Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Guest List Question

When my husband and I first got engaged, we were absolutely thrilled that we were going to get married and start our lives together.  Then, reality started to sink in.  Every marriage and wedding is different.  There are a million and one choices to make, some easy and some harder.

We sat down and eventually worked our way through some of the big ones like most couples do.  We started with the location, decided on the church wedding thing, and found our vendors.  The big decisions were made and we thought things were going to get easier.  And then we came to the guest list.  That’s where things got really interesting for the adoptee recently in reunion.

I love my sisters.  They are a huge part of my life, and I couldn’t imagine getting married without them there.  However, we’d only been communicating for a year.  They hadn’t met anyone in my adoptive family because there just wasn’t time.  We had a huge decision to make when it came to inviting them or not.  And there was also the question of my natural parents.  Do we invite them or don’t we?
As a little girl, whenever I pictured reunion, I always assumed that it would happen before I got married (which actually now that I think of it was something I wasn’t actually expecting at all).  I imagined my natural parents there when I walked down the aisle.  It was something that just went with my childhood fantasies.  One of the things I was most excited about when things were good with my natural father was that at least my natural parents would be at my wedding when my husband and I eventually got married.  I was excited about it!  Then when things changed, it got a lot harder to deal with.  Getting engaged when we did made things even more challenging.

My husband is an amazing person and has been wonderful throughout the entire process.  But he’s also been holding my hand through the entire process.  Which means he’s seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And it was his day, just as much as it was mine.  So when he asked to talk to me about something serious regarding the wedding, it wasn’t a total shock to me that he wanted to ask that we not invite my natural parents.  He had seen them hurt me too many times, had a pretty good read on how well it would go over with my adoptive family, and just didn’t want to deal with it on our wedding day.  I couldn’t blame him one bit because to be honest, I didn’t really want to deal with it either.  I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like for me to have to deal with all of that on my wedding day, especially where we weren’t really even talking at that point.  Why put myself through that for two people who weren’t honest with my other family members about me?  And would they even want to come (probably not)?

We agreed that my natural parents would remain off the guest list.  It should have been an easy decision, but it wasn’t.  I still feel guilty about it, but it’s done and over with now.  We did however agree that my natural sisters would be on the guest list.  It would be OK if they didn’t want to come, but we wanted to invite them anyway.  Because they were worth any potential drama and any blowback.  My husband had met them, really liked them, and saw how happy they make me.  He saw how much effort they put in with me, and appreciated it.  And we both couldn’t imagine our day without them.

My adoptive family wasn’t as thrilled with that decision as I had hoped they would be.  My adoptive parents weren’t all that jazzed about it, but agreed to meet them beforehand.  Things went pretty well all things considered and I think it made everyone feel just a bit more comfortable.  My adoptive sister refused to meet them and stopped talking to me for three weeks leading up to the wedding.  She came around eventually as it was something that she had to deal with on her own and things went smoothly as far as I know (to be honest, I don’t know if they met at the wedding).  I only told a few people in my extended family about the decision to invite them, and word spread like wildfire.  A few people were not aware and apparently it lead to a few funny moments at the church.  It happens.  From what I’ve gathered, the majority of my family was excited to meet them and was very happy about everything.  A few were not as excited as I would have liked, but again, that’s something they really have to work out on their own.

In the end, I’m so happy that we made the decision to have my sisters at our wedding.  It was a once in a lifetime event and it was something that I wanted to share with them.  They are a huge part of my life and a part of my future, a future that will contain many events where they might have the opportunity to mingle with another side of my family.  And weddings are supposed to be about the blending of families anyway.  So really, it all worked out well in the end.  Nothing is ever 100% perfect, but we made do with what we could and went from there.  I can only imagine with the future will hold, but my future will contain photographs of me with my sisters on my wedding day, as it should.  Because we looked amazing together and we were all so happy.  I couldn’t have asked for anything more.