There are many couples who choose not to invite family members they have a strained relationship with to the wedding, but it's an especially hard decision to make when the relative in question is a parent. Though it's undoubtably painful to make the decision not to invite an estranged loved one to this special event, brides and grooms who have been in your shoes will tell you that you'll want to be surrounded by those who are happiest for you on the big day.
If you're struggling to decide whether or not you should extend a wedding invitation to an estranged parent, consider one wedding planner's best tips on how to navigate not inviting your mother or father to the ceremony and reception while still having a loving, joy-filled celebration.
Be thoughtful and stand your ground.
It's much easier said than done, but the sooner you're able to acknowledge that your family dynamic doesn't lend well to including your parents, the happier you'll be with your decision not to invite them. "When there are tough emotional hardships between parents and children, it can lead to difficult moments in planning a wedding," Alicia Fritz of A Day in May Events says. "As hard as the situation may be for others, what matters most, and what should be respected, are the wishes of the couple. The day is about them. It's not about how others feel about their choices."
Surround yourselves with your chosen family.
In order to feel a sense of fulfillment rather than loss on your wedding day, it's important to surround yourselves with your chosen family as much as possible. "In today's day and age, the word 'family' doesn't always mean blood relatives," Fritz says. You might consider designating a close friend to walk you down the aisle. Likewise, you might ask an older relative whom you have a loving relationship with to give a toast. You'll want to have your dearest friends present while you're getting ready, too.
Create a guest list that reflects understanding and compassion.
Once you've decided not to include your parents in your wedding celebration, go through your guest list and make sure to include only those friends and family members who will be supportive of your decision. Fritz says, "For those who come and celebrate, they should focus on the love and energy of the new family being formed."