Weddings/Getting married alone and sulking family
Dear Brenda Cascio,
My husband and I have recently gotten married. We come from two neighbor-European countries, and the dream of both of us had always been to marry alone, just the two of us with the witnesses, our best friends. And to go and run through the city the rest of the day, to dance at a club, have a dinner just the 4 of us. My family was ok with it, they were happy with every decision we would make, and they couldn't anyway make it to the wedding on workday, in another country. They were happy for us. And we had the wedding of our dreams.
My husband's family, on the other hand, expected us to respect their expectations - to make a big ceremony, horses and carriages, white crinoline gowns, clowns and baloons, and invite all his family and neighbors. We explained them for several times that it's not what we dreamed of, we tried to make it up by planning to organize a dinner for his family some other day or so, but almost everyone got offended, especially my husband's siblings (6 of them), with whom he doesn't have such a close relationship. When my husband sent them our pics on the wedding day on whatsapp, only one congratulated, others sulked and ignored us, and the eldest brother criticized us for not making a wedding party for them. His parents got ok with our decision although they also wanted a superbig party. The awkward is that when we visited his parents after we married, his siblings were there because of Christmass time, hardly anyone congratulated us. Also, although one of his brothers had already god married before, and, since he informed us a week before and we couldn't attend, we visited them after and brought a gift, we didn't receive any gifts from any of his siblings.
I must add that my parents, siblings and relatives felt happy to give us wedding gifts.
I am not writing because of a some gift-greed. I am just wondering about two things - the first is - does family have a right to sulk because it's member didn't want to organize his wedding as they imagined. The second is - is there maybe an etiquette that, if a couple marries without a wedding party, that the family is not obliged to give them a gift or congratulate? I mean, others in my husband's family will also get married sooner or later, how should we behave after they ignored us?
Thank you for choosing me to answer this question for you. And especially -- Congratulations on your marriage!!! It sounds like it was a wonderful, very special, and intimate day.
To answer your question, I am going to assume one thing -- and that is that you and your husband paid for the wedding with your own money -- his family did not contribute. If that is the case then you have no reason to question the choices that you both made. We often expect others to behave the way that we would if the situation were reversed, but that isn't the case here.
Of course, they should have congratulated you. Of course, they should have given a gift. And of course, though they wanted to share in the event, they should have respected the choice that the two of you made. That's just good manners and common courtesy.
But you asked me if the family has the "right to sulk". Well, yes, they do if there are no laws against it. They have the right to feel and behave the way they want (at least here in the USA). However, even though they have the legal right, it doesn't mean that it is good behavior. Even people that we love, and that love us, let us down, and sometimes it is quite painful and hurtful. Over time, they may come to see that the two of you had every right to choose your wedding celebration. And then again, maybe they won't. But that doesn't impact the blessedness of your marriage. You can choose for this to make it stronger.
Your next question was how do you behave upon their weddings, after being ignored by his family. You may choose to ACT or REACT. By reacting to their behavior, it only demeans and belittles you. If you are a kind and generous person, then behave the way you normally would. Be kind. Be generous. Be loving to his family. They will get over this, and this will not fester and ruin the future relationships.
I wish you many blessings.