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Etiquette

Attention Seeking Future Sister In-Law

lizzieb2019lizzieb2019 member
10 Comments
edited September 5 in Etiquette

To start: My FSIL, who is 24 years old, is a huge attention seeker and has never been supportive of my relationship with her brother. Whenever his family gathers, she immediately draws the attention to herself in grandiose ways. Just to name a few examples: purposely burning her hand while helping to light FH’s birthday cake, crying in public places so her parents have no choice but to focus on her, and speaking quite loudly and rudely at holiday gatherings where the extended family gets to witness her behavior.

My FH and I agreed to distance ourselves from her in order to set healthy boundaries since speaking with her about her inappropriate actions does not work. When we got engaged, we made the hard decision to not include her as a bridesmaid for fear that she wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face or a tight lip during our vows.

With consideration of her attention seeking ways and blatant disrespect of our relationship, we created a new title for her: “Sister of the Groom.” She will appear in the bulletin and will still be part of the wedding party. We will let her walk down the aisle (bouquet and all), give her a special dress to wear, and do a small reading at the wedding. She will sit in the front row with her parents so there will be no risk of faked fainting spells or inappropriate gestures that will draw a lot of attention to her.

My FH let her know about her role in our wedding the other night over the phone. My FH and I were prepared for the blowback question of: “Why aren’t I a bridesmaid?” In response, we had been ready to flood her with love and appreciation. We were going to let her know that “Sister of the Groom” is a big deal and a big responsibility (which it is - reading in front of about 150 people is huge!).

Instead of the chaos we were expecting over not being a bridesmaid, she immediately started to complain about not singing at our wedding. Please note that neither my FH nor I gave her any indication that we wanted anyone to sing at our wedding, let alone his sister. We’re getting married in September 2019, and we have barely spoken with the director of music at the church we’re getting married at. That being said, for whatever reason, she had it in her head that she would be performing at our wedding.

“I thought I’d be doing more at your wedding,” she had whined to my FH. “I thought I was going to sing at your wedding. I’m the best singer you know. Tell your fiance that I want to sing at your wedding. Tell her that I’m going to sing either during the ceremony or at the reception.”

My FH calmly explained that we weren’t really looking for a vocal performance, and we're just really happy that she’d be with us on our big day. She insisted upon singing at our wedding until the point of hysteria. She couldn't contain herself because of her drastically high and low emotions throughout a somewhat simple conversation. My FH had to let the subject drop, trying to calm her down and having to ask her several times, “Do you accept the role of ‘Sister of the Groom?’”

She finally accepted the position when my FH told her that he and I would discuss the possibility of her singing at our wedding. After he got off the phone with her, we both agreed that he would need to let her down gently. We would need to tell her that we appreciate her enthusiasm, but we are sticking with instrumental music for the ceremony and a DJ for the reception. We also agreed that we made the right choice to not include her as a bridesmaid. The fact that she did not handle the phone conversation with gratitude and composure, and instead erupted into a fit of hysteria, proves that we made the difficult but right choice.

After my FH had informed FSIL of her role in the wedding, we decided we simply don't trust her to walk down the aisle by herself without causing a ruckus. With that in mind, we will have to ask FH's father to walk her down the aisle prevent her from acting out, which should fulfill his parents' twisted fantasy of using our $34,000 wedding in order to pretend it is my FSIL's wedding (see more below).

At this point, we’re very concerned that our wedding will turn into the “FSIL show.” Her demanding to sing at our wedding is just the beginning of what we’re up against.

The pressure from his family to include her is smothering, and we have even been told by his parents that “she might not walk down the aisle as a bride, so this is our only chance to see that happen.” AKA: his parents want to "play wedding" with FSIL at our actual wedding. FH quickly told them that we are not obligated to fulfill their fantasy at our actual wedding, and that day is supposed to be about two people starting their lives together.

Unfortunately, her parents don’t know how to handle her, and they enable her bad behavior rather than help with damage control. FH has tried to speak with his sister about her actions, but the last time he did, she threw a temper tantrum and nearly wound up in the hospital, she was so raving mad. He has also tried to talk with his family, expressing our concerns about her behavior and her mental well being, but they are in complete denial about the whole thing.

I’m so worried that if I invite FSIL to get ready with me on the day of the wedding (a traditionally nice gesture), she’ll purposely spill something on my dress or try to take away from the special moments of the day. From previous experience, I know she is going to try to get some attention on the one day that is supposed to be about true love and two people joining together as one to build a life together.

We’ve discussed having a cousin keep an eye on her during the wedding and reception. We’ve also talked about having her help with actual setup of the wedding in the church with a group of her family members to keep her in check. I suggested that I have breakfast with her, FMIL and my mother the morning of the wedding so the future in-laws still feel included, even though they will not be invited to get ready with me.

How do you deal with an attention seeking person at your wedding? How do I keep her preoccupied so I don’t have to worry about her doing something drastic at the wedding? How do I include her in the wedding while still keeping a healthy boundary?

Thank you in advance for the advice and support. This has been a trying time, and we've only been engaged for 3 months. Our wedding is September 2019, so any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

«1

Re: Attention Seeking Future Sister In-Law

  • To start: My FSIL, who is 24 years old, is a huge attention seeker and has never been supportive of my relationship with her brother. Whenever his family gathers, she immediately draws the attention to herself in grandiose ways. Just to name a few examples: purposely burning her hand while helping to light FH’s birthday cake, crying in public places so her parents have no choice but to focus on her, and speaking quite loudly and rudely at holiday gatherings where the extended family gets to witness her behavior.

    My FH and I agreed to distance ourselves from her in order to set healthy boundaries since speaking with her about her inappropriate actions does not work. When we got engaged, we made the hard decision to not include her as a bridesmaid for fear that she wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face or a tight lip during our vows.

    With consideration of her attention seeking ways and blatant disrespect of our relationship, we created a new title for her: “Sister of the Groom.” She will appear in the bulletin and will still be part of the wedding party. We will let her walk down the aisle (bouquet and all), give her a special dress to wear, and do a small reading at the wedding. She will sit in the front row with her parents so there will be no risk of faked fainting spells or inappropriate gestures that will draw a lot of attention to her.

    My FH let her know about her role in our wedding the other night over the phone. My FH and I were prepared for the blowback question of: “Why aren’t I a bridesmaid?” In response, we had been ready to flood her with love and appreciation. We were going to let her know that “Sister of the Groom” is a big deal and a big responsibility (which it is - reading in front of about 150 people is huge!).

    Instead of the chaos we were expecting over not being a bridesmaid, she immediately started to complain about not singing at our wedding. Please note that neither my FH nor I gave her any indication that we wanted anyone to sing at our wedding, let alone his sister. We’re getting married in September 2019, and we have barely spoken with the director of music at the church we’re getting married at. That being said, for whatever reason, she had it in her head that she would be performing at our wedding.

    “I thought I’d be doing more at your wedding,” she had whined to my FH. “I thought I was going to sing at your wedding. I’m the best singer you know. Tell your fiance that I want to sing at your wedding. Tell her that I’m going to sing either during the ceremony or at the reception.”

    My FH calmly explained that we weren’t really looking for a vocal performance, and we're just really happy that she’d be with us on our big day. She insisted upon singing at our wedding until the point of hysteria. She couldn't contain herself because of her drastically high and low emotions throughout a somewhat simple conversation. My FH had to let the subject drop, trying to calm her down and having to ask her several times, “Do you accept the role of ‘Sister of the Groom?’”

    She finally accepted the position when my FH told her that he and I would discuss the possibility of her singing at our wedding. After he got off the phone with her, we both agreed that he would need to let her down gently. We would need to tell her that we appreciate her enthusiasm, but we are sticking with instrumental music for the ceremony and a DJ for the reception. We also agreed that we made the right choice to not include her as a bridesmaid. The fact that she did not handle the phone conversation with gratitude and composure, and instead erupted into a fit of hysteria, proves that we made the difficult but right choice.

    After my FH had informed FSIL of her role in the wedding, we decided we simply don't trust her to walk down the aisle by herself without causing a ruckus. With that in mind, we will have to ask FH's father to walk her down the aisle prevent her from acting out, which should fulfill his parents' twisted fantasy of using our $34,000 wedding in order to pretend it is my FSIL's wedding (see more below).

    At this point, we’re very concerned that our wedding will turn into the “FSIL show.” Her demanding to sing at our wedding is just the beginning of what we’re up against.

    The pressure from his family to include her is smothering, and we have even been told by his parents that “she might not walk down the aisle as a bride, so this is our only chance to see that happen.” AKA: his parents want to "play wedding" with FSIL at our actual wedding. FH quickly told them that we are not obligated to fulfill their fantasy at our actual wedding, and that day is supposed to be about two people starting their lives together.

    Unfortunately, her parents don’t know how to handle her, and they enable her bad behavior rather than help with damage control. FH has tried to speak with his sister about her actions, but the last time he did, she threw a temper tantrum and nearly wound up in the hospital, she was so raving mad. He has also tried to talk with his family, expressing our concerns about her behavior and her mental well being, but they are in complete denial about the whole thing.

    I’m so worried that if I invite FSIL to get ready with me on the day of the wedding (a traditionally nice gesture), she’ll purposely spill something on my dress or try to take away from the special moments of the day. From previous experience, I know she is going to try to get some attention on the one day that is supposed to be about true love and two people joining together as one to build a life together.

    We’ve discussed having a cousin keep an eye on her during the wedding and reception. We’ve also talked about having her help with actual setup of the wedding in the church with a group of her family members to keep her in check. I suggested that I have breakfast with her, FMIL and my mother the morning of the wedding so the future in-laws still feel included, even though they will not be invited to get ready with me.

    How do you deal with an attention seeking person at your wedding? How do I keep her preoccupied so I don’t have to worry about her doing something drastic at the wedding? How do I include her in the wedding while still keeping a healthy boundary?

    Thank you in advance for the advice and support. This has been a trying time, and we've only been engaged for 3 months. Our wedding is September 2019, so any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

    JIC
    NBSquared2017justsieMesmrEwe
  • banana468 said:
    At this point?  I wouldn't involve her in wedding conversations at all.

    If it's brought up I would not go back on your request to have her as a reader but I do think your made up job title is a bit phony.   Just call her a reader.   If you want to buy her a dress (not for her to buy but you to if she's not a BM) then go for it.  The offer sounds fine.  

    If your FILs are not offering financing for the wedding then I'd also stop the conversation if it comes up.   Bean dip them through any issues and simply don't leave it up to negotiation.   

    Advise your ceremony and reception venues that no one but chosen people should be given microphone access.   

    Finally, realize that while all of this makes her sound like she's incapable of adulting, it's pathetically transparent behavior that everyone sees.   

    So should she make a scene, no one is going to think, "Wow!   Look at her fall and all the attention she's getting!"  Instead they're going to think "Wow - that's pathetic.   That bride is looking so cool even though she's now bound legally to such an attention whore." 

    Stop fretting about the things you can't control.   She's not going to change who she is.   SO instead, adjust your approach and reaction.   If that also means not taking money from ILs who have never understood the concept of tough love then do it if it makes you feel more comfortable with your decisions.   
    Thanks for the pointers!

    The FILs have not offered to help pay for the wedding. They are, however, paying for the rehearsal dinner, which we are very grateful for.

    I'm sorry you feel that the "Sister of the Groom" title is a bit phony. A title in our wedding party is something that FILs really wanted, but FH and I were not willing to concede on the bridesmaid position. We wanted to have her just be a reader, and his family did not react kindly to that. So, we created a title for her and are giving her a walk down the aisle to keep the peace.

    I will definitely advise my ceremony and reception venues about microphone access. FH and I are also planning on talking about the situation with our pastor so he will know what to do.

    Thanks so much for the advice!
  • Why on earth? This is the worst plan I’ve ever heard. 
    MyNameIsNotMairePoppyjustsiePrettyGirlLost
  • banana468 said:
    My take on the "sister of the groom" is that it isn't a title.   It gets her name listed but there's no special role of "sister of the room" and if I saw that listed I would just see it as something made up.  But reader is not a made up title.

    That said, you pick and choose your battles here.  If I knew what you were dealing with I'd read your program and smile at it.

    Part of it is dealing with his parents and having a balance of tough love but also not upsetting them.   Good luck!
    I agree that it's a little silly, but if it placates her it may not be the hill to die on. It seems like others around her know what she's like, and may understand what you're dealing with. I agree with banana's advice to just stop discussing the wedding with his sister or parents (if they want to push her involvement). Change the subject, ask about their lives, whatever. Just shut the conversation down. 
    short+sassycharlotte989875eileenrob
  • banana468 said:
    My take on the "sister of the groom" is that it isn't a title.   It gets her name listed but there's no special role of "sister of the room" and if I saw that listed I would just see it as something made up.  But reader is not a made up title.

    That said, you pick and choose your battles here.  If I knew what you were dealing with I'd read your program and smile at it.

    Part of it is dealing with his parents and having a balance of tough love but also not upsetting them.   Good luck!
    I agree wholeheartedly, but I am definitely trying to keep the peace with the in-laws. They wanted a title, and "Reader" wasn't good enough for them. They seem okay with "Sister of the Groom," so I'm not gonna rock the boat.

    Thanks for the support. It's seriously been a struggle.
  • I would not want a whole year of dealing with her, so for at least the next 6 months I would stop all wedding talk around her and the FIL's. Bean dip your way through the holidays and then fight your battles as they come up.

    I would for sure do like you said and speak to the Pastor and DJ. I would also avoid letting her know details of things she could control, who the vendors are for example so there is no chance of her "changing" plans or contacting them.

     The day of I would for sure have a trusted person keep eyes on her constantly. I think your breakfast plan is good but no way would I let her be around while your getting ready, thats just asking for trouble. I'm sorry you have to deal with this girl and your FIL enabling her. Have your mind set not to react the day of when she for sure will try something, make sure you look good and her the fool.
    After hearing his family's unwanted opinions about his sister not being a bridesmaid, we have been avoiding talk of the wedding with FH's family for the past two months. The only things we tell them are things that are already done and have no major impact whatsoever. Example: "Our friend is making our wedding cake! Here, have a cupcake she's made."

    So far, FSIL has no idea what is happening with the wedding. The only thing she knows is her role as "Sister of the Groom." I don't talk to her about anything pertaining to the wedding. I don't plan on it either until we have to give her the reading to practice and I have to go dress shopping with her. And even then, it will only be necessary details.

    Thanks so much for the support. I've been feeling kind of down about the whole thing, and it's so nice to have a kind community to talk to and bounce ideas off of.
  • banana468 said:
    My take on the "sister of the groom" is that it isn't a title.   It gets her name listed but there's no special role of "sister of the room" and if I saw that listed I would just see it as something made up.  But reader is not a made up title.

    That said, you pick and choose your battles here.  If I knew what you were dealing with I'd read your program and smile at it.

    Part of it is dealing with his parents and having a balance of tough love but also not upsetting them.   Good luck!
    I agree that it's a little silly, but if it placates her it may not be the hill to die on. It seems like others around her know what she's like, and may understand what you're dealing with. I agree with banana's advice to just stop discussing the wedding with his sister or parents (if they want to push her involvement). Change the subject, ask about their lives, whatever. Just shut the conversation down. 
    Yeah, we're just trying to keep the peace with his family. If a made-up title is what it takes, then it's what it takes. Thanks for the support!
  • I think it's great advice to bean dip them about the wedding for the next 6 months.  "How is planning going?!?!"  "It's good.  Things are coming along nicely.  So I heard you just got a promotion at work, how is that going??"  And move the conversation right along.  

    Do you think communicating by email would help?  I sent our wedding party and the ILs a weekend itinerary so everyone knew what was going on at all times.  Of course, you won't need to do this until about 2 weeks out, but maybe that will help get everyone's expectations in line with what is going to happen.

    I am sorry she is so attention-grabbing, but at least it won't reflect poorly on you if she starts acting out.  When I was planning my mom kept warning me that my grandma was certainly going to show up wearing white to try to steal the attention from me.  I finally told her, "well then she will look like a fool, not me.  I can't control other adults and if that's what she does, so be it."  And she never brought it up again.  

    short+sassycharlotte989875thisismynickname2eileenrob
  • This isn't an etiquette problem. It's a mental health problem. Your ILs know this, which is why they say that "she might not walk down the aisle as a bride." They're clearly at a loss on how to deal with her. Those of us who deal with a family member with MI know this situation all too well.

    Don't jump through hoops to deal with her. You can't. Just plan your day the way you think is right, and be kind. Don't let your worries about her behavior steal your joy. If she acts up, you won't be any less married. And people will step in to help.
    MairePoppylizzieb2019short+sassyInLoveInQueens
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited September 6
    Based on your statement that when your Fi tried to talk to his sister about her behavior, she threw a temper tantrum so bad that she almost ended up in the hospital and your FILs think she may not ever get married, I wonder if FSIL suffers from some sort of mental disability. If yes, I would err on the side of kindness. What you are describing isn't typical behavior for a 24 year old woman. If she is disabled, it might have been easier to make her a groom's maid, let her wear the bm dress and walk down the aisle and be done with it. 

    Since wedding talk brings out the worst behavior for your FILs, continue to avoid wedding talk. Don't invite your FSIL or FMIL to get ready with you the day of. The Ils getting dressed with the bride is not a thing. You don't have to make it up to them by having breakfast with them, which will only provide your FSIL with an opportunity for more tantrums. Just don't do it. 

    Does your FSIL usually hang out with cousins during family events? If she does, then it might be fun for her to sit with them. If not, it's not really fair to ask guests to babysit for an adult. In that case, put her with her parents. 
                
    MesmrEwenightnerd
  • I'm echoing the mental health thoughts. Mental health concerns are so hard because they often take so long to diagnose and the people with the concerns can often demonstrate behaviours that are off-putting to those they are closest to. The best advice that I ever received was to understand that they are coping the only way they know how and the best thing you can do is support them in getting help, setting boundaries and then controlling your reaction to their behaviours.

    Best of luck!

    MesmrEweshort+sassynightnerd
  • ernursej said:

    I'm echoing the mental health thoughts. Mental health concerns are so hard because they often take so long to diagnose and the people with the concerns can often demonstrate behaviours that are off-putting to those they are closest to. The best advice that I ever received was to understand that they are coping the only way they know how and the best thing you can do is support them in getting help, setting boundaries and then controlling your reaction to their behaviours.

    Best of luck!

    This!  

    O.k. there is so much going on...  How you handle the singing is of course wait until you've had your meeting with the Musical Director, then "Our musical director is strict about what can and can't be done..  Because of this we don't feel it would be a positive experience for you!" (we actually had to do this with a family member, and she is good, but after meeting the musical director, the guy would have taken her passion for singing and music away he was such an obnoxious pompous arrogant jerk)..  

    I'm just going to call it - "Sister of the Groom" is her relationship status, not a title of involvement in the wedding.  "Like a bridesmaid, but not a bridesmaid yet still walking down the aisle with a bouquet and wearing a designated dress" is typically a Groomswoman because she's there for your groom, not you.  "Sides" do not need to be even, and she can still walk in with her parents.  You've already asked her to walk down the aisle and do a reading, you're committed to that level of involvement, cap it there.  If she opts not to walk down the aisle carrying a bouquet, then she's the Reader.  

    As others have mentioned, cut the wedding talk around the in-laws ESPECIALLY if she's anywhere around.  Remember the good ole' recipe for Bean Dip is going to be your and FI's friend in the upcoming months!  You fear her turning into a distraction and attention seeking behaving as someone who has some mental health issues is what it comes down to by the tone of your post.  Not judgmental, you've recognized her personality for what it is.  You can battle it or you can utilize it, your choice.  That said, you're also creating an expectation for her to live down to (an image of her negative behaviors).  What if you put her in charge of handing out things like party favors for the dance (Glow necklaces, bracelets, boas, hats, etc.) that are cheap in bulk quantities, along with the "kid's (activities) Table" if you're having kids attend?  Instead of battling against her need for attention, plan something for her to do that gets positive attention and will keep her busy and engaged doing it (hint - it takes TIME to get 200+ glow necklaces and 200+ glow bracelets activated - JUST SAYING!)...  OR, balloon hats and swords are always fun at parties if you don't have anyone with latex sensitivities!  

    And, it may sound like a broken record, but invest in some great premarital counseling and dedicate a session or two surrounding boundaries for a family member with mental/behavioral challenges since you're new to it.  Premarital counseling is important in great relationships too, but especially when there are issues such as this that you'll be marrying into.  A good counselor will be able to teach you the behavior mod techniques that will work to maintain those boundaries.  And by all means, It's o.k. to limit who is getting ready with you the "day of" because really, there's something meditative about that time that should be honored even if the only one getting ready with you is your Mom..
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    ernursejlizzieb2019
  • MesmrEwe said:
    ernursej said:

    I'm echoing the mental health thoughts. Mental health concerns are so hard because they often take so long to diagnose and the people with the concerns can often demonstrate behaviours that are off-putting to those they are closest to. The best advice that I ever received was to understand that they are coping the only way they know how and the best thing you can do is support them in getting help, setting boundaries and then controlling your reaction to their behaviours.

    Best of luck!

    This!  

    O.k. there is so much going on...  How you handle the singing is of course wait until you've had your meeting with the Musical Director, then "Our musical director is strict about what can and can't be done..  Because of this we don't feel it would be a positive experience for you!" (we actually had to do this with a family member, and she is good, but after meeting the musical director, the guy would have taken her passion for singing and music away he was such an obnoxious pompous arrogant jerk)..  

    I'm just going to call it - "Sister of the Groom" is her relationship status, not a title of involvement in the wedding.  "Like a bridesmaid, but not a bridesmaid yet still walking down the aisle with a bouquet and wearing a designated dress" is typically a Groomswoman because she's there for your groom, not you.  "Sides" do not need to be even, and she can still walk in with her parents.  You've already asked her to walk down the aisle and do a reading, you're committed to that level of involvement, cap it there.  If she opts not to walk down the aisle carrying a bouquet, then she's the Reader.  

    As others have mentioned, cut the wedding talk around the in-laws ESPECIALLY if she's anywhere around.  Remember the good ole' recipe for Bean Dip is going to be your and FI's friend in the upcoming months!  You fear her turning into a distraction and attention seeking behaving as someone who has some mental health issues is what it comes down to by the tone of your post.  Not judgmental, you've recognized her personality for what it is.  You can battle it or you can utilize it, your choice.  That said, you're also creating an expectation for her to live down to (an image of her negative behaviors).  What if you put her in charge of handing out things like party favors for the dance (Glow necklaces, bracelets, boas, hats, etc.) that are cheap in bulk quantities, along with the "kid's (activities) Table" if you're having kids attend?  Instead of battling against her need for attention, plan something for her to do that gets positive attention and will keep her busy and engaged doing it (hint - it takes TIME to get 200+ glow necklaces and 200+ glow bracelets activated - JUST SAYING!)...  OR, balloon hats and swords are always fun at parties if you don't have anyone with latex sensitivities!  

    And, it may sound like a broken record, but invest in some great premarital counseling and dedicate a session or two surrounding boundaries for a family member with mental/behavioral challenges since you're new to it.  Premarital counseling is important in great relationships too, but especially when there are issues such as this that you'll be marrying into.  A good counselor will be able to teach you the behavior mod techniques that will work to maintain those boundaries.  And by all means, It's o.k. to limit who is getting ready with you the "day of" because really, there's something meditative about that time that should be honored even if the only one getting ready with you is your Mom..
    Her attention-seeking ways are what led my FI and me to decide to have her as a reader. We've planned to see if we can have her help with set up to give her something to do, but I really like the idea of handing out things at the reception. I'll definitely run that by FI!

    We've already signed up for premarital counseling and are planning on talking with our pastor about these issues. I have dealt with mentally ill family members in my own family before by setting healthy boundaries and establishing personal rules that I adhere to. It's a bit different when you're coming into it through marriage and are not as familiar with triggers and habits.

    FI and I, luckily, are on the same page with keeping healthy boundaries. I'm just really grateful to have his support in all of this.

    We've dropped all wedding talk with his family. We only give them bread crumbs so they don't try to insert their opinions. The whole "Oh, wedding planning is going well! How are you doing? How's your new job?" has been our go to.

    Unfortunately, everyone in our family knows the music director personally. Our parents attend the same church (the church where we're getting married), and are well acquainted with our music director. We're just going to have to let FSIL down gently and explain that we really appreciate the offer, but we're just having instrumental music for the ceremony and a DJ for the reception.
  • Jen4948 said:
    It sounds to me like your FSIL isn't the only one in your FI's family who doesn't respect boundaries.

    I think it's time to stop trying to "keep the peace" with your FILs. Your FI needs to tell them, "Mom, Dad, the subject of Sis' role in the wedding is a closed one. Lizzieb2019 and I are not willing to discuss it further." 

    Then you both need to stop talking about the wedding altogether with your FSIL and keep your FILs on a strictly need-to-know basis. If they bring up your FSIL's role in the wedding, change the subject or leave, but don't engage or placate them further.
    Yes. We've made sure that anything we tell FI's family is on a strictly need-to-know basis.

    We had to have a "come to Jesus" talk with FI's parents a little while after getting engaged because of all of the unwanted input they were giving us. The talk was right after FI's parents let him know that they wanted FSIL to walk down the aisle at our wedding since "she might not walk down the aisle as a bride, so this is our only chance to see that happen.” It was a very awkward but necessary conversation.

    FSIL has not heard a single detail about the wedding other than the date and her role in it. We've been very hush-hush about it all to keep the dramatic flair to a minimum.
  • ernursej said:

    I'm echoing the mental health thoughts. Mental health concerns are so hard because they often take so long to diagnose and the people with the concerns can often demonstrate behaviours that are off-putting to those they are closest to. The best advice that I ever received was to understand that they are coping the only way they know how and the best thing you can do is support them in getting help, setting boundaries and then controlling your reaction to their behaviours.

    Best of luck!

    Yes! FI and I are very concerned for her mental well-being. We have no idea what her diagnosis is, which makes it difficult for us to be there for her. The only thing we can do is set healthy boundaries and acknowledge what we will and will not accept in our lives.

    I want to include her in our big day with an understanding of what she is capable of doing. That's why I'm wondering how I can do that. I like the idea of giving her things to do throughout the wedding day. I'm also leaning toward having an intimate breakfast with just FSIL, FMIL, my mother, and me. I want her to feel loved and wanted while still keeping my boundaries in place.

    Thanks for the advice and support!
    short+sassyernursej
  • Based on your statement that when your Fi tried to talk to his sister about her behavior, she threw a temper tantrum so bad that she almost ended up in the hospital and your FILs think she may not ever get married, I wonder if FSIL suffers from some sort of mental disability. If yes, I would err on the side of kindness. What you are describing isn't typical behavior for a 24 year old woman. If she is disabled, it might have been easier to make her a groom's maid, let her wear the bm dress and walk down the aisle and be done with it. 

    Since wedding talk brings out the worst behavior for your FILs, continue to avoid wedding talk. Don't invite your FSIL or FMIL to get ready with you the day of. The Ils getting dressed with the bride is not a thing. You don't have to make it up to them by having breakfast with them, which will only provide your FSIL with an opportunity for more tantrums. Just don't do it. 

    Does your FSIL usually hang out with cousins during family events? If she does, then it might be fun for her to sit with them. If not, it's not really fair to ask guests to babysit for an adult. In that case, put her with her parents. 
    Yes, she does suffer from a mental disability. The doctors suspect it might be bipolar disorder in combination with something else. She has not been properly diagnosed for it (tests are inconclusive), so FI and I are flying blind in terms of triggers and how to handle certain situations with her properly.

    She does sometimes hang out with cousins at family events. FI and I discussed having her at a table with cousins and her parents during the reception. I agree that it's unfair to ask guests to babysit for an adult.

    Thank you for the support and the advice!

  • The FILs have not offered to help pay for the wedding. They are, however, paying for the rehearsal dinner, which we are very grateful for.

    Awesome!  She should sing there, lol.

    :D
    short+sassy

  • The FILs have not offered to help pay for the wedding. They are, however, paying for the rehearsal dinner, which we are very grateful for.

    Awesome!  She should sing there, lol.

    :D
  • You choose your own WP.  You are under zero obligation to have asked your FSIL, so don't let anyone tell you differently or make you feel bad about that choice.  Most people don't ask their FSIL, unless that person is already a close friend.  Heck, my own sister didn't ask me to be in her WP, lol.  NBD, I understood her choices.

    You are also under no obligation to invite her to get ready with you.  You are absolutely right to avoid that like the plague.  It's nice you are even planning to go out to breakfast on the wedding morning with her, your FMIL, and your mom.

    I can understand your and your FI's worry, knowing her history.  But she will be a guest and she will be a Reader.  That's it.  She will like it and be calm.  Or she can be escorted out by security or a trusted cousin.

    No matter what she does.  Smile.  Ignore her antics.  Tend to your other guests and have a great time.

    I suspect she has a very sad life.  I'm sure it's hard for you and your FI to know and see that.  But you can't help someone who doesn't want to help themselves.  You all are wise to keep her at arm's length. 

    Thank you for the reassurance!

    We feel bad for having to keep our walls and boundaries up when it comes to her, but we find that our relationship with her is so much better with them. Regardless, it's still hard to deal with.

    Thank you so much for the support and the advice!
    short+sassy
  • MesmrEwe said:
    ernursej said:

    I'm echoing the mental health thoughts. Mental health concerns are so hard because they often take so long to diagnose and the people with the concerns can often demonstrate behaviours that are off-putting to those they are closest to. The best advice that I ever received was to understand that they are coping the only way they know how and the best thing you can do is support them in getting help, setting boundaries and then controlling your reaction to their behaviours.

    Best of luck!

    This!  

    O.k. there is so much going on...  How you handle the singing is of course wait until you've had your meeting with the Musical Director, then "Our musical director is strict about what can and can't be done..  Because of this we don't feel it would be a positive experience for you!" (we actually had to do this with a family member, and she is good, but after meeting the musical director, the guy would have taken her passion for singing and music away he was such an obnoxious pompous arrogant jerk)..  

    I'm just going to call it - "Sister of the Groom" is her relationship status, not a title of involvement in the wedding.  "Like a bridesmaid, but not a bridesmaid yet still walking down the aisle with a bouquet and wearing a designated dress" is typically a Groomswoman because she's there for your groom, not you.  "Sides" do not need to be even, and she can still walk in with her parents.  You've already asked her to walk down the aisle and do a reading, you're committed to that level of involvement, cap it there.  If she opts not to walk down the aisle carrying a bouquet, then she's the Reader.  

    As others have mentioned, cut the wedding talk around the in-laws ESPECIALLY if she's anywhere around.  Remember the good ole' recipe for Bean Dip is going to be your and FI's friend in the upcoming months!  You fear her turning into a distraction and attention seeking behaving as someone who has some mental health issues is what it comes down to by the tone of your post.  Not judgmental, you've recognized her personality for what it is.  You can battle it or you can utilize it, your choice.  That said, you're also creating an expectation for her to live down to (an image of her negative behaviors).  What if you put her in charge of handing out things like party favors for the dance (Glow necklaces, bracelets, boas, hats, etc.) that are cheap in bulk quantities, along with the "kid's (activities) Table" if you're having kids attend?  Instead of battling against her need for attention, plan something for her to do that gets positive attention and will keep her busy and engaged doing it (hint - it takes TIME to get 200+ glow necklaces and 200+ glow bracelets activated - JUST SAYING!)...  OR, balloon hats and swords are always fun at parties if you don't have anyone with latex sensitivities!  

    And, it may sound like a broken record, but invest in some great premarital counseling and dedicate a session or two surrounding boundaries for a family member with mental/behavioral challenges since you're new to it.  Premarital counseling is important in great relationships too, but especially when there are issues such as this that you'll be marrying into.  A good counselor will be able to teach you the behavior mod techniques that will work to maintain those boundaries.  And by all means, It's o.k. to limit who is getting ready with you the "day of" because really, there's something meditative about that time that should be honored even if the only one getting ready with you is your Mom..
    This isn't a very good idea. By lying and blaming it on someone else, you've created a problem that ILs can now help you solve. If the musical director is the problem, we'll get another musical director, or intercede on your behalf, or whatever other solution they come up with to "solve" a problem you invent by lying.

    OP and her FI need to be honest and direct with the ILs. "We are not inviting any musical performances during the ceremony. SIL will not be singing." 

    OP, I'll echo everyone else. No wedding discussion around the ILs. No cake, no flowers, no nothing. Answer questions with vague "things are going well, how's that dip?" When you engage in conversation about one thing, you open up the door to discuss other wedding topics. Just shut it down before it starts. 
    I agree that putting the responsibility on someone else to let FI's sister down is not an ideal situation. Honesty is always the best policy. FI and I are going to let her down gently about the singing, telling her that we really appreciate the offer, but we are not having any performances at our wedding and reception.

    I'll avoid conversing with the ILs about the wedding whenever we're around. So far, FI and I have been doing quite well with that. The holidays will be an excellent time to put into practice the wedding talk avoidance with extended family.

    Thank you so much for the advice!
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited September 8
    MesmrEwe said:
    ernursej said:

    I'm echoing the mental health thoughts. Mental health concerns are so hard because they often take so long to diagnose and the people with the concerns can often demonstrate behaviours that are off-putting to those they are closest to. The best advice that I ever received was to understand that they are coping the only way they know how and the best thing you can do is support them in getting help, setting boundaries and then controlling your reaction to their behaviours.

    Best of luck!

    This!  

    O.k. there is so much going on...  How you handle the singing is of course wait until you've had your meeting with the Musical Director, then "Our musical director is strict about what can and can't be done..  Because of this we don't feel it would be a positive experience for you!" (we actually had to do this with a family member, and she is good, but after meeting the musical director, the guy would have taken her passion for singing and music away he was such an obnoxious pompous arrogant jerk)..  

    I'm just going to call it - "Sister of the Groom" is her relationship status, not a title of involvement in the wedding.  "Like a bridesmaid, but not a bridesmaid yet still walking down the aisle with a bouquet and wearing a designated dress" is typically a Groomswoman because she's there for your groom, not you.  "Sides" do not need to be even, and she can still walk in with her parents.  You've already asked her to walk down the aisle and do a reading, you're committed to that level of involvement, cap it there.  If she opts not to walk down the aisle carrying a bouquet, then she's the Reader.  

    As others have mentioned, cut the wedding talk around the in-laws ESPECIALLY if she's anywhere around.  Remember the good ole' recipe for Bean Dip is going to be your and FI's friend in the upcoming months!  You fear her turning into a distraction and attention seeking behaving as someone who has some mental health issues is what it comes down to by the tone of your post.  Not judgmental, you've recognized her personality for what it is.  You can battle it or you can utilize it, your choice.  That said, you're also creating an expectation for her to live down to (an image of her negative behaviors).  What if you put her in charge of handing out things like party favors for the dance (Glow necklaces, bracelets, boas, hats, etc.) that are cheap in bulk quantities, along with the "kid's (activities) Table" if you're having kids attend?  Instead of battling against her need for attention, plan something for her to do that gets positive attention and will keep her busy and engaged doing it (hint - it takes TIME to get 200+ glow necklaces and 200+ glow bracelets activated - JUST SAYING!)...  OR, balloon hats and swords are always fun at parties if you don't have anyone with latex sensitivities!  

    And, it may sound like a broken record, but invest in some great premarital counseling and dedicate a session or two surrounding boundaries for a family member with mental/behavioral challenges since you're new to it.  Premarital counseling is important in great relationships too, but especially when there are issues such as this that you'll be marrying into.  A good counselor will be able to teach you the behavior mod techniques that will work to maintain those boundaries.  And by all means, It's o.k. to limit who is getting ready with you the "day of" because really, there's something meditative about that time that should be honored even if the only one getting ready with you is your Mom..
    This isn't a very good idea. By lying and blaming it on someone else, you've created a problem that ILs can now help you solve. If the musical director is the problem, we'll get another musical director, or intercede on your behalf, or whatever other solution they come up with to "solve" a problem you invent by lying.

    OP and her FI need to be honest and direct with the ILs. "We are not inviting any musical performances during the ceremony. SIL will not be singing." 

    OP, I'll echo everyone else. No wedding discussion around the ILs. No cake, no flowers, no nothing. Answer questions with vague "things are going well, how's that dip?" When you engage in conversation about one thing, you open up the door to discuss other wedding topics. Just shut it down before it starts. 
    I agree that putting the responsibility on someone else to let FI's sister down is not an ideal situation. Honesty is always the best policy. FI and I are going to let her down gently about the singing, telling her that we really appreciate the offer, but we are not having any performances at our wedding and reception.

    I'll avoid conversing with the ILs about the wedding whenever we're around. So far, FI and I have been doing quite well with that. The holidays will be an excellent time to put into practice the wedding talk avoidance with extended family.

    Thank you so much for the advice!
    Go and ask your musical director at the church to walk in to a rendition of Metallica "Nothing Else Matters" or "Here Comes The Bride"..  I guarantee you they'll lay down the law on what is/isn't allowed because most do not allow secular music...  Just saying...  Not lying, it's truth for an extremely high percentage of all denominational churches out there where there is a musical director involved.  It is almost assured that someone with the sister's personality profile that we've been given thus far will want to sing something secular, which isn't allowed in many denominations anyway.  
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  • MesmrEwe said:
    MesmrEwe said:
    ernursej said:

    I'm echoing the mental health thoughts. Mental health concerns are so hard because they often take so long to diagnose and the people with the concerns can often demonstrate behaviours that are off-putting to those they are closest to. The best advice that I ever received was to understand that they are coping the only way they know how and the best thing you can do is support them in getting help, setting boundaries and then controlling your reaction to their behaviours.

    Best of luck!

    This!  

    O.k. there is so much going on...  How you handle the singing is of course wait until you've had your meeting with the Musical Director, then "Our musical director is strict about what can and can't be done..  Because of this we don't feel it would be a positive experience for you!" (we actually had to do this with a family member, and she is good, but after meeting the musical director, the guy would have taken her passion for singing and music away he was such an obnoxious pompous arrogant jerk)..  

    I'm just going to call it - "Sister of the Groom" is her relationship status, not a title of involvement in the wedding.  "Like a bridesmaid, but not a bridesmaid yet still walking down the aisle with a bouquet and wearing a designated dress" is typically a Groomswoman because she's there for your groom, not you.  "Sides" do not need to be even, and she can still walk in with her parents.  You've already asked her to walk down the aisle and do a reading, you're committed to that level of involvement, cap it there.  If she opts not to walk down the aisle carrying a bouquet, then she's the Reader.  

    As others have mentioned, cut the wedding talk around the in-laws ESPECIALLY if she's anywhere around.  Remember the good ole' recipe for Bean Dip is going to be your and FI's friend in the upcoming months!  You fear her turning into a distraction and attention seeking behaving as someone who has some mental health issues is what it comes down to by the tone of your post.  Not judgmental, you've recognized her personality for what it is.  You can battle it or you can utilize it, your choice.  That said, you're also creating an expectation for her to live down to (an image of her negative behaviors).  What if you put her in charge of handing out things like party favors for the dance (Glow necklaces, bracelets, boas, hats, etc.) that are cheap in bulk quantities, along with the "kid's (activities) Table" if you're having kids attend?  Instead of battling against her need for attention, plan something for her to do that gets positive attention and will keep her busy and engaged doing it (hint - it takes TIME to get 200+ glow necklaces and 200+ glow bracelets activated - JUST SAYING!)...  OR, balloon hats and swords are always fun at parties if you don't have anyone with latex sensitivities!  

    And, it may sound like a broken record, but invest in some great premarital counseling and dedicate a session or two surrounding boundaries for a family member with mental/behavioral challenges since you're new to it.  Premarital counseling is important in great relationships too, but especially when there are issues such as this that you'll be marrying into.  A good counselor will be able to teach you the behavior mod techniques that will work to maintain those boundaries.  And by all means, It's o.k. to limit who is getting ready with you the "day of" because really, there's something meditative about that time that should be honored even if the only one getting ready with you is your Mom..
    This isn't a very good idea. By lying and blaming it on someone else, you've created a problem that ILs can now help you solve. If the musical director is the problem, we'll get another musical director, or intercede on your behalf, or whatever other solution they come up with to "solve" a problem you invent by lying.

    OP and her FI need to be honest and direct with the ILs. "We are not inviting any musical performances during the ceremony. SIL will not be singing." 

    OP, I'll echo everyone else. No wedding discussion around the ILs. No cake, no flowers, no nothing. Answer questions with vague "things are going well, how's that dip?" When you engage in conversation about one thing, you open up the door to discuss other wedding topics. Just shut it down before it starts. 
    I agree that putting the responsibility on someone else to let FI's sister down is not an ideal situation. Honesty is always the best policy. FI and I are going to let her down gently about the singing, telling her that we really appreciate the offer, but we are not having any performances at our wedding and reception.

    I'll avoid conversing with the ILs about the wedding whenever we're around. So far, FI and I have been doing quite well with that. The holidays will be an excellent time to put into practice the wedding talk avoidance with extended family.

    Thank you so much for the advice!
    Go and ask your musical director at the church to walk in to a rendition of Metallica "Nothing Else Matters" or "Here Comes The Bride"..  I guarantee you they'll lay down the law on what is/isn't allowed because most do not allow secular music...  Just saying...  Not lying, it's truth for an extremely high percentage of all denominational churches out there where there is a musical director involved.  It is almost assured that someone with the sister's personality profile that we've been given thus far will want to sing something secular, which isn't allowed in many denominations anyway.  
    I don't know what she wants to sing, but we're definitely going to let her down easy on this whole thing. We really just want it to be an instrumental and DJ wedding, with the focus being on two people starting their lives together.

    I can just imagine the look on my musical director's face if I asked her about a Metallica version of "Nothing Else Matters" or "Here Comes the Bride."  :D Too funny!
    MesmrEwe
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