AITA refusing to attend my sister's wedding for excluding my stepdaughter

  1. Exactly that's what frustrates me so much. I don't understand how they don't see it. And I wish I knew, I certainly hope Nat and I weren't like that.

  2. NTA, and adding to this comment that the girl your sister is trying to exclude is 14 - Generally over the age of acceptance for "Child Free" weddings. The point is to keep out babies and little kids who would cause a disturbance, most 14 year old's are capable of behaving for formal cerimonies.

  3. It's like kryptonite for rational thinking, responses, entitlement, emotions...did I miss anything?

  4. I think with some, they are just dropping their guard and letting their nasty personalities out. No one can go from kind to nasty like that, even with the stress of the wedding. Just true colours emerging.

  5. It's also absolutely ridiculous that a fourteen year old is being considered a child here. A fourteen year old won't have any trouble sitting quietly through the ceremony.

  6. I would even say "May have decided it's more important to show rejection to a teenage girl rather than having me at the wedding".

  7. THIS. While I find May's insistence that step-daughter is excluded from the wedding pretty appalling, I also am bewildered by her reaction and OP's families after he declined. OP is accommodating her wishes and doing the best for his family, and May has the audacity to be angry. I wonder if she was always this unreasonable.

  8. Exactly. May and my parents keep saying it's not that, that it's reasonable because she's not in the wedding party. But choosing for her to be the only family not present is clearly a rejection.

  9. Your sister's an asshole, and a massive one at that. You're a solid dude for sticking up for your daughter, whether she's related by blood or not. Fuck anyone who says otherwise.

  10. If there are going to be other children attending (under 18, say) then singling out Marissa as the only child not invited is cruel. The optics are especially horrible if the bride wants to use Marissa's sister Alicia as the flowergirl.

  11. She does have a son, but he's biological so won't have this issue. He, like Alicia and my nephews are exceptions since they have a role. I definitely think it's a horrible decision, but given my family's reaction I'm not sure everyone agrees with the optics we see.

  12. It's odd to me, when I think of child free weddings I usually think of no toddlers or babies. A 14 year old is well beyond old enough to handle themselves in a mature manner at a wedding.

  13. Nat would have. She's too willing to let things go sometimes I think. If I didn't fight she would be willing to just accept it even though she doesn't like it.

  14. Yes this will repeat at every "family" holiday event. "I didn't get her a gift because she's not family". "Only children who are part of the family are welcome to come look at Christmas lights with us". "I had a limited number of guest passes so only the children I am related to are welcome to come with us to the zoo". This behavior will be repeated by his extended family in perpetuity.

  15. NTA and she's excluding her for no reason. Child free weddings usually have no one under a certain age that would require any sort of baby sitter or way to entertain them. At 14, she's far beyond that age, plus her entire family is going but she can't? Your susters dismissal of not knowing her well is a good reason to not have her in the bridal party, it is not a good reason to leave a teenager home alone while everyone else celebrates with her family.

  16. Her wedding, her choice. Thankfully, you are being a good human and good stepdad by exercising your choice to not allow her to exclude someone in an already precarious position. Child free weddings are great but this clearly not child free and 14 years old hardly counts as a child. 6 year old is the one that's going to interrupt the ceremony or have cause a scene during the reception. Blended families are tough but your sis seems like a bridezilla at best and nasty person at worst

  17. It's not a child free wedding if there are going to be certain hand selected children there. Having an actual child free wedding is fine (provided you understand that most people with kids aren't willing to sacrifice their limited babysitter time/budget for your wedding). Having a wedding where you hand select certain children to be your photo props and then resent them being there the rest of the time is what May is doing isn't.

  18. NTA. Marissa is your daughter. This sends the message that your sister doesn't see it that way. It must hurt her that her aunt doesn't see her as family.

  19. NTA, I'd understand if there were like three flowerkids and those were the only exception, but it sounds like there are quite a lot of them and excluding Marissa seems like it's against her specifically. If I were in your position, I also wouldn't attend.

  20. There are only four kids, to be fair. I have three nephews. Her son is obviously involved. One nephew is the ring bearer, and the other is with Alicia. They all have roles, so she says it's not about excluding Marissa, which is stupid since she decided the roles imo. But she says it's different. I definitely agree with what you wrote though, and obviously don't plan to attend.

  21. NAH. I can see both sides here and I don't think there are easy choices here. On the one hand I can see why your sister has no attachment to a kid that has been in her life for less than 3 years which she likely has little to no interaction with.

  22. “On the one hand I can see why your sister has no attachment to a kid that has been in her life for less than 3 years which she likely has little to no interaction with.”

  23. Talk about unreasonable! Your sister "thinks we'll enough" of you to want you to be in the wedding party, your daughter to be in the wedding party, but not enough of you to put out a chair for us our stepdaughter when you ask? Fourteen is not so child as to ruin a "child-free" wedding, NTA

  24. NTA your sister sounds like the traditional "mean girl", hurting people for their own amusement. Your family sticking up for her shows where she gets that behavior from.

  25. NTA, if she wants the flower girl, she needs to invite the flower girl's family. There is no way at a "child free event" she can invite your 6yo and not your 14yo. She is clearly clueless.

  26. NTA! Your doing the right thing Marrisa is your family full stop. I actually love how your standing your ground with this.

  27. NTA Your sister is being unreasonable. 14 is an odd age to include in the wedding party and she sorta has a point that it's a newer relationship, but at the very least Marissa should attend the wedding. It isn't truly childfree, so excluding one and only one niece is just mean. If your sister was supportive and a nice person, she'd find some way to include her.

  28. NTA - why not propose that Marissa be the "official wrangler" for the nephews and your daughter as an older influence to keep the peace before and after the wedding? That way she would be included and the parents could have a little down time with a wedding baby sitter. And I don't mean completely dumping responsibility on a 14 yo, but letting her use her status as older sister help the entire wedding party out. Worth a shot.

  29. NTA Your sister has no problem separating your family. Tell her in all good conscience that you can't do that to them and wont explain to the kids why one is invited and one is not. Once we become parents, our children are supposed to be our priority.

  30. Respectfully no… He is saying his step daughter should be able to attend because otherwise she’s the only member of his household not invited. He’s also saying that while he’s hurt his sister disagrees he respects her choice. It’s HIS choice whether or not he attends, that’s how this works. The sister is the AH because she put a child free invite to her brother and is mad that he will not attend because of the restriction… I really don’t see how he’s an asshole at all. To reiterate, he isn’t asking that his step daughter be part of the wedding itself, just a guest.

  31. The thing that does it for me is that not inviting Marissa will actually hurt a young girl and make her feel excluded from the rest of her family while inviting Marissa will hurt nobody other than maybe the bride and groom's budget because they will have to add one guest to the list.

  32. Um, OP is just asking that his daughter, who's a teenager, not a child, be a guest at his sister's wedding. Doesn't seem like he's asking that she be treated like the bio kids.

  33. Stepdaughter’s dad’s sister has a completely different relationship to OP’s bio daughter than OP has to his stepdaughter. If he was married to OP’s ex-wife, than it’d match, but he’s not, so you wouldn’t expect the same treatment.

  34. Strongly disagree. There is no nuance. OP's sister is excluding OP's daughter, in a situation where all her blood-related nieces and nephews are included.

  35. NTA but your entire family appears to be AH's. Of course this will hurt Marissa and you are not trying to force your sister to change her mind. You are simply making a decision about what's best for YOUR family in regard to her rules. Shame on your sister and your parents for trying to pressure you.

  36. NTA. Not inviting Marisa to the wedding, is your sister's way of sending her a very clear message: "You're not family and you never will be." I'm hoping your family is reacting that way just because they're operating under the "bride's rules" thing and not because they agree with her sentiment.

  37. NTA. She can absolutely make her own choices, but she needs to understand those choices may have consequences. It's just mean to exclude your stepdaughter simply because she doesn't know her that well. She's part of the family! I'm glad you're supporting Marissa.

  38. NTA. Everyone has the right to organize their wedding how they see fit. But if they think everyone has to be ok with it, they are delusional. I am going to have a child free wedding and completely understand people who don't want to come without their kids. They will be missed but I respect their decision.

  39. NTA. Now I would understand if she was a toddler or very badly behaved. But a 14 year old should really not be an issue.

  40. NTA You are being entirely reasonable-especially the part where you are refusing to engage and just repeating that you will not attend.

  41. NTA. You are a good stepfather. This is the way to make sure both of your children are feeling and treated like they’re equals.

  42. NTA. Like your family says: It's May's choice who gets to attend her wedding. It's also your choice whether to attend her wedding. You've explained that you are not attending if you can only bring one of your children to a "childfree" wedding that has a lot of children running around. That your sister "barely knows" Marissa says more about your sister than your stepdaughter. Personally I'd tell your entire family that your not attending the wedding and that if they don't start treating Marissa as your child, then they'll "barely know" either of your children going forward. Good for you for sticking up for Marissa.

  43. NTA It’s your sister that’s choosing this hill to die on. It seems so strange that she’s creating such an issue about inviting one of her nieces. And 14 is not a young child, so the argument about children at the wedding (and the mess and noise they create) really does not apply to a teenager. Your sister is just being ridiculous.

  44. NTA. Children aren't props, and to suggest that they should only attend her wedding if they have a role in her pretty princess day is merely objectifying them. Have a kid-free wedding or sont, but it needs to be applied across the board. To leave out your stepdaughter because she can't be a prop is gross. I wouldn't attend and I'd pull my daughter from the flower girl role if I were you.

  45. NTA. Thank you with my entire being for not letting this fly. I was treated like this all the time. My dad never protected me. Do not give in to the bs. Protect her.

  46. Usually people who want a child free wedding are trying to avoid babies screaming during the ceremony or super cute and fun kids taking the spotlight away from them. A 14 year old is unlikely to do either.

  47. NTA. Just how your sister May is free to decide who comes to her wedding, you are free to decide her rules are only in place to exclude your daughter and thus refuse to go.

  48. NTA - your sister is well within her boundaries to say certain people cannot come, her wedding her decision. But those decisions have consequences and you are well within your rights not to attend if only one of your daughters is invited. If you put stipulations in place that a wedding is child free, you have to accept that some people will not be able to attend and be ok with that!

  49. NTA, her not being blood related family might not be the reason Marissa is not invited but how much of an asshole can you be to invite the entire family except one?!

  50. NTA. Also, it’s not like Marissa is a little kid. This isn’t a situation where the venue is 21+, so normally teenagers are a gray area anyways for “no kids”. This is weird behavior.

  51. Yeah, whenever I’ve heard “child free” I’ve always just assumed like younger than 10, or maybe toddlers? A teenager, unless they are just horribly behaved/violent/whatever shouldn’t even be thought about as a child in regard to “child free” weddings. It’s just really odd.

  52. NTA I wouldn't want to go either. May is being nasty and mean to a 14 year old child. Child free is fine if it was actually a child free wedding but it's not because all the nieces and nephews are going apart from her. It's just mean.

  53. NTA. And this is something you should fight for. Marissa needs to see the adults in her life standing up for her. She’s part of your family. It’s unacceptable for anyone to be excluded her. If you don’t stand up for her she’s going to know there are situations where you agree that she’s not welcome because she’s not “real family”.

  54. NTA. Good for you for going out to bat for your daughter. A lot of step families, including your sister, could learn from this.

  55. NTA-Marissa is under your roof and very much your family. I would die on this hill, have died on this hill, and I have an amazing blended family ti prove it.

  56. you are SO NTA. that is the cruelest thing i’ve ever heard! Marissa is 14 not 4!! she’ll know she’s being excluded and that is so hurtful. plus she’s almost a young woman. it’s not like she’s gonna be misbehaving. your sister is being mean spirited for some reason and i can’t believe your family is on her side. stick to your guns. i think it would be cruel to exclude Marissa from this large and joyous family occasion. if they can’t see the truth in that, then they’re kinda heartless

  57. "She can make her choice, and I can make mine." You're so coolllllllllllllll 😎😎 Nice one. If you did not support your stepdaughter now, she might remember it forever and thought you're just pretending to accept her.

  58. OP, you might also want to tell all your sister's supporters in this assholery that you're going NC with them for the foreseeable future, since supporting this is as bad as coming up with it.

  59. NTA, and I think standing your ground here is important not so much because of what’s ok or not okay for brides to do with their weddings, but because of the message it will send to your stepdaughter! That’s absolutely invaluable, especially at FOURTEEN! That kid will benefit from this show of family solidarity SO DEEPLY!

  60. NTA Marissa isn’t a child, but a teen capable of behaving and not being disruptive. And you are correct that May can make her decisions and so can you. It is great you are putting your family first. Everyone draws lines and accepts the consequences. Stay strong.

  61. NTA don’t give in don’t fight about it just keep saying no my family will not be attending until my whole family can be there but not just be there to be welcomed. You sound like a good step dad and a good husband don’t feel like you’re not just because your family can’t see what harm they are causing. It is her right because it is her wedding but you’re spot in by saying I don’t have to support this. My brother married a women who already has a son and my other brothers and I accept him and treat him like every other nephew and niece. I hope your sister comes around but if not don’t feel bad for not attending

  62. That's true its her choice to whom to call, she might not be that close to marrisa. But its your choice completely to not attend marriage without your daughter.

  63. NTA OP and good for for sticking up for your step daughter. Too many step parents treat the children like second class citizens. If your family is ok with May excluding Marissa then I say good riddance. At 14 Marissa is old enough to know she’s being excluded and be devastated by it.

  64. NTA. People can be free to say they don't want kids at their wedding, but they cannot pick and choose to only have certain kids from certain families, and they also cannot be mad if their no child policy means that people with kids cannot attend as a result of their policy.

  65. NTA. Stand your ground. If you're close to her like to a daughter, the rest of the family needs to treat her like your daughter, too.

  66. NTA and you are a star for sticking up for your step daughter and making her feel that she is equally valued in the family.

  67. NTA, and much respect to you for standing up for Marissa. Your sister could easily give Marissa a role (guestbook attendant, etc.) and chooses not to do so despite knowing (about) her for 2+ years. Besides, Marissa is 14, not 4. May's actions are at fault here, not yours. Good luck!

  68. Not sure what it’s like wherever you are in the world, but where I am from, with wedding receptions, children are considered anyone under 12. Older than that, and you pay for an adult meal etc. Not sure if it’s relevant to your situation, but if it is, maybe bring this up with her, and point out that from a catering perspective, she would actually be considered an adult. And that might actually be a way for her to answer any other guests who have enquirers about why their kids couldn’t attend. Like other people have said, 14 year olds do not require the type of supervision that you get children do.

  69. NTA I was all prepared to say you were TA cause I thought it would be another post about a sibling trying to force another sibling to include their kid in the wedding itself. However, you just want the poor kid to get an invite! Sheesh! Your sister is in the wrong here. I get the no kids thing etc but she’s involving all of her nieces and nephews and excluding only your daughter from a basic invitation. I get not having her in the wedding but to expect you guys to leave her home while half the family is literally in the wedding? That’s disgusting.

  70. NTA. Oh I wanted to say YTA when I read the title but wow. Nope. Not at all. Seems like you and your partner are working hard to blend your families and your family isn’t being supportive PLUS she’s 14. It’s not like she’s a kid. NTA all the way and this is a hill you should die on.

  71. NTA for me because she is just being wrong right there and nothing can be worse than doing that shit with your own brother, you are doing so right my man.

  72. NTA well done for standing up for your stepdaughter. and like you said it's your sister's wedding and she can do as she wishes but then so can you

  73. No it's not. What's important is how a 14 year old feels when her entire family gets dressed up for a fancy party and leaves her at home.

  74. NTA. Good for you for going out to bat for your daughter. A lot of step families, including your sister, could learn from this.

  75. NTA. I had my sister’s stepdaughter in my wedding as a junior bridesmaid. She was 12. She walked with her dad and it was adorable. I actually didn’t have her biological daughter in it as she was 3 at the time.

  76. NTA. You are in the process of creating a new family, your existing family is not acknowledging that and actually putting up a wall to that happening. They are asking you to separate the family you are trying to create. I think you taking a stand for the family you are building is fantastic and hopefully will show your wife and daughter how serious you are and create an even tighter bond. Family is important, and your nuclear family is even more important. I say good job and stick to your guns!

  77. NTA - 14 is old enough that considering her a child in this situation is a grey area anyway, since she should be able to take care of herself and not cause any disruptions. Weird to prioritize excluding her so much. Obviously your sister is the AH. But, have you thought about trying to compromise and have both of them at the ceremony and not the reception. Or even all the nieces and nephews only at the ceremony and not the reception? I’d assume that’d be incredibly boring for her (and all the kids really), especially without really knowing people there.

  78. Nta. But have you asked Marissa how she feels about it or if she even wanted to go? Sometimes teens get caught up in this and no one thinks to ask them what they want or how they feel about it.

  79. NTA, yes it's May's choice who she invites to her wedding, and it's the invitees choice to attend or not. Your point about not treating your step daughter like an outsider to the family is important, and if your family can't see that, they are part of the problem.

  80. We went through same and gave in. I still regret that decision to this day. Plan a weekend away and stick to your guns. She could have made them both flower girls. She’s not making an attempt to build a bridge or be a good aunt.

  81. NTA. Good for you for sticking up for your step-daughter here. She would be crushed if she had to stay home while the rest of the family went to the wedding. And she’s 14 - not even a young child that has to be supervised closely. Your sister is 100% TA for even putting you in this position.

  82. NTA. This child is 14. If she were the only one like under 3 I could MAYBE see not including a younger child likely to be disruptive. It just seems malicious and mean spirited to exclude one child like this. Honestly, I wouldn’t allow my kid to be hurt and excluded and made to feel lesser. We’d all be pulling out and skipping it.

  83. NTA…she’s 14 and hardly a “kid” any more that would screw up a wedding! Your sister sounds like a bully or bridezilla in this case.

  84. NTA - Your sister is, though. Excluding just one niece is plain ridiculous, and if YOU have accepted her as your daughter, that Marissa is her niece.

  85. It is her right to invite whom she wants there. It is your right to accept or decline the invitation. NTA

  86. NTA. It’s May’s right to invite who she wants to her wedding, just as it’s your right to not attend. How could you possible explain this to Marissa? “Sorry but we’re all invited except you because my sister doesn’t see you as part of the family”? That’s horrible. That’s incredibly damaging.

  87. NTA. Do not waiver on this stance. Your daughters need you to stand for them. I’m a second parent too, my boys didn’t come from my body, they are my children. I will never allow them to be excluded from any family activity just bc of DNA.

  88. NTA - and good for you for standing up for your stepdaughter. That is the far more important issue in this situation. Including all but one member of a family - especially of a close relative - just isn’t right.

  89. NTA. She has a right to not invite her, but her choices have consequences. It's unfair to leave one child at home when everyone else is involved (or invited) somehow. She's 14, so she's a teen. I'm sure she'll be more behaved than the others, truth be told.

  90. NTA. Like you said yourself, she made a decision for her wedding which is fine, but at the same time you are under no obligation to attend if you disagree with her decision.

  91. NTA & thank you for being a good step parent. You said it perfectly- your sister has a right to make her choices, & so do you.

  92. NTA merely for fact yes it is May's choice. But you also get to make a choice in coming or not. The only choice that matters isn't only your sisters.

  93. NTA. I wouldn’t bring part of my family either. Either all of us or none of us. That crap that it’s “her choice” is complete bs! That’s such a cop out. Brides/grooms will use that excuse for anything & everything. 🙄 You guys should plan a little weekend getaway & have some family fun! 🏖🏕🎡

  94. Tell your family to grow the F up. Omg, to exclude Marissa is just awful. I can’t believe that your family is okay with that! Your sister is totally TA. Stay strong for your daughter!!! 🥰

  95. NTA, you are advocating for your step-daughter. I find it odd that your sister is excluding your step-daughter, it seems cruel. Your family is putting pressure on you to comply with your sister to keep the peace, but you don't have to back down. This is a hill to fight for, letting your sister and the rest of your family that your step-daughter is an important part of the family and you won't tolerate them excluding her. Hero stepdad and dad.

  96. NTA. Your step-daughter is being intentionally excluded by your sister. Your sister is welcome to not invite your step-daughter but she needs to accept that this means that you are welcome to not attend because of that

  97. NTA. Your step daughter deserves to be treated like family because she IS family. You’re doing the right thing to stand up for her.

  98. She’s 14 so even if. I kids she’s not exactly gonna have a temper tantrum in middle of vows or running about screaming. She is for some unknown reason purposely excluding her NTA

  99. NTA. Who needs friends and family like that? The fact they’ve excluded someone just because they’re a step. When you marry into a family, expect to include step relatives too.

  100. NTA. If she’s inviting her nieces and nephews then she needs to invite all nieces and nephews; excluding one child when their own siblings are going is unnecessarily cruel and sends a direct message that your stepdaughter isn’t “real” family, which is hurtful to her and disrespectful to you and your biological daughter. You love your stepdaughter as your daughter, your bio daughter loves your stepdaughter as a sister; those relationships are important.

  101. This is so bizarre because it’s not about some kids going and others not being able to but that the sister is excluding just one of OPs kids. I couldn’t imagine someone telling me my youngest could come to something but my oldest had to stay home. What?!! No! NTA.

  102. NTA, your feelings are completely justified. If anything, May is TA. It's not common sense for May to allow all nieces and nephews to her wedding but exclude Marissa. Especially when the way she's defending her actions is unreasonable.

  103. NTA - Please stick to your guns and refuse to attend if they do not allow Marissa to attend. Not only does it send a message to your family, it also sends a message to Marissa (and by extension your wife and Alicia) that you are a package deal.

  104. NTA. I would do as you suggested: stay home with your family on the day of May’s wedding. Or take a weekend trip together. I couldn’t attend May’s wedding knowing that Marissa is home alone for no reason. And, I don’t consider 14 a child at a wedding.

  105. NTA. Your sister is being WILDLY unreasonable. She's not even a little kid, there's a point where "Sorry, the wedding is child free" becomes absurd and 14 or 15 is about it. Like, in terms of wedding behavior what's the difference between 14 and 18? Inability to drive? Lowered likelihood of wanting to drink underage? It's ridiculously obvious how targeted this is at Marissa not being biological family.

  106. NTA! If cousins are all invited then your daughter gets one too! So sick of brides acting like c-words and thinking no rules apply to them cause it's their day! Grow up! You are not the first person to ever marry! Don't be an asshole is a good rule for ALL!

  107. NTA. I understand wanting a child free wedding but if your other child and you are in the wedding I don’t see the big deal about making an exception. Especially because your stepdaughter is 14, she isn’t a small child that needs the constant attention of an adult.

  108. She is blatantly treating her differently. She is a massive arsehole and it's unfair to your daughter. She is free to make her own decisions over her wedding, but also feel free to not turn up in support of BOTH of your girls

  109. NTA WTF is she expecting, maybe she's not his biological daughter but still his daughter. It's not normal that a stepdad is treating his stepdaughter that equal to his daughter, so why won't she accept that if one daughter can come then the other one is also coming. In fact she is the one beeing selfish.

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