Dear Annie: I'm getting married in a few months, and I'm paying for everything myself. My parents are divorced and not on good terms, but I have a good relationship with both of them and want them there.
Recently, my mom said she expects me to ask my grandfather (her father) to walk me down the aisle because "he's the one that's really been there for you." I told her no, and, while I love my grandfather, I want my dad to do it. Mom said absolutely not, adding, "That deadbeat doesn't deserve it."
Though I would never throw it in her face, it was Mom who did something wrong and ended my parent's marriage. Ever since then, she has taken every opportunity to tear Dad down and often tells us of how awful he supposedly was to her during their marriage. (She never mentioned any of this before they divorced.)
While I can't know everything that went on between them, I do know my dad is a sweet, kind, gentle man who is well-loved by the entire family. Mom, on the other hand, has several relatives who refuse to speak to her.
The fact is that I want my dad to walk me down the aisle and no one else. It's what I've always dreamed about. But if I do this, I wouldn't put it past my mom to throw a fit right in the middle of the wedding. She can be very manipulative, almost inconsolable, when she doesn't get her way. On the other hand, if I give in and ask my grandfather, it will break my heart and my dad's as well.
Is there any way I can have my dad walk me down the aisle without totally ruining my wedding? -- Bride-to-Be
Dear Bride-to-Be: The way to have your dad walk you down the aisle for your wedding is to have your dad walk you down the aisle for your wedding. Your dad sounds like a good man, and he deserves to walk his daughter down the aisle. Your mom is exhibiting narcissistic behavior and is making your wedding all about what she wants. How unfair, especially when you are paying for everything. Very often, when narcissists don't get their way, they throw fits. Your fear that she will throw a fit or do something to disturb the wedding and embarrass you is justifiable.
Before the ceremony, I would have a meeting with your mother, your fiance and the person who will be marrying the two of you. Your mom needs to be told that this day is not about her and her wishes; it is about the love celebrated between you and your fiance. Perhaps you can create something within the ceremony or reception for your mother to also feel special -- thanking her in a toast or including a favorite poem or prayer of hers.
If she tries to disturb your wedding, you might have to be prepared to ask her to leave or just ignore her. But, hopefully, you can circumvent her creating a scene by communicating your wishes with her directly from the beginning.
Congratulations on your wedding! Wishing you a lifetime of love, joy and laughter.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.