Wedding plan leaves sister feeling left out

What is the real reason behind angst over sister's wedding?

Q: My younger sister, who is my closest friend within the family, or so I thought, is getting married. She and her fiance are planning (and paying for) a big fancy wedding in a famous and spectacular location.

The problem? Nobody in my family is being asked to participate. In fact, I have been asked NOT to give a toast (as have all other guests). My sister and her fiance, both about 40, have decided to walk down the aisle together. My father is being completely excluded.

The thing is, the groom's family IS participating in the ceremony. His sister has been asked to read TWO poems. When I suggested that my father read a poem, my sister said the groom's father might feel left out. And how about me?

I have always included my sister, and she is very close to and loving toward my small children. She has only four friends coming, all from college. Her other dear friends have all walked out on her in the past 20 years because she doesn't give of herself.

But what is really irking me is this will cost me approximately $5,000 in travel, hotel expenses and food — all to be left out in front of everyone.

I suspect the groom is a bully, trying to isolate her from me. My husband, who likes the groom a lot, has recently remarked that he is a control freak and that it seems odd he won't let my sister visit us without him.

I can't believe I have to pay a huge bill only to get humiliated in front of everyone, along with my dad. It seems like this is a signal that I'm to be excluded, or at least mostly excluded, from my sister's life from now on.

Splashy But Cold

A: Wow.

There are some questions about your place in each other's lives up till now, too.

Here are the concerns you raise: your and your family's public exclusion/humiliation, costs, your sister's "taker" tendencies and growing isolation, the possibly controlling groom, your diminished role in your sister's life.

The order of those concerns isn't random; I've listed them in descending order of the number of times you raise them. If repetition is emphasis, you are very, very concerned about looking bad in front of the other wedding guests (I even edited a few mentions for space). The money is "really irking" you, too.

But the possibility you're losing your sister to isolation and control is, judging by the weight you give it, a blip.

Maybe you're right that she is chiefly to blame for her isolation. It's also possible she chose this groom because he's a micromanager, thereby allowing her to use him as yet another means to distance herself from people.

Nevertheless, that he "won't let" your sister visit you without him is enough of an eyebrow-raiser that your sister's true best friend would have put it on the top of the list of things to lose sleep about. Not whether your father can endure hearing the wedding march sitting down.

Please ask yourself what actually deserves your attention, and approach your sister solely about that. While you're at it, also ask yourself exactly how close you are (and hope to be) to this sister, who has called you her best friend and been, apparently, quite giving of herself with your kids. Your relationship is riding on the battle you choose here. Maybe she needs you to care more about her right now, and less about where you fit in.

Wedding plan leaves sister feeling left out 08/06/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 6, 2011 5:31am]

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