Initially, I wanted a wedding party. When we got engaged, I realized that the only possible thing that could come out of it was drama (so I didn’t have one — and it was great!). The thing is…I didn’t want my husband’s sister to stand up for us. I saw her as nosy and condescending, and I didn’t want unsolicited advice from the time we got engaged until the time we got married. It was easier not having her involved. The simplest way to do that — considering I have no sisters, but two sisters-in-law — was to table the entire thing. Obviously, at this point, that doesn’t appear to be an option for you.
As my wedding grew closer, I remember my Mother-In-Law asking me who was going to be in our wedding (then acting shocked when I said “no one”). She asked me some time later and was again shocked at the answer. Then, in private, she asked my husband “why,” and he said we didn’t feel like having one. That was when I took the opportunity to contact his sister directly and…well, basically lie to her. I told her it was nothing personal, we wanted a simple wedding, blahblahblah.
I don’t like her, but I have to give her credit: she was very cordial and receptive and simply said, “I don’t blame you, it’s more hassle than it’s worth,” and that was it. She herself never brought it up.
Tackling this directly could be one way to clear the air. Maybe email her and say:
“Hi, Jill. I wanted to talk about something that’s been bothering me. I feel I’ve given you the impression that I don’t like you, (blahblahblah). That’s not true. I care about and love you, but we wanted to have a small wedding party. My friend Sarah and I have been close for (blankityblankblankblank) years, and I know it meant a lot to her to stand up for us. (Include other excuses here; i.e., you wanted an even wedding party, and your Fiance didn’t want anyone else to stand up for you; etc.). Now, I’m going to end this letter with tons of compliments for you.”
This could be an opportunity to include her in other ways — would you be OK with her giving a speech at the wedding? Leading a prayer? Being a greeter/sort-of-usher? Is there any other role you would be comfortable giving to her?