Advice? Wedding, not inviting family but want to remember them
April 17, 2019 12:12 PM   Subscribe

I am marrying my beloved. I have chosen not to invite my family as they are against my same-sex marriage.

When I came out as trans some four years ago, the shunning wasn't immediate, but it did happen. We were a close family before I came out, and I miss the relationship. It's hurt me a great deal to lose them.

I'd like to somehow "remember" or memorialize them, much the same way we'd memorialize my mom who passed away almost ten years ago. They aren't dead, but they are sorta dead to me.

Is it too attention-whoring to remember them along with my dead mom? Advice on how / what to do would be appreciated, if you have that advice...
posted by dwbrant to Human Relations (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Nothing is too attention-whoring -- it's your wedding, and you 100% get to design a ceremony that works for you and your partner.

How about lighting a candle?
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:19 PM on April 17, 2019 [7 favorites]

Absolutely not attention-whoring - this is one time where the event is all about you and your partner, so you get to do whatever you want. Perhaps have a short poetry reading? Poems are a great way to express emotions and thoughts in a subtle way, and may even provide an avenue with which to differentiate the memory of your mom from the memory of your family who shunned you, if that's something you think would be appropriate.
posted by Everydayville at 12:25 PM on April 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

Photo display? There could be photos of you and your soon-to-be spouse, and of friends who are invited, and also of your family.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:32 PM on April 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

I'm not entirely sure what your intention is - like if you want to make it clear that you feel like they're dead to you or not, so ignore me if my suggestion is off, but if you want to be more positive/hopeful as part of your ceremony, you could go with something like we miss these people and hope that someday they will be able to share in our joy (if you are hoping for that, of course).
posted by FencingGal at 12:42 PM on April 17, 2019 [17 favorites]

I’ve been in this situation. We did something small. We had the officiant mention family “near and far.” That was personally as much as I wanted. YMMV and you may choose to do more. That’s ok too. It’s not attention grabby to do whatever you need to make this day feel authentic and special to you.

On another note, I also found it super helpful to celebrate the people who chose to be there. We took a huge group photo that I really treasure looking at and we did a short community call and response after our vows.

Something like this:
OFFICIANT: Do you affirm to support, uplift, and surround this couple with love as their family?
CROWD: We do!

It felt very celebratory and like I had an additional family.

Hugs. I’ve been there. Congrats on your nuptials.
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 12:51 PM on April 17, 2019 [52 favorites]

I like all of the suggestions! Candle - probably not; outdoor wedding, daylight hours, public park may not look kindly on fires .. maybe at the reception, which is indoors.

I think we'll do the photo display for sure! That way, I get to feel as if my family is somehow still there (which I do want; I am not quite ready to declare them dead-to-me quite yet). FencingGal, thank you for helping me to realize that I still have hope, although probably futile.

Pretty Good Talker, I'm marking yours as a best answer. I love the idea of an affirmation for the wedding crowd! They are indeed my chosen family.
posted by dwbrant at 1:18 PM on April 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

What about a pause or a moment of reflection or silence to remember all those that are not here to celebrate today? You could leave it at that and let people make their own assumptions or you could be specific: those who have passed away and those who have closed themselves off from celebrating in your lives due to transphobia and homophobia (or however you'd like to phrase it). You could also make it less personal and have a moment of reflection separate from memorializing your mother: Let us pause to reflect on those whose birth families have shut them out of their lives because of transphobia, homophobia, etc.
posted by carrioncomfort at 1:22 PM on April 17, 2019 [7 favorites]

You may or may not care about this (it would be understandable either way), but the more pointed you make it against your family, the more uncomfortable you may make attendees who know you both. Because they've clearly chosen to publicly love and support you, you may want to consider their feelings in this regard. But something like PGT or carrioncomfort's more general suggestions wouldn't be a problem, I think.
posted by praemunire at 1:38 PM on April 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

My father passed away & some family members couldn't be at my wedding as it was in another country & some because of similar issues as you're having so I carried charms representing them hanging from my bouquet, either tiny little pictures in a frame the size of small postage stamp or a charm that I thought represented them. They were with me then walking down the aisle, but not in anyones face leaving my private relationship with the various members of my family private (but then my inlaws family are all lovely people but terrible gossips so it was just easier that way).
posted by wwax at 2:20 PM on April 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

All of these suggestions have given me something to think about, and I appreciate so much the community here. I couldn't ask this same question on FB, because of family and other drama, and was at a loss as to who to ask .. your impartial feedback really really helped!

I went over these ideas with my fiancee *(by the way, she'll be looking at metafilter from now on), and we've determined:

a) Community call / response.
b) a moment of reflection during the ceremony, mentioning those near and far who cannot be here today.
c) Little representative charms in my bouquet.

I want to especially call out praemunire's suggestion that I not get too specific, so as to avoid discomfort of other attendees. That's a sobering thought, and definitely one that I will take to heart; thanks, praemunire!
posted by dwbrant at 5:44 AM on April 18, 2019 [10 favorites]

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