Bride-to-be lambasted online after admitting she wants to exclude autistic cousin from wedding in case she 'ruins' her special day

A bride-to-be is under fire online after admitting she wants to exclude her cousin, who is on the autism spectrum, from her upcoming nuptials out of fear she will "ruin" her special day.    

The bride took to the popular Reddit forum 'Am I the Asshole' to seek advice on her conundrum, explaining she and her partner had agreed to have a child-free wedding to minimise any possible disruptions to the proceedings.    

For the uninitiated, 'Am I the Asshole' allows people to anonymously share their pressing moral dilemmas, with fellow users determining whether they are, or are not, the a-hole in the given situation. 

Posting under the username u/throwawaybride2be22, the woman said she feared her neurodivergent cousin would "ruin" her wedding - despite noting she has no issues with verbal communication.

"Next spring, I am getting married to the love of my life. We have decided that we don't want children at our wedding," she wrote to the forum on Wednesday.   

"The only ones to put up a fight are my aunt and uncle who have a daughter with autism. She is 20 but will be 21 by the time my wedding day comes around. She is what they call 'high functioning', which means she can talk and wash/dress herself, and she has some friends. She graduated from high school a couple [of] years ago and is currently living with her parents while working at a grocery store.   

"Despite her being technically an adult, I just don't see her as such. Every time I talk to her at a family gathering it's like talking to a child."   

It's worth noting terms that categorise functioning, such as "high functioning, are not used by Autism New Zealand, as well as terms that categorise severity, such as mild or severe. This is because functioning and severity labels do not represent the autistic person's experience of being autistic - they epresent how society experiences autistic people, according to the rganisation.   

Instead, it is preferred an individual's specific support needs are described when needed. If simplification is required, level of need can be used (person with less obvious support needs, person with lower support needs, person with complex support needs, or person with higher support needs).     

The bride-to-be added her cousin isn't prone to "meltdowns", which are described as involuntary responses to overwhelming feelings and to over-stimulating environments, according to Parent to Parent, a New Zealand non-profit that supports families navigating disabilities or neurodiversity.      

"I really don't want to risk her ruining my special day. I told my aunt and uncle that I didn't want her there and they became very upset," the woman went on.  

"They said she already saw the invite and knew it was child-free but because she is an 'adult', she thought she was still included.  

"My aunt tried to guilt me by saying she'd already picked out a dress and a gift, but I didn't want to hear it. My fiancé says I'm being an asshole and we should let her attend because she has attended other weddings before with no issue.   

"Everyone is making me feel horrible for not treating her like an adult when she doesn't act like one. AITA [am I the asshole]?"   

It was quickly and unanimously determined that yes, the bride was unequivocally the a-hole, with many readers incensed by the woman's ableism and "cold", discriminatory attitude towards her family member.

Ableism is often defined as discrimination in favour of able-bodied people, or beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities.   

"What exactly makes you think she would 'ruin your special day'? Simply the fact that she is autistic?" one of the most upvoted comments fumed.   

"YTA [you're the asshole]. If she's not prone to meltdowns, I fail to see how she'd put your special day at risk. Also, as a person with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], I find it absolutely hilarious that you describe 'high functioning' as 'can talk, wash/dress herself, and has some friends,'" said another. "The infantilisation and ableism is indeed present here."  

"YTA. Your cousin will quietly mind her business and talk to her family members. It's going to be hard having a child-free wedding with your behaviour, though," a third hit back, while a fourth added: "Low support needing autistic here, and I gotta say, I would be crushed to find out my cousin held me and my interests in such contempt. She doesn't make scenes, so what's the problem?"   

A fifth weighed in: "I have ASD myself, and the way OP [original poster] talks about her cousin makes me sick to my stomach. The baseless discrimination is strong with this one."   

Another quoted the bride's own admission her cousin "has attended other weddings before with no issue", adding: "You are just being mean without a logical reason. Even your fiancé is telling YTA... isn't that enough for you to realise you are being one?"   

Others suggested they wouldn't blame the woman's fiancé for calling off the wedding altogether, having seen first-hand his partner's discriminatory attitude towards neurodivergent people.    

"If I were planning to marry someone and they acted this way (to anyone, but particularly a member of their own family), it would seriously make me see them in a different light. I would probably start thinking about calling off the wedding, to be honest."   

According to Autism New Zealand, the neurodevelopmental condition affects approximately 93,000 New Zealanders. It impacts cognitive, sensory and social processing, changing the way people see the world and interact with others.   

"Every autistic person is unique, with a wide range of skills, qualities, interest and personality styles. As the saying goes, 'if you have met one autistic person, you have met one autistic person,'" the organisation says. "The level of support required is also highly individual.   

"Autism is not a single condition but a cluster of underlying neurological differences that are present in varying combinations in each person. The behaviour and needs related to these differences share common themes but manifest in different ways for each individual.   

"Autism is considered an invisible disability since challenges and difficulties are often not immediately apparent. There are no visible physical markers."