While wedding invitations are often a contentious issue between families at the best of times, one woman’s guest list was made even more controversial when she decided to cut out her own sister.
A bride-to-be from the US who has a severely autistic, and mostly non-verbal sister took to Reddit to reveal why she made the difficult decision to exclude her from her wedding.
She explained that her sister, Anna, ‘can’t comprehend boundaries’ and has taken a liking to the groom, Michael, and will try to ‘lean in to kiss him’ and has ‘really bad shutdowns if she wasn’t allowed to be directly next to him.’
Despite the family trying to explain to Anna why she should give Michael space, she simply doesn’t have the ability to understand that what she’s doing could be invasive.
When the bride explained to her parents that she won’t be including Anna in the wedding, they branded her ‘selfish’, said they wouldn’t be attending, and accused her of choosing ‘some man’ over her sister.
A bride with a disabled sister voiced her complaints of her parents on a Reddit forum after they allow the sister to not have boundaries
Speaking about her upcoming wedding, the bride said ‘I sent out invites last week and I asked that Anna not come. I told my parents I understood that would mean they may not show up but it was just a heads up.’
‘Why no Anna? She has an issue with touching Michael and trying to kiss him. At times when we were at my parents house Anna would try and grab Michael’s hands, try to lean in to kiss him or would have a really bad shutdowns if she wasn’t allowed to be directly next to him.’
‘We’ve tried speaking to her but there’s only so much we can do when she doesn’t really understand. I told my parents I just want one day for Michael to be my partner and not Anna’s comfort person.
They called me selfish and asked how I expected them to agree to something like this. They told me Anna is disabled and may never experience a wedding of her own, and while I have Michael for probably the rest of our lives she’ll have no one, and that Michael and I can be a little more understanding to the reality of her life.’
The anguished bride asked commenters not to be ableist in their comments and placed the blame solely on her parents backs
Commenters were appalled that the bride’s parents weren’t doing more to stop Michael feeling uncomfortable around Anna and even more so that they wouldn’t allow the bride one day to have with Michael for herself.
‘Teaching a child on the spectrum boundaries is sometimes impossible,’ said one person, ‘It’s still the parents’ responsibility to make sure their child is respecting the boundaries of others.’
‘I have a son on the spectrum, and I have had to decline invites a hundred times just because I knew it wasn’t an ideal environment to try to teach him those skills. We would work on it at a different time, and hope the next time we could attend. I would never put my son in a situation that I know he couldn’t succeed, and expect everyone else to deal with it.’
Another said, ‘Your partner deserves to not be sexually harassed every day, but ESPECIALLY on his wedding day.’
Commenters were outraged that the bride’s parents wouldn’t let their daughter’s wedding day be her own
In a later update the bride posted, it became clear that her parents decided she couldn’t bring Michael over to see her parents anymore as a result of decision not to include her sister in her wedding.
‘They said Michael is gonna be family to her and he needs to “get over it”,’ she explained.
‘I suggested they watch the wedding via web and they said that’s not fair and that they deserve to see things in person.’
‘I asked if I could pay for someone with proper credentials to watch her that day while they attention and they asked what I would do when they died and if I’d pawn her off every time.’
The bride told her parents she would always support her sister by paying for a care home but that she wasn’t going to put her life on hold anymore.
She also revealed that her parents called her ‘sick’ when she voiced concerns that their failure to address Anna’s lack of boundaries and how that could affect her future children.
One person a suggested a way that Anna could be involved in the wedding, ‘I would advise you to do what you would do with children: get someone (not guest) to watch her in another room and bring her out briefly at the reception.’
Another added that it was important for the bride to set boundaries for her wedding day.
‘Your parents need to back off and give you some credit for having your own life and not being willing to make everything about them and their misery,’ they wrote.