Wedding Party


edited September 2020 in Wedding Party
Figured out

Re: Deleted

  • my fiance and I got engaged for about a week now, and within this week I've asked my two sisters and lifelong friend to be my bridesmaids. I always dreamed of having a small bridal party, with my closest people.

    My fiance has two sisters who are 8 and 10 years younger than me. They are 17 and 14, so they feel old enough to be bridesmaids. Yet I am not close to them, everytime we have gotten together, we act like family but after awhile they go dissappear and hang out with their own friends. Because I care for my fiances family I decided I will like to include them and make them still feel special, even if they are not my bridemaids. After much thought, I came up with honorary bridesmaids.

     I asked them : "I cant marry my soul mate without my soul sisters. Will you be my honorary bridesmaid?"  I got them cute hair pieces and jewelry along with popping the question. I also told them as honorary bridesmaids, they will be apart of the planning and are welcome to join in the room at some point in the morning to dress together, also they will be getting our wedding nails done together and making favors with me. They also will walk down the aisle with their own bouquets, after their parents and follow them into the first row to sit. I truly tried to make them feel important,  special and beautiful that day. Make them feel happy, and my fiance happy and his family happy. Along with myself happy that I got to still have my few closest ones standing next to me. 

    The third day into our engagement, his family had an uproar. They were so upset and disappointed in me that I picked their daughters to be honorary bridesmaids. His sisters looked up the meaning and said " I'd rather not have done anything at all if she didn't really want me up there. Thats embarrassing.  This job is for the black sheep of the bridal party". The family was so upset and basically told my fiance this needs to be fixed. 

    This hurt my feelings and got me really pissed. I tried to get them included and have a special role, yet that wasn't good enough? Now it turned into a competition. They are all claiming that my whole family is on display and in the wedding, while their family is tossed to the side. Yet I don't understand how they can say that.

    I have two of my sisters and my littlr brother as a ring bearer (that's my whole family).  My fiance has his two brothers and his little brother as his ring bearer. Its even. Its fair. But since he has a bigger family, now his two sisters are feeling left out and tossed to the side. That is why i asked them to be my honorary bridesmaids. So in order to clear the air, I texted them and the mom explaining that I'm sorry they saw bad meanings online and that I didn't intend it to be that way. So I texted them a heart felt description of what honorary bridesmaids meant to me. And they still weren't happy. They want them to stand up with me as bridesmaids because jesse is close to them. Is that even a choice for them to make? (Mind you my family is paying for the entire wedding too) 

    I am in awe that a week into our engagement,  his family started rifts and pain. It got my fiance and I bickering about why I cant and don't want his sisters apart of my bridal party. It wind up hurting my fiances feelings due to not willing to sacrifice for his sake. I'm so hurt and angry at them all for caring more about being seen and on display rather than giving my fiance and i some space to love our first week of engagement. All I can say is ungrateful. Am I wrong to feel this way? They never acted this way before and I am so scared that they are finally showing their true colors. What did I get myself into? 

    I dont see how this can get any better. If I change my mind and have them up there with me, im not happy and his sister and family still know i didn't choose them originally.  If i keep it the same and as my honorary bridesmaids, they will be upset up until the wedding and my fiance will feel torn because he's just trying to keep me and his family happy and united. 

    What do I do? I am experiencing such pain right now. And anger. Did I do anything wrong? 

    Short answer: Yes.   You did something wrong.

    The way you phrased this you seemed to have the best of intentions however we know that good intentions pave the road to a dark place.  

    The reality as I read this as an outsider, (40 year old woman married for 13 years with kids of her own) is that I started to internally cringe as the story went on.  You screwed up here and basically told your FI's sisters that they are second string WP.   Imagine this as a teenager: You're maturing, wearing adult clothing, may even have a job and on your brother's wedding day the wedding party is going to get ready.  You don't get to be there the entire time but you'll be invited when the bride says it's OK.    And you'll work with the bride and the "real" bridesmaids to make the favors for the wedding guests and your bouquets.   On the wedding day as the wedding party is going to process down the aisle to their seats you'll look just like them until you sit with your mom and dad.   Also, you didn't mention hair and make up but if you're going to have them professionally done and you aren't inviting them to join you (or pay for them to have it done) this is another way they feel like a second tier as it's also a different look entirely.  

    I *get* that you wanted to do something nice and try to come up with a way to include them but you HAVE to look at this as the slight that it is.  You're experiencing anger and pain IMO because you're now on the defensive and your intent wasn't to hurt feelings yet you did.  You need to take a step back and acknowledge that you hurt the feelings of your FI's sisters and apologize.  Let them know that your intent was never to make them feel like any kind of second string and you are truly sorry for what you did. 

    For the record, honorary bridesmaid isn't a thing.   The ONLY time that one is called an honorary ANYTHING in a wedding party is when that person cannot attend the wedding for some reason.    Putting honorary in front of it has the tone of "not real".   When someone is awarded an honorary doctorate they're not a real doctor.   It's the same here. 

    Now I think you and your FI need to get together and move forward.  If I were you I would go in one of two ways:
    -Tell them you want them to be bridesmaids and be a part of the entire experience in your wedding party from start to finish.
    -Your FI can ask them to be groomsmaids and they are the equivalent of a bridesmaid but they stand up for their brother.  
    Normally I would not do this with planning a wedding party but unfortunately a can of worms has opened throughout his family so if I were you I would consider phrasing it to them asking how they were wanting to be included.

    Stop the text messages.   Pick up the phone or video chat and have a real conversation here.   They don't get to dictate your wedding party but you are going to be related by marriage to these people for life and I can tell you that when it starts off on the wrong foot family members do not forget it.   

    One more word here: who is paying for the wedding in this scenario makes so little difference here that it does not factor into any equation or explanation.  Please do not use that in any part of the discussion ever and especially not here.

    Good luck.    

  • An honorary bridesmaid is someone who would have been a bridesmaid, but couldn't because they physically couldn't attend the wedding. This is common when someone is sick, goes into labor, gets deployed, etc. Honorary bridesmaid is not runner up bridesmaid for people you don't like enough to have as real bridesmaids. Your FSILs may be young, but they are not stupid. They're hurt because your expectations were hurtful. I don't blame your FMIL for being upset; she's their mother and she knows they're hurt. 

    A piece of general advice here. SLOW DOWN! You've been engaged for a week. That's barely time to set a budget, guest list or date. Asking your WP should be done further down the line, once you've done the preliminary planning and are within 6-9 months of the wedding. First, it gives you time to wrap your head around the wedding and be realistic with plans, but secondly it gives you time to think about these things. You acted impulsively here, and that's part of the problem. 

    At this point, it's on to damage control. If you'd hadn't jumped the gun, it would be a different equation, but I think you're at a point now where you have no choice but to include them. The best solution that I can see is to apologize for the honorary bit, and tell them you'd be honored to include them as bridesmaids. Then you have to actually act like that; you can't be rude to them when choosing dresses or treat them as lesser when walking down the aisle. Agree with PP that this should all be done in person or over the phone, not text message. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited September 2020
    You meant well, but by calling your FSILs "honorary" bridesmaids, even though they're minors, you made them feel like they didn't make the cut.

    I agree with @MyNameIsNot that you need to slow down. We generally don't advise asking people to be in your wedding party too soon - certainly not one week into your engagement. And second, don't use words like "honorary" or "junior" to distinguish between attendants who are adults and attendants who are minors. If they're doing the same things, then you don't need to make those distinctions.

    Another issue, for lurkers: Don't "pop the question" with gifts and cutesy theatrics when asking anyone to be in your wedding party. It raises expectations and puts pressure on them to accept when they might not be able to. Ask them directly, in private, and separately, and get their budgets at that time so that you don't set outfit, party or travel expectations that any of them can't afford.
  • You are absolutely in the wrong here. Asking someone to be an honorary bridesmaid is basically a slap in the face. You should apologize to them, tell them you were misinformed, and have them be actual bridesmaids. Or they can stand up on your FI's side. 

    Also, why are you asking people to be in your wedding after you've been engaged less than a week? Slow down. 
  • What I would have said if you had asked for advice before you did any of this is: your FI can have them on his side, since they are close to him. Wedding parties so much do not have to be aligned by gender. They can be groomswomen. In my traditional Catholic family, my sister was just the best man (witness of record) for my brother, and no one batted an eyelash about it being the "done thing" or not.

    But since you've made the role of bridesmaid the one on the table, the one that they may not be quite good enough for, I think in fixing this you will probably need to apologize and ask them to do that role.
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