ASKING THOSE WHO WON'T COME

Weddings have come a long way, baby! 

During our parents' generation, the guest list for your wedding was typically up to your folks. Sure, your good friends were invited, but it was not uncommon to have cousin Mabel who'd been estranged from the family for years, joined by the family's insurance broker, not to mention mom and dad's long list of friends. And, frankly, since they were footing the bill, you were grinning and bearing it. 

Thankfully, times have changed and, not only couples are paying their own wedding way, but the wedding has become a lot less of a display of social connections. Grooms are surrounding themselves by the people who've mattered most to them in their single lives and will be present for them in their wedded life. 

But, that doesn't make the assembly of a guest list anything less than painstaking. Especially when you come across family members and friends who are uncomfortable with or even opposed to your marriage. Now, don't get us wrong, we aren't talking about the openly anti-gay jerk who happens to be in your ranks. He or she can sit this and everything else in your life out. We are referring to those people who have been present for and even supportive of you and your fiancé, but whose religious beliefs might be "in the way," to put it lightly. In fact, it might not be until you start talking marriage that you realize these people hold these beliefs. 

What to do? Should you take them off of your list because you know they won't come? Should you send the invite as a courtesy?


What is the best approach for inviting loved ones that you know disagree with the idea of same-sex marriage? 


Look at this challenge as an opportunity for you and your fiancé to work through one of the many complexities you will take head on as a couple. This is a time to deepen your understanding of each other's values and strengthen those you share as a couple. And, as much as everyone advises to take the high road, which version of the high road will you take as a couple on a matter as important and personal as your wedding day? 

We seldom understand all of the reasons why someone reaches the conclusions they do on the subject of same-sex marriage. We do know when that view is opposed to ours, and to the extent we are able, we let the bonds of family and friendship manage - or in some cases, ignore -  the differences. But, once you've made the decision to become one, you want those who have gotten you to that juncture, to continue walking with you. 


When it comes to convictions or orthodoxy, there is no recipe for how to change them or even undo them. 


As you begin your life together, you will also begin your legacy as a couple. This legacy will be build upon the decisions you make and the generosity of spirit you offer each other and those in your community. And, as a couple, that generosity of spirit amplifies and with it your resolve and strength. Your guest list can become the first example of how you intent to live as a couple and be an example for the community you invite to witness and begin the start of your marriage.

Even the most vocally opposed family member may have a change of heart on the issue. Your wedding and their love for you might be just the thing that convinces them that marriage will not only be a great source of happiness for you, but for countless others they don't know. In keeping with the new-found strength and legacy that you will both build as a couple, inviting even those you don't think will come will be an act of kindness and represent a gracious solution to a complicated matter. The benefit of the doubt is the beginning of new understanding.

Extending it on your wedding day will forge a foundation for a lifetime of compassion for those with whom we don't always relate or understand.