(Closed) Invitations to your sibling's wedding

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 32
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I understand why you are upset, but I really hope that you go to your brother’s wedding! I agree with a PP that said that if they had to draw a line at no unmarried guests… then that is their decision to make and as someone also having a very small wedding I can understand where they are coming from. As a silbling, I really dont think there is an unacceptable reason not to attend unless it is MAJOR. But that is just my opinion. I am sure that you can attend an event without your boyfriend, although I understand why you would want him there. Hopefully you can sit down with your brother and talk and figure it out. I was unable to attend my brothers wedding (was stuck in another country) and I HATE that I couldn’t be there… and we arent even that close. Good luck whatever you choose and I am sure you will think it through carefully and do what is best for you!

Post # 34
3389 posts
Sugar bee

You have a lot of guts to go to the wedding alone without you BF but you know what? 

What goes around, comes around… and make sure of this! LOL 

LOVE family drama!

Post # 35
2294 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

It’s very sweet of you go to the wedding for your mother. My mom is widowed too and it would break her heart if I didn’t attend my brother’s wedding with her. However, not going to the reception is perfectly reasonable. You and your SO have been completely disrespected. I also do not understand not receiving an invitation. I did not give STDs to my bridal party and parents, but invitations? Yes, invitations should go to everybody. And I’d say “be the bigger person” and invite the Future Sister-In-Law to your own wedding, but if I were you, my feelings would be so hurt that I’d probably have no qualms about cutting her out of the list. Sorry. Friends and BLOOD relatives, only! Teehee.

Post # 36
1094 posts
Bumble bee

@LyndaButterfly:  There are some big etiquette problems in all of this, and there are some relationship problems and some self-care problems, too. I am very sorry that your brother and his fiancee are hurting you. I am apalled that they are choosing to snub your mother; and worried about your brother in a relationship that seems to involve his surrendering to his partner control over his owh relationships.

The snubs to you, though unpleasant, have the grain of an excuse. The bride has no obligation to have you as a bridesmaid as you yourself say, and a groom must be willing to stand strong against convention in order to ask his sister to be a groomswoman. A verbal invitation is still an invitation and is perfectly polite for a casual laid-back affair. And, although wedding websites have recently started to proclaim that “anyone in a relationship” must be invited with their partner, strict etiquette’s must-invite rule actually applies only to the relationship of marriage. Spouses must be invited together because they are married. Fiances must be invited together because they have agreed to become married. Living-together couples must be invited together because they are living as if they were married (and in some jurisdictions that confers the common-law status of marriage.) While you and your boyfriend have indeed agreed to become married (and that is the definition of “engaged”) and may live together (you haven’t said), your insistance that you are not yet “officially” engaged despite meeting the actual definition of the term, has given the bride a valid reason for not inviting your boyfriend.

Your mother’s offers, of a reception and a shower, were kind and generous. I do understand the bride’s turning down the offer. How many times have we read, on this wedding board or another, or in a magazine column, that “if you want to be able to decide your wedding plans for yourself, then don’t accept anyone’s help in paying for it,” and “close relatives of the couple shouldn’t host showers”. If that is what is motivating the bride to decline your mother’s offers I do understand — but I don’t really approve. Greed for control over every decision is just as ugly as gift-grubbing greed or any other kind of greed. There is also an etiquette rule that, since the reception is the last party planned for a bride before she becomes joined into her husband’s family, that letting the groom’s family give the reception would suggest that she is ashamed of her own family roots and cannot wait to sever them. That is why the bride’s mother and her husband have the first right to give the receptioon if they choose.

But, since generous grooms’ mothers’ like your mother feel shut out by that rule, etiquette grants them the right to host the rehearsal dinner. Will your brother and future sister-in-law be having a rehearsal? Did your mom think of offering to host that, too? If the bride turned that down, then I find myself increasingly annoyed by the bride’s ungraciousness!

As for the shower, the proper rule states that close relatives of the couple can host showers specifically when the shower guests are equally-close members of the family. When the groom’s mother hosts a groom’s-family shower, it functions as a looking-over ceremony, where the family matriarchs get to form an impression about this bride who is marrying into their circle. It is often absolutely terrifying for the bride; but grown-ups face their fears and buck-up and get through things. Still, since the bride might not know the subtleties about who can and cannot invite whom to a shower, it might be more effective to invite her to “tea, to meet some of Buddy’s aunties and cousins.” And if the bride turns down that, too, she is pretty much sending a message that she want’s nothing to do with Buddy’s family.

If you are planning to go to the ceremony only, please look at your state’s marriage laws and the policy of the venue where they will be getting married. Some states require that the actual ceremony be open to the public. Some churches consider the wedding a church service and have a policy that no believer or seeker can be banned from attending a church service. Some parks will reserve a site for a private event, but still allow public access to the general environs of the event. In those cases, your boyfriend is perfectly entitled to attend the ceremony with or without an invitation. Since you do not plan to attend the reception anyway, your boyfriend can then win points with your mama by taking both of you out to an elegant dinner (and having flowers sent to both of you that you can wear at the ceremony, since there seems to be considerable probability that the bride might “forget” to have a corsage made for the Mother of the Groom.) Having a wonderful time at dinner, with people you love and with flowers to lift your hearts, is part of the self-care solution for you and your mama.

When your own wedding rolls around, remember your mama’s feelings now and listen to her advice and accommodate the role that she wants to play as much as you can. And invite your sister-in-law: not because she is ladylike and hospitable, but because you are.


Post # 37
5229 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

@UpstateCait:  I agree with this entire post.

OP, I’m sorry you have to deal with this stupid situation. If I were you, I’d consider putting my foot down and saying that you aren’t coming without your BF. You are CLEARLY in an established relationship and are a social unit, so not inviting him was a total faux paus.

Post # 38
77 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think it sucks that your brother and SIL are not inviting your BF of 10 years, but it might be something you just have to suck up even if you’re hurt. 

I would still go to the wedding so as not to upset your mother. I’d also invite your brother and SIL to your wedding. 

I have three siblings, they all got their own invitation. They each have significant others and it would’ve been awkward to send one invite for 8 people (they live with my parents). I know they’re all coming and their SO’s are even helping out with day of preparations. My younger brother thought it was too formal to give him an invite. Our printer sent us a few hundred extra and we hand delivered those invites so it didn’t put us out.

Post # 39
2336 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

See Aspasia’s comment regarding checking if the ceremony is open to the public, in which case you can bring your boyfriend to it.

Sometimes you have to decide what is more important to you – sticking to your guns that your boyfriend should be invited, or sharing some information which may make them change their mind.  (Should he still decline to invite you, well, I don’t blame you for being very very hurt!)  In this situation, it is unfortunate, but you may have to choose between announcing to your brother your intent to get engaged following his wedding, so as not to steal his thunder, or gracefully accept their decision not to invite your boyfriend.  While I think it in poor taste to not invite long-term significant others of close family, if they are following a strict rule it may be difficult for your brother to buck it without the above state reason.  (Whether or not you think he *should* buck it without being engaged, he doesn’t.)

Post # 40
16 posts
  • Wedding: July 2012

I actually made an account to comment on this, It’s absolutely awful what you’re going through right now, I went through similar problems during my wedding.

I’d just like to tell you something, whatever you do now, be prepared for it to come back and bite you on the bum, as far as I’m concerned, if you’re with somebody, that’s it, you’re a package deal, you mentioned it was a small wedding of 65 people, I’m sorry but nobody knows 65 people as closely to consider them more important than family, they really couldn’t have cut one of those people to allow your SO to come with you? I had four people at my wedding, my BFF, her husband (whom I barely knew at the time), her son, my mother, and had my other best friend not been in another state at the time she would have been there as well, with her fiance that I haven’t met yet would have been just as welcome. Good luck with whatever path you choose, I personally wouldn’t even say that attending their wedding as taking the high road, because they’re going to see you there, happy your all alone, basically giving them what they want. What I would personally do, is make sure your brother realizes just how messed up that is, and consider what else they will most likely cut your SO off from attending in the future. Establish now that it is not OK to do this.


And as for the not stealing his thunder, you have the right to able too share something as amazing as getting married, It’s a huge deal, what would you do if you and Future Sister-In-Law got pregnant around the same time, would you keep that a secret for a while to not steal their “Thunder” sorry for the rant, but you shouldnt have to keep it secret ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Post # 41
476 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014 - South Bonson Pier & Community Centre

I would “RSVP” for the two of you. If they want to cause a stink about your technical status as non-married, hopefully your mother can intervene. Like what is going to happen at the holidays “hey, remember that time you didn’t invite me to your wedding because I’m not a member of the family?” How many of their precious wedding guests are they sitting across from at holiday dinner? Awkward. Though, by the sounds of things, you Future Sister-In-Law is probably going to have you all cut off pretty soon after the wedding.

Edit: Errr, just realized this was months ago!! Hope it went well!

Post # 42
849 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Etiquette dictates that if a couple is married, engaged, or have been dating for so long that they’re practically a single unit then they both get invited… It seems like you and your boyfriend fall into somewhere between the second two categories. You’re basically engaged if you two plan to have a wedding next year and agree upon it.


My husband (married on paper, still planning the shindig) and I are having a small wedding, just 50 guests. His best man is his childhood friend. While my husband was in the military these past three and a half years, said friend started dating a young woman seriously and got engaged to her six months ago. Neither my husband nor I have ever met her, but she’s still invited because she’s ENGAGED to the best man and my husband’s best friend from his childhood.


As for the invitation, I didn’t get one to my brother’s wedding either. But then I asked for one as a souvenir and they were more than happy to give me one.

Post # 43
6304 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Well if it makes you feel any better I forgot to send my own Mother-In-Law an invitation. It was in NO WAY a slight (I actually love her) but it just seemed a given they were coming that I totally forgot to put her on the list. 

As for everything else, That’s being a real piece of crap on their part. If I were you, not only would I go ahead and get engaged now, I’d announce it. Clearly they have no respect for your relationship so why show theirs any?

I can relate because my DH and I were together 12 years when we finally got engaged. There were many times he got an invite to things without me, even though we’d been together longer than the people getting married!!! He always declined, which is what I would do in your case.

Post # 44
31 posts
  • Wedding: May 2005

I know this was originally posted a long time ago, and I do hope you came to a peaceful resolution. My baby bother is getting married in a couple of months, so here is my two cents for what it is worth, in case anyone else finds themselves in your situation…

My baby brother and I are REALLY close. Both my husband and I are in the wedding as are our two girls. Thankfully my future sister-in-law is great and jumped right into our family perfectly! Somehow she thinks we are normal. Ha! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

All that said if I were in your situation, I would go to the wedding and respect my brothers wishes not to bring my bf. Even long time bf… spouses and bf will come and go, but your brother will always be your brother and he cannot be replaced. I told my husband a long time ago, that if he ever did anything to intentionally come between my brother and I, it would be a deal breaker. Lucky for me they are like brothers…

Post # 45
253 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013


i know this post is a few months old,i happend apond it and just wonder how  everything turned out for you?

i was sad for you reading this ๐Ÿ™ 

Post # 46
67 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I personally wouldn’t care about not getting a formal invite. I think it’s kind of ridiculous but I wouldn’t be upset. However, not inviting your SO of 10 years? That’s just ludicrous and hurtful.

I wouldn’t go but I’m not very close with any of my siblings/step siblings. 

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