Brides Dream: All Weddings are Royal Weddings

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All weddings are royal weddingsThe much-anticipated royal wedding that will unite Prince William and commoner Kate Middleton on Friday has me remembering all the pressure and drama that swirled around my first wedding.

If all brides are beautiful, then all weddings should feel like a royal wedding.

My expectations were no different. I was 26 and relatively poor and had no expectations that my family would be paying for anything. My husband to be and I developed a conservative plan to invite less than 40 people to Yosemite where we were wed in the chapel on the valley floor.

I was amazed that my dad and my stepmother offered to host the wedding supper at The Awanhee — a historic destination set in the middle of Yosemite Park.

At the time I was not speaking to my mother, nor had I for several years, which meant that my fiancé had never met or spoken to her. (If you have a daughter, please tell her never to marry anyone without each examining the others relatives up close.) It came to pass that my dad asked me to invite my mother to the wedding and for a long time I argued with him about it.

His philosophy was that a wedding should be inclusive because, really, there are only a few per family, so no one should be excluded. He kept saying, “She’s your mother…” holding his imperfect hands out to further plead with me.

I think every bride — probably even Kate Middleton — agonizes over her wedding guest list. They lose sleep over the seating chart. And certainly every bride harbors feelings of dread for that one guest, whether it’s an ex-boyfriend, ex-boss, or someone who’s rooting for you to trip on your slip. Heaven help her if she’s dealing with a toxic mom.

My father insisted I invite my toxic mom and I caved, reluctantly mailing off a wedding invitation. When my mother called with her regrets, she said she supposed I’d need money from her anyway. I said I didn’t. Certainly, she would need to pay for my wedding dress, she speculated. Actually, I had picked out and paid for my own dress at the Laura Ashley shop on Union Street.

kate middleton imagesShe switched gears and began to tear down my wedding plans, the location, and the small number of guests. Our conversation caught my fiancé’s attention and being a calm sort he took the phone to reason with my mother. In less than 90 seconds HE was shouting back at her and I motioned for him to just stop and hang up.

On the day of the wedding, no one expected my mother and yet she and her boyfriend flew up in a small plane he piloted. We made room for them at the family table and my mother commenced to drink. My dad was so funny. He described her later as drinking like a sailor with a hollow leg.

“When she stood up, the room tipped on her,” he said with the same upturned hands and shrug of the shoulders that he used to compel me to invite her in the first place. “It wasn’t her fault that she tipped over.”

Two men in tuxedos carried her out, each holding her under the arm. Her little feet flicked without touching the ground, like Tinkerbell.

Months later, when we all caught our breath, my step-mom joked that the lesson learned was that you should never extend an invitation to someone you don’t actually want to see.

Kate middleton engagement ringIf I had it to do over again, I would have held my ground and withheld the invitation.

I’m happy for most famous bride in the universe and plan to set my alarm to watch Kate and William’s royal wedding. Obviously Kate Middleton has a great relationship with her mom who could never be mistaken for a toxic mom.

But there are plenty of brides out there dealing with toxic moms and they need to know that they can control the experience they have at their own wedding. I hope that any bride dealing with a toxic mom discovers this post before they cry, tear their hair out or elope.

Rayne Wolfe’s dream is to write her first book Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter by the end of 2011. She completed her dream journey May of 2011 on 8WD after a year living her dream. You can find her at Toxic Mom Toolkit on Facebook.

  • rudy56

    What a great blog and revealing post.

  • Marcella

    OK, I’ve got to admit, even though I live here in the U.S., we stayed up all night to see the Royal Wedding live. I clearly remember the last one on TV when I was very young. The world still needs its princesses. I wonder if there were guests in attendance that Kate or William did not want invited……

    • Nadine

      I doubt it. I was reading in the Mail online that people were complaining some policiticians (like Gordon Blair) were not invited. As the wedding was a private affair and not a state affair, they could choose their invitees. They also seem to know extremely well what they want – and don’t want. Did you see the Saturday Night Live show with Elton John and his impersonation of the Queen? Hilarious! He was at the wedding though… Remember the 10 year remembrance William and Harry organized for their mother? I doubt very much they ever let anyone walk all over them. Much can be said about Prince Charles, but he was kind of obliged to marry Princess Diana. And you have to admit, after she died, he took charge and raised two fine boys.
      Yes, we still need a bit of magic and royalty :-D

    • Marcella, I’m still watching what I tivo-d. I think Kate is a great role model and I’m happy for the royal couple. Thanks for reading my blog and for sharing your thoughts… Rayne

  • Nadine

    I’m divorced. The oldest of three daughters, the last one to get married. My mom said if I wasn’t married before I was 30, I would be finished (meaning I’d be too old to find a man). She did not approve of my choice of husband, a divorced older man with two kids. But all I could think of was that I put him to the choice of getting married or finish the relationship because I was convinced I’d end up alone otherwise. I was 27,5 when I got married. I lived 1250 km away from my parents and only saw them on visits in Belgium or them holidaying at my place in the South of France. She was always critizing everything I did. But I didn’t realize yet what a toxic mom was. She became the real toxic mom when I split up with my ex.
    Today still, I hate her for telling me how to live my life already then. I hate myself for trusting and believing her. She had nothing but bad thoughts about me. I found out many years later that when I had a birthmark removed on my back when I was 22, she thought I had an abortion, because later on she thought she saw a birthmark on the same spot. I was a virgin till I was 23… My sisters were not? But because I was the party girl, I was bad. And a whore. (not that she said it, but she made it clear that I had to get serious and behave, and she also made clear what her thoughts were about people who partied too much without referring to me)
    I do hope there is a healthy relationship with a man in the future for me, marriage is of less importance. But I also know that my mom is not included anymore in the important happenings in my life. Because she does not support me nor encourage me to have great happenings in my life. She pushes what she thinks is good – for her.
    Rayne, it is great to read you have such a strong marriage and a supportive husband. I wish my kids will know the same one day.I had to laugh when I read that he calmly took over the phone and within minutes was shouting at your mom. I am a calm person most of the time too. But when I am around my mom, I cannot control my voice. Because she does not listen to what I say. She does not hear. How sad.

  • Carole


    I do not know. We had a huge wedding. Nothing went wrong. And we are still happily married. In fact I love my husband more today (if that is possible) then I did the day we got married. Even if I caved in and invited my mother, she may have ruined the day/wedding (which I am sure she would have), she would never have been able to ruin the marriage.


  • I wanted to invite more people than we did and the wedding list was tapped out at 350. I did it for my mother — the big wedding thing. I have many fond memories of that day, but it didn’t guarantee the marriage would work. Maybe having something go wrong at your wedding — like your mother — means the marriage will be a success?


  • Michael Strutz

    My best man barfed on my shoes before the wedding even started. We aren’t friends today, so maybe I should have thought about not asking him in the first place. Toxicity can come from anyone. It doesn’t have to be exclusively family.

  • Emiko

    I didn’t invite my sister because she always makes a dramatic scene and I just didn’t want to deal with her on my wedding day. We hadn’t spoken in three years anyways so it wasn’t like she even knew I was getting married. Alot of my relatives were shocked by my decision and I am still happy that I didn’t invite her.

  • Carole


    My husband and I lived together for 8.5 yrs before we got married. He knew about my parents. But he never met them. My husband is a very loving, giving, gentle man. I was not about to let any toxic people into his life. He slowly met all my siblings. But I never felt compelled to introduce him to either of my parents.

    When we got married, it was a clear to me that I was not inviting either of my parents. One of my sisters was not happy about my choice. She made it clear that: 1) if my parents did not come she was not sure she would come and 2) she wondered how will feel when I looked at wedding pictures years later and there were none with my parents in them. Well, little did she know, she just validated why I was NOT inviting my parents. I did not want my parents in my wedding pictures.

    This June, it will be 22 yrs that my husband and I have been happily married. I have never regretted for one second that I did not invite either of my parents.

    My sister (along with my 12 other siblings and their family) did show up to our wedding. My oldest brother and my father in law walked me down the aisle. My brother gave me away. Later on in the day my sister told me that she wished she had as much confidence as I did to not invite either parent to her wedding. Until this day she hates looking at her wedding pictures. I keep reminding her the wedding is a few hours. The marriage is (hopefully) a lifetime.