(Closed) Close Family Engagements… Do not want to steal anyone's thunder

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 16
173 posts
Blushing bee

Please don’t flame me. I’m going to throw in a different opinion… 

Hearing about the way that your Future Sister-In-Law and Future Mother-In-Law are, if it were me and I could wait until after their wedding, I personally would. I think that if people are responsible and mature, two engagements in an immediate family and weddings close to one another are a great thing. If you have an ominous feeling in your gut that this might cause drama, I would say better safe than sorry.

Here is my story… take it with a grain of salt: My Fiance talked to my cousin (and best friend) about 9 months before he proposed to me because he wanted her to help him get some information about what my dream ring would look like. About 6 months later (but before we were engaged), my cousins boyfriend called my Fiance to see if it would be OK for him to propose to my cousin, soon. Of course this was totally unnecessary, but it was so super respectful and sweet of him to think to even ask. So, the next time that we saw them (still, before we got engaged), my cousin pulled my Fiance aside just to check in and make sure that everything was cool, and to tell him that she hoped that their engagement wouldn’t change our plans. Of course it didn’t, and of course we are way cool. I couldn’t imagine being happier for my cousin- and I know that she is happy for me. I have so much fun wedding chatting, etc, with her. 

Well… then my sister (who is super young) started putting up a stink that she hated that other people were getting married before her. She said some really hurtful things and has made wedding planning very difficult for me. I am quite a bit older than her, and so I am not competitive with her, but she has always been competitve with me. This is really stupid, if you ask me, because naturally I am further along in life and have “accomplishing more” than her because I am so much older than her. It has nothing to do with my accomplishments, its just that I am in a different stage in my life and she will get here when her time comes. Anyway, like your Future Sister-In-Law, my sister has a track record of being a bit insecure and babied by my parents. When I went to my local jeweler to start looking for bridesmaids gifts for my girls (sister included), I learned that she had recently been to the store and purchased herself an engagement ring. She announced her engagement when I took my grandmother to help me make the final choice on my wedding dress. 

Since she has been engaged, things in my family have been awkward. Really awkward. They are awkward with my grandma, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, and my immediate family (which is worse of all). I’ve never believed in thunder stealing, and the awkwardness has nothing to do with anyone’s thunder being stolen. I have always believed that there is enough love in my family for everybody, and from my cousin and I being engaged at the same time, I know that the awkwardness does not stem from “stealing thunder or sparkle”. Since my sister has been engaged, all of the sudden my folks really don’t want anything to have to do with my wedding planning. My Fiance and I are paying for our wedding while sister and her Fiance don’t work and are having my folks pay for their wedding, so I’ve been encouraged to “tone down” my plans so that our weddings look and feel equal. My family is fixated on not having one wedding “better” than the other, because you had better believe that my sister would have an issue with that. Also, because my sister can’t afford to invite all of the family that we were planning to invite (who important to my mom when we were first engaged), we have been asked to revamp our guest list. Even if I were to keep all of the guests on my guest list, I have already been approached by some (geographically distant) aunts and uncles who said that they love me and that they were planning on coming for my wedding, but they can’t afford to come to my wedding and then my sister’s so close behind, and that they feel that there might be hurt feelings if they came to one instead of the other. Honestly, now knowing that all of this drama exists, I often wish that I was not engaged at all. I’ve even talked to my Fiance about whether it is better to try to preseve family relationships, cancel the wedding, lose our deposits and elope. 

OP, when I first got engaged I went to a wedding and was cautioned by the mother of the bride that “Nothing brings out the worse in families like a wedding.” In my head, I protested “not my family, we have solid relationships and are so close.” Unfortunately, when there is a pre-existing condition of family wonkiness (insecure Future Sister-In-Law, narcissistic FMIL), this might be the case. I believe that in a world of mature adults, a double engagement would be a total blessing to a family. My cousin and I are over-the-moon happy for each other. With a double engagement in an immediate family where relationships are already kind of strained, though, I personally would proceed with caution. 

Post # 17
5641 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2009 - New York, NY

View original reply
toripink15:  I believe a couple plans events in their life (engagement and wedding included) when it’s best for them and never based on or around other people’s life events, regardless of how close they are or how complicated relating to them is.  Needless to say, I don’t believe in the “thunder stealing thing”.

Post # 18
1821 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

No I would not. My fiance brother got engaged 7 months before us and we are getting married before them. I don’t see how it is stealing anyone thunder. You are getting one day each not a year not a month one day. 

Post # 19
2452 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

How did your Future Mother-In-Law know they were getting engaged in January? Did she plan their proposal too? She sounds controlling and it sounds like your Future Sister-In-Law will throw a fit. I am all about saying “F-IT!” who cares? You can’t plan your life around other people and you can’t give in to whiny foot-stomping children. Literal children or adults acting like children. It only fuels their power and control.

However, the only thing I can say is it can be very stressful to plan two weddings of a brother and a sister simultaneously. I would wait until after their wedding to actually get married. Otherwise, it will be a constant battle of “you can’t pick out your venue before she does… you can’t pick out bridesmaids dresses or color scheme before her…. how dare you use those flowers?? what if that’s what she wanted??”. The mother will be taking the sister’s side through the whole thing and will give you and your BF no attention in your wedding. So for your OWN sake (definitely not for hers) give the squeaky wheel her oil so you can enjoy planning your own wedding. But get engaged whenever the heck you want! (I’d be a real bitch and propose during their engagement party and steal that thunder all I wanted… but that’s just me )

Post # 20
625 posts
Busy bee


The problem is that you’re trying to figure out what’s “reasonable”, but you’re not actually dealing with a reasonable person.

The “reasonable” answer is: Reasonable people aren’t upset when their brother gets engaged a few weeks after them.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what an unreasonable person will do, but you have to ask yourself – how much do I want to cater to the needs of a clearly unreasonable person?

Post # 21
3102 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m not sure when this whole stealing thunder business became a thing, but it seems to be a popular refrain these days. As far as I’m concerned it needs to go away. Get engaged when you want and don’t plan the wedding too close to his sister’s. Problem solved.

Post # 24
6583 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

If it were me, I would wait a few months. Not because Future Sister-In-Law deserves it (she sounds like a brat)- but it might make your life a little easier. In other words, I would do it for myself- not for Future Sister-In-Law.

Post # 25
5879 posts
Bee Keeper

And will you wait for her to have kids, and then to pick the names and they of course she gets first pick of which school district to live in right? Sounds insane. Right. Because it is.   

Post # 26
8457 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

View original reply
eeniebeans:  Yeah, but like a PP said, this sister is not reasonable. People like her will always find a reason to bitch and moan. Waiting a couple months will decrease this girl’s hissy fit by about 1%, and that’s not worthwhile to me. I grew up surrounded by unreasonable people and I’ve just decided not to let their craziness bother me.

Post # 27
1942 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

View original reply
toripink15:  I believe the thunder stealing thing is absolute nonsense. Specially when it comes to family! 

If she wants to be a jealous bitch, it is her problem….. you shouldn’t have to base your life decisions on wether she is going to be ok with it or not. 

If you want to get engaged now, get engaged now!!!!! And if she has a problem with it…..then sucks to be her, not you!!!


Post # 28
669 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016 - Cherry Orchard

Absolutely not! Anyone who is worth your time will be happy for the two of you.

Post # 29
409 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Oh goodness, I probably shouldn’t be commenting on a thunder stealing thread, but considering drama just exploded in my family last night, I need to vent to someone.

First, the notion of stealing thunder should be a nonissue in a rational, caring family. At the end of the day, a wedding is ONE DAY. Just one. If someone close to you gets engaged, I would give it at least a week or two to let her soak up her moment, but after that, you do what is best for you.

To give you some perspective, a cousin that I have always loved like a sister got engaged right after Christmas. I got engaged last week, so there was plenty of time for everyone to gush over her and let her have her moment. I talked to her before we started planning to make sure our dates wouldn’t conflict. She wanted March or May of 2016, depending on her teaching schedule. I wanted a fall wedding, and she encouraged me to go for my fall break this year (I teach biology classes at a local college). Yes, she encouraged me to have my wedding first. So after a week of nonstop phone conferences with my parents (I live four hours away from them, and we’re doing the wedding in my hometown.), we’re down to two options for ceremony/reception venue. One is a historic inn in a town with zero significance to me and my fiance, and the other is an Episcopal church and nearby ballroom. The church is where my cousin really turned her life around and became a Christian, so it means a lot to her to have her wedding there. Well, my Fiance has attended that church, Mom and I started attending Christmas Eve services there with my cousin while I lived at home, and we’ve shared a lot of good memories. So I was thrilled when, within the span of a day, Mom appealed to the pastor, explained our situation, and allowed us to have our ceremony there.

I didn’t have the chance to tell my cousin first, but I was happy that our weddings would be spaced far apart and not affect our families. Turns out Dad called her yesterday to wish her a happy birthday and tells her that we’ve booked the wedding.

And what happens? I receive a scathing series of text messages from my cousin ending with her, literally, disowning me and no longer recognizing me as a cousin. To say I am devastated is an understatement. Granted, she is on medication for certain panic disorders and anxiety/anger, and in hindsight, I should have given her a heads-up to what was going on, but in a rational family, you don’t disown each other over something like a wedding ceremony when they’re six months apart.

At the end of the day, you do what you do, and always make your decisions as a team with your Fiance. Stealing someone’s thunder is a joke and should never be used as an excuse to tear apart a family. You’ll never succeed in making everyone happy, so focus on making you and your Fiance happy first.

Post # 30
683 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Yes I would be upset. If you could wait that would be best. Just a suggestion, I see others disagree 

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