Wedding Etiquette Forum

What Would You Do?

I have a situation here.  FI's brother (a groomsman) has been dating this girl for about a year and they live together.  She has a 9 year old daughter from another man, and the daughter splits time between them.  I've met the girlfriend once, this past Christmas, but have never met her daughter.  We didn't invite the daughter to our wedding since we haven't met her, and were told she'd be spending that weekend with her dad anyway.  The girlfriend was fine, kind of an abrasive personality and loud, but we got along fine.  (The only incident that occurred was when we were all eating Christmas dinner at different tables in the room, we overheard her making some comments about military spouses/SO's that kind of rubbed me the wrong way...which was ironic since FMIL was a military spouse and I will be too.  FMIL and I just side-eyed each other, but didn't speak up.)

Anyhow, she has been kind of a pain with our wedding plans.  I have a feeling this is likely the first wedding she's been to, so she doesn't know much etiquette.  All of her communication to me has been through FMIL.  First, she volunteered her daughter to be our flower girl...after we had already had the discussion that she would be staying with her father and we weren't going to invite her.  I politely declined and luckily we had already asked one of the young cousins to be flower girl.

Next, she had FMIL ask me what color the bridesmaids would be wearing, so she could find a dress in a similar shade.  I just kind of held my tongue, answered, but was thinking 'you're a GUEST.  You don't have to match the bridal party.' 

Today, I texted FMIL to ask her if she's interested in having her hair/makeup professionally done because I have hired someone to come to the hotel morning of.  (Initially this was only for me, then I opened it up to the bridesmaids with the understanding that they definitely didn't have to do it--a few are and they are paying for it on their own.)  So I just wanted to extend the same option to FMIL and my own mom, and that's it.  FMIL's response was "Well I don't really have a preference, but I know FBIL's gf will want both her hair and makeup done.  She'll enjoy being pampered."  I was just like, what!?  I didn't even ask if she wanted it done. 

I texted my MOH and two bridesmaids to explain the situation to them and see if they think I'm taking this too seriously or if this girl is overstepping her boundaries.  They all agreed that she shouldn't be involved in the bridal party stuff.  As my MOH (sister) pointed out, she's not including her bf in all the groomsmen activities just because there's a possibility that we could all be sibs-in-law someday.  So they all think I need to tell FMIL somehow that gf is not included in this, by way of saying that we just won't have enough time for the MUA to include her.  Which is true because my MUA has another wedding on the same day, so she's working hard to fit my group into her schedule.  On the other hand, my guilty conscience says that we could probably fit one more person in if I really felt like it.

So what should I do?  

As a side note, FI and I discussed the situation about her and we think it's very possible that she will try to work her way into our bridal party portraits.  We agreed that if that's the case we will kindly ask her to back off and wait until family portraits... 

Re: What Would You Do?

  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I have a situation here.  FI's brother (a groomsman) has been dating this girl for about a year and they live together.  She has a 9 year old daughter from another man, and the daughter splits time between them.  I've met the girlfriend once, this past Christmas, but have never met her daughter.  We didn't invite the daughter to our wedding since we haven't met her, and were told she'd be spending that weekend with her dad anyway.  The girlfriend was fine, kind of an abrasive personality and loud, but we got along fine.  (The only incident that occurred was when we were all eating Christmas dinner at different tables in the room, we overheard her making some comments about military spouses/SO's that kind of rubbed me the wrong way...which was ironic since FMIL was a military spouse and I will be too.  FMIL and I just side-eyed each other, but didn't speak up.)

    Meh, I would have invited the kid to the wedding since it's more convenient for them.  But that ship has sailed.

    Anyhow, she has been kind of a pain with our wedding plans.  I have a feeling this is likely the first wedding she's been to, so she doesn't know much etiquette.  All of her communication to me has been through FMIL.  First, she volunteered her daughter to be our flower girl...after we had already had the discussion that she would be staying with her father and we weren't going to invite her.  I politely declined and luckily we had already asked one of the young cousins to be flower girl.

    Next, she had FMIL ask me what color the bridesmaids would be wearing, so she could find a dress in a similar shade.  I just kind of held my tongue, answered, but was thinking 'you're a GUEST.  You don't have to match the bridal party.'   Not a huge deal.  Kinda weird, but whatevs.



    Today, I texted FMIL to ask her if she's interested in having her hair/makeup professionally done because I have hired someone to come to the hotel morning of.  (Initially this was only for me, then I opened it up to the bridesmaids with the understanding that they definitely didn't have to do it--a few are and they are paying for it on their own.)  So I just wanted to extend the same option to FMIL and my own mom, and that's it.  FMIL's response was "Well I don't really have a preference, but I know FBIL's gf will want both her hair and makeup done.  She'll enjoy being pampered."  I was just like, what!?  I didn't even ask if she wanted it done. 

    I texted my MOH and two bridesmaids to explain the situation to them and see if they think I'm taking this too seriously or if this girl is overstepping her boundaries.  They all agreed that she shouldn't be involved in the bridal party stuff.  As my MOH (sister) pointed out, she's not including her bf in all the groomsmen activities just because there's a possibility that we could all be sibs-in-law someday.  So they all think I need to tell FMIL somehow that gf is not included in this, by way of saying that we just won't have enough time for the MUA to include her.  (<-- Perfect!) Which is true because my MUA has another wedding on the same day, so she's working hard to fit my group into her schedule.  On the other hand, my guilty conscience says that we could probably fit one more person in if I really felt like it.

    So what should I do?  

    As a side note, FI and I discussed the situation about her and we think it's very possible that she will try to work her way into our bridal party portraits.  We agreed that if that's the case we will kindly ask her to back off and wait until family portraits... 
    I wouldn't include her to satisfy your guilt.  If she is abrasive, you probably don't want her around you while you are getting your hair & makeup done.  Heck, my SIL can be high-strung sometimes (ok, all the time), and her daughter was the flower girl getting her hair done with us.  I just asked the hair & MUA to do the flower girl in the other room.

    I digress.  Just tell FMIL that the MUA won't have time to include her.  If FMIL somehow alludes to the idea that she wants the GF to take her appt, I would just say that you won't have enough room to accommodate her that morning. 

    Do you know if FMIL has told the GF about this?
    Sammyantha13
  • edited August 2014
    If I were in your position, I would first tell FMIL that "Unfortunately my service providers are only going to be able to accommodate myself, the bridal party, my mom and you if you'd like to join in. I know you're thinking that you can just switch yourself out for GF, but I'd prefer to keep this time for just the bridal party and moms; it's a little more personal and private, KWIM?" That gives your FMIL the clear message that she is not a member of the bridal party and will not be.

    It seems like your FMIL is kinda-sorta on the GF's side here, since she keeps communicating things for her to you. Would you be comfortable getting in touch with that girl personally and saying "Hey, FMIL mentioned that you had some questions about the wedding?" See what she says. Who knows, maybe FMIL is being the pushy one because she wants this girl includes for some reason. If she starts rattling off a to-do list, you can politely tell her things like "You don't need to match the bridesmaids if you're not in the bridal party, wear whatever color you want!" or "Actually, the hair/makeup time is going to be some private time for my bridesmaids, mom and I, so we aren't really trying to squeeze anyone else into that."

    It's OK to politely turn people down. Just make sure you approach them in right manner.

    ETA I know that in most cases, it's best to deal with the person closest to you which in this case is your FMIL. However, I hate the idea of communicating through a third person. If trying to settle this with FMIL doesn't work, or if yet another thing comes up from FMIL on the GF's behalf, i personally would go right to the GF. You neeeever know if the lines of communication are getting crossed or if you're getting the whole story when you get it from a third party.
    Sammyantha13KatieinBklnMollyandDPrettyGirlLost
  • This is strange to me... I'm always worried about imposing on people so I wouldn't just presume to be part of bridal party stuff if I'm not even in the bridal party. I think sooner rather than later you need to make it clear to FMIL and this girl who's included in what (but do it kindly so that there's no hurt feelings are drama). Tell your FMIL what you posted here about the MUA not having much time etc. If you don't speak up about it, you're going to get stuck with this girl butting into everything. Maybe she's just trying to become your friend but she's kind of going about it the wrong way...
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    Sammyantha13
  • Your FMIL is the one who offered that FSIL would want to join. Your issue is with her. Call up your FMIL and let her know that make-up was only for BP and moms - no one else. And that's that. You do not need to invite her to this. 

    As for the other stuff, she just sounds loud and clueless. Oh well. The sky won't fall. Just be polite but ignore her requests for information and antics from now until the wedding.
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    Sammyantha13MollyandDPrettyGirlLost
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I'd tell the FMIL, "Sorry, FMIL, but there seems to be some confusion.  The only people other than myself and the wedding party who are included in this invitation and can be accommodated by the makeup artist are you and my mother." And if she tries to substitute the GF for herself, I think you can tell her, "I'm sorry, but your invitation is not transferable to other persons.  If it isn't possible for you to participate with us, that's fine, and we'll look forward to seeing you at the ceremony."
    Sammyantha13PrettyGirlLost
  • FMIL response makes me think she and FBIL's GF would assume you are paying...since she'd like to be pampered... 

    I'd tell FMIL, "only the bridal party and moms, should they choose, are going to be at hotel the morning of the wedding, but we'll look forward to seeing GF at the wedding and the reception. Let me know if you would like to join us that morning, but you are welcome to get ready at home at meet us at the church."

    I would try something along this lines as your reasoning.  Unfortunatly I can see how this may backfire if the FMIL wants to "give up" her space.  It sounds to me like the FMIL is fond of the GF and could possible be encouraging it.

    Also, her asking about the bridemaids dress color is kind of weird, so I'm glad you and FI already made a united decision about that potential problem.

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    How long ago did FMIL say this?  If its been days or a week, it may be harder to get FBIL's GF out of this without any repercussions for yourself.  However, you said the MUA has another wedding!  Just tell FMIL that you spoke with the MUA and she said her max amount of people she has time to work on is x.  So GF won't be able to be accomodated. 
    Sammyantha13
  • FMIL response makes me think she and FBIL's GF would assume you are paying...since she'd like to be pampered... 

    I'd tell FMIL, "only the bridal party and moms, should they choose, are going to be at hotel the morning of the wedding, but we'll look forward to seeing GF at the wedding and the reception. Let me know if you would like to join us that morning, but you are welcome to get ready at home at meet us at the church."
    In addition to telling FMIL there's not enough time, I'd add this.  It's okay to set boundaries.  And it's okay for those boundaries to not include GF as she does not have a role in the wedding beyond guest.

    I would do two things.  I would let FBIL and GF know that if plans change with the custody agreement, the daugter is welcome to join them (give them a date to let you know by so you can plan).  And I would also talk with your photographer now about making sure you get some shots of FI's family that include GF and some that do not.  You don't need to include any of those shots in your album if you don't want to, but I generally feel it's better to be inclusive than to create drama through exclusion.  A good photog will be able to move and organize people for shots in a way that doesn't make it feel like people are being left out - just at this is another pose and then on to the next.

    Also, I love @JellyBean52513's idea of being proactive and asking her if she has questions.  If this is a first wedding for her (or even her first wedding guest appearance as an adult) she may just not know what's appropriate.
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    Sammyantha13
  • Thanks, everyone!  I breathed a sigh of relief.  Great suggestions for how to word that politely to FMIL.  

    @sarahbear31 -- I'm not sure that it would've been that much more convenient to invite her daughter...our wedding is 1300 miles away from where they live, so she would've had to buy airfare, etc.  But that is neither here nor there.  

    I think FMIL just wants the gf to feel included; I get the feeling that gf doesn't have many female friends.  FIL's live in the same city as FBIL and his gf, so they all get to see each other a lot.  I am a little jelly that FMIL and gf get to spend so much time together.  But those feelings don't affect my decision here.  I still want the morning of to be just my bridesmaids and moms.  
  • scribe95 said:
    Hhmm. So it's a destination wedding and her boyfriend will be hanging with the bridal party. That's probably why FMIL thought to include her in the hair/makeup thing - so she wouldn't be by herself. 

    And regardless of where the daughter would have been I would have invited her. But that's just me.
    Is it a destination wedding or is it a wedding that just isn't taking place where those particular guests live?  Her boyfriend may not be "hanging" with the bridal party.  I've been to weddings where the male attendants showed up already dress from home or the hotel and got there not long before the wedding started. Their dates were only by themselves for slightly longer than the ceremony.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I don't think I would really consider it a destination wedding...

    FIL's, FBIL and gf live in Colorado.  The rest of the family--grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins--live in OH/KY/IN.  And the wedding is in Ohio.  So really those four people are the only ones traveling a long distance.  

  • This is strange to me... I'm always worried about imposing on people so I wouldn't just presume to be part of bridal party stuff if I'm not even in the bridal party. I think sooner rather than later you need to make it clear to FMIL and this girl who's included in what (but do it kindly so that there's no hurt feelings are drama). Tell your FMIL what you posted here about the MUA not having much time etc. If you don't speak up about it, you're going to get stuck with this girl butting into everything. Maybe she's just trying to become your friend but she's kind of going about it the wrong way...
    And that's why you're on this board and she isn't ;)
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  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    scribe95 said:
    Okay, so it's not a destination wedding but it's a major OOT wedding for the FBIL and girlfriend and she likely will know no one. That at least explains to me why the FMIL is trying to include her. 
    It might explain what the FMIL is thinking, but it's still up to the bride who gets ready with her and it's her vendor. The GF is not in the wedding party nor a mother, so she's not included. 

    I had a similar problem when my husband's brother's wife confronted me at the rehearsal and said she was offended she wasn't invited to get her hair and makeup done. I had met this woman 2x prior to our wedding. And personally she has a poor attitude so I didn't want to have her with me while I was getting ready anyway.

    I told her it was only for the bridal party and mothers, she argued a little more, but I wouldn't give in.
    I was also paying for everyone's hair and makeup, but she said she never would expect me to pay for her.  Ok so I going to pay for everyone but her, no.

    Bottom line, it's ok to put your foot down and say no to people.
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    Sammyantha13
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