“Don’t EXPECT to CHERRY pick a WITHERED branch, FROM a BARREN tree.”

“My father wants to be invited to my vow renewal. I don’t want him there. Miss Wendy what should I do? Am I obligated to invite my parents to my wedding?”

Oh no. Oh no. Here we go again. There are reasons that certain relatives aren’t invited to weddings and vow renewals. What are they? Conflict and chaos. I could add to that parents who were never there for you that suddenly want to “be there” for you although they don’t deserve to be.

I’m going to share with you my parents. Two idiots. One a heroin addict. The other so self involved that he never once put my sisters and I out of the path of his father who sexually abused all three of us for years. Were either of my parents at my weddings? Not just no but hell no.

“You could give some people a free steak dinner and they would still complain that they had to cut and chew it.” Feed yourself first before you starve to death trying to please everyone else.

In old age, I’ve learned wisdom and priorities. In old age, I’ve often been told by family members who weren’t effectively thrown under the bus to “forgive my parents.” How convenient and PS no thanks.

I will never forget about 15 years ago, my father showing up in Texas and expecting my sister or I to move him into our homes. What in the hell was he thinking by assuming either of us “owed him?”

We didn’t owe anyone in our family anything. We left home at 15 with no money, no car, nowhere to go and nothing other than the clothes on our backs. We were found digging in a trash can for food and taken to a homeless shelter. We had run from the abuse of our grandfather that no one in our family would stop from happening. We stopped it by running.

Hard times can define you or empower you. “If the school of hard knocks had a paid internship, we would be rich by now.”

Here’s the deal, if your parents are miserable excuses of being parents, you don’t owe them anything. You certainly don’t owe them being celebrated at your wedding.

Over the years we’ve had clients guilted into inviting their shitty parent or parents. This never ends well. The father in California pretending to have contributed to the expense of his daughters wedding acting like the cock of the walk. The drunken mother at a wedding in Fort Worth barking orders at the groom who nearly divorced his wife over her controlling alcoholic mother. Don’t bring that baggage into your marriage. Save yourself. Cut parasites out of your life, your wedding and your marriage. You will thank me later.

One of my clients contacted me about her husband wanting to move his mother into her home. The background of the bride was shocking. Her mother had given her up for adoption and yet had kept her sister. Her adoptive mother was a hero but this bride kept trying to establish a relationship with her birth mother AKA the zero. Throughout her marriage she had deliberately not established a relationship with the mother in law who over and over again financially helped her husband and effectively her own family. She told me “moving in his mother is a deal breaker. I will get a divorce.” Knowing all the background on this situation, I “enlightened” my bride with a reality check was in order and the truth was going to be ugly. “You had an affair and a child from another man that your husband accepted. You have treated your birth mother like the saint she isn’t. You have chose the wrong people in your life to stand beside. One of the right people was your husband. He has raised your daughter as his own. He is an only child. His mother has always supported him, you and even your surprise of bringing another man’s child into your marriage. Are you prepared to raise three children as a single parent? Are you prepared to think or believe that your worthless birth mother is going to help you now when she has never helped you? You don’t work. Where will you work? What will your future look like? Snap out of it!”

This conversation was last year. The husband had suffered a heart attack. The wife had decided that she “didn’t want to be a nursemaid to her husband.” I had stepped up and stepped in to advise her that marriage isn’t wine and roses. It’s weeds and reality. I forced her to go visit her husband at Baylor. Hell, I even bought flowers and went with her.

Now, let’s go over what your parents expect of you and what they forget you should have been able to expect of them as a child. If your parents were abusive, cut your losses. If your parents allowed you to be abused, cut your losses.

Your wedding is a time and place for friends and family to be present and share your joy. It isn’t a place to invite people “because you felt obligated to invite people you aren’t comfortable being around.” Choose carefully.

All of the people guilt tripping you into believing you owe them need a wake up call. If you need help waking them up, call me. I’ve learned to say no and you can too.