I posted recently about my hero, Lumiere the candlestick from ‘Beauty and the Beast’, who choreographs elaborate musical numbers to honor his guests. My point was that at its core, the point of party you’re throwing is celebrating with guests, if they are unhappy, something has gone wrong.
Alas, not all couples have gotten the memo. Amy Dickinson, brilliant syndicated advice columnist and another (non-animated) hero of mine, addressed the issue of dealing with the fallout in her column today. I repost her wise response to this worried MOB from the Toronto Sun.
Groomzilla plans wedding no one can attend
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DEAR AMY: How can our family move forward from the mess of an overplanned, underattended wedding in Europe? The groom (in his mid-30s) has planned everything and excluded me, mother of the bride, from any of the plans. The bride’s siblings can’t afford (or can’t get vacation days from work) to attend.
Yesterday, the groom announced that the one family friend who can attend is not invited to the rehearsal dinner, after traveling 6,000 miles. A destination wedding sounds, at first, like a good idea, but when the day nears, it feels exclusionary, hollow and pretentious. As the mother of the bride, I am filled with sadness.
The couple has been engaged for two years, and we feel so burdened by the build-up, the bad decisions, the exclusions, waste and self-centredness of this event. How do families recover from this? I can’t see these relationships ever going back to normal.
I love my daughter very much, but I believe the consequences of this wedding will be the unravelling of our family. Is there any hope? — Heartbroken
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You aptly describe the challenges when couples pour all of their attention into trying to create a fantasy day while causing real-world problems. Often these couples return home after their fantasy weddings seriously let down by the reality of marriage and family.
You and your husband should meet with the couple. Do not pile on and accuse them of creating a hollow and pretentious event, but do ask that they commit some of the money you contributed to helping family members attend the wedding.
Otherwise you should accept that this is not what you would have planned and not what you want (and perhaps not what the couple wants at this point, either). If your daughter is completely dominated by a “groomzilla” who is demanding and disrespectful, she is going to need your support moving forward. You may also have to accept that you and she have very different values.
Though this event might rend the fabric of your family, don’t make the mistake of assuming it will unravel.