Customs and Traditions

Bridal Party help!

Hello! Somewhat recent to the Knot, so I apologize if this is an overdone discussion.  :#

We just booked the church and the venue for our wedding, 7-1-17..yay! Now, my next task I want to check off is finalizing the bridal party. I know that I don't want a million people up on the altar with my fiancee and me...but I'm also one that hates hurting feelings in any way!

Long story short: I'm the baby of 4, and the last to be married. I have two older brothers and one older sister. With that, I have two sister-in-laws and one brother in law. My sister and I were in both of our brothers' weddings. My sister included both sister in laws in her wedding.

Now, both girls (SILs) are in their early thirties, with each having at least two young kids. I'm planning to have at least one of each of their kids a part of the ceremony (flower girl and ring bearer). Should I feel obligated to include both of my sister-in-laws (brothers' wives)? On one hand, I don't want to impose the expense or responsibility, given their kids. But I also don't want them to look back in thirty years and resent me for not including them, either. 

My fiancee has a lot of close guy friends and is totally up for having my brothers as ushers as a way to include them.

Just looking for an objective view, because when I talk to members of my family...I obviously get different responses. THANKS!!!!  :)

Re: Bridal Party help!

  • Do not pick people to be in your WP out of obligation. Being a guest is an honour in itself. You can also be sure to include all of your family in photos and get your siblings and siblings-in-law a corsage/boutonniere.

    Being in a WP doesn't change relationships- if anything, it seems it brings out any lingering negative feelings because the WP feels pressure to spend money and give their time (even if the bride and groom aren't requesting these things). What I mean is, don't pick your SILs to be in your WP because you are thinking it is going to create this magical bonding experience. 

    Your WP should be your nearest and dearest, those you couldn't imagine not having stand up beside you on your wedding day.  Relationships ebb and flow, those you are close to now, you might not be close to in 15 years, and vice versa, but that's OK. I have heard some people say, "well that's why you should pick family, they'll always be around", but that is not true either. Spouses divorce, your relationships with your family and in-laws may change (my mom and her brother live in the same city, and they hardly talk). Pick those you are closest too now.
  • Being an usher isn't always seen as an honor either, though your brothers won't tell your FI that if they feel that way. It's a second-string sort of "honor." They might prefer just to be escorts to your mom if just your dad is walking you down the aisle.

    As far as who stands up with you, I agree that you should never choose someone out of a sense of obligation. Choose those to whom you are closest and remember that your side doesn't have to match your FI's side in number.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    It's up to you, however, there is sometimes family dynamics that come into play.

    In my family we have me, sis, bro#1, bro#2 it went like this:

    Brother #1 -  sis, bro#2, 1  One of SIL's sisters (she had no brothers and 1 other sister).  I did a reading.

    Sister - me, bro#2.   BIL's only sister and both brothers.  No married in-laws.

    Brother #2 - all siblings from both sides of the family. No married in-laws.

    me - sis, bro #1 and all of DH's siblings (2 sisters, 1 brother). No married in-laws.  I don't like bro#2 very much, so I excluded him.

    As you can see there is not right or wrong way to do things.  

    It was important for my DH to have sisters in the wedding.  I saw no reason why they shouldn't (not drama queens) even though they were much younger so I did.    

    Now my husband's family always has the siblings in the wedding.  That's what they do.   I've been the only married in-law to be excluded from both weddings.   No big deal. I'm not close to them as we live far away.  Plus I'm much older.

    Do what you want. 

    Now assuming a normal relationship with your siblings I think asking a sibling to be in a wedding is a good thing.

     I know many couples who have lost touch with friend WP members over the years do to just life (moved away, just different parts of their lives, etc).  Family tends to stick around longer.

      My own sister has 2 BMs she doesn't really talk to anymore (nothing bad, they all moved to different states, had kids at different times, just lost touch).  Her kids are always asking who these random BMs are, but get so excited to point out their aunts and uncles.  Or in my case makes fun of my hair from her wedding 20 years ago.   Ha.

        Again that is assuming there is a good/civil relationship without drama.  If there is potential drama ignore the above.

    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    There's no etiquette requirement that you have to choose sisters-in-law or, for that matter, anyone else whom you don't want to. It's entirely up to you.

    We do suggest that you don't choose anyone out of "obligation" if you don't already consider them someone you want. Once you ask anyone to be in your wedding party, you can't unask them without really damaging your relationship with them.
  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    Nope. Choose the people you want, not the ones you feel you have to have out of some sort of familial obligation.
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    If they're the sort of people who would resent you in thirty years for not having them in your bridal party when you're not that close, they're probably also the sort of people who would find some way to resent you for something to do with being in the bridal party. You wouldn't be able to win that one.

    However, you haven't indicated they're anything but reasonable, so I wouldn't worry about that. Ask the people you're close to.


  • I'm relieved when I'm not asked to be in a wedding party. I've spent a lot of time and money being part of a party when what I really wanted to do was just attend as a guest.

    You can ask anyone that you want. Do not feel obligated to ask any family member. Sides do not need to be even. Consider going without a bridal party!

    So many options and you have a lot of time. I might wait a bit longer before choosing.

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