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In laws in bridal party?

Hi there,

So at this moment I have 4 bridesmaids and a maid of honour that I have chosen. My fiance said that his 2 sisters should be in my bridal party. I have no problem with having 7 however I have some concerns. They both have young children and each one of them has 4 kids. I'm concerned that they will not be as much help prior to the wedding especially one of them is divorce and basically a single mom. As well, on the wedding day they would need to get their kids ready and I was thinking that I would like to have all my bridesmaids over the night before so we can all be there for hair and makeup. My fiance is thinking of asking his brother inlaw to be one of his groomsmen so this would mean that both my sis in law and her husband would be part of the wedding party. During the reception, the kids are going to need to be fed etc...they would also need to sit at the head table. I have no plans on hiring a babysitter and I am not quite sure who would be looking after their children while we do all the photos etc. plus kids get messy and I do not want any crap on their dress to show up in their photos. They are also in their early 40s and I am in my late 20's and all my bridesmaids are my age and younger, I would prefer to do a more fun bachelorette party and I don't want them to feel left out and uncomfortable. I was thinking of just giving them the choice of being in it if they want to rather not asking them at all. What would you do in this situation. 
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Re: In laws in bridal party?

  • Most of the girls on here are going to tell you this:
    1. If FI wants his sisters in the wedding party, have them stand on his side.

    2. Your wedding party is not there to "cater" to you. They are there to stand next to you on your big day. You should not expect any other help from them unless they offer.

    3. Seat your wedding party and their families at a different table and use the head table for your FH and yourself. That way you don't have to worry about entertaining them.

    4. If you don't even want the kids there, don't invite them. IMHO, that is bad taste, but it sounds like you don't want the kids there so don't put their names on the invitations.
  • Ditto PP. You choose your side of the party, he chooses his. If he really wants them in the WP they stand on his side. Are you other BMs bringing significant others to the wedding? If they are travelling they probably won't want to spend the night before with you and not with their s/o or date. You may want to rethink the slumber party. Everyone can sleep in their own beds the night before and meet up in the morning for hair/makeup.

    It's their choice to attend the bachlorette or not (which you should not be planning yourself, if someone offers to plan it you get one, if not, you don't).

    Will these kids be eating between the ceremony and photos? Usually photos take place right after the ceremony, so they wouldn't really have time to get "crap on their dresses". It does sound like you don't want kids at your wedding. If that's the case, don't invite them, but be prepared for FIs sisters to not attend.
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  • Ditto the other two, but also 40 is NOT OLD.  I'm 40 and many of my friends are under 30.
    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. ~Mae West
  • Ditto all the way! I am not having children at our wedding other then the 3 in the wedding party. And 2 of them are mine. I am having a smaller wedding so the amount of children invite was small anyways but I just took the time and called those I thought would get offended and simply state that we are having an adult party and to please get a sitter. They all seemed fine with it. I have seen a lot of weddings where the FSIL is a BM and there hasnt been a problem I think if you really dont want them in it at all then you need to talk to your FH and tell him that while you adore them you arent ready to put them in your bridal party if he would like to make them some sprt of groomswoman or something then that is his choice. But I think this is something that cant be shrugged off because it may be very offending to someone who thinks they are involved.
    60 Invitedimage Attendingimage Declinedimage Not Repliedimage RSVP Date September 15, 2011 image
  • You don't have to have his sisters in the wedding party. It's nice if you decide to. You can invite them to stand on your side, that isn't unusual but a new trend is that the sides are no longer all female on your side or all male on his so he could ask them to stand on his side.

    Have you asked him who is going to take care of the 8 kids if his sisters and his BIL are all in your wedding? who is going to get them dressed, to the wedding and reception and who is going to take care of them at the reception. For your SIL, it may be more stress than the whole deal is worth to them. Plus the expense. With 4 kids they may not have the extra money that being in the wedding will cause - the sister's attire and the BIL attire.

    I do think it's nice when siblings are included but in this case it might not be the best choice.  Just curious, does he want this or is his mother possibly pushing for this?  While friends are great, my personal thinking is usually (not always) family should come before friends. Family will almost always be around longer than friends. And yes I know that's not always true but is usually true.
  • I think it's fine to have his sisters stand up for you or him.

    Things to keep in mind:
    -BM does not equal wedding planner.  They may help out or they may not.  But it's up to the sisters to decide how involved they want to be - it's not for you to decide for them.

    -In a situation like this, please don't even do a head table unless you're going to do a huge king table with your WP and their families.  At minimum you should never split a WP from his or her significant other.  When you're talking WP members who are parents,  I'm an even bigger fan of the new trend which is to seat the bride and groom at a sweetheart table and then then WP is seated at tables throughout the reception where they best fit.


  • quotequeenquotequeen member
    2500 Comments
    edited August 2010
    Mention your logistical concerns (about the ceremony and reception, NOT whether they will help you prior to that day, which they would have no obligation to do) to your FI, and tell him that if he wants them in the WP anyway, he is welcome to have them on his side.  I agree with you that it's easier not to, and we went that route as well - FI's 2 sisters without kids are in the wedding (on his side) and the 2 with young kids are not.  But in the end it should be his decision, if he wants them to stand up for him or not.
    Married 10/2/10
  • In Response to In laws in bridal party?:
    [QUOTE]Hi there, So at this moment I have 4 bridesmaids and a maid of honour that I have chosen. My fiance said that his 2 sisters should be in my bridal party. I have no problem with having 7 however I have some concerns. They both have young children and each one of them has 4 kids. I'm concerned that they will not be as much help prior to the wedding especially one of them is divorce and basically a single mom. As well, on the wedding day they would need to get their kids ready and I was thinking that I would like to have all my bridesmaids over the night before so we can all be there for hair and makeup. My fiance is thinking of asking his brother inlaw to be one of his groomsmen so this would mean that both my sis in law and her husband would be part of the wedding party. During the reception, the kids are going to need to be fed etc...they would also need to sit at the head table. I have no plans on hiring a babysitter and I am not quite sure who would be looking after their children while we do all the photos etc. plus kids get messy and I do not want any crap on their dress to show up in their photos. They are also in their early 40s and I am in my late 20's and all my bridesmaids are my age and younger, I would prefer to do a more fun bachelorette party and I don't want them to feel left out and uncomfortable. I was thinking of just giving them the choice of being in it if they want to rather not asking them at all. What would you do in this situation. 
    Posted by CaylaSummer[/QUOTE]

    Reread ALL the ladies responses because they are exactly right and on point. 
  • Hey everyone,

    Thanks for your responses. It is not an option for us to not have children in our wedding. I could not even consider that as his family is all about the kids. I do not have young children attending from side because we just don't have any close family or relatives that have young children under the age of 21. My mother is partially paying for my guests and his family is paying for their guests. I was thinking of not inviting my wedding parties' significant others as most of them are single anyway. There are a couple that have partners, I will ask them how they feel about me not inviting their SO since my mom is paying for my guests and I don't want her to have to pay for so many people. The 8 kids would need to be there for the ceremony and basically the whole day. Most of my bridesmaids live in the same city as I am but the SI live in 2 different cities. I think a wedding is very long day for young children so I can imagine them wanting to leave as soon as they can.
    I was not suggesting that 40 is old but one of the sisters does not really go out to drink while the other is more liberated. Maybe I am unclear what the bridesmaids are suppose to be doing. My friends already told me that they want to plan something fun for me which means it will likely involve going out for the night and being 'crazy'...My FI also would not want to have his sisters stand with him as he think there should be even numbers of guys and girls as well as the his sisters should be standing with me. Thanks for your suggestions.

  • Your bridesmaids are also not required to attend or plan any pre-parties, they are all optional.  So if the one sister wouldn't feel comfortable at a wild bachelorette party, she can just decline.  An invitation is not a subpoena.

    As far as your FI, I don't really think that's fair.  He doesn't get to choose your attendants, and even numbers don't matter.  I think that telling you "You have to have X number of attendants, and two of them will be my sisters" is EXTREMELY controlling.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

    image
    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • In Response to Re: In laws in bridal party?:
    [QUOTE]Hey everyone, Thanks for your responses. It is not an option for us to not have children in our wedding. I could not even consider that as his family is all about the kids. I do not have young children attending from side because we just don't have any close family or relatives that have young children under the age of 21. My mother is partially paying for my guests and his family is paying for their guests. I was thinking of not inviting my wedding parties' significant others as most of them are single anyway. There are a couple that have partners, I will ask them how they feel about me not inviting their SO since my mom is paying for my guests and I don't want her to have to pay for so many people. The 8 kids would need to be there for the ceremony and basically the whole day. Most of my bridesmaids live in the same city as I am but the SI live in 2 different cities. I think a wedding is very long day for young children so I can imagine them wanting to leave as soon as they can. I was not suggesting that 40 is old but one of the sisters does not really go out to drink while the other is more liberated. Maybe I am unclear what the bridesmaids are suppose to be doing. My friends already told me that they want to plan something fun for me which means it will likely involve going out for the night and being 'crazy'...My FI also would not want to have his sisters stand with him as he think there should be even numbers of guys and girls as well as the his sisters should be standing with me. Thanks for your suggestions.
    Posted by CaylaSummer[/QUOTE]


    You can't do that.  If they are in relationships you MUST invite their significant others.  Many people also believe it's obligatory to give +1s to your wedding party, but for those that have SOs, this is not optional (same goes for all your guests).

    The bridesmaids' only obligations are to get the dress and stand up during the ceremony.  Anything else they choose to do is very nice of them, but it's optional.  Many BMs choose to plan showers and bach parties and offer to help with other things, but they have no obligation to do so, and whether they will or not should have nothing to do with whether you ask them to be in your WP.
    Married 10/2/10
  • In Response to Re: In laws in bridal party?:
    [QUOTE]I was not suggesting that 40 is old but one of the sisters does not really go out to drink while the other is more liberated. Maybe I am unclear what the bridesmaids are suppose to be doing. My friends already told me that they want to plan something fun for me which means it will likely involve going out for the night and being 'crazy'...My FI also would not want to have his sisters stand with him as he think there should be even numbers of guys and girls as well as the his sisters should be standing with me. Thanks for your suggestions.
    Posted by CaylaSummer[/QUOTE]

    It's extremely unfair to leave someone out as a bridesmaid JUST because she doesn't want to drink or party. Bridesmaids are not required to attend the bachelorette or even a shower ... invitations to those events are just that, INVITATIONS, not subpoenas.

    One of my bridesmaids is Straight Edge (no drinking at all). Would it have been fair of me to leave her out just because she wouldn't want to drink at the bachelorette?

    It's also a load of B.S. to leave someone out just because you want even numbers. Since when are numbers more important than people's feelings?

    If you leave his sisters out just because of the numbers thing, then don't act surprised if they're cold and nasty to you guys at future family gatherings. Is a perfectly even bridal party for a few hours of your life REALLY worth hurting the feelings of family members? If it is worth it to you, then I don't think any of us here can help you.
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  • You must invite the SOs of your bridal party.  To not do so is really rude.

    I have to say if a good friend of mine asked me to be in her wedding and then not bring my husband I'd be really offended - and I'd be wondering if she "got" the whole togetherness thing about marriage.
  • Just ask your FI's sisters whether or not they want to be in the wedding. Leave it up to them.

    And you have to let the people in your WP bring their SO.
  • In Response to Re: In laws in bridal party?:
    [QUOTE]Just ask your FI's sisters whether or not they want to be in the wedding. Leave it up to them. And you have to let the people in your WP bring their SO.
    Posted by JennaV26[/QUOTE]

    This, and you should also give the other members of your party a +1, especially if they won't know anyone else at the wedding.
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  • Hello,

    No my FI suggested we need to have x number of girls and x number of guys. I do not care about having exact numbers. Okay yeah I guess that makes sense that my bridal party can bring their partners. I was just concerned because my mother is paying for all my guest and she would like to keep the number down. So who would I sit their partners' with? I also have co-workers that I am inviting so should I be inviting their partners as well because that would add 5 more ppl but they all know each other so they would not be sitting with ppl they do not know. It is so hard to keep the numbers down.

    I talked to one of my sister in law today. I brought forth my concern about having the kids taken care of. Her kids are a little bit older so I was more ok with that. She was really happy about being one of the bridesmaids and I showed her a few dresses that I like and she is really insisting on one specific dress which is way over budget that the rest of the budget of my other bridesmaids. Well that is for another post. She too brought forth the concern of her sister because one of the kids would only be 2 by next year and she does not want my future mother in law looking after the kids since my FI wants his brother in law in the wedding party...Anyway I have to talk to the other sister and see what she says. I got my parents in law's list today and they have about 23 kids on their list. Wow that is a lot more kids that I'm used to.  
  • In Response to Re: In laws in bridal party?:
    [QUOTE]Okay yeah I guess that makes sense that my bridal party can bring their partners. I was just concerned because my mother is paying for all my guest and she would like to keep the number down. So who would I sit their partners' with?
    Posted by CaylaSummer[/QUOTE]

    Couples should always sit together, even if they're in the wedding party. Either find a way to have a head table big enough to fit everyone, or sit with the Best Man and MOH and their partners (or your siblings and their partners; or both sets of parents) and all the couples can sit around the room together. Or you and FI can have a private small table and everyone else can sit elsewhere as couples.

    In Response to Re: In laws in bridal party?:
    [QUOTE]I also have co-workers that I am inviting so should I be inviting their partners as well because that would add 5 more ppl but they all know each other so they would not be sitting with ppl they do not know.
    Posted by CaylaSummer[/QUOTE]

    Yes, their partners should be invited. Couples are a social unit. It'd be rude if your future husband was invited to a wedding and you were not.

    Have you already told the coworkers that they can come? If not, consider cutting coworkers to keep the list down.
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  • Ditto malphabet 100%.
  • quotequeenquotequeen member
    2500 Comments
    edited August 2010
    EVERY guest must be invited with his or her SO.  It is NEVER ok to invite one half of a social unit to a wedding and not the other.
    Married 10/2/10
  • OK I kind of know where you are coming from as far as paying for SOs. I am having a small wedding and it was hard for me to realize that if they werent married I still had to think they may have a +1 added as a date. I love the idea of a sweetheart table for just you and you Fi. I am actually think about doing that. (More now that MBCDEFG said that) I was thinking the whole wedding party sat together and thier SO at another table. As far as all those kids you now have invited you really need to talk to your mom. If you dont want to have that many kids then you need to discuss an adult reception. If you are ok with all the kids then you need to take proper measures. Either make them an area somewhere that they can color, draw do something( Butcher paper works great as a table cloth they can write on) or find some kind of entertainment.

    60 Invitedimage Attendingimage Declinedimage Not Repliedimage RSVP Date September 15, 2011 image
  • I don't even think you really need separate entertainment, or an activity table, for the kids. At every wedding I've attended that included kids, they were hopping around the dance floor. Plus I think most parents bring along some kind of book, toy or snack to keep them occupied if they get fussy.
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  • Ditto malphabet.  I have never seen a bored young child at a wedding.  I have seen bored older children, but those are kids I would know to be bored at that type of event no matter what.
  • Just please don't split anyone from their SO even when seating them.  Seat your WP members WITH their significant others.  Don't dedicate an entire table to the SOs.
  • Well I think as far as the kids it really depends on how they behave when you are around them on a regular basis. I know some of the kids that I would have had are very wild so if we were doing children there then they would need something to keep them busy

    60 Invitedimage Attendingimage Declinedimage Not Repliedimage RSVP Date September 15, 2011 image
  • aerinpegadrakaerinpegadrak member
    10000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited August 2010
    Who's to say that your BM's guest is her girlfriend?  I know people who've brought platonic same-sex friends as their "dates" to weddings, it's no big deal.  If someone asks her about it, SHE can be the one to decide how to respond.

    If you're stuck on having a head table, then yes, every member of the WP should be seated there with their guest (regardless of who said guest is), and you'll just have to figure out that arrangement.  Or your head table can be just you, FI, MOH, best man, and their dates, and the other attendants can be dispersed among the guests.  But separating someone from their date should never ever ever EVER be an option.  My sister's wedding was about two years ago now, and one of the only things I really remember clearly about it is how miserably horrible her head table was.

    FWIW, my sister's wedding was the only one at which I'd ever seen a head table, and a lot of girls here say they haven't seen one in years.  They're definitely dying out, because they kind of suck.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

    image
    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • Ditto!

    I haven't seen a Last Supper style head table in years - and even when I did see one I wasn't a fan.  You could do a large king table where you have everyone at a large table or do as some PPs suggested and just sit with your MOH and BM or some other family members and their SOs.  Absolutely don't split them though.
  • Hello there,

    My FI is insisting that we should have a head table and all the wedding party should be there and if they choose to bring their partners who is not in the wedding party then they have to sit with the rest of the guests. I really have no opinion on this matter as it is not important to me where ppl are sitting but was just curios about sitting etiquette

    In this situation who would their SO other would sit? I was thinking of sitting them with my co-workers since they would be within the same age group and the same profession so hopefully I have room at that table.
  • In Response to Re: In laws in bridal party?:
    [QUOTE]Hello there, My FI is insisting that we should have a head table and all the wedding party should be there and if they choose to bring their partners who is not in the wedding party then they have to sit with the rest of the guests. I really have no opinion on this matter as it is not important to me where ppl are sitting but was just curios about sitting etiquette In this situation who would their SO other would sit? I was thinking of sitting them with my co-workers since they would be within the same age group and the same profession so hopefully I have room at that table.
    Posted by CaylaSummer[/QUOTE]

    In this situation they should sit with their significant others.

    There is no time when  it's OK to split the WP for the sake of the desires of the bride or groom.   Remember, the reception is FOR the guests so splitting up established social units at an event that's for them is really quite rude.

    I understand that your''re flexible and that's great.  I'd explain to your FI that what he wants isn't  appropriate etiquette at all.  Your WP should be seated with their SOs.  Period.

    You can have a huge king table  that accommodates the entire WP plus their SOs but I'd insist to him that splitting them isn't an option.

    And remind him that:
    1) Head tables aren't conducive to conversation with anyone other than the person to your left or right.
    2) You two will not be seated with your WP all that long as you two will have obligations as the bride and groom to get up and greet your guests. 
    3) Your WP are your nearest and dearest friends and family.  What are you telling them about THEIR relationships when you split them from their SOs at an event that celebrates a loving commitment?

    Those are just three things to say.  If you want a few more reasons why it shouldn't even be on the table to split up your WP from their SOs then just let me know.  :-)
  • I think that you should tell your FI that if he thinks it's okay to split up couples at the wedding reception, that you and he should sit separately as well.  That will probably change his tune.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

    image
    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • banana468 I think I might need more ideas cuz my FI wants to make a WP only table.
    60 Invitedimage Attendingimage Declinedimage Not Repliedimage RSVP Date September 15, 2011 image
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