Should You Invite a Homophobic Relative to Your Gay Wedding?



It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning a straight, gay or bi wedding – families can make things difficult.  LGBTQ couples have the additional headache of deciding whether or not to invite relatives that don’t support same-sex marriage.  It’s hurtful and it adds additional pressure and stress onto what is already a difficult time of planning. 


When you’re curating your guest list the question is: should you invite a homophobic relative to your gay wedding?  

No – that’s our gut reaction.  

If someone can’t give you 100% love and support on your wedding day, then they shouldn’t be there. For some couples, it’s as straightforward as that.  

But it isn’t always that simple, is it?

It rarely is when family are involved.  Only you can decide whether or not that person (or those people) deserves to be a guest at your wedding.  You hold the power.  You’re the inviter-in-chief.  But before you make a decision, there are a few things that you might like to consider first.



How Homophobic is the Person You Want to Invite to Your Wedding?


Let’s be realistic – there are shades of bigot.  

Not everyone who has an issue with same-sex marriage is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church.  Most people won’t make a scene or a big deal about your nuptials even if they disapprove.

Sometimes with judgemental people in families, the issue isn’t with you or your partner; it’s with the institution of gay marriage.  They’re probably more uncomfortable than homophobic, more unsupportive than anti-gay. It might be a generational thing, a religious thing, an upbringing thing.

Whatever.

It isn’t an excuse but it’s an explanation.  Some people just need the room and time to process that what they have been told all their lives or what they’ve believed about gay people is wrong and ridiculous. We’ve probably all held beliefs at some point in our lives that we’re embarrassed or ashamed of now. The world has changed (or is changing) and they can change with it.  Weddings are usually good PR opportunities.  Invite them and let the warmth, the love, the fun and the support at your wedding be the thing that breaks down their bigotry. 

These are the low to no-risk invites: the people who might be a little uncomfortable but love you enough not to show it. By not inviting these people, you could inadvertently create problems in your relationships with family members or create wider ruptures.  If you want them there, add them to the seating plan.

Then there are the people that you’re not sure about. These might be family members that you haven’t seen in a while or those who’ve openly expressed dismay at your sexuality in the past. They might be people that you want at your wedding or the people that you feel you have to invite.

This is a tricky one.  Maybe these people have changed their tune. Maybe they’ll be fine.  Maybe not.   

If you’re able to, ask them out-right: are you going to have a problem coming to a gay wedding? See what they say.  The answer might surprise you.  A breakdown in communication is frequently the cause of tension between family members, especially at weddings. You have every right to ask them and this gives them an opportunity to respond.


You could ask someone that you both trust, too, perhaps a supportive parent, sibling, cousin, aunt or uncle or friend to broach the subject on your behalf. This may garner a more honest answer.

It’s a tricky one with these people because even if they’d prefer not to attend then they might still expect an invite.  How many couples across the years have heard ‘it would have been nice to have been asked’ when an invitation wasn't forthcoming?

It might also be worth adding a note to your invitations reminding everyone that it is an LGBTQ-inclusive event and that anyone uncomfortable with that should RSVP no.  If nothing else, it might save you paying for someone’s dinner when they really don’t deserve it.

Evening only invites could work, too.

You could task close friends to keep an eye on things as the day proceeds and give them permission to escort any troublemakers away.  Weddings can be boozy affairs and some people forget themselves after a few cocktails.  Your friends shouldn’t be considered bouncers but more your eyes and ears on the day.  They might be able to stop something before it becomes a problem.

Then there’s the third group: the fully paid-up homophobes who have probably been pretty vocal about your relationship since the beginning.  These are the people you probably shouldn’t even send an invitation to.  We say probably only because it’s your big day.  You get the final say but we’d strongly advise you give these people a wide berth and leave them off your list.  They don’t deserve to be there.  You don’t deserve to have such negative people with you on your big day. And anyway, why would they want to go to a same-sex wedding if they dislike gay people so strongly?  To cause trouble, possibly.

You have a duty of care to the other people at your wedding, too. If you’re having a same-sex wedding, then there’s a very good chance that some of the other attendees or members of the wedding party will be homosexual or transgender.  You might get a free pass on your big day but your LGBTQ friends probably won’t. They have the right to celebrate without being the victims of homophobic or transphobic slurs. 

Only you and your partner can decide who to invite to your wedding.

You may have to make some tough decisions.

Planning a wedding is hard enough but negotiating family personalities and loyalties can make it a nightmare.  Accept that you might upset some people but remember that it’s your wedding day and you deserve to celebrate your love surrounded by people who love you. Being related isn’t a free pass into your wedding.

And besides, kicking homophobes off your invite list could do wonders for your wedding budget.

What did you do to protect your wedding from homophobic relatives? Did you have to do anything? 




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