Bride doesn’t want future sister-in-law as bridesmaid

I have a bit of a problem. I am going to marry a wonderful man. Before we dated, I was best friends with his only sister. As we started dating, my friendship with his sister fell apart. We tried a few times to patch it back together, but ended up pretty much as enemies that barely spoke. She has said some very hateful things about me and repeatedly tried to break up her brother and me. Right now, the relationship is civil, but chilly. Don’t even really like being in the same room with her. Here is the problem. My fiance wants her to be in the wedding. Mostly because, if she is not, it will be war with his mom and sister. I love him and want him to be happy, but I know in my heart this will be the most stressful and unpleasant wedding planning ever as she is very pushy and thinks she should plan everything. She doesn’t like me any more than I like her, and it seems simple enough to just not ask her. But her and her mother are all about appearances and this would look so bad, they would never recover. What do I do??? Invite her and be miserable at my own wedding or stick to my guns and ask my friends and family that I love and who love me. I have a feeling if I don’t ask her, she and her mother will make my fiance’s life miserable. Should I just elope?

Dr. Meredith Hansen Find Love. Get Love. Keep Love.

I do not believe eloping is your answer. You are getting married to this wonderful man, which means you are also marrying his family. As much tension as there is between you and his sister, you will be involved with one another for the rest of your lives. Running away for the wedding only solves one day, it does not solve the relationship issues. It seems really important for you and his sister to find a way to become civil with one another. You do not have to be best friends again, but finding a way to exist in the same room is going to make your life and YOUR MARRIAGE much happier.

As far as including her in your bridal party, it does seems customary to include the sibling of your fiance (if it is important to him). Since your husband seems close to his sister, it feels appropriate that he would want her standing up at your wedding as part of the bridal party. Maybe it would be better if you met with her together and both asked her to be part of the bridal party, rather than you personally asking her to be a bridesmaid.

Again, for the sake of your marriage and your relationship with you husband, find a way to work on your relationship with your soon to be sister-in-law. In-laws can be a tricky subject for many couples, but learning how to co-exist peacefully is very important.

Emmanuela Stanislaus, Precious Occasions, Wedding and Event Planner

Couldn’t agree more with the advice above. An elopement will not solve your problems…it will only create more. You need to find a way to make it work. The nice thing to do is to have his sister as a part of the bridal party. After all, it is his wedding too and he should have a say in the members of the party. Siblings are usually included in the bridal party and it will seem suspicious and mean-spirited that she’s not included. This is just the beginning of your relationship with his family so try to rise above the drama. Once you marry your fiance, they will become your family as well. The relationship that you have with his sister may come up as an issue later on in the marriage. I would also add that you might want to think about having a conversation with your fiance about the relationship between you and his sister to find a way to be cordial to each other.

Jodi R R Smith, The Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting

I concur with both answers and encourage you to be the bigger person. Do ask her to be in the wedding party. As tough as that may be, years from now, you will be able to look back and know that you did the right thing.

As an aside, after the wedding, you may want to invite just her out to lunch for a chat. Reminisce about how close you two once were. It is rather telling that your friendship fell apart as your romance heated up. Was she feeling left out? Did she think you used her to get close to her brother? Perhaps sibling rivalry kicked in as she felt like the odd-man out? Could she wonder if you chose him over her? Maybe she felt betrayed? Speak with her and really listen to her answers. It sounds like there were some truly hurt feelings and your extending the olive branch to try to rebuild the relationship and trust is the best wedding present you could give yourself (and your husband!).

Good luck ~

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Great advice as always. And, I do agree that it would be nice to invite her to be a bridesmaid. However, it isn’t mandatory. And, as it might seem to be traditional to ask siblings, it isn’t an etiquette rule. We really should have only those close to us standing with us. Having said that, I do agree that for the sake of the family all of you will be going forward, it might be best to acquiesce.

However, another option might even be better for all. She doesn’t need to stand with you in order to be an attendant. She could stand with her brother. This is becoming more and more common. There is no reason she can’t. And, this should stop those tongues from wagging. If her brother and mother want her in the wedding, this is a very good compromise.