cause a scene because it isn't all about her. My husband is torn between protecting his daughter's special day and causing more issues in his family. My daughter feels the same way. Any suggestions? Reply I wouldn't invite her. If it seems like there will be drama regardless, it's better to have it before the wedding than on your daughter's wedding day. Good luck! Reply You, your husband, and your daughter are concerned she'll start a scene? Listen to yourselves! Don't invite her. You are not responsible for any issues she may cause your husband's family. Not inviting her is an appropriate reaction to her behavior. You know how I know this? Because not just one, but THREE of you feel icky about it. If one is enough, then three is a big red warning sign with sirens and flashing lights. Trust yourselves. If you do end up inviting her, have a safety plan. Good luck. Reply Awesome information shared!! My wedding was this past May and my situation was very close to a lot of the responses. I have an older "sister from hell". Up until my early 30's, she had found ways to try physically abuse me. I moved to another State. She turned her abuse toward other people including stalking them, throwing hot oil on someone at a football game, being banned from entering the high school without a police escort…. (she never served jail time, just probation each time, go figure! she knows the system well). The close relatives dealt with her with a long spoon but still invited her to family events and holidays. She turned on her children TWO times and kicked them out leaving my mother to take care of them. The final time of her fall out with her son a year ago, he moved in with my mother and she declared war on my mother by not talking to her. I only talked to my sister if I saw her when I was home visiting for maybe 2 minutes if that. My soon to be mother-in-law was also an issue! She insists on being the center of attention at any cost! She would cause a scene if necessary and try to pull the "I'm the mother and that's my son" entitlement card. Or claim that she is sick and needs to leave right at that second. Interestingly enough, she does not like or believe in daughter-in-laws and thinks that she should be addressed as Mrs… instead of mom; unless she birthed you…. Well, true to form of all abusive/controlling people, on Christmas my sister suddenly texted everyone (aunts, uncles, cousins) except my mother and I and told them that she had decided that she was not talking to anyone in my immediate family anymore, no reason given, but a typical move. They tried Easter and Mother's day to invite her but got the same nasty text response. Now, during this time I was back and forth deciding if I should invite her or my husbands mother to the wedding because I got a lot of inquires and everyone in my family was going to come. It was the question of the century that was constantly asked to me….along with comments like they wanted to be sat with their backs against the wall so that they could see my sister's every move! Personally, I was thinking she could sit outside in the courtyard the entire time if she showed up…. For a lot of family related reasons we did invite them to the wedding. As a lot of people posted, it is a complicated decision to make; especially if it is a family member and you were raised to be family oriented. Regardless of their behavior. It's not an easy decision and it comes with emotional ups and downs. My mother-in-law was claiming that flying would take a toll on her for days. We took that opportunity to not mention the wedding again to her and happily embrace that she was not coming. At first my sister told me that she had other plans on that date… I thought there truly is a God, I got rid of both of them!!! but then directly after her Mother's day rant with my family, true to nut case fashion in stirring things up, she sent in her RSVP to my family that she is not talking to, saying that she will in fact attend my wedding….Did I mention that God does have a sense of humor? This is when I told her in the most harsh, clear and serious way that it is MY wedding and it is a FAMILY celebration as well as MY MOMS special day and if she is gonna be nasty or start anything she will come up missing….quickly!!! Now this is a hit or miss option to give my sister because she loves to physically fight but my additional comment about law enforcement guest and family members being at the wedding might have persuaded her decision. She came. My awesome husband and son made sure that they took time and danced with her and she made sure that she didn't give any dirty looks/comments and mingled with other guest that haven't seen her in years. My outcome was great because I had plenty of people in place to remove her swiftly if necessary! Big Kudos to the author of this original article. She knew her limits and personal beliefs and had to deal with it as it came. It's not an easy subject to deal with but I do know me and If someone….anyone ….had hit me….at anytime or place….this personally would have been a post about how I ended up in jail on my wedding day! Reply I am not going to lie. People's bad behavior during your wedding will affects you more than at a party or family gathering. My sister did not help me at all with the wedding and she was drunk before I walked down the aisle. Friends that did not know her all commented on who was the bitchy bridesmaid. Her behavior was the final straw for our relationship. Reply This sounds dreadful. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Stupid question : what is a detail officer? Is that an actual police officer or a somebody who works for a security firm? Reply A Detail Officer is a police officer that is working a special assignment. Some examples are when there's an officer conducting traffic during construction, events like fairs and festivals, and private functions like weddings. Some people call them "Off Duty Officers" but they are just as much on duty as they would be during a normal shifts. Every county manages detail work differently, so make sure you call the non-emergency line for the county that the wedding is being held in to get details. Reply Not nearly so dramatic as some stories, but on my wedding day I was scolded severely by a neighbor and family friend for not inviting her whole family to my wedding. It's a big family and if I had invited all of her children and their children as she thought I should have, it would have doubled the guest list of my small, intimate wedding (which was in my parents living room). I guess it shouldn't be a big deal, but twenty years later, it's probably my strongest memory of my wedding day. I just stood there and took the scolding because I didn't know what else to do. I just couldn't believe I would get a dressing down on my own wedding day. Reply I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, but if someone is being a bully to you as a bride or groom they don't deserve a place at your celebration. It's a day to enjoy family and friends and to feel loved. If someone is out to spoil that, or even a concern – don't invite them. Couples should not have to stress about this on the wedding day or think about hiring a uniformed presence to take care of someone you're essentially paying to share your day with! Say no to all the Cruellas. /rant over Reply I just wanted to send a very belated thank you for posting this. I hadn't really considered this yet, but I come from a very tumultuous family-related past, and am currently planning my wedding. My abuser is not and will not be invited (nor have we had contact for 10+ years), but getting married on family property in my small hometown has me worried that he could hear about it from someone else and decide to show up. I wouldn't be having the ceremony anywhere near my hometown if my grandparents were well enough to travel… However, I hadn't thought about hiring a detail officer and providing them with a picture and description of the person. Reading this article made my stomach knot up, but knowing there is something I can actively do to prevent them from coming onsite, uninvited, puts me at ease a little more. Thank you so much. Reply I am deadly terrified of my brother's behavior at my wedding. He's a purposeful troublemaker, and we don't have an amazing relationship, but my dad really wants the family there. On top of wanting to be the center of attention, I have a horrid feeling he's going to show up and just cause issues. Is there a way to just say "no" to family Cruellas? Reply Thanks for sharing the story and I'm sorry to hear there were some negative comments. I am about a month away from my wedding and the family dramas are starting to unfold. As much as I don't anticipate a problem I'm going to put a couple of these into place and its really eased my mind, as i'm sure it has for many brides. Thanks again. Reply After reading this and all the comments, a little nervous about my future FIL. I'll definitely have to enlist a couple point-people. Reply some people just don't need to be at the wedding, we had a few people who don't get invited to any weddings because of their potential for trouble making and drama Reply I did not experience violence at my first wedding, but I had to change seats because my grandmother would not keep her hands off my butt. May we all have only appropriate, loving behavior at our weddings, which should be a safe place to celebrate our relationship. And yes, she is dead now so won't be bothering me at my wedding. Reply I have to vent this because while I know what I want to do about this situation, I'm not sure it's the realistic thing. I don't expect to figure anything out, and I know I havw time to do so, but this post has stirred this concern in me all over again because it's very real. I'm not engaged yet (though we definitely know we're getting married), but this is probably one of the two biggest stressors when I think about getting married. One of my best friends, one of my two Maids of Honor (they will be my only party members) was in a horribly abusive relationship with my someday-husband's since-childhood best friend, who has also been a friend of mine since 1998. We're in our mid-thirties now. I distanced myself from him when the two started having problems, but he's still a friend (dammit). The two have since divorced and he moved away. If it just would have stayed that way, things would be grand and just fine, but nooooo… that'd be far too easy. I would more than happily just not invite him, but I know it will be important to my FH, and also, he (and his wife, who seems to stand up to him and I pray he isn't repeating history with) just moved BACK to town and my best friend, who is now experiencing anxiety attacks and PTSD over this, has decided to move away to avoid it… and him. I'm angry that I'll be missing out on spending time with her because he is there. My reaction is not to invite him, but he's very much like a Cruella and would show up ANYWAY, and/or make a big deal out of not being invited. I just hate that things went this way because I love and adore my best friend – she's like my sister – and I hate seeing her in this panic mode. I wish he'd never come back and would just stay away and make this EASY! Sorry – gotta vent and get this out somehow. Y'all Offbeat Brides seem an understanding bunch. <3 Reply I don't know if this thread is still live, but I have found myself in a similar situation and I honestly don't know what to do. I'm engaged and we have started to plan our wedding. My older sibling has gone no-contact with my parents to protect themselves and their own family from their abusive behaviour. Both my parents have NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) and are only nice when they get their way, the rest of the time….well, the words psychotic and nuclear fallout come to mind. I have only recently had the wool pulled from my eyes and am still trying to come to terms with who my parents really are and the damage they have done to me (and continue to do). My sibling however has been on a long journey with it all, and has probably suffered the worst of it as the older one. My sibling and family will NOT come to my wedding if my parents are there and I dont know what to do. Apart from my partner, they are the most important people in my life. My parents were A**holes to me last time I saw them, my dad especially, and the thought of him giving me away and making speeches makes me feel physically sick, especially as my favourite people wont be there and he doesn't even seem to like me. However, the thought of not inviting my parents, and all the psychological drama and emotional fallout that would ensue, also makes me feel sick. It would probably also mean other family members wont be invited or will refuse to come because of their blind loyalty to my parents. I just don't know what to do. The whole thing is making me want to elope but that would make my partner really sad as he has a lot of (nice) family he wants to share his big day with. Has anyone had a similar experience and if so, what did you do???? Reply Hi my friend. I'm sorry you're having drama. How about having a tiny elopement with your sibling and their family, and having a low key party sometime later, like a barbeque? I wish you peace as you celebrate your love Reply I am so sorry that this happens to you at your wedding. It's incredibly horrible that somebody would be this abusive at a wedding, but frankly it doesn't surprise me because I also grew up in an abusive household. Not one with a lot of physical violence, but both of my parents were mentally and emotionally abusive to me my entire childhood, and frankly have been emotionally and mentally abusive to me through adulthood as well, until I cut them off a couple of years ago when I turned 40. I really appreciate that you wrote this, because it is validating my boyfriend's instincts to want to hire a security guard when we get married to prevent my father from crashing the wedding. I have been going back and forth about whether I think that's needed, because I think there's only maybe a 20% chance that he would try to crash the wedding and make a scene, but there is a chance and it would really ruin the wedding for me to have to see him or think about him on the wedding day. Listening to you say that you really should trust your gut is very helpful. Again, I'm so sorry that happened. And no, it was not at all your fault. Reply And to all brides with abusive exes, it may be a great idea to heed Gladys Ricart’s story as an example of what not to do!! She was murdered on her wedding day and it was because she didn’t hire a detail officer or security to protect her, or take out a restraining order. These actions might have saved her life. 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