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Include Sister in WP despite...??

I will do my best to keep this as short as possible.  My sister and I have not been close for several years now.  2 months ago she even decided to disown me as a sister over a disagreement I am having with my mother.  She called me for several days to do so and remind me of her decision.  She even involved her children telling me not to talk to them and not to consider myself an aunt any longer.  I didn't respond in any way hoping she would just stop but after awhile it got so emotionally straining for me that I decided to block her phone.  We haven't talked since.  Prior to this I would have asked her to be apart of my wedding party just to keep the peace.  I was not excited to though because she is full of drama, unreliable, not supportive, selfish, and frankly just not a nice person to me.  Now I cannot imagine asking her to be a bridesmaid.  Since most of my family is close they think that it is completely unacceptable that I do not have her in my wedding party because she is my sister regardless of how she is towards me.  I feel how she is towards me and what she has done is unacceptable.  I am interested in hearing your thoughts/opinions in whether I should or should not.  I know I have some time to make a final decision but I am already debating the issue.  Especially since it will take my family (a few in particular) some time to accept or come to terms if I really do not ask her to be a bridesmaid.

Re: Include Sister in WP despite...??

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    edited November 2010
    I'm sorry that you're in such a tough place.  I know what it's like to ask an unreliable, unstable and altogether difficult sister to be in the WP, mostly just to keep the peace. 

    My younger sister suffers from BPD.  She has good days, and she has really, really bad days.  A lot of them.  After asking DH's sister to be a BM (again- maybe eight months before the wedding, not well over a year prior) my mother pointed out how bad it would look for me to choose my husband's sister but to pass over my own sister.  I decided to go the high road and to ask her despite the fact we are not close and that the risk of her not showing up or worse, showing and having a tantrum or spewing negativity and venom was high.  How she would conduct herself was the sole stressor I truly faced through the planning. I asked nothing of her and paid for her dress without saying anything about it.

    At our grandfather's funeral three months before the wedding, her behavior toward myself and our mother was reprehensible, to the point that she publicly- and baselessly- ripped me a new one in full view of our relatives (this was during the wake, mind you.)  I remember saying calmly "You are unstable" and walking away shaking in a silent rage.  We didn't talk for another two months.

    Surprisingly, her mood swung north in the last month and she behaved herself during the the wedding festivities.  I have loads of pictures of her smiling (something she doesn't often do) and today I am glad she was a part of our day.  I know that pendulum could just as easily have swung the other way.  I don't really know why her good day corresponded with our wedding because just last month, at our grandmother's funeral, she and our mother had a row and they haven't spoken since.  It's tough, because that means we haven't seen her son, either.  It's just a bad situation.

    I feel for you, OP,  and can only second what others have already said: use the time now to evaluate and to make efforts to mend the relationship, if you can bring yourself to do that.  I think it's worth it to make those efforts not just because of your relationship to her, but to your other relatives who all have their opinons on the matter.  You don't want your whole family to be angry with you, even if the reasons for their anger are not really founded.  All you can do is control how you respond- you can't choose how others are going to think or act.

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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_include-sister-wp-despite?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:37Discussion:74834497-4872-4cf3-a1e2-e2f86f18a04cPost:edb04164-c891-4e9d-98e6-ddb84f50690c">Include Sister in WP despite...??</a>:
    [QUOTE]I will do my best to keep this as short as possible.  My sister and I have not been close for several years now.  2 months ago she even decided to disown me as a sister over a disagreement I am having with my mother.  She called me for several days to do so and remind me of her decision.  She even involved her children telling me not to talk to them and not to consider myself an aunt any longer.  I didn't respond in any way hoping she would just stop but after awhile it got so emotionally straining for me that I decided to block her phone.  We haven't talked since.  Prior to this I would have asked her to be apart of my wedding party just to keep the peace.  I was not excited to though because she is full of drama, unreliable, not supportive, selfish, and frankly just not a nice person to me.  Now I cannot imagine asking her to be a bridesmaid.  Since most of my family is close they think that it is completely unacceptable that I do not have her in my wedding party because she is my sister regardless of how she is towards me.  I feel how she is towards me and what she has done is unacceptable.  I am interested in hearing your thoughts/opinions in whether I should or should not.  I know I have some time to make a final decision but I am already debating the issue.  Especially since it will take my family (a few in particular) some time to accept or come to terms if I really do not ask her to be a bridesmaid.
    Posted by whitelilly1010[/QUOTE]
    I know that it's difficult, but really, don't think about this yet.  SO MUCH can change over the course of a year, and you don't even need to pick a WP until you're about 6 months out.  I would wait it out and see how your relationship develops.  It may heal or it may not.  If it gets better, and you want to, then ask her.  If not, the problems will have been ongoing for more than a year.  At that point, you can be fairly comfortable that your decision won't be a retaliatory action.

    Regardless of what happens, you are in no way, shape or form, expected to honor someone in your WP simply because they are family.  Some people choose to, in order to avoid family drama, however, that is a decision that you will have to make on your own, when the time comes.      
    Holy Crap. We survived the first year!
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    Since your wedding is over a year and a 1/2 away, I'd strongly suggest that you wait at least a year before you actually have to make this decision, as you don't need to pick any bridesmaids for at least a year at this point. A lot can happen in a year ... heck, a lot can happen in a week. There's a chance you two will reconcile over the next year, so take this time to do what you can to mend fences. If in a year you haven't made any headway, then you could always ask her anyway-and if she declines, it's on her. But you at least will know you've done what you could.

    I'm not going to pry into what happened, but I will say this, I do not get along with my older sister at all, and she has always caused a lot of pain and heartache in my family over the years. But in my family, siblings are always including in the WP, that's just how it is, so I bit the bullet and included her. Yes, she was a complete nightmare at times, and there were quite a few moments where I wasn't even sure if she was going to show up at the wedding. But by inviting her to be a bridesmaid, I put the ball in her court. Regardless of whether or not she showed that day (Which, she did), I had my own peace of mind that I'd done what I could, and I have no regrets. In 5, 10, 20, 50 years, somebody could stop being my friend, but my sister can't stop being my sister.

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    I appreciate the feedback.  I realize I have time to decide.  One of the difficult things over the course of this planning however is probably going to be that we have moved 11 hours away from home where we will be having our wedding.  We are hoping to do planning when we go home for visits which will be scattered over the next year and a half.  Our next visit home will be in late December and we are completely aware everyone will have an opinion for us of what to do.  I just want to make sure I have thought about this issue at length so I am prepared as we think it will be brought up many times.  Regardless of how I dismiss the comments, they will still speak their minds and try to get me to agree.  I would deal better if I have already contemplated what they bring up. 

    Thank you for sharing your stories as well.  It is very helpful!
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    I agree with the other ladies, just wait it out. When it comes to planning a wedding, the WP itself does not need to be rushed in the planning process, if your family keeps pestering you about your WP and sister you just need to master the old "Bean Dip" routine aka quick answer then change the subject to something else, where you say, "I'm just putting the WP on the back burner for awhile. Have you tried this spinach dip?" or "I'm just enjoying the being engaged and planning, the WP will be decided on much later. Have you seen the previews for "insert random movie"?"

    The decision is solely up to you if you want your sister or not. Blood relatives do not get an automatic pass into the WP and I really dislike when people think they can butt in and put pressure on the person to cave. Most people will just do it to keep the peace between families but if you a firm in not wanting her in it then stick to your guns, but remember you excluding her isn't going to help you relationship with her, if anything, it could possible strain it to a point where it may take years and years to possibly recover. But like everyone said, wait until your much closer to your wedding to make a decision. Hopefully in time your sister will open up and both of you can repair the relationship. 
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    bablingbrookebablingbrooke member
    5 Love Its Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited November 2010
    Yes, I have been in your shoes, and I am going to advocate asking her.

    My sister is bipolar and was the worst MOH you could possibly imagine.  Her not being excited was the least of my worries.  At the time she had not spoken to anyone in our extended family in years and was barely on speaking terms with both me and our parents (except, of course, when she needed money).  She threw tantrums at every pre-wedding event, played my other BMs against each other so they wouldn't be able to pull off the bach party, didn't let them know she wouldn't be attending until the day before (they were paying for her to make sure she could attend), insulted the officiant, insulted our relatives, insulted my ILs, you get the idea.  One big headache from beginning to end.  (This is, btw, the cliff's notes version of what she did--I can get into the nitty gritty, but I'll keep it high level for now.)

    Yet I don't regret asking her for a second and I would do it again.

    Why?  She's my sister and she'll always be my sister.  We didn't know at the time that she was bipolar; our mother dragged her to the psychiatrist after she saw how she more or less deteriorated around the wedding.  She's been getting treatment for over a year and has really turned her life around--she's even spending Thanksgiving with me and DH, something unthinkable at the time of the wedding.  As recently as the Thanksgiving after our wedding (4 months post-wedding) she was a whole new person.  She's in contact with people, has a steady job, about to graduate from college, going to visit extended family--unbelievable.  You can imagine the relief we all feel now.

    In hindsight being in the wedding caused her a lot of anxiety and for that reason I wish she hadn't done it, simply because I don't think she was comfortable in that position.  But no one forced her to do it.  She's an adult, it was her call, and it would have been inappropriate for me to make the decision for her.

    I'm glad I asked her, glad I never booted her, glad I literally chose to "grin and bear" everything she said and did.  I know it would have come back to haunt me.  I know I would have regretted not having my only sibling up there with me.  I don't look back on my wedding photos and cringe; I smile because we're there, we're still on speaking terms, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

    PM me if you want and I'm happy to get into more detail or talk you through what your sister is like.  Like I said, it wasn't always easy, and I was very tempted to tell her off and kick her out more than once, but I'm glad I asked and I'm glad she stayed.

    ETA: Asking her is no guarantee that your relationship will improve, and she may not even agree.  I wouldn't count on things necessarily getting better.  But I would extend the olive branch.  If she declines, at least you can say you were the bigger person.  But if she's attending the wedding anyway, you might as well give her the option.  Ever the optimist on this sort of thing, I truly believe that at some point it'll pay off in some way for you.  Before my sister began to turn around, I was still glad I'd asked her, and I think I'd still feel the same way even if she hadn't gotten treatment.  I'm well aware that tomorrow she could take a turn for the worst, but I'm still glad that she was a part of our wedding.
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    I was in a similar situation, though not as extreme as yours. There is a 17 year gap from my oldest sister to me the youngest. I grew up pretty much without her in my life because she had problems with our dad and never came to visit. She is honestly a complete stranger to me.The only time I ever see her is if she decides to grace us with her presence at Christmas-which she doesn't even stay very long for, if at all. I did not want to ask her to be in my wedding, I wouldn't even know how to do so.  Some of my family tried to convince me to ask her to be bridesmaid, but I refused. I would much rather have some one stand up there with me who has been a part of my life and who I know truly cares about me. Whether or not you ask her is your decision. My advice is to ask her because you want her up there with you, not out of obligation as family.
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