Dear Carolyn: Our daughter is in her early 30s and is engaged. She wants a small wedding but we would like to include family and close friends. She and her fiance recently moved far away and want the wedding to be in their new location.
Before they moved, we offered to pay for the wedding and reception. However, it does not feel right to be hosting a wedding that many of our family and friends cannot attend. We realize this is our daughter’s and fiance’s wedding, but we are trying to find a solution with which we can all feel happy. What do you suggest?
– Wanting to Do the Right Thing
A: The “right thing” is to respect the decision these two adults have made, so what you’re wanting, actually, is to have your values prevail over the couple’s.
You can certainly ask your daughter to consider the feelings of those they’re de facto excluding. Beyond that, though, you and I both know there’s no magic adult-autonomy bypass that allows you to overrule the bride and groom.
Unless, of course, you choose to use your freely offered money as leverage – but that would be tantamount to declaring war on your daughter in the name of family unity, the absurdity of which I hope explains itself.
I realize you have good intentions, or believe you do, in choosing inclusion as your top priority for this wedding. But being on the side of the angels is beside the point; it’s not your wedding, so you don’t get to have priorities for it, period.
So support your daughter, celebrate her happiness and take at least some comfort in this: Their wanting an intimate wedding in their new surroundings sounds like a confident, mature and hopeful way to start their lives together.
Time to walk away
Dear Carolyn: My fiancee cheated on me. After talking it over, I have forgiven her and want to move on.
Now she is questioning my love for her because I didn’t get upset enough about it.
This has thrown me for a loop. I never thought my ability to be rational and forgiving would break my heart.
A: Technically, these abilities didn’t break your heart – they just gave your fiancee a new way for her to break it, after the cheating didn’t work.
In 34 words, you exposed your fiancee as deeply immature, unready for marriage and incapable of saying this to your face. So, she’s resorting to sabotage – first cheating, now lobbing accusations at you, soon something else.
If you don’t believe me enough to walk away, then please make this engagement contingent on rigorous premarital counseling. The ever-after you’re looking at now is not a happy one.