All kinds of strange situations and requests arise when it’s time to attend and plan a wedding.
When one bride’s sister-in-law planned on bringing her “emotional support” parrot to the wedding, the bride had to tell her no.
Redditor “supportbirdthrowaway” shared her story on the “Am I the A**hole?” subReddit after the family became split, some supporting her decision and others supporting her sister-in-law’s needs.
The Redditor asked:
“AITA for demanding that my SIL not be allowed to bring her emotional support parrot to our wedding?”
The Redditor shared how she has a great relationship with her fiance’s family.
“I (28 [Female]) recently got engaged to my fiance, Zack (27 [Male]). I get along really well with his family, me and his mom have a lot in common and have even hung out a few times without him to grab lunch or coffee.”
“Zack and I have been dating for around three years, and we spent a decent amount of time with his family since they live fairly close. He has one sister, Kerry (35 [Female]).”
Her sister-in-law has an Emotional Support Animal.
“Kerry has a small green parrot (? I think he’s too big to be a parakeet?) who Kerry has registered as an Emotional Support Animal for her anxiety and depression.”
But he’s not particularly “emotionally supportive” for other people.
“I love animals, but he’s COMPLETELY out of control. He will try to bite anyone but Kerry who gets too close, and will fly and attack mostly men’s heads, to the point where I’ve heard stories from Zack of having to run out of the house to get away.”
“There’s also always screeching or repeating random words and weird coughing noises from him on Kerry’s side of the phone while you’re calling her.”
Now they’re planning their wedding.
“So, now in the present, Zack and I are trying to plan our wedding—it won’t be until next summer at the very least, since everything’s so uncertain right now.”
“Kerry wanted to help us plan, since she has a degree in design and seemed really excited for us, and we were kind of lost on the planning so we accepted.”
Now her sister-in-law appears to be including her parrot in the wedding plans.
“We were on Facetime with Kerry and she cracked a joke about what Jimmy was going to wear.”
“We laughed and moved on, but then she brought him up AGAIN when we were talking about hors d’oeuvres, saying how if we got these certain canapes she could safely feed some to Jimmy.”
“At this point I was getting a little worried, and said something like ‘Guess you can bring him one home!'”
“She was quiet for a second and then said ‘I was under the impression that Jimmy was welcome at this event.'”
Her fiance tried to make the situation better, but her sister-in-law wasn’t happy.
“Zack started trying to explain how the wedding would be too overwhelming for Jimmy and how he wouldn’t be safe there (obviously not the actual reason, but he thought she’d understand more if he put it that way).”
“She started sniffling and I could see her tearing up, and she started telling us in a shaky voice how she needed him there, and how we didn’t understand what she went through.”
The Redditor was angry about this.
“I got pissed and told her that we were allowed to not want a loud, psychotic bird at our wedding and that I wasn’t convinced he even was a real support animal (I feel bad about the last part, but so many people abuse the support animal system).”
There have been repercussions.
“She hung up on us and has been telling Zack’s whole family that we’re horrible and mean for not accommodating her disabilities.”
The family’s opinion is divided.
“Zack’s family is split, some think we’re being totally unreasonable but others have had bad personal experiences with Jimmy and understand our position.”
“Honestly I’d rather lose out on a few people attending the wedding rather than be strong-armed into letting someone bring their disruptive parrot.”
“AITA (Am I the a**hole)?”
Fellow Redditors have shared their thoughts on the situation, using the following scale:
- NTA: “Not the A**hole”
- YTA: “You’re the A**hole”
- ESH: “Everybody Sucks Here”
- NAH: “No A**holes Here”
Some noted that emotional support animals do not have the same public rights as service animals do and suggested Jimmy may not even be allowed to attend the wedding.
“NTA. An ESA is not a service animal and depending on the venue Jimmy might not even be allowed in.”
“As much as I am personally giggling at the idea of a rogue parrot at a wedding I can see why you would not want that as part of your day, and can fully understand why you would rather he stayed at home.” – SuspiciousCourage1
“ESA’s have NO public access rights. NTA. If this was a service animal, it would be a different story. But ESA’s require no formal training and therefore can be loose cannons like you described. The bird, nor your SIL, have no rights here. The bird has a past history of being destructive, so I think you’re well within your rights to ask that he not come.”
“EDIT: Since it seems you are confused, there are 3 categories of help animals:”
“Emotional Support Animal: No public access rights, no training required, no certification legally required, but is allowed in transportation facilities like airplanes and trains.”
“Therapy Animal: An animal with handler who visits healthcare facilities for emotional support.”
“Service Animal: Legally must be trained to mitigate a symptom of their handlers disability. Has public access rights. No certification legally required.” – pintopetz
“Even service animals can be kicked out for misbehavior.”
“This is on her. If she wants to take her ESA everywhere instead of just have it emotionally supporting her at home, she has to find an animal that is or is trained to be reasonable to be around.” – My_Dramatic_Persona
One Redditor pointed out that this situation would also be cruel to the animal.
“People don’t realise that when they bring untrained animals into public spaces and they act out like Jimmy does, IT’S CRUEL TO THE ANIMAL.”
“Public places are stressful environments, which I’m sure FSIL (future sister-in-law) can agree with. If Jimmy is acts this way, it’s not because he’s a bad bird, it’s because he’s scared. It takes A LOT of training and patience to get an animal to the level whey you can confidently take them everywhere with you.”
“Some pets just don’t have the temperament to ever get there, and that’s ok too. Jimmy coming to the wedding under present circumstances means everyone is going to be miserable, including FSIL (future sister-in-law) as having your pet attack people is not good for your anxiety.”
“NTA” – mercurial_planner
Some understood the importance of having an emotional support animal, but perhaps not at a wedding.
“I can empathize with her in that I have anxiety & depression myself, but I also know, like you said, that ESAs aren’t legally required to be allowed in public places. Service animals, yes. In which case, I’d side with the SIL. But the parrot is an ESA.”
“OP, NTA.” – Jroostah
“I actually do have an ESA as suggested a few years ago by an actual psychologist to help me and do you know where I take her in public? Nowhere! She is not trained to perform a specific function like a service animal, she is not insured for tens of thousands of dollars like a service animal.”
“She would get incredibly stressed out at a public event like that because she’s just an animal and while having her is massively beneficial to my mental health, she should not be put into situations like that.”
“I hate people who abuse the system like this. I am a bit skeptical that a bird could even be an actual support animal, but assuming it is, bringing it to a wedding is just stupid. NTA.” – thephantomofleroux
It seems the bride and her future sister-in-law need to talk more about this before the big day.
At least since some of the family does not want the parrot to be there, and since the venue potentially will not be a welcoming space, perhaps the sister-in-law will take the hint and enjoy her evening out.