Amybelle2001 asked us this great question: How do you deal with someone who was not invited to the rehearsal dinner but found out about it from family members and has made it known that she is very hurt not to have been invited? This is despite the fact that I am not as close to her and she has been very vocal about what she thinks is appropriate for the wedding.
Relationships are complicated. It’s handy that you get the opportunity to manage a tricky relationship now, because marriage will be no less complex. Grease up your emotional intelligence…you’re gonna be using it often.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you consider how to handle the uninvited protester.
1. Is this person’s mother and sister invited, but she’s not? If her immediate family members will be at the rehearsal dinner, consider calling her directly to invite her. It could go a little something like this: “[Donna], I’m so sorry I didn’t send out your invitation to the rehearsal dinner. It was an oversight on my part, and I really want you there.” Then, follow up with a written invitation just like everyone else got. Why? It’s good manners, even if she’s annoying. Excluding one member of a nuclear family isn’t polite.
2. Why did [Donna] expect an invitation? If there’s some reasonable answer to this question (reasonable in Donna’s mind, that is), yet you still want to maintain your boundaries and keep your guest list as-is, consider calling her directly to discuss it. “Hey, [Donna]. I understand you are disappointed about my rehearsal dinner, and I totally get it. I wish we could invite all our friends to the dinner, but we decided to limit it to the wedding party and immediate family and include our whole community of friends and extended family at the wedding.” By gently emphasizing that she’s invited to the wedding, you’re letting her know that she ranks.
3. Have you snubbed [Donna] in the past, leading to the current tension? Sometimes the most vocal protesters in our lives have become so edgy because they’re hurt, and the only way to heal that hurt is to find the source of the problem. Perhaps this person has repeatedly been left out or treated like an annoyance. Because that is one of the worst feelings in the world, and you wouldn’t want to be part of the cause, consider calling [Donna] directly to discuss it. You could even ask her to meet for coffee, and invest an hour or so in discussing the history of your relationship, even if you aren’t close. Nothing heals hurts like a kind word and a listening ear. And you never know, you could discover that this [Donna] is a good soul. Still, you don’t have to invite her to the rehearsal dinner.
Do you notice a theme here? Speaking directly with the person with whom you are disgruntled or who is upset with you is often the healthiest and most legit way to deal with a situation. Speaking with others almost never helps. Even if you’d like your friends to agree with you that [Donna] is totally out of line and creating needless drama, the momentary satisfaction of their affirmation has nothing on actually resolving the issue.