Father-of-the-bride’s wedding woes: partner not invited

Harry is experiencing some wedding woes, so Jo Lamble helps him out.

Delicate wedding invitation with flowers on a table

Father-of-the-bride Harry is experiencing some wedding woes, so Jo Lamble suggests how he can tackle the delicate nature of his situation.

Q. Harry
My partner of 20 years hasn’t been invited to my daughter’s wedding but my ex-wife’s new husband has. Is this fair? Should I push for her to be invited or boycott the wedding altogether?

A. Wow, that does seem unfair and very hurtful for you and your partner. Was this a shock or have you been aware that there was some sort of issue with your partner? Does your partner have any idea what might be going on? Perhaps the issue is between your ex-wife and your partner and she has made the request. I would strongly recommend that you talk to your daughter about her decision. Start very gently and with as much empathy as you can summon in the circumstances. Maybe say something like: “I know it’s your special day and all I want is for you to be happy. There is obviously some issue with my partner and I’d really like to understand what it is so that it doesn’t affect our relationship going forward.”

Ask her if there is anything you can do to smooth things over and make it easier for you all to get along for the one day. If she doesn’t tell why but insists that your partner isn’t welcome, then you have a decision to make. Do you support your daughter or your partner? The father of the bride is clearly a significant role so it would be hard to boycott the day, but you can’t deny the fact that you are being placed in a difficult position.

Hopefully your daughter will soften and invite your partner to the wedding. If she doesn’t and you decide to go to the wedding, it will be important for you to give your partner a lot of empathy and support. Ask for her understanding in going to the wedding without her and let her know that your decision to be there for your daughter is not an indication of how committed you are to her.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th Sep 2016
    If you're paying, its a no brainer,all or nothing.If you're not paying, send an RSVP saying WE will be pleased to attend, put the ball back in your daughters court.
    Why do a lot of parents let their children push them around?
    20th Sep 2016
    You ask "Why do a lot of parents let their children push them around?" - Exactly, and the 'children' who really are acting like 'children' when they do things like this are doing more than pushing their parent around with this kind of hateful gesture. In this case, the daughter is giving her father one big nasty shove.

    It will become evident to everyone attending the wedding that the bride wouldn't invite her father's partner of 20 years, so she will be belittling her father in front of everyone and letting everyone know what kind of person she really is.
    20th Sep 2016
    Not knowing the background, but based upon the facts, this is awful.
    Maybe the daughter wants to publicly show allegiance to her mum, especially if the fathers 'new' partner of 20 years was involved in the marital break up.
    Overall, a horrible situation, especially as the mothers 'new' partner is invited.
    I think I'd dig my heels in and not go !!!
    20th Sep 2016
    20 years seems a little long to settle an old score so I presume the problem is more recent. Obviously calls for a calm, fact-seeking conversation before making any ultimatums. Your daughter needs to learn that both members of a couple are rarely liked equally but you put up with one for the sake of the other. If she doesn't respect you enough to tolerate your partner, you too have some fence mending to do. Good luck and tread gently.
    20th Sep 2016
    I had another thought - maybe this father should go to the wedding but not the reception.
    Weddings are potentially difficult - our family experienced grief when my daughter chose not to invite her first cousins to her wedding as she barely saw some of them and it was a small wedding as well. Years later she she maintains contact with one side of the family's first cousins but the other side, well one of the cousins declined her as a friend on Facebook and generally after several years they could walk past each other possible and not recognize each other. It is what it is.
    30th Sep 2016
    Have you been asked to give your daughter "away" at the wedding ceremony? If not has her step-father been asked? If the wedding service is in a church or other public place there is nothing to stop your partner from going to the wedding service with you. I wouldn't give them the satisfaction of declining the invitation to the service. If you are supposed to be paying for the reception your daughter is "pulling a stunt". You could go to the reception and leave as soon as you have made your traditional speech if the bride wishes you to do so. If the bride's stepfather is doing it and your daughter refuses to invite your partner you probably won't be missed. Your daughter may be only inviting you to test your reaction. I would discuss it with your daughter before you make any hasty decisions. Naturally you need to discuss it with your partner. I also wonder if your ex-wife has arranged the invitations that way out of spite.

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