I never thought I would be writing to you, partly because I'm pretty sure you would kick my wedding's ass (it has cupcakes and pinwheels) and partly because I just never figured anything would go THAT wrong.
Allow me to set the scene: my west coast Canada wedding is in 4 months, my extended family on my dad's side is mostly in Ontario except for one aunt (let's call her Aunt X) and my grandma. My mom recently informed me that my Aunt X was planning to pay for a lot of my extended family from Ontario to come out for my wedding, namely my Uncle and his family and my Grandpa and his girlfriend. Not only is she planning this, she's already spoken with the parties about it.
While it does miff me that she's basically invited people to my wedding when I haven't sent out invitations yet, what worries me more is certain family dynamics that she has ignored or not considered. My dad has a very tumultuous relationship with my Grandpa (his dad), as well as with my Uncle. And my Uncle and my Grandpa have a very tumultuous relationship of their own. My Grandma and my Grandpa are divorced and while my Grandma is much better for it and much happier, I'm not sure if anyone has told her that Aunt X is paying for Grandpa and his girlfriend to come out. My dad is now really worried that my Uncle and Grandpa (both of whom enjoy their booze and aren't exactly happy drunks) might cause a scene at my wedding, and personally I'm a bit worried too. Even though I was planning on inviting both my Uncle and my Grandpa, I wasn't expecting them to come out because I haven't seen either of them in over 15 years and only talk to them at Christmas time when we phone them.
So my question is, how do I ask tactfully Aunt X not to pay for their plane tickets?
Family Issues Bride
If you didn't intend to invite these people, you could gently ask Aunt X to butt the fuck out. But you CAN'T earn points for inviting the extended/estranged family and then turn around and forbid your aunt to pay for their plane tickets.
It's none of your business who pays for the plane tickets. If you don't want them there, don't invite them.
(Photo of Maggie Gyllenhaal by Alice O'Malley for T Magazine via That Obscure Object)