In a few weeks, my grandparents will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary by having a family dinner. My grandparents made 2 decisions about that dinner:
To only invite their children, their husbands/wives and grandchildren. Grandchildren are not to bring their boy- or girlfriends, none of us are married or living together yet and our boy/girlfriends are mostly just vague acquaintances of our grandparents, not considered family (yet). My grandparents are also not interested in bringing along the ill-mannered 3-year-old that belongs to the boyfriend of one of my cousins (let's call him Brat), and they decided it was as good a reason as any to 'keep the party small'.
To go and eat at a regular restaurant instead of the kid-friendly 'pancake' restaurants we used to go to because all their grandchildren are now grownups. Additionally, not everyone likes pancakes all that much and regular restaurants will have less ambient noise making it easier for them to follow conversations (they're a bit deaf).
I've been helping to coordinate the whole thing, and made reservations at the restaurant about two weeks ago.
Yesterday, my mom asked me to call the restaurant and cancel the reservation there, because we would be going to a pancake restaurant after all. This sudden change in my grandparents' plans felt off to me, so I haven't done so yet.
I visited my grandparents to ask them about this and learned that their daughter (my aunt) has been relentless in pushing them to let the boy/girlfriends of her kids be present, including Brat. And because of Brat, we should go to the pancake restaurant as a regular restaurant won't survive Brat.
My grandparents are unhappy and told me they gave in to my aunt's wishes 'just to be done with it'. After talking with some of their other children/grandchildren, my grandparents now feel again that giving in to my aunt was wrong. But, to avoid being pushed into the 'pancake restaurant' plan again, they don't want to talk with this aunt about it anymore.
As I have been in charge of arranging things so far, I am now tasked with telling this aunt that:
- Family members talked with her parents (my grandparents) about this, and that my grandparents really did not want to change their mind and now realize more people are unhappy with the pancake plan.
- That it's not her party, not her rules. That we're going to do this the way my grandparents actually wanted it in the first place. That they have thus decided that we will be going through with the original plan, no boy/girlfriends/Brat, and a normal restaurant.
- That my grandparents don't want her to stop coming to the party out of spite, as that would ruin the festivities for my grandparents.
- That my grandparents also don't want her to come if she's going to behave in such a way that it would ruin the festivities for my grandparents.
- That this is not the first time this aunt (and/or her husband/children) have shown no regards or respect for the wishes or boundaries of other family members, and that this should stop as it is continually hurting the family.
- Express the anger of a bunch of family members about this in a suitable way.
She's not the easiest person to interact with, I'm expecting her to react badly to being told she is not going to have things her way, and I also suspect she might react badly at that message coming from me, we have already had previous trouble involving respecting wishes and boundaries.
I also have pretty strong feelings about this, that I somehow need to hide and show at the same time. I need to show her how bad this was to do and that as a family we're quite done with her antics. At the same time, I should somehow hide most of my anger that's bound to be caused by her replies to this, to avoid creating family conflicts that might ruin my grandparents' party.
All in all, this conversation might escalate very quickly, while instead I want to send a strong message but avoid any further family conflicts. What can I keep in mind when sending my aunt the messages listed above in an appropriately strong way, while trying to minimize further family conflict?