We all know the old saying, "You can choose your friends but not your family."
And many of us have much tighter bonds with those we've chosen over those we're connected to by blood.
But what can we reasonably do when planning for a special event? Are we required to invite family? Couldn't we make this easier on everyone and only invite our chosen few instead?
These were some of the questions going through a young bride's mind as she planned for her special day.
After always feeling like the 'black sheep' of the family, Reddit user "Imwaiciiwt," made the tough decision to not send her family wedding invitations or inform them after her wedding.
The bride posted on the "Am I the A**hole?" subReddit, looking for feedback on her decision now that her family knows she got married without them.
She explained first how things have always been in her family.
"So as a kid I (22f) was 'the black sheep' aka I was the emo that everyone in the family made an effort to avoid and that carried on into my adult life (to a lesser extent) but I still wasn't invited to things like weddings and family gatherings (I was however invited to go out clubbing)."
She also shared the moment she realized where she really stood in her family.
"Two years ago I'd invited all my immediate family, my parents, siblings and their kids and my grandparents over for Christmas dinner or after drinks if they had other plans for dinner. Everyone agreed that they would come over and would let me know when they're on their way."
"[Cut] to 9pm and I hadn't heard from anyone but my younger cousin who sent me screenshots of everyone in a whatsapp group agreeing that there was no way they were coming over to my 'dungeon' to sit and listen to 'wist slshing' music' while eating 'lettuce' (we're a vegan household) so I thought ok cool you've all made your choices, I don't NEED any of you and I won't be missed so that's the end of that."
Her feelings also didn't change almost two years later when it was time for her big day.
"Cut to last summer when I married my husband (27). I didn't bother inviting any family but my cousin (and my dad's sister as she's always been the mother figure in my life) as we'd always been chill. [But] I told her I understood if she didn't want to come, as I didn't want to cause tension between her and the goblins, so she FaceTimed me for the ceremony."
Just three weeks ago, the family realized she's been married since last summer, almost a year ago.
"Now three weeks ago my family found out I had gotten married. I guess they went to the group chat and realised none of them had been invited."
"[So] my uncle messaged me 'so after everything we've done for you you couldn't even let us know you were getting married' and then carried on calling me a selfish b***h and such."
"[Not] inviting them was the right choice so I know I'm not the a**hole there but my cousin seems to think I'm the a**hole due to my reply of 'stay mad hoes, I wanted the happiest day of my life to be filled with love, love NONE OF YOU have ever shown me. Don't contact me again' as she believes him messaging me was an attempt to 'reconnect.' AITA?"
She seemed pretty certain, especially after that conversation, that not inviting her family allowed for a much happier wedding day. However, after hearing her cousin's thoughts, she took to Reddit to seek out a second opinion.
Reddit was full of opinions, which were overwhelmingly in support of the bride's decision to not invite her family and to stick up for herself.
"I'd be more like, I was going to tell you about the wedding when you got to my place, but I'm still waiting for you all to arrive. You did say you were all coming........." - OMGYTA
"'I told everyone at my Christmas dinner they were invited to the wedding.'" - CaptainLollygag
"NTA (Not The A**hole). If they carry on send them the screen shot you were sent and ask them why would they be invited to a dungeon wedding full of scary music and lettus as they clearly hate that. 2 faced people are the worst." - Fallout4Addict
"Seriously good idea. NTA (Not The A**hole) and also when they didn't invite you to their weddings and gatherings and [you] people are not close and didn't came to your [event] then why should you invite them?" - avengers21
"I know I've seen and heard of much worse things, but I'm honestly stunned at the casual cruelty of just not showing up for Christmas when they said they would be there. To just... let someone prepare a meal for you and not even tell them you're not going."
"NTA (Not The A**hole). I'm sorry for the s**t family but I'm happy you can see them for what they are." - internetobscure
"NTA (Not The A**hole). They get all upset about it but didn't invite you to things when you were younger? They are hypocrites don't let them get to you." - zoeworley
"They wouldn't [enjoy it]. It was likely a vegan wedding with music they wouldn't like. OP would have made an effort only for no one to show up, just like Christmas."
"OP, I'm with you. Your wedding sounds like it was awesome. There is a sub for estranged adult children. No, you are NTA (Not The A**hole)." - TheOrigRayofSunshine
"'You don't get to pretend I'm not a member of the family for years and then act surprised when I agree with you.'" - rajwebber
Though it can be hard to put our needs first, sometimes we need to, even in the presence of family.
By doing what she did, the bride and groom were able to have a beautiful wedding day, absent of drama and ridicule.
Maybe this will make the family question how they're treating each other, or at least make them reconsider how they're using those group chats.
The book Black Sheep: My Journey from Evangelical Christianity to Atheism is available here.