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How one international adoptee bride reclaimed her identity through her wedding

I am an international adoptee from India. Many times in transracial and/or international adoption, the adoptee loses a sense of identity when they are raised outside of their race and culture. I know for myself, I was raised in a predominantly white town by a white family, so I lost my identity as an Indian. As a bride, I decided to reclaim my identity. I am a "hybrid", both Indian and Anglo-American…

Challenging "normal" wedding planning when I lost my mother while engaged

I considered myself to be an "ordinary bride," that is until my mother died, and then I discovered that the definition of normalcy is what you deem appropriate, especially when it comes to wedding planning.

For the first few months after she died, it was only natural that my upcoming nuptials were the furthest thing from my mind. Then, as the year of my wedding date began to approach, suddenly friends and family became concerned that I wasn't living up to being a "traditional bride." It begs the question: what's traditional?

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Do I need to invite someone's adult daughter to my intimate wedding?

My sister wants us to invite her boyfriend's adult daughter to our wedding, even though we've never met her. Her family already accounts for five invitations for her household already.

We have worked so hard to keep our wedding small and intimate and quite frankly don't want a stranger there. Are we being selfish?

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How do we communicate that we sincerely want no wedding gifts?

When it comes to gift-giving, the general consensus among my peers is that you give what you can, if you wish. As far as we're concerned, your presence is present enough — especially considering that we are a bunch of broke Millennials.

My extended family, however, hardcore-believes in tangible gifts. Some of them are sticklers for the traditional (and comfortably middle-class) notion of extensive and expensive gifts at shower, hen party, and wedding. It's generous, but also uncomfortable, at odds with our values, and not always string-free. How can I discourage gifts at my wedding?