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Just Said Yes April 2019

Help! How to handle the Groom's Sister/family?

maddybride123, on May 31, 2018 at 3:24 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 19
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Hello! So here's the story:

My fiance and I got engaged a few months ago! We were proactively discussing wedding details before we were officially engaged. All very exciting times. I told then-BF (now FI) that I wanted to have four bridesmaids (my closest friends/family, I have no sibs). Fiance agreed and was kinda struggling to figure out who his guys would be.

Fast-forward, we're now engaged, a year out from the wedding and my fiance says he wants to add in his brother-in-law as a groomsman, which increases the wedding party. I asked FI about including BIL before our engagement, but, FI said no. I was surprised by the change of heart, but, I have a lot of close friends so it wasn't an issue to add another friend. I have a group of friends that are going to participate in all of the fun stuff, like bachelorette party/bridal shower anyway. But, FI wanted me to pause on asking the last BM, Danielle. He has met her a handful of times. FI has no issues with Danielle, we went to her wedding and we've gone double dates with Danielle/husband. So I felt FI wanting me to pause on officially including Danielle was really odd. But, since I was excited about the wedding process and wanted to treat all of my friends equally, I spoke to Danielle about being a BM. She was thrilled!! Happy ending, right? No, it turns out that my fiance's sister and her husband wanted to be in our WP without actually telling me or my fiance. They then spoke to my FI about it without me present and they told FI expected to be in the WP.

When I found out, FI and I agreed to compromise and find another role for sis, I had no problems with his sis. We're simply not close. We have a superficial relationship, never had a convo on our own. We're in different places in life - there's a 10+ year gap, she's married with children (40s), I'm a 20 something Cali girl, we're just different. She doesn't text me directly if she wants a favor from me, she'll text FI to ask me. Never bothered me because I got that we weren't close. So to me, it would be weird to make her a BM over a close friend. When I told sis that she would have another role in the wedding, just not as a bridesmaid - all hell breaks loose. Sister is hurt and feels insulted. FI told me that I have to get rid of someone to include sister or we would need to increase the wedding party for sister. Essentially, if sister is not in WP, as BM, sister is going to cause all kinds of problems. We're planning a small wedding of 70, we didn't want an army of people in the WP. I thought this was pretty ridiculous given the relationship sis and I have, but, it turns out that she expected me to ask her to be in WP. Not asking her to be in the WP has turned into a family war. She is refusing to speak to me and this has been going on for over a month.

TBH, this whole situation is worrying because FI's family is acting like this is normal. They said sister should be in the WP as it is their tradition. FI and I are different backgrounds, in mine, we don't throw people in the WP for the show, it is actually supposed to be meaningful. The funniest part is that FI and I had a few convos with his family about the WP before engagement and no one said anything about including sister/BIL. If you have strong feelings, wouldn't you say something? But, on the other hand, the fam doesn't see anything wrong with a grown woman saying that there will be a long-standing family issue if she isn't a BM. They all keep saying this is how she is and I'm being difficult for not including her.

At one point, I was willing to make her a BM if we actually spoke and had a real relationship. I would want to have a friendly relationship with my FH's sister, but, I can't believe that people make an issue over something so trivial, not offering to help/do anything for the wedding, yet have demands. But, since this is still an ongoing issue, at this point, I don't want her to be a BM. If she is making a big issue over not being a BM, I don't know what is next. That's the short version of events - I can elaborate if necessary! Thoughts on how to move forward because this whole thing has put a sour note on wedding planning since I'm not sure what will set off future hubby's fam next? Thanks!

19 Comments

  • Mrs. H
    Master September 2019
    Mrs. H ·
    • Flag

    It's always difficult when family gets involved with wedding planning... everyone has an opinion... everyone thinks theirs is right - it's a frustrating time for sure. At the end of the day, it's your wedding. Are you and FI paying for the wedding yourselves? If so, FILs don't really get a say. Good luck!

    • Reply
  • Erin
    Devoted October 2018
    Erin ·
    • Flag
    She can't demand to be in the party. This whole situation seems insane. I hope things turn out in your favor.
    • Reply
  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
    • Flag

    Have you told your fiance how you feel about it? She should have made more of an effort to be your friend if she planned on being in the wedding party. I have a younger brother, and whenever he finds a serious girlfriend/fiance, I plan on making every effort so she feels like she's my sister. Your fiance's sister didn't do that, so she can't expect to be included like a friend would.

    • Reply
  • Happy Hedgie
    VIP September 2018
    Happy Hedgie ·
    • Flag

    You are right that you should include those nearest and dearest to you in your wedding party. Your FSIL doesn't get to demand that she is a BM. I'd speak with your FH and let him know how you feel and have him sort it out since it is his sister. That said, WP do not need to be even and a simple solution if FH wants her to be included would be to have her stand on his side as a groomswoman. She is his sister so, it would make sense that she should stand up and support him not you. Hopefully, this will appease her since she is still being included.

    • Reply
  • Mrs.Sanok
    VIP September 2018
    Mrs.Sanok ·
    • Flag

    I am so sorry and I feel your pain. I am having the same issue with FSIL too. She too expected to be in our WP. FSIL and I used to get along and had some kind of friendship. Then FH and I started to have our own lives and do things without her. So things started to get tense, then one year during Christmas all hell broke loose. I got her this present because she is hard to shop for, it was limited addition, and not very expensive. Well she looked up the price and she was mad that I did not spend as much on her, as she did on me. In my family it does not matter the price, just the thought behind it!

    Well after that she stopped talking to me and calling me by my name. She would say to FH "your girlfriend" and say stupid things. She had no respect for me and for FH.

    Then there was a point that things started to get better till the day FH proposed. After he did my mom and sister asked to take pictures with me! Well she got upset and stormed out of the house! Making a huge sense and trying to take the focus away from us. It turns out she was upset that no one asked her to take pictures with her and her bother. Which yes we could have, but she could have asked too and we would have happily done it. Then she stopped talking to us again.

    Now the last part is when we told her she is not a BM. That is when the world ended. She hates me, and FMIL does too. FSIL has told me she wants me to hurt my sister like her bother her hurt her, by telling her I do not want her to be the MOH anymore. (mind you our father passed away and a really good family friend of ours who was like a sister passed away and it has really hurt us to lose them.) She also has told me that losing our father is not that big of a deal, and also has told me if I cared about my friend so much why did I do nothing to help her. (she passed away from a herion overdose. no one knew she was using. she lived in PA 3 hours away.) She has no boundaries and randomly text me to go F myself, to the point I have blocked her.

    I have stood my ground and bluntly told everyone why she is not in the BP. I will not have someone who does not respect me or hate me in my WP. Also you/ I do not have to have her in the BP. That is not necessary. Times have changed and if there is no relationship there then why do it if neither you or her will be happy! Just stand your ground and remember it is your day and to do whatever makes you happy!

    • Reply
  • Sarah
    Devoted June 2018
    Sarah ·
    • Flag

    This is crazy, but please don't stress about "even numbers." It literally does not matter and nobody will notice or care if the sides are even.

    • Reply
  • Sarah
    VIP July 2018
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    1) Bridal parties don’t have to be even!
    2) Your SIL doesn’t get to demand anything from your wedding.
    • Reply
  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    I agree with this. If your FH wants his sister in the wedding party so badly then tell him she can be on his side. Then stand your ground. You will find out that everyone will have an opinion about your wedding but now is the time to grow your bridal balls and not let them get to you.

    • Reply
  • B
    Expert September 2018
    Brittany ·
    • Flag

    Oh wow! They will get over it Smiley smile we have two people on each side and none of our siblings. I have two brothers and FH has two sisters, but we decided to just do our two best friends and his two daughters as Jr. Bridesmaids and my two nieces as flower girls. Everyone will have opinions, but once they lash out if they don't get what they want then you can't give in. Who knows what drama she will do or next she will want to wear a certain dress or dress color!

    • Reply
  • Sara P.
    VIP October 2018
    Sara P. ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Ditto. To everything Happy Hedgie said.
    • Reply
  • Jamie
    Dedicated June 2018
    Jamie ·
    • Flag
    Call me crazy but I would include siblings before non-blood friends. It’s not “her side, his side.” He can have very close female relationships (like a SISTER) that deserve to be included. I don’t agree with her demanding to be a bridesmaid but I think it was very, very poor taste to not include her from the beginning. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a wedding where a sibling wasn’t in the bridal party unless they were totally estranged.

    Drama aside, the gracious and right thing to do is include her. I think you are in the wrong here and are being a Bridezilla—despite her being somewhat in the wrong, her idea about it is right.
    • Reply
  • Molly
    Dedicated June 2019
    Molly ·
    • Flag
    I feel your pain. My FH has 4 sisters and I was expected to put them all as my bridesmaids. I was looking forward to having a smallish bridal party of 5 of my best friends and my sister. But now I have 8 bridesmaids and have been forced to boot out one of my college friends. I’ve come to terms with it and have come to the conclusion that it’s not worth hurting anybody’s feelings over. The only thing that matters is that you’re married at the end. I know it’s tough but be the bigger person here. If it helps I told my FH that he doesn’t really get an opinion on anything else if I did this for him 😉 not entirely true but it is helping stop fussing in other parts of the wedding! Lol
    • Reply
  • Bailey
    Super March 2019
    Bailey ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    I disagree with this completely. There is no reason you should be obligated to include siblings. Blood doesn’t really mean anything, many people have poor -even toxic- relationships with family and very good ‘non-blood’ relationships. I’ve attended plenty of weddings where siblings aren’t in the wedding, and they have good relationships.

    Just because she isn’t giving in to someone else’s rude demands does not make her a bridezilla.
    • Reply
  • Jamie
    Dedicated June 2018
    Jamie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    While she may not have to, etiquette is that she should. I said I disagree with FSIL’s demand, but she shouldn’t have to demand it in the first place, she should’ve been included. It’s insane to tell the groom that his important female friends and relatives must be excluded from the party because they’re not YOUR inner circle. But by all means, exclude whomever you wish, because after all, “it’s MY DAY!!”

    http://emilypost.com/advice/common-bridal-dilemmas-solved/
    • Reply
  • J
    Savvy July 2020
    Jessica ·
    • Flag
    I disagree with this 100 percent. I have 3 sisters, I am only asking one to be a BM, really just to keep my mother from losing her sh**. In all honesty I haven’t even given her the proposal box I made because I’m really struggling with having her and not one of my other friends who is a constant in my life. My sisters are not. I have 2 friends that have been my best friends since the sixth grade who are both BM and my MOH is more like my sister than my sisters. You do what makes you happy. Anyone saying that you are wrong by not including her are ridiculous. A friend told me that I would lose friends/family throughout this process by trying to make everyone happy. She will get over it. Someone needs to tell her the world doesn’t revolve around her and she needs to grow the he!! up! Good luck and stay strong!!❤️
    • Reply
  • M
    Dedicated January 2019
    Maggie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    This is an excellent idea! She should be on your FH's side.
    • Reply
  • M
    Just Said Yes April 2019
    maddybride123 ·
    • Flag

    Hi! Thanks for the feedback and the helpful info. To answer the questions:

    1. My fam is footing the bill. No strings attached (seriously), just wanted us to be happy! FILs did offer to pay/split the bill with my fam, though.

    2. Sis was offered to be a grooms-woman or do a reading - that's what caused all hell to break loose. Sis did ultimately agree to be a grooms-woman. But, his fam is still upset and sis is still not speaking to me. And they all still really want sis to be a BM although she won't speak to me directly and I have reached out.

    3. FI says this is how sis responds when she is disappointed and can't deal/completely shuts down. It is just better do what sis wants ... that's how the family handles her.

    4. If FI said he wanted his sis to be in WP, sis actually spoke to me about it - I would have been annoyed, but, I probably would have compromised, made her a BM to be nice. But, being told that I have do this or there will be consequences - like FI can't see his nephews (her kids) because she is so upset. Freaks me out.

    5. I always considered sis as a member of the WP. She is FI's sis and mom of our ring bearers, she just wasn't a BM. TBH, I thought I was doing her favor, could wear whatever she wants and didn't need to be stuck with me and my friends since she won't/doesn't socialize without her hubby.

    • Reply
  • LibbyLane
    Super July 2018
    LibbyLane ·
    • Flag

    I have three sisters, and only one of them is in the BP - because she's young enough to be our flower girl! All of my girls are friends from college. But my FH has his brother, step-brother, and cousin as his groomsmen. Just because it might be tradition in his family, that doesn't mean that you have to give in to someone who sounds like a real peach of a human.

    • Reply
  • queenbee
    VIP October 2018
    queenbee ·
    • Flag
    Ugh I’m sorry you have to deal with this. Wedding planning is stressful enough without all the family drama! Seems like your FH opened a can of worms for you, asking his BIL to be in the wedding party 😕
    I asked one of my FSIL to be a BM. She is super close with FH and since we’ve been together, she’s like my little sister too. My other FSIL though is a nightmare. When I met FH he despised her. They’ve mended their relationship somewhat since then, but still aren’t close. And she’s been nothing but mean and rude to me for the last 6 years. So I obviously didn’t want her in the wedding. Now FMIL makes it a point to tell me allllll the time that FSIL is hurt that she wasn’t asked to be a BM. I don’t feel bad though, because I asked people who I love to stand next to me on my wedding day and I don’t care what anyone else says about it.
    It’s going to cause problems, obviously it already has, but I would stand your ground. Don’t let her bully you into asking her to be a BM.
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