Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, UT. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
OPINION – This bride-elect is more stressed about her mother’s possible actions than her wedding itself.
I’m getting married in a few weeks and I’m worried that my mother will make a huge scene. She has been known to “grandstand” at family gatherings and make everything about herself. She doesn’t seem to have any problem embarrassing herself or others when she tells inappropriate stories, asks probing questions, and even fakes injuries. I don’t want my special day to be hijacked by my mom’s behavior. I haven’t said anything yet, but I’m more stressed about her than I am about any other detail of my wedding. My parents are divorced, so it won’t affect my dad. My siblings are putting pressure on me to invite my mom when I expressed my concerns to them. I feel trapped. Any ideas on how to deal with this?
I can only imagine how stressful this must be for you to contemplate uninviting your own mother from your wedding. This certainly isn’t an ideal situation and it sounds like you have some tough decisions to make.
My first suggestion is to make sure that you and your fiancé are united in your decision on how you will handle this situation. If your fiancé gives you his full support, then you will feel less stressed on your wedding day.
Next, I would contemplate having a face to face conversation with your mother and level with her about your concerns. I would make sure that your fiancé joins you for this conversation so your mother knows this is important to both of you. I would let her know that if she begins to upstage the wedding and cause a disruption, then you will invite her to leave. If she listens to you, understands your concerns, and promises to be respectful during your wedding, then it might make it easier to take the risk of having her attend.
If that’s the case, then I would make sure you alert a couple of close family members to stay close to her during the wedding and alert either you or your groom if things begin to get inappropriate. You can then invite her to leave as previously discussed.
If, on the other hand, she becomes defensive and uncooperative in your sit-down discussion with her, then you might consider asking her not to attend and find another way to include her in your wedding celebration – a way that sets both you and her up for success.
This could include spending time with her before or after the wedding at a restaurant or another setting where she can have your love and attention. If your concern is her creating a scene at the wedding gathering, but you still want to maintain a connection with her, then find a way to connect in a way that works better for everyone.
Ultimately, if she becomes belligerent about your concerns, then it’s probably a good thing that you set that boundary with her before your wedding.
Obviously, no child wants to exclude their parent from their wedding day. On the other hand, when a parent acts like a small child, they need to have supervision and boundaries to maintain the dignity and reverence of the event.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.