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Ask Lisi: Cutting a wedding list creates a cousin crisis

Call your cousin back, apologize for your knee-jerk reaction, and explain the tightrope you’re walking with the wedding guestlist.
Lisi Tesher, for Ask Ellie column

Dear Lisi: I’m getting married next month in a ceremony with less than 100 guests. As an Italian, that’s small and intimate.

It’s about the venue and the capacity of guests they can manage. My fiancé and I loved it so much, we decided to risk the family fury.

Our first cut were fourth cousins on both sides. I’m not kidding. Then third cousins. Then the children of second cousins. Finally, we decided on no children unless they were babes in arms because they don’t increase the head count, and we understand that it’s hard to leave a breastfeeding baby.

We were doing well cutting our list and no one was upset. Most people were thrilled to get a night away from the children. This left us room for our immediate families, our close extended families and our friends. Time to make the seating plan.

Then I get a call from one of my cousins that her boyfriend can’t make it, so she’s going to bring her 12-year-old son. She caught me off-guard, and I immediately responded negatively. I knew I hurt her feelings as soon as I spoke, but I was taken aback. This wedding is costing us a fortune. I want to spend my money on the people I want to be there, not just someone to fill a chair.

Now she’s not talking to me, and I don’t know if she’s coming, with or without her son. What do I do?

Wedding weary

You call her back, apologize for your knee-jerk reaction, and explain the tricky tightrope you’re walking with regards to who is, and who isn’t, invited. Tell her in no uncertain terms that you really want her to be there but explain why it wouldn’t be “fair” for her to bring her son. He’ll also hate it since there won’t be any kids there. Then make sure she’s at a fun table with people she knows.

FEEDBACK Regarding the neighbour who overshares (March 25):

Reader – “I haven’t been in contact with many people, nor do I have any support from other women in my life, or friends who let me vent or give me emotional support. This has been especially true during the last three years of the pandemic.

“I grew up in Quebec where people seem to be more forthcoming; casual co-workers or acquaintances show some interest or caring for other people. I guess it’s a matter of boundaries and self-interest.

“Her response really affected me and now I feel I’m going to be superficial with people on the street, or people I work with in the future.

“It’s a shame that this person can’t see through the pain and the need of another human being, that a bit of listening could really help her day. She’s not asking her to do anything; she just wants somebody to talk to.”

Lisi Tesher is an advice columnist based in Toronto. Send your questions to [email protected]