Ha woops – I meant we moved it earlier. She is 4 provinces over so would have to travel unfortunately.

YES! That’s what really gets my goat! People who it’s so freaking obvious that there is no love lost between us and yet they act the same level of hurt your mother* reasonable should were she not invited.

Liz is spot on as usual. Family dynamics matter, and while your wedding is just the kick off of navigating them, starting on a bad foot is setting yourself up for ongoing strife. Like it or not, family members you don’t get along with, come with your new baby family. You can limit the amount of interaction you have, but you will run into this woman for the rest of her life at family events.

This is great to hear. We want to have a small wedding too and this seems like a good approach. My extended family is huge and, while I love them, it is just not that important for me to be around EVERYBODY on my wedding. We would feel much more comfortable surrounded by a small circle of our closest friends and family. Glad to hear this (mostly) worked out for you!

I also think about all the people I waffled on inviting, for reasons of dramatics or frienemy status or…some other amorphous ideal, that I ultimately invited who then behaved less than stellar and I so wished I hadn’t invited them, in retrospect.

That can be so tricky though. Sometimes it’s not the “thing” that matters in the disagreement, but rather that the person who disagrees accepts your right to set boundaries, your right to say no.

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We had a moment where my uncle who was reading said two days beforehand one of the uncles my dad asked me not to invite would be driving over with him for the ceremony. Bad uncle ended up not coming, but there was some massive panic around that revelation!

I’ve left it to him to explain that we’re so sorry, but if we are going to fit in the venue, we just can’t allow additional guests – but we can let them know closer to the wedding if it looks like there will be room. We’d love to meet them, but we didn’t know about them and didn’t account for it in our original numbers.

I’d say that I agree with Liz on backing down and inviting the “eh, we’re just not that close” relatives for the sake of family peace. But I’d disagree about backing down on inviting the actively toxic relative. Yes, it is just one day, but I think a wedding is as good a time as any to put your foot down and publicly say, “No, I’m not going to put up with or reward this kind of toxicity.”

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I don’t think it’s the behaviour that anyone’s going to bat: it’s the person under the behaviour, and the family unit.

I’m particularly not dealing with this well because in the back of my mind, I keep thinking, “Well, if we just eloped and pissed off everyone at once, we wouldn’t be dealing with this.” But our deposits have been made, so it’s too late to back out. I feel resentment toward his family, and it’s not a feeling I want to start our married life together. Is this normal?! Please help!

We have something similar too. We have a super-small wedding, so every non-attendee (pregnancy, break-ups, illness) shakes up the balance. I said in another comment below that sometimes I can’t help wishing we’d had the wedding when we were still pre-engaged, but at this point, it is what it is… waiting another year or two would only introduce more unknowns.

You spend months (if not years) picking out the perfect venue, choosing the right dress, hiring the best photographer, videographer, DJ... the list goes on and on. With everything you need to check off your to-do list, it's far too easy to forget about the emotional side of a wedding.

Yeah, but as always, you need to pick your battles on this. And you’re going to have a lifetime to work it out. Also, you don’t want other people to be collateral damage in your trying boundary setting. IE, if your MIL is difficult and has a hard time hearing you say no, that doesn’t mean that this Aunt deserves to be cut out of the wedding, even if you don’t know her or care about her much.

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Yeah I understand that, sounds like it’s not worth the trouble. I find those relationships based on decades ago facts ridiculous though. Perhaps see if your husband has any interest in a relationship and if not don’t worry about it?

Save the dates were really helpful for us! It meant we had to finalize our actual invitee list, which meant we had a max head count, which meant we knew approximately what size venue we needed, and we could start doing more realistic budgets for rentals/catering/drinks/etc.

So, also on the plus side: the STD’s gave us a chance to test mailing addresses. Two people gave their addresses to me without the apartment number (Come ON, guys) and when I asked if they got the STD’s, the answer was no.

Yeah this is what my mum has said too, that some relatives are going to be upset they don’t get an excuse to have a holiday to the UK. Well… make the effort to keep in touch and come visit another time, we just can’t afford and don’t want a huge wedding.

I am SOOOO glad that we didn’t send STD’s to everyone. We only sent them to immediate family and bridal party. Our guest list morphed a lot and we were glad we had the flexibility to drop some acquaintances simply based on lack of space. I also thought that my fiance got a bit overexcited and invited everyone he could think of rather than people he had a meaningful relationship with. After reflection, the list was quite different.

last line: as close to LOL as I can get without making noise in my cubicle…

If someone’s attendance at your wedding is going to cause that much drama, just don’t invite them. Period. Not worth your hassle or your sanity. Stick to your guns and don’t budge. It’s your big day where you are in the spotlight. You’ve got a zillion and one other things to attend to, having a dramarama person attending is NOT something you need to have on your plate. Stand your ground and refuse to invite people all you want!

i agree with meg’s pick your battles, and i agree with your the importance of sticking to your guns. because the thing is, for those of us who are still learning to fight our own battles, every little defeat erodes away your willpower.

It sounds like you’re right on the money in ditching the toxic relationship. But, really, you can do that whether you invite her to the wedding or not. Deciding whether or not to invite her really comes down to: which sucks worse? Yeah, you’ll be taking one for the team if you invite her. You’ll have to see her terrible face on your wedding day, maybe even force a smile and some small talk (though the last two bits aren’t mandatory). That would all suck in its way.

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Though I am a little confused as to how, I am glad that worked for you.

“I for one have found sticking to my guns so far to be very empowering.”

Unfortunately, they are my fiancé’s co-workers. Not close proximity co-workers so that’s why it wouldn’t have been a big deal if we hadn’t sent Save the Dates (“Small family wedding” blah blah blah), but now it could become an issue for him down the road professionally if he doesn’t invite them.

And because we know that grandparents love spoiling their grandchildren, we've also got some great ranges of gifts for babies and gifts for children.

My second cousin also offered the week of to drive my 85-year-old great aunt up to the wedding. We did not invite the cousin so it was kind of weird, but I was also happy that my aunt could attend when she would not have been able to before!

This is especially helpful if there’s any chance they’ll be on the dance floor a lot or hamming it up in any way.

I went to a surprise wedding about a year ago and it was entirely amazing and awesome and wonderful. Good luck! (and congrats on the law school graduation!)

If the wedding isn't for a while yet, why not pick them out an engagement gift as well?

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Yeah, that’s kind of what I’m expecting. Apparently my mother has had a snide comment or two from an aunt on my dad’s side, and my sister has had a cousin express his interest in coming… but I think it’s telling I’m not close enough with either of these people for them to actually come to me with that information.

This comment so much. We are inviting my entire family (which is maybe 20 people) so we’re also inviting FH’s entire family – which is a hundred. This blows my mind, honestly, but it’s fine. (Also no toxic relationships to deal with, so YMMV.)

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Gave me a chance to fix the address before our invites went out at $1 a stamp and in an envelope we couldn’t afford to redo.

It drives me batty. He’s used to the dynamics and doesn’t really question it much, but I’ve been able to make some headway with one of his aunts and her kids to the point where we make it a priority to at least try to see her whenever we’re in town. This has pissed off my MIL, but considering the aunt is the nicest to me out of his whole family, I don’t really care.