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Unsupportive Family Keeps Demanding I Attend Rehearsal Dinner.
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My only brother is getting married next week.  I really don't want to go because it's the first time I'll have to travel with celiac disease, but also because I dislike every one that will be attending the wedding (and they all dislike each other, it's a jerry springer episode in the making).  I'm very lucky I wasn't roped into being a part of the wedding party, and get to be a regular guest.  

 

My survival plan is to drive 3 hours to the hotel, check in, hide in my room with my electric stove and cooler of food, and not leave until the ceremony begins.  Then, after the ceremony and somewhere in the middle of the reception, I'll sneak back to my room and hide, eat dinner, and pass out, before leaving early the next morning to get the heck out of there.  The fewer people I have to socialize with the better.  

 

Unfortunately my dad found out I'm arriving early, and is demanding I attend the rehearsal dinner.  I said no.  Then he said I don't have to go to the rehearsal, just the dinner.  I said, no thanks, I'd rather attend the rehearsal but not the dinner.  So he got mad and stopped talking to me.  My brother asked me to go, and I again said no.  At first I thought they were just trying to be nice and make me feel including by asking and giving me a chance to decline, but now I realize they're just being inconsiderate of my disease.  If the dinner was somewhere in or near the hotel, I might have said yes, but they're going to a mexican restaurant a clear hour away on the other side of town!  It's ridiculous to think I would be ok with that!  So I ended up just lying flat out and telling them I won't be arriving until late, like 11pm, and unfortunately won't be there in time.  

 

I shouldn't have to lie to get out of a family function with unsupportive family members who think their social needs are more important than my health.  

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Unfortunately, we can't choose our family. We can chose if we spend time with them. Sounds like these people would find a reason to treat you poorly, Celiac is just a convienent reason.

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I have that kind of family too (so glad my in-laws are awesome!)...but mine are supportive of my Celiac disease. But still, over the years I've just learned to set my limits with them. Don't let them walk all over you--especially when it comes to your health. I don't lie to my family anymore when they try to be controlling about what I do. I now tell them straight to their faces what I not willing to do and that's that. I say absolutely lie if you have to, but I think it's better to stand up to them and just say no. My family members would have tantrums and make threats if I said no and didn't offer a reason. So I figured, ok, I'll say a straight up no, wait for the tantrum and wait for it to pass. Didn't budge ever, and never will. After a while I said no to them just because I could. It's great having freedom to choose and being healthy. :-D

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I have that kind of family too (so glad my in-laws are awesome!)...but mine are supportive of my Celiac disease. But still, over the years I've just learned to set my limits with them. Don't let them walk all over you--especially when it comes to your health. I don't lie to my family anymore when they try to be controlling about what I do. I now tell them straight to their faces what I not willing to do and that's that. I say absolutely lie if you have to, but I think it's better to stand up to them and just say no. My family members would have tantrums and make threats if I said no and didn't offer a reason. So I figured, ok, I'll say a straight up no, wait for the tantrum and wait for it to pass. Didn't budge ever, and never will. After a while I said no to them just because I could. It's great having freedom to choose and being healthy. :-D

 

I'm sorry your family is the same.  It's so frustrating.  I'm getting pretty good at saying no, but this one dinner they're just adamant about, and I couldn't find any way to get them to let it go without lying.  It's going to take a while for them to really understand my limits.

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just lie.  screw it.  :)  unless there is a chance that you could magically make everybody behave nicely, you might as well stick to your original plan and save yourself the aggrevation.  can you tell i have some family members i must deal with this way?  lolz - they even catch me lying and i just laugh and laugh :D

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Without knowing you, your family, or your brother, I would submit a few things...  First of all, your dad has no right to not talk to you because you can't eat and choose not to be at a Mexican restaurant.  Also, your brother and his new wife could have picked a better venue to accommodate your allergy.

 

However....

 

Does the restaurant have a special meaning to them?  If they've been there and had a lot of fun times there maybe thats why they chose it, or it fit the budget, who knows....  It's their wedding and its about them.  If you think you'll regret later on not being at the table, I say take whatever you want in a bag and whip that out right there at the table!!!  

 

Everyone in my family knows I'm psycho about gluten now.  We could be out at lunch as a group and I'll whip out my fruit, nuts, gluten free sandwich, you name it and I dare someone to get chippy about it!!!!

 

Anyhow, you mentioned he is your "only" brother and I'm sure he'd love to see you.  Who cares about the rest of the fam.  We all have those members that we really only need to see once a year and sometimes less.  

 

Take what I'm saying with a grain of salt, I'm totally on your side...  I also don't want you to miss something you might want to be around for if thats whats on your heart.  If not, disregard everything above!  lol  Good luck...

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Well, I'm going to say some stuff that will probably be called wildly inappropriate, but here goes.
 
First, I think it's quite normal for your brother to expect you to participate in the wedding festivities, particularly the rehearsal dinner. Traditionally, it's a family and wedding party affair...and he (along with his bride and her family) could easily interpret it as an insult that you won't attend.
 
Second, I understand the logistics of driving across town to a place where you won't be eating.... As you stated, you can eat prior, after, or take some food and hope the restaurant allows you to eat it there. Personally, I'd eat before and stick some safe chips in my bag and feel out the restaurant to see if the salsas are safe.
 
Third, Celiacs can suffer from a "lack of invitation" quite easily. No one quite knows what to do with us and are pretty sure they can't feed us, so we are at high risk of not being invited to as many events. People tend to forget it's not just about food (we can handle our own food), it's about socialization, too.
 
Fourth, I completely understand the Jerry Springerish family dynamic...but I don't recommend using celiac disease as an excuse because it can turn into #3. What happens when you're more comfortable and everyone remembers the wedding and never invites you to events you may want to attend?
 
Fifth, if you are at that "completely exhausted I just can't deal" stage of recovery, find a way to communicate this - even if it falls on deaf ears. I suggest a private conversation with your brother and the bride.
 
I understand your fears, as newly gluten-free. Really. But I advise dealing with this particular situation differently. 
 

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WTF! That would make me so angry... And I cant believe they still dont support you despite a diagnoses!

 

Just stick to your lie and plan... Or you could hide and bring your own food to the resturant just to (hopefully) piss them off :)

 

Good luck! Your in a tough situation!

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Just playing the opposite side here, why should they have to cater to you when going to a restaurant?

 

Yes, it is hard. But, there are times when you just gotta do whatever needs done. Sounds to me like your brother really wanted you to go. If it means eating beforehand and eating nothing in the restaurant or bringing something along, you just gotta do it.

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I went to a wedding weekend out of town that I had to fly to and was told there would be food for me. there wasn't. I found out an hour before the rehearsal dinner that she forgot. so I found a place to get some food, ate first and had a great time. no one noticed I didn't eat. did the same thing for the wedding, ate first. I had a great time and brought my own breakfast to the Sunday brunch. no one cared.

 

I understand the family dynamic is off, but if you want to go and be with the people, then go. don't say anything, eat first and have a great time. if you don't want to go, then don't. I think it is really about if you want to be there, and if you'd regret it later on.

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I guess I've got the opposite point of view on this one. If you are going because you care about your brother, I don't understand why you wouldn't want to go to his rehearsal dinner. Rehearsal dinners are not about food, they are about family and friends and socializing. I agree with the sentiment that the restaurant was probably picked either with budget or sentimental meaning in mind, not just to piss you off. I'm sorry, but the world doesn't revolve around us. Especially when it is another person's wedding. If you are somewhere that it is an hour drive to the other side of town, there is almost certainly a gluten free dining option somewhere in town where you could get quick take out to bring along. I don't think anyone is being inconsiderate of your health by inviting you to a family event. You could even contact the restaurant ahead of time to see if they have gluten free options, speak with the manager and see how comfortable you are with that. Eat ahead, eat later, whatever. Still... declining to go to your brother's event which is more social than food oriented even if it is called a rehearsal dinner seems silly.

 

It has never occurred to me in the past year and a half that with all of the invitations I have gotten to social events that have food that any of those people inviting me are being rude or inconsiderate. Rather, I am grateful that despite my diagnosis I am still being included in things. It is possible that your brother thinks you are being as rude as you think your family is being. Being rude to someone at the time of their wedding can have lifelong repercussions, you don't want to be the aunt that isn't called when the new baby comes or sister that isn't invited to the housewarming party do you? I've seen it happen. Just pointing out, this is the sort of thing that can happen from wedding snubbing.

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If it were me, I would go to the rehearsal dinner even if I didn't want to.  I have only ever been to two such dinners.  One as a child so really don't remember.  And one as a vegetarian.  Did not know of my food intolerances then.  This was at an Italian place and we were limited to (I think) two food choices for dinner, neither of which were things I would eat.  But there was a salad bar so I just made do with stuff from there. 

 

I did not have a rehearsal dinner for my wedding because my wedding was a quickie thing in Reno due to circumstances beyond my control.  But apparently the dinner is meaningful to the bride and perhaps the groom.  So if I were you, I would just suck it up and at least put an appearance in. 

 

As for Mexican restaurnts, we have always found something safe to eat there.  Even if it was just beans, rice and corn tortillas. 

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Ditto for the "this is a social thing, not a food thing".  Find a way to go, and go.  (Pre-make food you can take with you that week and eat in the hotel, for instance.)  If I can backpack for five days with all my food on my back, you can do this in a hotel.

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First, your family.  That's a choice only you can make and I have to agree with others that you can't make celiac the main reason.   Family is family, we don't get to choose and you don't want to do something yoyu might regret later.   

Second, for eating... I often go to Mexican with friends but I don't eat as don't feel comfortable wih the cross contaminaion issues.  I take a zip loc of my own chips & salsa, order a glass of wine and ask for a small plate.  Whip out my chips & salsa and it's no big deal.  I was questioned once and explained I have food allergies.  No big deal.  I have taken my own taco as well but that may not work if you are traveling.  And.... my stuff has looked better than everyone elses! 

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I tend to agree with people telling you that you should go. I hope we don't sound patronizing. But as stated by many, it's not about food, it's about socialization. In my six months gluten-free I've gone to many events and I would not want to skip any because already people are thinking it's difficult to feed me.

My strategies include: eating before or after and bringing something along to nibble on.

Choosing carefully from a buffet if there is one (this is however highly risky. Fruit and roasted meat are the safest options - I can't have cheese).

Calling myself the restaurant beforehand and asking them what I could eat and whether they can accomodate me. Grilled chicken and rice should not be impossible for a Mexican place. Guacamole and tortilla chips can easily be gluten free if not contaminated, or you could check about the guacamole and bring along some safe chips.

The most important thing however is how to relate with other guests. It is harder when it's a sitting down dinner, of course. It can be done if you find something safe to eat and stick to it. It's easier for plump women like me, actually, because if I decline with a smile the pasta dish or the cake, people will suppose I'm dieting rather than celiac-fasting and I don't always want to bother with complicated explanations.

 

However, my general attitude is "Hey, I'm here to be with you, don't worry about the food". It's easier now because I can drink white wine in moderation (red is still out apparently).

 

The question is different if you're exhausted and can't deal with the trip plus drive across town plus socializing with people you don't even like. We've all been there. You can choose whether to make an effort for family's sake, thinking of future gatherings where you'll be more than happy to have the energy to be there. Or stay put and rest. In this second case don't feel guilty: we do what we can do.

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I wouldn't pass up a chance to share this time with your family-- as everyone has said, the food part is completely doable. This time, it's about them. I hope you go and end up having a nice time:)

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How interesting. Of course none of us can really say what is right for you but I'm imagining that your life will be better when you find a way to be open about your intentions. As it stands now your doing a lot of slipping around in secret which has to be an uncomfortable way to live. But since I don't know your family or situation it's hard to advise you on how to do that.

People who know me understand that making a demand only allows me the opportunity to remind that I am a grown person capable and certain to make my own decisions. I am very willing to compromise but a demand isn't a compromise which I am also willing to point out. That is me though and I haven't always been that strong.

I think there are several issues that need dealing with here. One is you feeling unsupported but you might feel intimidated as well. Maybe you haven't yet gotten over the embarrassment of being different and feel like this situation will single you out in public. 

I'm not going to tell you to go or not to go but to try and think about why this entire situation is so distressing. Understanding that might help more than dealing with this one day.

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I think you should ask yourself this, and answer honestly: if you did not have a celiac diagnosis, would you go to the rehearsal dinner? (another approach to this question is: if the restaurant they chose was gluten-free friendly, would you go to the rehearsal dinner?)

If the answer is yes, then you should go. Bring your own food, or eat before.

The wedding is not about you, it's about you brother and his wife to be. Trust me, we've all been there. 4 years into this, I would love to be invited out even to simple things like lunches with coworkers. But they think it's rude to invite me to a restaurant I can't eat at; I think it's rude that they don't invite me at all. It's not an easy thing to deal with when social functions tend to revolve around food, but you don't need to eat to be social.

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I think you should ask yourself this, and answer honestly: if you did not have a celiac diagnosis, would you go to the rehearsal dinner? (another approach to this question is: if the restaurant they chose was gluten-free friendly, would you go to the rehearsal dinner?)

If the answer is yes, then you should go. Bring your own food, or eat before.

The wedding is not about you, it's about you brother and his wife to be. Trust me, we've all been there. 4 years into this, I would love to be invited out even to simple things like lunches with coworkers. But they think it's rude to invite me to a restaurant I can't eat at; I think it's rude that they don't invite me at all. It's not an easy thing to deal with when social functions tend to revolve around food, but you don't need to eat to be social.

I have to agree with this!!  It is too easy to make Celiac the excuse and before you know it you aren't invited to functions any more.  I made some Big mistakes in the beginning because I was scared, uncomfortable, new and .......  We lost out on invitations to friend's homes and dinners out.  It has taken  some apologies and time to be "accepted" and have the friends accept my Celiac again.  Honestly, as a couple others have stated, most people don't even notice what you are (or are not) eating and what's more - they probably won't remember. 

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