Post # 1
My fiance and I decided to have a short engagment (5 months) for spiritual and personal reasons. However, we still want a nice wedding so we have been keeping ourselves very busy. I’ve picked out my bridesmaids, many have ordered their dresses, and things are coming together nicely!
Last night, my fiance’s sister came by to have dinner with us. She asked what she could at our wedding. Both my fiance and I had decided to ask her to play clarinet in a clarinet/piano duet with her uncle for our ceremony. She had agreed previously, and I mentioned to her during our dinner that I had still thought that it would be nice if she would contribute in that way. She said that she would be happy to do that and then asked, “So, I’m not going to be a bridesmaid?” I replied that I had already picked my bridesmaids and that I really would love for her to play for the ceremony because I thought that would be very nice. I then asked if that was okay with her, and she said yes. I thought everything was fine and she didn’t seem overtly hurt or upset.
Later that night, my fiance’s mother texted him absolutely livid that his sister was not to be included in the wedding party. She said that it is always “assumed” that the sister of the groom would be in the wedding party. Furthermore, she added that she told his sister that she WOULD have a bigger role in the wedding.
I was taken aback. I had never known that having the sister of the groom in the bridal party was “assumed.” I love his sister and we get a long very well, but I would not consider her one of my close friends. I never wanted to exclude her, I just didn’t feel like she was someone that I really wanted up there with me on the big day. I always thought the bridesmaids were who the bride wanted supporting her and helping her on her big day and the groomsmen were the same for the groom. (Neither my mother, my father, nor my best friend and her fiance included siblings of their future spouses in their wedding parties.)
We already have an unusually large wedding party (I have 8 bridesmaids and he has 8 groomsmen). I don’t see how I could change things now. I feel like it may look worse that I have 8 bridesmaids and STILL didn’t include her, but it really did not occur to me that I was supposed to. The girls in my party are all very dear and close friends of mine. I told them the situation and one of my bridesmaids even offered (without my asking) to step-down so that his sister could take her spot in order to alleviate my stress. I don’t want her to have to do that, but I don’t want feelings hurt either. I feel so pressured and cornered now. For the record, my fiance agrees with me that it should be up to each individual to pick who they want as their bridesmaids or groomsmen. However, he is equally (if not more) frustrated with the entire situation. I think he feels rather torn.
I don’t want my relationship with my future in-laws to be ruined. I love them all very much and couldn’t sleep last night due to agonizing over this. Everything was going great until now. What do you guys think?
Post # 3
It’s not assumed or an obligation. But IMO, barring a good reason why not, it would have been the nice thing to do in recognition of the fact that you will be family now. The FMIL was totally out of line for her reaction, however.
ETA there would be no reason to ask anyone to step down. The wedding party is supposed to consist of people that you would like to have the honor, which can be for different reasons. At any rate, there do not have to be identical numbers. One of the groomsmen can escort two BMs or one can go down individually.
These people are going to be connected to you forever. You don’t have to, but in your place, I’d think about starting out with family on the right foot. I’d probably just cave and ask her.
Post # 4
It’s a good will gesture to include your FSIL in your wedding party, and I do think it looks a bit bad that you chose 8 girls to be in your BP and one of them couldn’t be your FSIL. For the sake of starting off on the best foot with my FSIL and in laws in general, I’m having mine in my bridal party. Ultimately, though, who’s in your BP is your choice and yours alone.
That being said, your FMIL should not have assumed she would have a bigger role (and certainly shouldn’t have told her as much!). Her assumption is what caused the drama. What’s done is done, and you’ve already told her what you’ve decided. Hopefully she can accept that with grace and move on. Maybe if you want to give her an even bigger role, you could also ask her to do a reading in addition to the music?
Post # 5
@roseglass6370: I think you’re thought process in coosing you bridal party is right on. You should have true friends up there- I think you should stick to your plans. Don’t add her in. Don’t let go of ones of your bridesmaids to include her. She’s going to have to suck it up- it is your day after all.
I also agree that your FMIL was out of line, and no one should assume or have a say about your bridal party. IMO it is something very personal. Parents on both sides often end up having some kind of input on the wedding- but the bridal party is off limits!
Post # 6
I don’t think FIL-siblings should necessarily be part of the wedding party unless 1) they are on the side of their sibling (I think being a groomswoman and bridesman are totally fine) or 2) if a FSIL is very close friends with a bride or a FBIL is very close friends with the groom.
Otherwise I think your bridal party should be the friends and family who you care about the most. If your FSIL was one of your close friends, then yes, she should be included, but it sounds like you are casual acquaintances who probably only see each other when your FI is present.
I would not give into your FMILs demands because it would set a dangerous precedent. If you give in on this one thing, what happens when you want to buy a house a few citys away but she thinks the house down the street would be perfect? Or if you want your husband and mom in the delviery room but the thinks she should be there too?
If you do decide to have your FSIL in the party (if you don’t care about matching numbers, I would just make her a groomswoman) make sure it is clear that you are not doing it for your FMIL, but for your FSIL.
Post # 7
It should never be “assumed” that anyone will be in the wedding party. My fiance didn’t include his own brother as a groomsman, much less mine. Your MIL needs to mind her own business.
Post # 8
- Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI
I did not include my FSIL in the bridal party. I have five bridesmaids and they are all close friends and family, it was enough for me. Also, my FSIL has a 10 month old baby and works as a nurse. I honestly thought it would be more of a burden to her than anything to try and make time or spend any money on being a bridesmaid. FI says we might have her be an “usherette” and she has no hard feelings towards me about this at all! She has even offered to host a bridal shower for me on their side of the family.If I had felt in any way though that she wanted to be included…I would have asked her and been happy to have her stand up with me.
What’s becoming a sticky situation for us is that FI has not asked his brother to be a part of the wedding. That seems even more assumed! His mom asks him almost daily and has now upped the request to his brother needing to be his best man. FI already has a best man and two groomsmen. I personally think he should ask his brother – they’re not super close but there’s nothing bad between them.
We asked my brother if he wanted to be in the wedding and he said no. FI was fine including his FBIL but my brother actually told us the groomsmen should be my FI’s friends and family only! We might have him be an usher instead.
Post # 9
My FH isn’t including his brother or sister in our bridal party but he is including my brother as a groomsman. I hadn’t mentioned it to him. No one did. He gave me a list of 7 groomsmen, all of his closest dearest friends. You choose those you have that special relationship with. Don’t give in.
Post # 10
I experiance something like this. It was my FI – SIL actually. so his brothers wife. i didnt want a lot of BMs but i was told i was expected to ask her (by his family) luckily i hadnt told ppl all my BM were final. We are not even that close. well we used to be and had a falling out. my MIL said if i didnt ask her she would be super offended and it would cause future problems. i mean she made me a BM but she had 13!! So i decided i had to ask her since it was obviously expected and i wanted us to be friends in the future. Some of the weddings i looked back some ppl did include their sister in laws…. but not their BILs wife. And i really just wanted 3 BM but i ended up with 5 to make ppl happy. My DH struggled with finding 5 ppl since our wedding was out of town too. I was gratefull for the extra help but my SIL didnt even help in the end. So ive just sorta written her off. i feel bad but shes kind of flaky. backs out on things. unreliable. and says things but does the other. It was weird, she wore her hair like mine for my wedding. WTF. i was really upset about that.because i had talked to her about exactly how i was going to do it and why. And she was suppose to do the BM hair since she was a beautition in mexico. So she knew for the whole year i was engaged what the BMs hair was going to look like.
But remember a wedding isnt just about you two.even though everyone says its all about the bride. its about two families joining as one. So she sees you not asking her as something bigger that you do. if you are close now you dont want to cause a rift between you two. But if you ask me i also wish i didnt do sooo much to make other people happy. Hope it works out!!
Post # 11
@FionnaCake: “I would not give into your FMILs demands because it would set a dangerous precedent.” +1
Post # 12
I agree with your MIL. I think it is really traditional to include siblings. My DH had my brother on his side, and I had his sister on my side. I think it looks pretty bad that you have 8 girls up there but couldn’t include her. My best friend was not asked to be in her future SIL’s wedding and she was devastated. We all couldn’t believe she wasn’t included. I would have someone step down or just add her.
ETA: Just because your mom and best friend did not include siblings, that doesn’t mean they were right.
Post # 13
@roseglass6370: Please don’t flame me for this.. This is just how my family/FI’s family works. I didn’t read all the PP’s comments but I come from the school of, family is in. My mom and Dad both think the same and so do my FI’s parents. To us family is above friends, no matter what. I haven’t been asked to be in my brothers bridal party, I’m not upset by it because its not my decision, but my mom is.. My FI’s mom was also shocked by it..
I get where your FMIL is coming from, but ultimately its your day to do what you want. In not having FSIL in your party though, there will probably be some sourness oozing for your FMIL up until and probably for awhile after the wedding.
Post # 15
My 2 FSILs and my 2 brothers are not included in our bridal party. I may ask my FSILs to greet/hand out programs though. I am good friends with them, but I picked my closest friends to stand with me. It is not an obligation to have siblings in your BP.
I wouldn’t give in. Asking her to play during your ceremony is a big part of your wedding as it is.
Post # 16
My (younger) FSIL is in the wedding party because I chose her. I adore her, we’re close, and that was 100% my decision. FI did not choose his younger brother because he has a million close friends and cousins he’s know for much longer (brother is a half sibling, and, although they’re close, FI is about 15 years older than him), and, while I know there was probably some hurt, no one’s really said anything (except FI’s stepmom, but we expected her reaction).