Not Asked to Be a Bridesmaids In My Brother’s Wedding
My brother and his Fiancee are getting married next year. I am the oldest daughter, he is the youngest son and we have another brother in between. His Fiancee has a younger brother. So far (as far as I know…), she has chosen all of her bridesmaids. My brother has chosen his groomsmen, and included our brother as well as her brother in his party. They’ve asked my son to be in the wedding as a ring bearer. I haven’t been asked to be a part of the wedding in any way and I feel completely slighted. I know it’s the bride’s decision who gets to be in her wedding party, but I always thought we were close. For my birthday last year, she even gave me a framed photo of the both of us.
I keep trying to reconcile in my head that it’s not my decision, but I can’t help but take it personally, especially when I’m literally the only person in my family who’s not being included. I’m just waiting for them to ask my husband to be an usher or something so I can feel completely excluded from everything. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong or why no one wants to include me…there’s no fighting, bad blood or problems within the family right now, so I’m left to feel like mud. I don’t get what’s going on, but my husband and I are talking about taking a vacation over the wedding and not going at all. He feels bad I’m not included and wasn’t even asked and we’re concerned that if we go things will just be awkward for us, being purposely excluded. I know everyone will just expect me to show up and put on a smile and pretend like none of it bothers be, be the bigger person, etc., but I can’t ignore my hurt feelings. Any advice?
Donna, Wedding Queen, President
I can understand why you’re hurt, but there could be many reason you haven’t been asked.
1. The wedding is small and she only needs a few bridesmaids (and she’s got sisters or best friends who she’s been closer to longer)
2. Like number 1, she may just have more sisters/friends who are closer.
3. She doesn’t realize she CAN ask a woman that’s not her family member (Yet). I realize you may be saying, “really?” but you’d be surprised about the wedding misconceptions out there.
It’s pretty typical for the groom to ask his brothers/male friends/cousins to be groomsmen and the bride to ask her sisters/female best friends/cousins.
First I’d make sure she’s already asked all of the bridesmaids. Then, I’d speak privately to your brother, asking him if there is anything you’ve done that might have caused an issue between you. But, you do run the risk of putting your brother in the difficult position of telling/not telling his fiancee and causing more of an issue. Only you know the personalities of the players so choose wisely. You probably wouldn’t want to be asked out of pity and making mention of it now might just cause that to happen.
Finally, I’ve known several weddings where all of the family members were not involved. Try not to take it personally.
Jodi R R Smith, The Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting
Author, The Etiquette Book, A Complete Guide To Modern Manners
From another perspective, the bride has asked your son to be the ring bearer! That is the honor. Plus the added benefit of you being able to wear a dress of your own choosing rather than the same dress as those young bridesmaids. From where I sit, you are golden. As the mother of the ring bearer and the mature, older sister of the bride, consider yourself an honored member of the wedding party. Go enjoy.
Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca
Great advice! Nothing more add. You have the best advice here already 🙂
Thanks to both of you for your responses. I guess it’s just hard for me to justify because, like I mentioned, she has no sisters. I think she has 1 or 2 female cousins that will be in her party, but other than that, I’m clueless who she would ask. I know my brother has at least 4 groomsmen, one of them being HER only brother, who he’s not that close to (as I mentioned before).
And it’s not like I’m some fat old maid fuddy-duddy who’s going to be an embarassment – I mean, she’s only 6 years younger than me. Maybe it’s just hard to swallow because I’ve never been asked by any of my friends to be a bridesmaid before, so I thought this might be the one opportunity to be a part of a wedding, to be involved, to be able to plan some things for her.
We actually talked a few months ago about me planning her bachelorette party and what ideas I had (among other advice she solicited from me – photographers, hair and makeup, etc.). Now I’m not part of the wedding party, but I feel like she’ll be expecting me to still plan and pay for a bachelorette party? I feel like I’m being taken advantage of because I’m married and my husband and I have the ability to pay for these types of things, yet she’s cutting me out of everything else?
Each of you have a point: take the high road, etc. And there are advantages to not being in the wedding party…but I was honestly looking forward to wearing a bridesmaid dress for once and standing up for her and my brother. It’s just extremely hard to look past being looked past.
Donna, Wedding Queen
You’re not obligated to plan or pay for any wedding parties, whether or not you’re a member of the bridal party. So only host or help if you feel like it. I’d encourage you to be involved (yes, take the high road) since you’ll be family soon.
Again, if you’re really feeling light your relationships will be affected, you may want to speak to your brother and let him know how you feel. I’d leave out the negative stuff (paying and planning, etc) and just tell him how you feel. Perhaps she is clueless? Maybe she doesn’t want to burden you financially since your son is already in the wedding? Who knows. But – will you feel any better being asked after the fact? Think about what you’d like to accompish if you decide to speak to your brother.
I hope, no matter what happens, you’re able to attend the wedding, have a terrific time, be there for your brother and go on to have a nice relationship with your family.
Darlene Taylor, PBC
This is really great advice!
I would like to second the advice from The Mannersmith – your son is in the wedding! That IS an honor. And as was suggested by The Wedding Queen, don’t take this too personally. Really, the bottom line here is that the wedding decisions belong to the couple just like you made your own decisions for your wedding. You are going to have to let your wishes go. But I think you already know that. 😉
My mom used to tell me, “Don’t borrow trouble.” In this situation, I see from your posts that you have spent so much time and energy trying to figure out everybody’s thoughts and actions that you’ve lost time enjoying the pre-wedding joys with family. That’s borrowing trouble – worrying about things you can’t control. That’s no fun and it has stolen your joy.
Time to STOP! May I lovingly suggest that you take your eyes off of yourself and put them on your brother and his fiance. Celebrate with them! Give them your support by being on time for parties, rehearsals, and fittings. Be an example. Be the “rock.” They need you! You will probably be the ONE person/couple they can count on during this time. They need your advice and your experience as you have walked this road before them. That is more valuable to them. And, speaking as a planner, having the mother of the ring bearer available and not involved in the wedding is VERY helpful! To reiterate The Mannersmith – YOU are an HONORED member!
Well, since my last post, I took your advice – took the high road, stayed out of it. Waited for them to fill us in about my son being in the wedding, and then we got their STD. Having not talked to my brother and not sure what was going on, I asked my mother what was happening with the plans for getting my son fitted for a tux, etc. because time was ticking away and I assumed I would have to special order something for him. My mother then explained that she didn’t think my son was going to be in the wedding after all, that they had decided to exclude him. I vented to her about how upset I was that not only was I being excluded, but now they were demoting my son from his honor when we’ve done nothing wrong.
I told her I was so hurt and embarrassed by their actions that I didn’t think I would want to go. So, assumably she talked to my brother because shortly thereafter I got a letter from her telling me that I had been excused from the wedding. We haven’t received an invitation and I presume we won’t. My brother and I have butted heads over things in the past; he’s a loose cannon and has said/done some very hurtful things to me, but always surfaces with some form of an apology that I end up accepting. He and his fiance invite my husband and I out once in a while, and stick us with the bill, he’s crashed at our house before for days on end and left us with a mess.
But I’ve always been okay with it because he’s my brother. So now, I can’t help but feel hurt and used. The whole thing is awkward. And on top of it, no one in my family seems to care that I won’t be invited and they have no intention of intevening on my behalf. I feel that this is the beginning of the end of a relationship with my brother, but it’s at his own hand. I mean, is it really okay to do this to your family? Am I supposed to just keep taking his rude behavior on the chin? Is there even an upside to any of this?
Donna, Wedding Queen
STD??? Please revise that acronym for clarity.
How sad for all of you. of course, every story has three sides, so I can only comment based on your side. I’m not sure what, if anything, you can do about the situation or even if you should do anything now. However, if your son is old enough to understand, please explain to him that he won’t be in the wedding, letting him know it was nothing he did wrong. Leave out any negative feelings you have about your brother and then leave the subject along unless specifically asked.
My advice, based on the information given – move on and pray that he will someday leartn how to have a family relationship. I’d encourage you to seek counseling around this issue as it’s not easy to walk away from family, even if it’s in your best interest.
I wish you all the best.
Amy Rubins, Fete Perfection, Professional Bridal Consultant
STD is save-the-date
Donna, Wedding Queen
Heh, Jodi let me know this. But, you can see where my mind is…