Wedding Etiquette Forum

Including Fiance's Sister-in-Law as Bridesmaid?

I'm in a bit of a predicament. Here is the gist of it: Do I have to include my future brother-in-law's wife as a bridesmaid?

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 My fiance brothers whom are already married. I am good friends with one of the girls and have known her since college before I even met my fiance. The other is more of an acquaintance to me. We talk at family events but we don't hang out or talk outside of those family events. I was not a bridesmaid at either wedding. I have always held a small group of close friends and those are the girls that I wanted to share my wedding day with. My fiance's one sister-in-law who I have been friends with since college is someone that I would like as my bridesmaid. The other brother's wife however is not someone I'm close to but part of me feels that it would be poor manners not to invite. She's not known to be an active bridesmaid unless you are her best friend.  Should I just bite the bullet and included her as a bridesmaid just because she is married to my future brother-in-law? Or is there another way to incorporate her without offending her?

From my recent experience I have seen that being a bridesmaid costs a lot of time and sometimes money. I have planned to provide the more expensive items for my bridesmaids myself, such as their dresses and shoes, etc. These are expenses for which I plan to foot the bill because I don't want any of my closest friends not being able to participate because the expense would be too large. Because of this I also don't want to spend money on someone who I've never been close to and thinks they are doing me some grand favor just by showing up.

At the end of the day though, if it causes trouble in the family then I'd be willing to suck it up and deal with it but I just want to know if anyone has ever come across this situation and how to handle it diplomatically. What options do I have?

Re: Including Fiance's Sister-in-Law as Bridesmaid?

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited May 2013
    You should never ask someone you are not close to to be in your wedding party. /bangs gavel

    ETA: You could always ask her to be a reader if you're worried about it causing you family drama to not have her be a part of the wedding in some way. 


    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • You don't have to ask her to be a BM.  No relationship entitles someone to be a BM - they should be your nearest and dearest. 

     

    That said, that doesn't mean your FSIL won't get butt-hurt over not being asked.  We can't tell you if this will cause family drama or not b/c we don't know her or your FILs.   If you think she will be upset at not being a BM then you can either suck it up and ask her or ask her to do a reading or still not ask her and just live with the fallout.

     

    Whatever you decide just keep in mind that all any of your BM need to do is show up in the dress.  That's it.  Being a BM does not require oohing and ahhing over your wedding plans, tying ribbons on favors, attending or planning bridal lunches, showers, or bachelorette parties.  The dress should be the only required expense (but if you still want to pay for that, that's awesome).  Matching shoes, jewelry, hair/makeup should never be required and if they are required you should absolutely pay for them.  If you take a step back and remember that it's supposed to be you honoring THEM, not the other way around it will make the bridal party part of wedding planning go much smoother.

    jendemeyer
  • hordolhordol member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer First Anniversary
    You are under no obligation to include her (or anyone) as a bridesmaid. Now, having said that, the repercussions of not including her kind of depend on your family dynamics. ;) You might want to consider how she will feel about the situation and what potential drama could arise--you might find that it would almost be easier to just include her to avoid a confrontation.

    However, it's completely up to you and if you choose not to invite her to be a bridesmaid, just stick to your guns. Maybe ask her to do something else, like a reading at the ceremony.
  • Ditto Addie. She gave me the same advice a while ago and it has worked out well for me. 
  • Thanks! And I definitely hear you on the bridesmaid duties...I just want my closest friends there with me on that day. If they can be there for other things and parts of the planning then that's awesome but I definitely have no expectation of it from them. They've already been there for me so many times throughout the years, now is just a time to celebrate that friendship that I already have with them.

    Some may say that if their only duty is to show up on the wedding day,then what's the big deal about including this other girl but its like you said, adding someone out of obligation just isn't an honor.

  • Eh, I invited both of my future sisters in law to be in my wedding party (FI's sis and by brother's fiance). Neither is my best friend yet, but they will be my sisters, and it's gone really nicely for me. I'm also in both of their weddings, and it's definitely brought us closer together. We also have an unspoken understanding that we just appreciate each other showing up to events and that other BM's who aren't about to have thier own weddings are doing more of the planning.

     

  • I am different from the party line on TK about only including close friends in that I think the potential for family drama should really be seriously considered.  Thirty-five years later, my mom is STILL hearing grief about not including a cousin of my dad's in her wedding.  It always comes out whenever there is a family disagreement.  She says that if it were up to her, she would have just had the cousin in question in her wedding party to avoid years of resentment.

    Do you think your FMIL or other family members will be upset if you don't include this woman?  Upset enough to give you grief about it down the line?  I'd just include her.

    These kinds of family politics are exactly why H and I forewent a wedding party entirely.
  • Only include her if she means so much to you that YOU want her to stand beside you on your wedding day. If not, she gets to sit with everyone else.
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    You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.

  • You do NOT have to have anyone you don't want in your wedding party.  I would suggest asking your fiance's sister but not sister-in-law.  But it is in no way a requirement.  My husband had my brother as a groomsman which meant a lot to me.  But I did not ask my future brother-in-law's wife.  My brother-in-law was best man & his wife was at rehearsal dinner & sat at head table.  She did help hand out programs, ask guests to sign guest book, hand out stuff for exit, etc.  You should have # & who you want.
    jendemeyer
  • AddieL73 said:

    You should never ask someone you are not close to to be in your wedding party. /bangs gavel


    ETA: You could always ask her to be a reader if you're worried about it causing you family drama to not have her be a part of the wedding in some way. 


    This, if only because the peripheral/" I asked only out of obligation and we're not close " people seem to be the source of the biggest problems, even if buy the dress and show up sober is all that is asked.

    FI can always have her stand on his side if he wants her in or if it would cause drama for her to be excluded.
  • your case seems like while you are friendly-- you are not friends, nor are you close so no I would not ask her to be a bridesmaid.  I asked my fiance's sister in law, but that is because we became really close friends through me & FI relationship so it was a no-brainer to include her. 
  • Involve her in another way (reader, usher, etc.) if you want, but it's not "necessary" to have her as a BM or "bad manners" if you have your friend (her sister) and not her. She probably doesn't expect to be a BM anyway.
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  • This is totally up to you. Either way, you have good reasoning to back you up.

    I will say, however, my grandmother is celebrating her 50th anniversary this year. She had the "closest people in her life" as bridesmaids, excluding her little sister and including many school friends. As you can imagine, she regrets that now.

    Basically, I suggest including the most important people in your life, yes. But also consider who will be important in 20 or 30 years. I have many friends who have beautiful pictures with bridal parties they no longer talk to even five years later.
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