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Son's Fiance completely excluding groom's family from wedding-result of no ring/no bring

Cherry, on March 26, 2021 at 10:08 PM Posted in Family and Relationships 3 53
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Before Covid, my parents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in June of 2019. My son asked if he could bring his girlfriend to the celebration. I said no-we have a no ring, no bring policy re holidays and serious family occasions. My son asked if my husband and I would reconsider. I said no and also pointed out this would be unfair to his sister, who, while she is married now, did not bring her then boyfriend to any family events or holidays until they were engaged. I told him he knew that was how our family operated.

The anniversary party happens and my son does not show up. I call him and he says since his girlfriend could not come, he was not going to be there. He said they were serious and this would have been the perfect time to introduce her. I told him that I had no idea he was in a serious relationship and two, this would not have been a good time because her presence would have distracted from the occasion. Introductions would have to be made to all the family and friends there and everyone would have been trying to get to know his girlfriend.

My son said he and his girlfriend were hurt that an exception could not be made. Fast forward to Thanksgiving of 2019. My son invited us and his sister and her husband and my granddaughter to his place to introduce his girlfriend. We find out that they are engaged. That was a big surprise and I felt very hurt that was sprung on us-I would have liked to have time to get to know my son's now fiance.

I told my son this later in an email-which he told me he shared with his fiance. My son told me that we, his family were last to be told because we seemed unsupportive and that is fiance's family was told first, because they had supported them every step of the way-it was an eight month courtship.

My husband I were hurt by this, but we still extended to help with the wedding any way we could. My son told us that was not necessary-he, his fiance and her family would do it all. My son says that his fiance's family feels we are racist as my son's fiance is African-American and that our no ring, no bring policy was extremely hostile and unwelcoming and that she and her family feel unwelcome by us/

During the pandemic and before, I reached out to my son's fiance-to go to lunch, shopping-before the pandemic. Each time I was turned down. During the pandemic we have zoomed with my son and his fiance has never been in the room or tried to join in. There is nothing from her end other than radio silence.

This is not how I imagined my son's wedding to go nor a relationship with my son's future wife. What more can I do?




53 Comments

Latest activity by Ingrid, on March 28, 2021 at 9:02 PM
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag

    Many couples have a no ring no bring policy regardless of ethnicity and they insist that no one is hurt by it and ignore those whose are. Countless posts on the forums say otherwise that it is very hurtful and those involved feel very disrespected. Etiquette says significant others are a package deal, regardless of a ring. Many couples are established for years with no intention of making it legal. You can't ask someone to support another union (the anniversary) while judging and disrespecting theirs.

    I side with your son that it seems very unsupportive that he wanted to introduce his girlfriend and was slighted by the no ring no bring policy. And as a result they have set boundaries they feel are necessary for their relationship with you.

    Respect their wishes/boundaries and maintain distance until they reach out to you.

    • Reply
  • L
    Lisa ·
    • Flag
    Your son learned that family comes first. His family is his fiancé and the family that has supported them without the need of a ring to prove the seriousness of it. His fiancé’s family welcomed them as a couple and respected their relationship and the time they were taking to commit.
    Your son sounds mature, respectful and protective of his loved ones. The boundaries he and his fiancé set are well within reason.
    You asked what more can you do. You’ve done enough. Other than apologize for being disrespectful of their relationship, I would not do anything else. Wait for them to reach out to you. Something else you can do too, stop with the “no ring no bring” policy. That policy immediately speaks volumes as to the unwelcoming environment you are creating for people’s relationships.
    • Reply
  • Jay
    Devoted September 2021
    Jay ·
    • Flag
    I agree there isn’t much more you can do, but you should continue to extend well wishes,
    show interest, & make it clear you are sorry for what has previously happened & want to now work on these relationships. Whether or not racism was a factor here, even the perception of it likely will be tough for your son & his fiancé to overcome, & time & caring is really all that will help.
    • Reply
  • A
    Expert September 2020
    Amanda ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    I completely agree with this. He wanted you to get to know her and you turned them down. It sounds like he’s setting healthy boundaries.
    • Reply
  • L
    Lisa ·
    • Flag
    I wanted to add that a child in a healthy loving relationship is excited to introduce and share and engage those he loves with this person he is falling in love with and committing to. It’s an exciting time! You and your husband missed all of that. Your son reached out to you wanting to share this experience with you and you turned them both down every time.

    The fact that you sent an email expressing your hurt and surprise at being the last to know tells me you did not understand how hurtful and damaging your actions have been. In time, perhaps you and your husband will be welcomed into their moments.
    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Expert June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag
    Well you made your bed on this one. You has a no ring, no bring policy, but then you're upset you never got to know your son's fiance?? You resisted her coming to the anniversary because it would be a "distraction," which is so silly--most people meet new couples at family events. You made an arbitrary rule that excluded your son's fiance from your life, and now you're shocked that you're on the outside looking in. How do you think he felt? It seems like this was pretty much all your doing. I don't know how to fix it, but a sincerw apology to the couple is a good start.
    • Reply
  • C
    Cherry ·
    • Flag

    I just had no idea this was such a big deal-the no ring, no bring thing. This was never an issue with my son before in any of his relationships nor was it an issue with my daughter. My husband and I abided by this rule as did my two sisters. I also feel that having his girlfriend there would have distracted from my parents' anniversary, when the spotlight should have been theirs.

    That being said, I have reached out to my soon to be daughter in law's parents and their response was to not contact them going forward.

    • Reply
  • Cenaya
    Just Said Yes October 2022
    Cenaya ·
    • Flag

    I have mixed feelings about this, I agree with the no ring no bring policy in the family if one person's done it than why can't you all just abide by it. If he wanted y'all to meet her he could have choose to have a dinner earlier that wouldn't have taken away from the anniversary party and still would have met the girlfriend. I don't see how any of that is racist. I just think they took their feelings in a wrong direction and made assumptions before even clearly stating how serious his relationship was. At this point just keep wishing him well and offering help until he takes it.

    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    So your son’s partner wasn’t worthy of your time until he gave her a piece of jewelry and now you want to be besties, but she’s not longer interested. Can’t say I blame her. What you can do is apologize and wait for them to reach out to you if and when they are ready.
    • Reply
  • Stacey
    Super May 2021
    Stacey ·
    • Flag

    Have you apologized? I didn't see anything mentioned, but expressing sincere remorse for your past behavior is probably a good starting point for repairing your relationship.

    • Reply
  • C
    Cherry ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    This is not an arbitrary rule. My family has always been this way. My parents had this rule and I have carried it into my family.

    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Expert June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    It's arbitrary because a ring doesn't signify the value of a relationship or if someone should be welcome to a family. It's a dumb rule.
    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Expert June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    This spotlight thing is Bridezilla-level obsessing about parts of an event that don't matter. Her being there would not have meaningfully changed the event.
    • Reply
  • Ava
    Super May 2022
    Ava ·
    • Flag
    I agree with previous posters, this does not sound racist but does sound unsupportive. And that message was certainly received loud and clear by your son and his fiancé. This is likely not going to be a situation with a quick fix. At this point, your best course of action would be a very sincere and humble apology for your actions, and to let them both know that you and your family would love the opportunity to start fresh and prove to them that you will support their relationship moving forward, whenever they are ready.
    • Reply
  • Ava
    Super May 2022
    Ava ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Sounds like this rule is outdated and needs to be retired.
    • Reply
  • Jasmine E.
    Devoted May 2022
    Jasmine E. ·
    • Flag
    I don't think it's too late for a relationship, but I also don't think your son is in the wrong here. I know some people use a no ring, no bring rule for weddings to save costs, but anniversary parties are different and often less expensive. "Her presence would be a distraction from the occasion" -- seriously? I met most of my fiancé's family at a birthday party for his uncle and no one suggested I was distracting from that. Also you "had no idea he was in a serious relationship" even though he had already asked to bring her? I agree with the above posters that you can still make your best effort to reach out and include her in the future, but first impressions are important and how your family "operates" meant hers wasn't a good one.
    • Reply
  • Katie
    Rockstar August 2020
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    Hi Cherry, I wish this situation on no family during what should be an exciting and blissful time. My situation with my now husband was different in the fact we dated for years and he attended holidays, birthdays and such so by the time we were engaged, my parents knew him very well (and vice versa) so the transition was quite natural.
    Maybe your son needs to hear directly from you and your husband in no way, shape or form did the “no ring, no bring” rule had anything to do with your future daughter-in-law’s race and all you want is for them to be happy and be included in your extended family. If another family member has done or said anything to talk to you about it so it can be addressed. That you would love to get to know her and her parents better.
    Could you extend an invitation to your son, his fiancé and her parents to come to your home for dinner or meet at a restaurant? If covid is a concern, outdoor seating? I’m sure everyone involved is eager to break the ice prior to the wedding day and move forward to celebrating.
    I wish you reconciliation and a long, happy relationship with your future daughter-in-law for many years to come ❤️
    • Reply
  • A
    Expert September 2020
    Amanda ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Omg you reached out to her parents?! Wow. This is really overstepping and I totally understand them wanting to cut off contact. You’ve violated so many boundaries please please for your own sake leave them alone and let them come to you when ready!
    • Reply
  • A
    Expert September 2020
    Amanda ·
    • Flag
    I have a very toxic mother and this behavior sounds eerily familiar. I cannot trust my mom with any bit of information because she’s proven time and time again to let me down when I share things with her. I’m actually afraid knowing she has my in-laws phone number for the exact reason you described. I hope the best for your son and his future wife.
    • Reply
  • C
    Cherry ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    I was reaching out to introduce myself. I didn't know that was a no no.

    • Reply

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