My Parents Haven't Spoken to Me Since My Wedding—What Should I Do?

Dear Newsweek, My wedding was 10 years ago but it seems it has ruined multiple relationships in my life—and it makes me wonder if it's my fault.

Firstly, my parents. My husband and I paid for our own wedding, so we planned it all ourselves. I was in graduate school at the time and used my summer off to plan every detail. I would excitedly share details of the planning with my parents, and even brought them to the prospective venue. I felt like I was involving them as much as I could, but they continued to insist that I get married in their front garden, which I refused.

They kept asking how much everything was costing and I kept telling them we were paying for it and it didn't matter to them. I grew up without a lot of money and I didn't want to stress them out by asking them to pay for anything. I also didn't want to limit our plans based on what they could afford. I just wanted them to contribute something small, whatever they could. At one point they asked how much the dress was because they wanted to pay for it, and I let them. They also gave us what I thought was a very generous cash gift. I thought we were all good.

They live two and a half hours away and we didn't have the space to host them overnight at the time. I told my mom about the dress appointment so she knew it was happening, but I had already picked out the one I wanted at this point.

Wedding Story
Stock image of a bride and groom on their wedding and an insert of an angry woman. A woman has written in to Newsweek asking for advice after her wedding 10 years ago, which seemed to ruin various relationships in her life. iStock / Getty Images

I really didn't think there was a problem, but when I visited about six months before the wedding, she got very drunk and told me she felt excluded. Now, nearly a decade later, whenever there is a disagreement they always bring up my wedding, telling me my mother cried for days because I didn't invite her dress shopping. I had always been close with my parents, but sadly we don't speak much anymore.

As well as my parents, I also lost a good friend. One of my bridesmaids, Rachel, made the strange decision to wear prescription sunglasses for the outdoor ceremony. My maid of honor asked her to remove them since no one else was wearing them, but she objected, saying they were prescription. I said she should have worn her normal glasses as we were standing under trees so it was shady. Rachel has not spoken to me since and I can't think of another reason.

The third person was my mom's cousin, Joe. He contacted me a week before the wedding and asked if he could come. He offered to take pictures, which I politely declined as when he took photos at my parents' wedding he forgot to take the lens cap off. I said OK to him coming as long as it was OK with the caterer. He then asked if his daughter could come, and then messed me around as to whether she actually was coming. I think it's pretty rude to invite yourself to a wedding in the first place, but even more when he proceeded to get in the way of the photographer, took pictures down women's dresses and harassed female guests all night, before my dad had to tell him to take a time out. I was told about this by numerous people although he denied it. I don't believe him and we haven't spoken to him since.

Even though it was 10 years ago I can't help but wonder if I was in the wrong in all three of these situations.

K, Unknown

Newsweek's "What Should I Do?" offers expert advice to readers. If you have a personal dilemma, let us know via We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work and your story could be featured on WSID at Newsweek.

The Best Thing You Can Do Is Look Forward

Zoe Burke is a leading wedding expert and editor of

Weddings are truly wonderful occasions for bringing people together, but sometimes the pressure and the planning can cause tensions, as well as joy, to bubble up.

It sounds like your parents didn't really understand how you wanted your big day to be, and that's not your fault. Even if something could have been done differently, it's too late to change things now, so the best thing you can do is look forward.

I would recommend apologizing to your parents for not taking them dress shopping, and explain things from your side—that you had already chosen the dress and didn't think they'd make the journey, as it was so long, for a formality.

If you let them know you're hurt that they feel hurt, hopefully they'll feel acknowledged and you can all move past it—life is too short for decade-long strife! If they can't move past it after discussing it and acknowledging everyone's feelings, it might be time to accept that it's their issue and not yours.

For the bridesmaid's glasses, I would say that was one to let go—if she couldn't change her glasses there and then, there wasn't much that could be done. People usually have their reasons, whether anyone else understands or knows them, and if she was doing her duties and wearing her dress, the rest can be let go.

If you want to salvage the relationship, I'd recommend reaching out and explaining how you still feel affected by how things went down—hopefully you can bury the hatchet and move on.

Finally—cousin Joe behaved badly! By the sounds of it, you weren't the only one to address his bad behavior (which definitely started pre-wedding). He doesn't sound like a good person to be around, whether at a wedding or not, so maybe count your lucky stars he's not speaking to you anymore.

Disrespectful Behavior is On Them, Not On You

Peter Lobl is a clinical psychologist specializing in relationship issues with adults and couples, with a private practice in New York City.

Hello K, and thanks for your letter. A wedding is a momentous milestone. It signals a change in societal and legal status, from unmarried to married; it also reflects a readiness to make a lifelong commitment to a partner. Because these changes are so significant, they sometimes trigger 'strange' reactions from friends and family—including even outright disrespect. When that happens at a wedding, however, that strange or disrespectful behavior is on them, not on you.

Take what happened with Rachel. It was indeed strange for her to be wearing those prescription sunglasses during the outside ceremony. Asking her to take them off or wear regular glasses were not big asks. If she then cut off contact with you because of such simple requests, that's on her. As for cousin Joe, his behavior was highly disrespectful and many of your guests also saw it that way. For cousin Joe to act so disrespectfully at your wedding, that's on him.

As for your parents, it sounds like you tried to include them in the wedding planning and balance their preferences with your own. Maybe there were some situations that, in retrospect, you wished you had handled differently. If that's the case, that's normal. Wedding planning involves lots of decisions made under pressure; they're not all going to be perfect.

Still, it is sad that you and your parents don't speak much anymore. I read that your mom felt "excluded." That's what happens when a child gets married: parents will not be included in a new and very important part of their child's life, i.e., their married life.

Hopefully, you and your parents will one day be able to clarify any misunderstandings or miscommunications that took place around your wedding. But if Rachel, cousin Joe, or your parents got triggered by your wedding, that's not on you. You were just getting married and taking that next step in your life.