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(4) Preach the gospel of owning one’s choices. You and Fiancée are having a simple D.C. wedding on your dime because that’s what makes sense for you — not because of or in defiance of or anything-else-of her mother.
So, she (and you) can walk that walk without apology, to Mother or anyone else: “Mom, this is what works for us; it’s not personal.” And, “Hm, I hadn’t thought of that. (Change subject.)” And, “Thanks for the suggestion. (Change subject.)”
The fault-finding is Mother’s choice, but the “depressed and angry” is Fiancée’s choice. This is as good a time as any for Fiancée, and you, to adopt a more empowered response.
Dear Carolyn: My favorite niece is planning a very small wedding in a restaurant and the only relatives she is inviting are her mother and father and me.
Another aunt who lives near the bride (I do not) may not be invited, neither will my son, to whom she is also close. I feel guilty that my sister and son cannot be included. Do I attend and not tell them? Do I not go?
Carolyn says: Individual exclusions from big weddings are a dilemma; mass exclusions from tiny weddings are not. Go, enjoy, promise to take good pictures.
E-mail Carolyn Hax at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat with her at 11 a.m. Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.