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Family Physician
Family Physician, Internet Researcher
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Wedding set the date in consideration of family

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I have a question about wedding etiquette. I am a MOG. I have found myself in a very difficult place that involves the setting of the wedding date. I hope I am able to explain the situation adequately. My son and his fiance are planning a wedding to take place in Florida where they live (as they should.) I live in Ohio. My dilemma is caused by the fact that I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Fortunately, I am still able to hold a job as a teacher, for the time being. I love travel; however, any kind of travel is very hard on a person with MS (not necessarily all) as it greatly increases the symptoms of MS. Therefore, it is necessary for me to have 2-3 days to rest, especially after air travel. The Bride and Groom have not yet set a date, so I asked if they would set the date during the summer or perhaps over spring break so that I may be in good enough physical condition to attend the the festivities and also, as to not detract attention away from them. MS causes my body to jerk and move involuntarily, especially when tired, often to the point of seizure.  My school district will allow only 3 days off for family weddings.  I may ask for additional time off without pay; however, I cannot afford to do so, as my medical bills are large enough, even with insurance. None-the-less, The Happy Couple insist that the wedding be planned around their schedules, and that it is "unfortunate" but that is what they will do. My son insists every decision is to be made by the bride and NO ONE else. He also informed me that they want a "small" wedding, so therefore, I cannot invite any one from our family. I have appealed to the bride, but she insists that they both agreed to a small wedding and the setting of the date must accommodate her schedule and reiterated that it is "unfortunate," but their plans remain as is. Though set back by her answer, I wished her luck and asked that they take lots of pictures and video to share with me sometime after the wedding.  I have not, nor will ever try to engage her in a struggle for control or in a verbal disagreement. I have only sons (2) and raised them alone, as their father died when they were very young ( 10 & 5 yrs). Needless to say, I am very hurt. I do love and like my future daughter-in-law, greatly, and have not brought up the subject of the wedding again out of respect to her. If she brings it up, I try to keep things light by pleasantly telling her I know as MOG, I'm expected to "speak only when spoken to" and even then, it is with the understanding that my only comment or answer is to be, 'Yes, Dear.'" I believe she is unaware how devastated I am, but my son is quite aware of how distraught I am.  He says he "feels sorry for me" and appreciates how much I have done for him, but he is going to live his life as he chooses, and he chooses not to advocate for me in this matter.  My friends and family are all also quite taken a-back at my son's behavior. Finally, my question is this: Is it unreasonable for me to ask to be accommodated in this fashion so I may attend my own son's wedding and can there possibly be a resolution to this situation? Sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX
I'm sorry to hear of this situation and the stress/hurt that this must have caused you. There is really nothing that you can do at this point to "force" the issue. In fact, the outcome of any pressure on your part to interfere with THEIR day, will only result in a more strained relationship with your son and his future wife.

I would urge you to consider the long-term relationship. Clearly the decision to hold a wedding when it may be difficult to attend is something that will cause some damage to the relationship, but you don't want to cause a permanent schism in the family by "ruining" her plans.

Remember this is really THEIR day. Even as one of the parents, you are a guest. It is not your place to dictate plans. Many people arrange weddings on cruise ships or other venues that are special to the celebrants, but inaccessible to friends and family. You may suggest a 2nd "party" - avoid using the term "reception" for you and your friends/family weeks after their wedding in a location closer to you. This type of double reception is not that uncommon when families are from different parts of the country.
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