Wedding Party

(Not close) sister refuses to wear a dress...?

edited November 13 in Wedding Party
Let's rephrase things. 

I am not close with my sister at all. My mother updates me on her life, my mother updates her on my life. I text her frequently and try and call on a regular basis, however that being said, I have received a grand total of three texts from her in the past 8 months. 

My mother begged my fiance and I to have a wedding. We obliged. 

When choosing a wedding party, the only person I explicitly asked to be a bridesmaid is a MOH. Every single other person I asked to be in the wedding in some capacity, depending on what they felt most comfortable doing, not necessarily be a bridesmaid. I understand that it can be too much for a person to help with, but there are other ways for them to be involved. To each and every person that I sent the invite to be in the wedding to, I said, "If you would like to be a bridesmaid instead of some other attendant, this is the dress that the MOH has picked out."

I have texted and called my sister relentlessly, and it took her four months and arm twisting from my mother to get her to respond to me. I received three texts: the first stating that she will be in the wedding but doesn't care what she is doing, the second stating that she will not wear a dress (to which I said that is fine, there are plenty of other ways to be just as involved or more involved in the wedding, I offered for her to officiate), and the third saying that she had to go to work. She hasn't gotten back in touch with me for TWO MONTHS. Several people of varying rolls in the wedding party, MIL, and my mother have begged her to get in touch with me and she still hasn't for unsited reasons. 

My mother, in the meantime, told her she would be a bridesmaid. I DID NOT tell her that. I figured, given her personality, she would choose to have some other roll regardless. My mother told her she would be a bridesmaid because 1., my fiance's sisters are bridesmaids and, according to my mother, I cannot have his sisters and not my own; and 2., "that is what women do in a wedding" according to my mother. It will cause family drama if my sister is not a bridesmaid. It may very well cause more family drama if she is a bridesmaid that does not dress the part. 

I have three questions:

1. How best do I approach things with my mother? 

2. Because of how uncommunicative she has been, and how hellacious it would be to have her theoretically in the wedding party but refusing to talk to people, is it unfair to rescind my invitation? It has been SIX MONTHS of this. 

3. If she does come around and confirm an interest in the wedding and start acting like she'd genuinely like to be involved, due to the fact that the extent of my knowledge from my sister is that she is willing to be in the wedding (NOT necessarily a bridesmaid) AND that she has staunchly refused to get in touch with me regarding ANYTHING AT ALL, how unfair is it for me to say she has three choices: dress and bridesmaid, her own outfit and a roll she decides, or not involved? 


So... I am not close with my sister AT ALL. I wouldn't go so far as to call her estranged, but the only reason we ever talk is because we are siblings, not because we get along in any way, shape, or form. My mother twisted my arm into asking her to be in my wedding. I have an amazing relationship with my fiance's two sisters, so asked them to be in the wedding as well. Neither of which cared what exactly they did, but I really want both of them to be bridesmaids. They both immediately said yes and jumped right on board to helping plan. It took three months of practically harassing my sister to get a response out of her. She said she wanted to be in it, but didn't care what. I said great, the more the merrier, here's a link to the dress I am thinking about for bridesmaids.
 
Here's where it gets tricky. 

My sister has recently come out as gender fluid. The very first thing she said was, "Well, I will be in it, but I won't wear a dress." I said no, please wear a dress. I never got a response, and haven't heard from her since that, and that was a month ago. My mother has said that if my sister is not a bridesmaid, the soon-to-be sister-in-laws cannot be bridesmaids. If she was a brother, my mother would have absolutely no problem with her not being in the bridal party because tradition states it is composed of women. If I was close with my sister I would try and come up with other things for her to wear. However, because I am not close with her and honestly don't care if she is even there, I do not want to go out of my way to accommodate her. I tried coming up with a different role for her, but again, my mother said that if she is not a bridesmaid, his sisters cannot be bridesmaids. I want to give my sister the ultimatum that she needs to wear a dress and be a bridesmaid, come up with her own other role in the wedding to be involved, or not be involved. I know that this will upset my mother, though.

Am I being unfair and harsh? What do I do about my mother? Advice?

Re: (Not close) sister refuses to wear a dress...?

  • edited November 13
    I never asked her to be a bridesmaid, just to be in the wedding in some capacity. The only person I explicitly asked to be a bridesmaid is my MOH; everyone else asked. My mother is the one who told her she could be a bridesmaid because she is a girl. She won't pull financing, but the wedding means significantly more to her than it does my fiance and I. The only reason we are having one is for our parents, pretty much. As far as apologizing to my sister, I said I understand her discomfort wearing a dress, and the other option for her is to take up another roll in the wedding. It isn't do it or don't be involved at all. As she is family, yes, I would love for her to be in it in some way. As she is not close, no I do not feel like I have a responsibility to come up with different solutions for her that she may very well just shoot down as well. I asked my male siblings to be involved, but not in my bridal party, I am asking the same of her. I guess my question is more how do I salvage things with my mother. 

    Also... pretty hard to call her when she doesn't even answer your texts.


  • I never asked her to be a bridesmaid, just to be in the wedding in some capacity. The only person I explicitly asked to be a bridesmaid is my MOH; everyone else asked. My mother is the one who told her she could be a bridesmaid because she is a girl. She won't pull financing, but the wedding means significantly more to her than it does my fiance and I. The only reason we are having one is for our parents, pretty much. As far as apologizing to my sister, I said I understand her discomfort wearing a dress, and the other option for her is to take up another roll in the wedding. It isn't do it or don't be involved at all. As she is family, yes, I would love for her to be in it in some way. As she is not close, no I do not feel like I have a responsibility to come up with different solutions for her that she may very well just shoot down as well. I asked my male siblings to be involved, but not in my bridal party, I am asking the same of her. I guess my question is more how do I salvage things with my mother. 

    Also... pretty hard to call her when she doesn't even answer your texts.


    When you sent her the picture for the dresses you were envisioning, that was asking her to be in your wedding party. 

    The easiest thing for for you to do is send a text apologizing and tell her that she can wear whatever would make her comfortable. 

    I think the the relationship with your Mother needs to be prodded. She should be ashamed that she is forcing her will on your wedding party and her thoughts about gender segregated groups are outdated and rude. 
    STARMOON44charlotte989875SP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    First, you need to tell your mother that wedding party membership is an area of your wedding that she is not entitled to control. It's one of the few areas where paying does not give a say to anyone other than the couple.

    Beyond that, I would text your sister letting her know she can wear pants rather than a dress if that's okay with you and would make her comfortable. Then I'd stop texting her and let her either come wearing whatever she wants, or not, and let it go at that. If you weren't close before you got engaged, then the sad fact of life is that your wedding isn't going to bring you closer together. Weddings tend not to do that.
    short+sassyernursej
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Your mother needs to butt out of your wedding party. You get to pick whomever you'd like to stand up for you. You don't have to pick your sister, just because she's your sister. It sounds like you're not close, so she should not be a bridesmaid. I feel like possibly that ship has already sailed though, by what you and your mother have said to her. 

    Also, you shouldn't be trying to force a dress on anyone. Why would you do this, if you know she's not comfortable in a dress? Pick a color and let her pick out an outfit that matches, that she's comfortable with. 

    And apologize to her for trying to force her into a dress. 

    Also, the word is ROLE. Not roll. 

    STARMOON44eileenrobInLoveInQueens
  • Let your sister be a bridesmaid and wear pants. 

    Tell your mother to butt out of your wedding party. This isn't for her to decide. 

    You're making things harder than they need to be. 
    SP29
  • edited November 13
    Big girl panty pulling up time.

    In relation to mom:

    "Mom, while it's very generous of you to fund the wedding, and we appreciate it very much, it's important to me that those standing up next to me on my wedding day are my nearest and dearest. Please don't bring this up again as decisions in this area have been made and are final."

    In relation to your sister/the dress:

    While technically it's true that the only job of a person in the bridal party is to show up in the defined attire, in this situation I urge you to realize that you are putting your sister in one corner and a dress in the other. I know you and her are not close, but you are choosing a dress over her, and she must find that hurtful. Look at this as the first possible place to extend the olive branch and perhaps begin to mend your relationship. Ten years from now, I bet you'd be happier she was there in whatever than if she wasn't standing up with you so everyone would match.

    In relation to this whole 'I've assigned a role, but not which role' stuff:

    Please stop. There are three roles of honor at most weddings: Bridesperson, groomsperson and reader. Some people throw in ushers but even that is a little questionable depending on the wedding. This is another moment where you put on your big girl pants and decide who you would like to ask TO DO WHAT. The wishy washy stuff sounds like excuse making honestly. If someone asks me to be in their wedding, I assume I am just that, in the wedding. If you turn around in 6 months and tell me I'm handing out programs, it's not gonna go over well. Don't do this to people. And remember, anything that could be done by a table is not a proper job for a human being, and anything with the word 'attendant' attached to it needs to be thrown so far away you can't see it anymore.
    short+sassySTARMOON44eileenrobSP29
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    There's so much going on here, but you're focused on the dress. I agree with those who say you 1. should have told mom to butt out. 2. when you sent you sister the dress info, you were asking her to be a bm. Now, you can't unask her. 

    If your sister doesn't wear dresses, for whatever reason, why should she be expected to change for your wedding. If you have been ignoring that your sister does not identify as feminine, that could be the reason she ignores you and only responds to texts to get you off her back. Or it may be that she doesn't feel dresses are flattering or she hates the specific dress your MOH picked out. The correct way to approach bms about their outfits is to 1. privately ask each for a budget 2.pick a few dresses within the lowest budget and 3. get feedback from the bms. 

    To answer your questions

    1. Tell mom to let you and your sister work on your relationship without her interference. Also, all those other people who are pestering your sister to get in touch with you should butt out.

    2. Yes, it would be horrible of you to rescind your invitation. 

    3. If your sister is more comfortable in pants or tux, tell her she is welcome to choose to wear her outfit of choice, with accessories in your bm color. I have this nagging thought in the back of my head that you wanted your MOH to be happy, so allowed her to pick the dress. Why can't you extend the same thoughtfulness to your sister?


                
    short+sassySP29InLoveInQueens
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