I [21 F] don’t want to invite my father [44 M] to my wedding

Hi everyone,

My father has been… lacking, as a parent for my entire life. Without going into detail, I’ve been in therapy for PTSD because of the way he treated me growing up. I would rather not speak to him at all, but my younger siblings still live with him, and my mom is very attached to him, so I suck it up every few months and visit home. My fiancé is aware of all this and fully supports my decision to not invite my father to the wedding. However, I’m worried about the repercussions of not inviting him. I’m nervous that my mother wouldn’t come (she once told me that she was his wife first and my mother second) and I worry that they wouldn’t allow my little sister to come to my wedding, as she’ll be only 17 at the time of the wedding. If I thought I could be happy at my wedding with him there, I’d invite him and spare myself the drama. However, the idea of letting him walk me down the aisle, or having a dance with me, or sharing in such a happy, special day at all, is enough to make me physically ill. I want to enjoy my wedding, but I’m unsure if I could handle the fallout of not inviting him. I would really appreciate any help about what to do in this situation.

TL;DR: my father makes me miserable, I want to exclude him from my wedding, but I’m concerned about the consequences, and could use some help.

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9 thoughts on “I [21 F] don’t want to invite my father [44 M] to my wedding

  1. kmerian February 14, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Keep in mind you are under no obligation to allow him to walk you down the aisle, have a first dance, etc. My wife was not close with her father, and he was at the wedding but she danced with her grandfather and he also walked her down the aisle. This is your wedding you are in control. If you do let him come make sure he knows it is as a spectator only.

  2. PommeDeSang February 14, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Option One: Bite the bullet and invite him. No walking you down the aisle(Walk alone or go with someone who actually has been a father figure to you), no father/daughter dance and to be safe, no speeches. These things are optional. You owe them to no one.

    Option two: Don’t invite him and hope your mother has actually learned from her mistakes. Supporting a spouse to the detriment of others is bullshit.

    Option three: Don’t invite them at all and make it clear to everyone else that their opinions are noted and will be ignored. Your day, your say.

    Note: If you invite him make sure you’ve spoken to your photographer and have made clear what you do and do not want for formal posed photos and that if he/she doesn’t hear it from you or hubs the answer is no.

  3. sjcchaplin February 14, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Not me, but my cousin was in a very similar situation about a year ago (she was not on good terms with her father to say the least, but other family members were slightly better) but unfortunately her mother is no longer with us either so that added some complication. We all told her that at the end of the day, this is HER wedding day, and she shouldn’t have to compromise it because of someone else’s mistakes in the past. Don’t get me wrong, it was a difficult decision and my uncle didn’t take it very well, but he understood her reasoning and handled it like an adult. Of course there’s a lot to your family situation that we don’t know but what I said still stands; you’re (hopefully!!) only going to do this once so if there’s even one thing that might cause you distress, upset or conflict in any way on YOUR special day, you should try to avoid it. Have a calm, serious talk with your family to make your views crystal clear and help them understand. This is the one day on which you have no responsibility to make anyone happy except yourself and your fiancé, so whatever you decide to do, base it on your own happiness. Anyway, I hope this somewhat personal experience helps, best of luck!

  4. showmethegreen February 14, 2018 / 10:03 am

    I think you have to decide if having him not there is more important than having you mom and sister there, because it sounds like your mom will choose to not come if he is not invited. I would say that you should absolutely not have him walk you down the aisle nor dance with you. He is a spectator only.

  5. ParappaTheRaptor February 14, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Just gonna say that if he *did* come, you guys could forego the walking down the aisle and father-daughter dance. It’s fine if you still don’t want him there, but his presence wouldn’t necessitate that you do those things that make him a bigger part of the ceremony.

    Depending on your relationship with your mother, you could always invite her out for dinner or coffee or something and talk this over just the two of you to see where she stands. Maybe she would be fine with coming herself or letting your sister come or whatever.

  6. Nihilophile February 14, 2018 / 10:03 am

    No matter how you try to work this, the odds of getting what you want (your mother and sister at your wedding and your father not) aren’t good. If you want to avoid a break, it’s true you can set up the ceremony so there’s no role for your father without calling it to everyone’s attention (i.e. walk down the aisle on your own two foot; don’t have a family table at the reception) and you may want to keep in mind that if you make a clear and public break by excluding him, he could end your occasional visits to the rest of your family as well. You can’t avoid a choice here so there is no right answer.

  7. inkypaige February 14, 2018 / 10:03 am

    You could invite him and NOT do those things with him. Treat him like any other acquaintance you invited

  8. TheBigKahunaMonster February 14, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Don’t invite him.

    If your mother doesn’t come, then you know your value in her eyes too.

    Send someone to pick up your sister to sneak her out for the vent.

  9. paleotossaway February 14, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Have your fiancé walk you down the aisle.

    Father daughter/mother son dances are *cringe*. You don’t have to do them. I’ve been to a bunch of weddings that didn’t.

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