Are groom’s sisters required to be bridesmaids?

I have a sticky situation here and I was hoping to get some peoples’ views on it.

I am engaged to a wonderful woman whom I love very much. She really wants a small ceremony, or even no ceremony at all. We have negotiated on three bridesmaids and three groomsmen. She has her three bridesmaids all picked out, but she hasn’t asked them yet.

Today I had a conversation with my parents where they say (essentially) that they would be willing to help out financially if my two sisters were bridesmaids. My mother said “it would be a slap in our face if she didn’t ask them to be bridesmaids.” My fiance, on the other hand, does not really know my sisters too well (doesn’t see them more than a few times a year) and does not want them as bridesmaids. Now my fiance is very upset and is considering calling off the entire wedding over this issue; she says she “doesn’t want to have to deal with the drama.”

So here’s my question: is my mother correct in her assumption that it is “required” that the groom’s sister(s) be included as bridesmaids?

Thanks for any help you can give.

-Michael B.


No, your mother is not correct. The selection of bridesmaids is based on who is closest to the bride. Most times, that means she’ll choose women who are close to her from early childhood, college, etc. While it is nice to ask siblings to be in the wedding party, it is not obligatory.

If your mother wants to pay for a part of your wedding, that is wonderful. However, this offering should not come with the attachment of dictating who will be in your wedding.

There are other roles your sisters can fill such as hostesses so all is not lost. The final decision over who is to be included in your wedding party rests with the two of you.

One last thing. This issue is about your wedding day. The day after your wedding will be a marriage. The two of you should approach this situation with that in mind. It sounds like you really love this woman and when all is said and done, you want to be married and living the rest of your life together. Don’t let one episode of drama take that away from you. Work through it. It’s worth it.


Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

I completely agree. Only those close to the bride should be her bridesmaids. Plus, because parents are not financially responsible for their children’s weddings these days, this is a gift. So, I agree here to that the gift should be string free.

One issue here though, is with both of you having three attendants each. The number of attendants relates to the formality and number of guests you wish to host. If you are hosting a small informal event, you may only want one attendant each, although the amount of attendants do not have to be even on each side.

However, if this is what you want, this is not a major faux pas that many will notice. It is just something to consider.

Best wishes,