A siblings' hurtful past collided with the present when a familiar face showed up unannounced on a wedding day.
The brother of the bride-to-be found himself confronting their father—who had abandoned them years ago for another woman and had started a family on another continent.
It turns out the unexpected reunion was part of diabolical plan hatched by the bride's resentful cousin.
Redditor "Street-Persimmon" explained that his father left him and his sister when they were 13 and 17, respectively.
The separation was traumatizing.
"My sister never forgave him and the last time she saw him was 12 years ago, in court."
"She got married recently and I was in charge of the whole affair. It was a pretty big wedding as my brother in law comes from a prominent political family."
Cue: the unwelcome reunion.
"On the day of the wedding, my father showed up to her wedding venue, unannounced and uninvited, wife and 3 little kids in tow, who I assume were my biological half siblings."
"As soon as I was intimated about his arrival, I dashed to the entrance (where he stood waiting) and tried to deal with the situation without anyone knowing."
The Original Poster (OP) scrambled to stealthily mitigate the situation.
"I didn't want my sister and mother to know about it as they were in a good mood and I didn't want to ruin that. I also had to attend to some very important guests, and wanted to fix the situation quickly."
He was apprised of the ugly truth behind the sneaky operation.
"it turned out that my sister's former best friend/stepcousin 'Dorothy' contacted our father and gave him a fake story about how my sister really wanted him back in her life and that the only reason she didn't send him an official invite was because of our mother."
"Apparently, he was told that my sister asked Dorothy to send the invite on her behalf."
"It was an awkward situation, I had to explain that Dorothy and my sister had a huge fight last month and my sister ended up severing all ties with her."
"It finally dawned on him that he was used as a pawn to ruin my sister's wedding."
"He was heartbroken, but insisted I allow him into a distant secluded spot to at least view the ceremony from a distance."
"I told him I couldn't do that and asked him to leave before anyone from my mother's family showed up. His wife was furious, and the oldest half sibling silently sobbed."
"I was running out of time, so I asked the hotel security to escort the family out of the venue."
"I felt like an a**hole, but I didn't want my sister's day ruined."
The OP asked Reddit, AITA (Am I the A**hole)?
Many said the father should not have assumed he could waltz back into his daughter's life on the most important day.
"[Not The A**hole] (NTA). When that man walked out on your family, he also walked out on all future birthdays, holidays and yes, weddings."
"This is a very very sad story but you did what was best for your sister and your family, of which that guy is no longer a part of." – oliviaalane
"if you haven't been in your child's life at all- you don't know what is going on so it's probably a good idea to confirm that they actually want you there with someone else."
"Just showing up the day of the wedding- wife and kids in tow- was taking a big chance."
"While he isn't at fault for believing the fake invite- i'm sure there were red flags- stuff like daughter doesn't want anyone else to know you are coming so don't contact anyone, and don't contact her before she just wants you to be there at the wedding, stuff that makes no sense (she'd really want to meet her siblings on the day of the wedding?"
"she'd want that to be happening in the midst of her wedding?)"
"I feel for the half-sibs- their dad put in a bad spot but I can't imagine their weren't flashing warning lights."
"NTA (on both the person issuing the invite and the dad)" – rak1882
"What idiot honestly believes that the daughter you walked out on, to be with the woman whom you cheated on your daughters mother with, and have a whole different family, would ever want you at her wedding?"
"Fine. Let's say the father was that dumb. At the very least you should be confirming it with the daughter that you walked out on, not the daughters friend." – NeDragons
This user believed the father should have given a heads up about attending the wedding after hearing "Dorothy's" story.
"If you heard someone you had been estranged from for 12 years wanted you at their wedding you wouldn't at least email first??"
"'Dear daughter your aunt told me you invited me to your wedding. I'm so thrilled ! I hope we can have a moment before or after to speak privately since I know that will be a busy day for you.'" – turtlehooker12
Redditors saw the father was twice the a**hole for crashing and requesting to stay for the ceremony even after finding out the truth.
"Once he found out that Dorothy lied to get him there, he should have excused himself (from their lives) ((again))" – cheerful_cynic
"I think he's an AH for demanding to be allowed to watch after finding out." – coolhandjennie
Some defensive Redditors said divorces are common and do not make them bad people.
However, this user refused to wholeheartedly accept that notion.
"When people get divorced, they literally walk out on their family unit."
"So yes, he walked out on our family for someone else and became an every other weekend dad to me. Especially at a time when I really needed him home because I was struggling with bullying and dropping grades."
"I'm not blaming parents who get divorced. People get divorced for legitimate reasons. (Abuse, miserable marriage, getting cheated on etc)"
"He left because he was cheating. He could have fought for 50% custody, but he didn't because it was too inconvenient."
"I also hated those visitations. I needed stability during that time and I felt really unsafe and insecure. We had to move out of the house where I lived my whole life." – Street-Persimmon
A handful of readers thought there were loopholes in the OP's story and wondered what the cause of the fallout was between the cousin and the bride.
"The information is all over the place. It sounds like a fan fiction take on Prince Harry/Megan Markle." – advocatecarey
At the end of the day, details were irrelevant.
"As far as the scope of this post goes, none of that really matters in the end."
"He was a pawn, and that sucks for him, but he was not invited to the wedding. Guy didn't have an invitation (plus 4!), so he wasn't getting in." – bruce656
This user said the father was not entirely to blame since he was lied to, and his character had redemptive qualities based on what it took to get him there.
"Not to say you are wrong about your situation; but, the belief that a divorce means you literally walk out on the family is what also leads to miserable marriages with more problems because of something like 'staying together for the kids.'"
"As to the specific event, I am torn. I no longer speak to my father but considering he was misled by someone who was obviously an a-hole, got his hopes up, traveled across literal continents to see his daughter married, I have to go with NAH, except the ex-friend who isn't really the focus of the post." – gland10
"Look, it's what he was asked to do. His daughter cut him out of her life and he was given specific instructions."
"You can say he's dumb."
"But he put in a lot of effort to be there for his daughter that day in the manner he was led to believe she wanted."
"That's exactly what an estranged parent is supposed to do." – AClockworkProfessor
If someone was willing to initiate repairing familial relationships, this was neither the time nor the place to surprise someone. No bride wants family drama as a wedding gift.