Dear Annie: World War Wedding

Dear Annie: My son and new wife recently eloped with a small ceremony on a Tuesday (when we all had to take off work), but most of my family was not invited. She invited her parents, grandmother, aunt, uncles, best friend and cousin. But only me, my fiance and my other son were invited on my son’s side.

The bride commented that I would never understand her family dynamics.

She got very angry that I told my mother and sisters about their elopement/wedding, even though my family wasn’t invited to the wedding. She wanted to keep it a secret and then announce their wedding at my sister’s wedding. I told them not to because that is my sister’s day to celebrate.

Needless to say, WWIII broke out. How can this be managed? She is already alienating me from my son, who ghosted my last text to him.

-- Unwelcome at the Wedding

Dear Unwelcome: If your daughter-in-law wanted the wedding to be a secret, she probably should have communicated that with you earlier. Yes, it’s her day, but she can’t expect you to read her mind on this one. I’d tell her you’re sorry for spilling the beans, explain to her that you didn’t know, and then move on. I would also tell her that you are grateful to have been there; with such a small guest list, it seems like it was a real honor to make the cut.

In terms of her plan to announce at your sister’s wedding, you are absolutely right. Why don’t you suggest that she plan a separate family party -- or even something casual, like a barbecue or a dinner -- to tell everyone the news? If you really want to get on their good side, you could offer to help organize the event.


The last point that I’ll make is that it’s concerning that she’s keeping your son from you. If her controlling behavior continues, I would have a conversation with your son to make sure he isn’t caught in an abusive relationship.

• • •

Dear Annie: This is in response to your answer to “Hurt and Confused,” a victim of domestic violence. While I agree wholeheartedly with every part of your advice, there was a big part missing. One of the incidents she mentioned in her letter was that her husband had kicked her dog. I’m sure it wasn’t the only time the dog suffered abuse at the hands of this man.

I am here to tell you as a lifelong animal advocate and rescue coordinator, animals are more often than not victims of domestic abuse as well. At the very end of the letter, you advised the “woman and her son” to move to someplace safe until the husband is willing to seek treatment. There was no mention of the dog.

I have helped countless people rehome their animals, some of them due to domestic violence. Please, please don’t EVER leave your animals behind in a domestic violence situation. Most likely, those animals will continue to suffer abuse, oftentimes compounded by the absence of the intended victim(s). Those animals can be surrendered to a local shelter or rescue. And oftentimes, women’s shelters will make provisions for the animals until the victims are reestablished.

-- Animal Lover

Dear Animal Lover: Thank you for pointing out this crucial missing piece in the advice I offered. Animals are indeed family, and they must be taken care of as such.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: