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Just Said Yes April 2020

Difficult father of the bride situation

Gillian, on January 21, 2020 at 1:24 PM Posted in Family and Relationships 0 11
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I am looking for a little help with a really difficult situation. I got engaged in January 2019, and my wedding is coming up in April 2020. My dad really wanted me to get married at a venue of his choosing, but I ended up going with a different venue than what he wanted. As a result, he told me he would not come to my wedding. We had a big fight and stopped speaking for several months, and I went on wedding planning without him. I uninvited him to my fiance's family engagement party for us, as we were not speaking at all. In the fall, I agreed to meet and we resumed speaking, but things remained tense because of the period when we weren't.

My parents got divorced three years ago, partially because of my father's verbal abuse of my mother for many years, and it was a very messy divorce. Now my father keeps saying that he is not happy about my wedding because I am forcing him to be in the same room as my mom. However, he has demanded that he get to walk me down the aisle, give a toast, and do a father daughter dance. He also specified that he didn't want anyone to see the speech before he gave it. The other day I told him that I was ok with the aisle and the dance, but that I would prefer him to give a speech at the rehearsal dinner, instead of at the wedding reception. He blew up at me, and we had a huge fight. This morning, he called to tell me that he no longer wished to attend the rehearsal dinner, but I was at work and just told him I couldn't talk about it this morning.

I am just so frustrated, and not sure what to do. He is not paying for any part of the wedding and has been un-supportive throughout the whole process, yet thinks he just gets to do things because he is my dad. It is also incredibly unfair to my mom, who has been emotionally and financially supportive the whole time.

Has anyone had a similar situation? I just feel at a loss of what to do.

11 Comments

  • 2d Bride
    Champion October 2009
    2d Bride ·
    • Flag

    Basically, you'll need to invite him, unless you are sure you want him out of your life for good. (Not inviting a parent to your wedding is going to strain your relationship with him pretty much forever.) But you can ignore the rest of his demands. He doesn't have to be allowed to walk you down the aisle, have a father-daughter dance, or give a speech. It might be easier on your mother if he isn't constantly being celebrated at the wedding, particularly if she (who has been far more supportive) is not receiving similar honors.


    If he comes to the wedding, in spite of not getting these honors, you'll just need to seat him well away from your mother.

    • Reply
  • Kathryn
    Super April 2020
    Kathryn ·
    • Flag
    Been there done that got the t-shirt. My dad was not supportive of us because we lived together before we got married - the scandal of it all! - so we ended up only talking to him sparingly and with me gritting my teeth. It got so bad that he planned a whole weekend of being in Dallas, only to ask us to dinner, and me and my FH were both prepared to just get through dinner and see him off. But he was trying to offer an olive branch, of sorts. I let him into my life in the sense that he is welcome to the wedding - not a popular opinion because of the messy divorce my mom still isn't over 13 years later- and he is walking me down the aisle. Best advice I can give is it's your day. He can throw a fit, but he's not paying. So let him throw tantrums - you said what you wanted and it should be your way within reason. Stay strong girl. I agree with toast at the rehearsal dinner - we did the same thing with my dad. And hell, you threw him the father daughter dance. I am digging in my heels on giving him that because I don't want to deal with it.
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  • Kathryn
    Super April 2020
    Kathryn ·
    • Flag
    Also yes, we're sitting my dad in the back corner, and they're sitting in the first row of the ceremony but as far away from each other without us renting the next room as possible. My mom STILL pitched a fit but is getting over it.
    • Reply
  • Mrs. Sarantos
    Master November 2019
    Mrs. Sarantos ·
    • Flag
    My father in law didn’t show up to our wedding because my mother in law was (obviously) there. They’ve been divorced over 20 years. There’s really nothing you can do except be the bigger person and be nice and let him have his own regrets.
    • Reply
  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
    • Flag

    His presence sounds very toxic to you. I would draw a hard line, he can attend as a guest but that's it. Don't let him throw a tantrum to force you to give him what he wants. If he chooses not to go that's sad, but ultimately better for you.

    • Reply
  • Cyndy
    Rockstar May 2019
    Cyndy ·
    • Flag
    Wow I agree with the PP. I would invite him as a guest only. With that type of behavior I wouldn’t want him to give a speech or walk me down the aisle. I would have my mom walk me if she’s been the one there for you or just walk by yourself. If you keep giving him what he wants he will keep throwing tantrums to get it.
    • Reply
  • W
    Devoted September 2020
    Willow ·
    • Flag
    Your father sounds controlling and emotionally abusive. I would have him attend as a guest and nothing else. He has crossed too many lines. His behavior isn't just toxic. He is engaging in abuse, control, and manipulation. He did it to your mom, now he's doing it to you. This is not normal or healthy.
    • Reply
  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
    • Flag

    I'm so sorry. I agree with pps that if you want him at the wedding, you should invite him, but I would say "no" to any and all other demands you are even slightly uncomfortable with. (Honestly, given his history of outbursts and verbally abusive behavior, there is NO WAY he'd be giving a speech at the wedding. I would make sure the DJ and anyone else knows that -- no matter what happens, no one gives him a microphone.) I understand it has to be very difficult to be the adult child between your feuding parents, but it sounds like his behavior may well be aimed at making things even harder for your mom. I'd draw a line; he is welcome if he will keep his mouth shut and be civil, if not -- don't come. I would seat them as far apart as possible, and if there are other strong men in your life/family (an uncle or grandfather) enlist their help in keeping him in line or escorting him out. Good luck to you! You deserve to have a happy, stress-free wedding! Smiley heart

    • Reply
  • Danielle
    Beginner July 2020
    Danielle ·
    • Flag
    Wow! Not to sound harsh, but your father is very immature. I personally wouldn’t invite him, just to keep the drama out of your day. If he isn’t contributing, then don’t bother listening to what he has to say. This is you and your future husband’s day, not his! I know he’s your father, but he shouldn’t be acting this way. He’s putting more pressure on you. If he’s not supporting you in any way, even by not attending the rehearsal dinner, don’t waste your time with him. If you want your day to run smoothly, don’t invite him. So sorry for your frustrations!
    • Reply
  • P
    January 2014
    Pam ·
    • Flag

    If he is invited/attends, there's no way I'd let him near a microphone. It doesn't sound like you can be sure he won't try to stir things up.

    • Reply
  • A
    Savvy May 2021
    Allison ·
    • Flag

    Jeez, any chance you guys can try family therapy to set boundaries for the wedding day? I worry about how his past verbal abuse will affect your mom and I wonder if a neutral party is the best way to help your dad recognize the damage he's doing to his relationships.

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