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'AITA for not wanting to leave a chair free in honor of my late wife at my wedding?'

'AITA for not wanting to leave a chair free in honor of my late wife at my wedding?'


"AITA for not wanting to leave a chair free in honor of my late wife at my wedding?"

My first wife passed away 12 ago and I was really young at that time, it's been hard for me to move on but I did my best to get over the loss and move on. I loved her a lot in the past but it's my past now and I need to live the present for myself.

I met my girlfriend seven years ago, I love her and she has always respected that I am a widow. I don't really name my first wife except on occasions when I tell an anecdote where she is there, I want to give my girlfriend the place she deserves. I've had many bad experiences in a grief help group and learned what NOT to do in a new relationship.

I'm going to get married in November, at first I didn't know whether to invite my first wife's family because I didn't know if they would want to attend so I never said anything to them or invited them to the wedding...

I don't talk with them except for a text every few months but her mother was the one who texted me to tell me that she would be very happy to go so I ended up inviting her and her husband, they kinda invited themselves and I have problems with saying 'no', much more in that kind of situation.

On the weekend we were putting some things together and my mother told me that it would be good to put an extra chair in honor of my first wife, that was an idea of my late wife's mother but she didn't talked about that with me first but with my mother.

We pay per seat, each chair we put up is charged as if it were a person (They would even charge me for drink AND FOOD, as if someone was really present and honestly I am quite tight financially on the wedding) so I think it would be a waste of money in something symbolic because....

If I do that for her I also have to do that for ALL the members of my family who died because they would complain about it, my father and brother also died so that would be even more money.

I'm not a spiritual person neither so I don't believe in those things and I don't like any kind of ritual or symbolic thing, I also don't want to have a moment to talk about deceased people and kill the atmosphere, I just want a nice and joyful wedding for my girlfriend.

Just to make my mother shut up I said that if someone offers to pay the money I will do ask for more chairs (There would be seven relatives, too many, I knew that nobody was going to pay for that) because I can't spend money in more things but no one talked...

and I thought that she would forget that but my mother said that then I should include photos of me with my first wife when they show the typical video of the bride and groom as they grow up.

I just...Don't want to do that, I even find disrespectful for my girlfriend to put pictures of my first wife when I'm getting married again, let alone make a whole video about those times, it's just weird to me but I KNOW that there are widowers who have done so it leaves me confused.

My first wife appears in some of the photos I chose to go through in the video (not the one my mother wants me to do), in photos where I'm traveling with friends or family, it's not that I'm hiding her identity or anything like that but I just want that moment to be my wife and mine, I already healed.

My mother and family in general as been doing everything to make me feel guilty and honestly it's hard not to feel guilty when the words come from a person who went through the same thing as me.

I know my girlfriend would agree because she's really kind and she has already said that she is not really interested in what others think because she is the one who will be my wife. I'm the one who feels uncomfortable, AITA?

I want that moment to be my girlfriend and mine, I already had that moment with my first wife years ago, now I want to have this moment with her, is it a bad thing?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

ritan7471 said:

NTA. Money aside, tribute chairs at weddings mean "if only this person were alive today, they would be sitting here." That's true if it would be OP's dead parent or grandparents or sibling. But this is OP's late wife.

If only she were alive today, the assumption is that OP would be married to her and NOT marrying his current fiancée. Even if he were divorced, it is unlikely his ex-wife would attend the wedding now, unless they parted on extremely friendly terms.

It seems that OP's inlaws from his first wife just want her to be acknowledged because this is a difficult moment in their grieving process. If OP puts pictures around, and an empty chair and gives a toast, or whatever else they will ask for, then they can pretend OP hasn't moved on and his late wife still takes precedence.

OP, don't do it. It takes something away from the most important romantic relationship in your life today, to use your wedding day as a time to honor your late wife.

Think_Effectively said:

NTA. I agree with you. This moment should be all about you and your current. Don't forget the past but celebrate the now and the future you will have together. I also lost my wife too young and too soon. (to cancer).

She will always carry a piece of my spirit where ever she is now. But death has done us part and I would not (and did not) ever include her in a future marriage/wedding. (Certainly not to the extent that your mother and late wife's mother suggest.) And I am sure that my late wife would understand and not want to be included either. I agree with you - it would be too disrespectful and too uncomfortable.

CrabbiestAsp said:

NTA. This is supposed to be a celebration of you and your fiance coming together, not a celebration of you, your fiance and your late wife coming together.

TarzanKitty said:

NTA. Your parents and former ILs are requesting something totally inappropriate. If your late wife was still alive. You either wouldn’t be having a wedding or your former wife sure as hell wouldn’t be there. Your late wife and current wife should not coexist at your current wife’s wedding.

dookle14 said:

NTA - it’s your wedding. Honestly, I think it’s inappropriate to “honor” your late wife at your wedding. This isn’t the place or time to celebrate her memory. This is the time to celebrate your union to your fiancée and the focus should be on the two of you.

I think a delicate approach to this situation would be to suggest perhaps taking a visit to your wife’s grave with your first MiL (maybe on your first wife’s birthday or something) but politely declining to incorporate her into the wedding.

GreenTeaShaman said:

NTA, don't include your first wife in your wedding. You're right, it's about you and your fiance. It would be disrespectful to her to include all this stuff about your first wife. It's sad but it was a long time ago, and your wedding shouldn't be about her at all.

Just sit your mum down and tell her how you feel, and tell her that you won't be including your first wife in the ways she has suggested. Just shut down these ideas and make sure she doesn't bring anything herself on the day.

Ok-College6727 said:

NTA. Your wedding is only about you and your fiancée. Period.

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