Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Should I let my sister ruin my wedding?


Dear esb,

okay, so. I have two best friends, as in, since we were little girls bffs. I've already been moh for one, and the other is engaged (but a looong engagment, so wont even start planning until after my wedding) and has already asked me. It's all great and fine, they are my two best friends, and I would have them in my wedding even if I wasn't in theirs. But here is the problem, I also have three little sisters. I am very close to the middle one, and I really, really, want her to be in my wedding party. The youngest is only 12, so she is a bit young, I'll just put a flower in her hair and have her show the grannys to their seats or something. But the older one... sheesh. We fight all the time, we are not very close, and I really hate to say this about my own sister, but she is really, incredibly selfish. Like, to the point that she will bitch and moan about dresses, flowers, hair, and the wedding would become ALL about her. Add to the fact that I don't want four bridesmaids (it just seems too many, and too weddingy, and like such an awkward number) and I just don't know what to do

I could just have my two bffs, and none of my sisters. But then I miss out on having the sister I do want. But I can just imagine the argument when not-nice sister finds out I'm having cool sister and not her. I broached the general subject of not-nice sister maybe not being a bm, and she threatened to not even come. I think she was joking, but still. She will flip if I tell her Im having cool sister but not her. But is that a reason to have her? I don't think so? The man will have his two brothers, and then as many of his good friends as required, so I can't even use that as a way out. 

Is it rude of me to not have all my sisters? I feel absolutely terrible, but I just KNOW my sister, and I KNOW she will make it more, not less stressful. What should I do?

thankyou..

*****

I'm an only child, so the whole sister thing is completely foreign to me… But FUCK HER.

Stick a flower in her hair and give her a non-bridesmaidal job to do, just like the twelve-year-old.

Wedding planning is stressful enough when you're surrounded by your favorite people.

(Image via TOBACCO&LEATHER)

46 comments:

  1. My sister (with whom I actually get along swimmingly) was not someone I wanted as a bridesmaid, just because she thinks all wedding stuff is crap. She basically hates the institution of marriage. So I compromised - my fiance's sister is a bridesmaid, and my sister is doing a reading. So do something like that - give her a role as reader, pick a reading for her, and make her feel like she has some part in the wedding that way.

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  2. My good friend was in the same boat. She ended up talking to the older sister who had no interest in being part of the wedding party. Instad, she performed a fire dance the night before the wedding, and instructed a yoga class on the dock the morning of.

    Why not see what else she has to offer that she would prefer doing?

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  3. I'm getting married in July, and I've come to the conclusion, there are no rules. Do whatever the hell you want! Sounds like she's a wamp wamp no matter what, might as well have things the way you want. It's your wedding day, no one else. Do what you want and don't look back!

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  4. Definitely don't let her ruin things for you. It's YOUR wedding and if you don't want her to be a bridesmaid, you don't have to have her as one. If you want to give her some other responsibility, than peachy, but the only one who is going to look bad if she doesn't show up or throws a fit, is her.

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  5. Do you anticipate the stress being less if she's not a bridesmaid (and flips out for a while) or if she is a bridesmaid (and complains/criticizes through the whole process)? It might be a matter of weighing the pros and cons and figuring out which causes you less stress in the end.

    And giving her a reading does sound like a good compromise that might make things easier on you.

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  6. You have to do wedding triage and figure out in which instance she will be less of a pain in the ass. Make a choice and commit to it. Personally, I would probably ask her and as soon as the bitching starts tell her that she doesn't have to be one. She can suck it up and stand up for you like a good sister should, or shut the mother fuck up.

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  7. that's the only thing, like melissa said. yeah, you should do what you want and choose the least stressful option, but what if nixing her causes more stress?

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  8. still giggling that you abbreviated bridesmaid as bm. maybe you can let her be one and just call her that loudly all the time up until and during the wedding.

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  9. I say suck it up and let her be a bridesmaid. I'd rather have tension for one day than tension for the rest of my life over not including her. And four is still a nice small number, not too overboard. Really, how much should I bridesmaid really have to do anyway? Attend a shower and possibly a bachelorette party? Wear a pretty dress and get their hair and make-up done? Walk slowly down the aisle in both directions? She's not planning your wedding; she's just standing there during the ceremony.

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  10. Can you have an honest talk with her and tell her she's not exactly the nicest sister and you wish you could have a better relationship but don't know where to start...blah blah and that is why you don't want her as a bm, because you'll fight all the time. Sometimes weddings (I mean the pre-wedding time not the ACTUAL wedding!) are a good time to sort out long held relationship issues- I know I had some honest chats with my parents in that time. Good luck:)

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  11. Make her a bridesmaid. But put her in a hideous dress. That'll teach her!

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  12. precisely why i'm not having any bridesmaids.

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  13. Eek, tread lightly here. While I'm typically in favor of doing what's easiest and what makes you happy, just be prepared for the responses you might get not only from your sister, but from family members who might take your decision the wrong way. Which is not to say that you should roll over and let her be a bridesmaid, but just weigh the stresses that would come from including her in your bridal party vs. excluding her. Unfortunately weddings tend to symbolize a lot of the greater issues that exist in our lives already and your wedding has the possibility to be the catalyst for which direction your relationship with your sister will take going forward. I say this coming from a very big family full of very difficult people and having had to make many of these difficult decisions myself, in the moment I didn't really have the opportunity to see the picture 360 degrees the way I wish I could have. There were moments where I stood up for my decisions and it was totally not worth it, and other times when I rolled over and wish I had stuck to my ground.

    God speed, sister.

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  14. Um...stood my ground? Stuck to my guns? I hate mornings...

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  15. I would suggest including her and being really firm about boundaries up front. If she crosses those boundaries, she gets relegated to some other role. Honestly, I anticipate more drama (both in the months leading up to the wedding and after the wedding) by NOT including her.

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  16. first of all, anyone who does not have a sister or sisters is not qualified to answer this question. sisters are no joke, they're NOT the same as brothers, and anyone with sister experience knows that.
    trying to control the number of attendants to keep things from looking "awkward" sounds pretty "weddingy", if you ask me. who cares if you have 4, or 3, or 10? and your fiance doesn't necessarily have to have the same number as you too. i would hate to be asked to be a wedding attendant just so that "the numbers add up", you know? but here's my real point: she's your SISTER... and a difficult one at that. you KNOW deep down in your heart that excluding her would mean a lifetime of grief. just because she's a total bitch, does that mean you have to act like one too? you don't even have to give her any responsibility. just ask her to show up on the day of wearing the dress you chose. if she throws a shit fit about the dress, THEN you can let her know that she is more than welcome to bow out of her bridesmaid's duties, but at least you'll know you took the higher road by asking her to begin with.
    my sister drives me insane. we fight like cats and dogs and there might have even been a time when we got into a full on titty-twisting brawl at LAX (as grown women) that completely embarrassed my mom, but that story's for some other time. STILL, i could never imagine not asking her to be a part of my wedding party. in fact, i made her my moh. i'll be honest... we definitely argued through the planning process and she definitely made me question my decision at times, but looking back, i wouldn't have had it any other way. at the end of the day, we really love eachother, as i'm sure you and your tyrannical sister do too. and having to deal with her over-bearing personality was a walk in the park compared to the guilt trip i would have had to put up with. but, the absolute best part is that you can always tell her to CUT THE SHIT, OR YOU'RE GOING TO SLIT HER THROAT IN HER SLEEP, which is so satisfying to say while you're planning a wedding and can never be said to someone who isn't your sister.
    good luck!

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  17. Agreed, WPM. Sounds like sister-bitch will blow a gasket if she is not a bridesmaid, and she will probably use it as ammo for YEARS to come. Ugh. Include her. And, yeah, if she doesn't meet Your Bridesmaid Standards, i.e. if she doesn't help out at all, if she bitches and moans about everything, etc., THEN you can officially tell her to f*ck off. You will have tried; she will have failed. And you won't have any regrets.

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  18. yeah, i am kind of with celia.

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  19. As a sister, I'm with Celia. For sure. You can have no sisters or all sisters, but you can't pick and choose without it being something that is an issue the excluded sister will bring up at every opportunity.

    Invite them all and set some serious boundaries. Make sure she knows exactly what you'd like her to do and what you don't expect her to do and then call her on it if she starts getting shirty during the planning process. Or just accept that she's going to be shirty and practice tuning her out - it can be done. Can't your nice sister help corral her a bit? Just for back up.

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  20. Oh, also - how old are they? If they're teenagers, then don't even worry too much about it. Teenage bridesmaids are a formality, in my experience. They probably won't expect to be involved in anything other than walking down the aisle. So you will have to listen to her bitch about her hair and her makeup and her dress, but you can hopefully tune that out.

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  21. I'm with Celia.

    Look, this is my advice, and it's pretty simple. Someone older and wiser told us when we were engaged, "No matter how you feel about them, your sister/brother is always going to be your sister/brother. That's not necessarily true of friends, no matter how it feels right now."

    It's true. My sister and I have a really difficult relationship. I had her stand up with me, because well, she was my sister. I didn't ask her to do anything else, because well, she can be difficult as h*ll. Looking back from only a year away, I would have regretted not having her stand up there, even though she was sort of a pain and the ass and totally hates weddings. She's my sister, she's going to be my sister (and possibly a pain in the ass) until I die. In the end, it would have been a lot worse for me if I hadn't had her standing up there with me.

    So, I don't really think your wedding day is all about you, but even if it was, by that logic I'd still suggest have your pain in the ass sister stand up with you. Also? The drama is not going to be worth it. But that's sort of another issue, and a less important one.

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  22. i have two younger sisters. i'm with celia.

    also, if she really pisses you off? spit in her shoes the night before she wears 'em. she might never know, but you will.

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  23. you had me at "a full on titty-twisting brawl at LAX (as grown women"...

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  24. i'm with the masses on this one - invite her. i have a sister whom i'm really, really close to (and i appreciate how straight-up lucky i am). however, we weren't always close. in fact, high school SUCKED because we are only 15-months apart and had to share everything and were super competitive and it was a nightmare and i think my parents - at times - totally regretted having kids. fast forward 6 - 7 years and she's my best friend. times can change people and she'll be your sister forever. she may always be a pain in the ass or she may not. but if you don't invite her up there, she'll have legit beef with you. if my sister didn't invite, i would be PISSED. hurt on so many levels that are impossible to describe. invite her. you can always set boundaries and if she breaks them, she's out. that's fine. but you need to invite.

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  25. oh, and unless you let her get to you, she will NOT be ruining your wedding. in fact, her crazy ass behavior might make some great stories one day...

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  26. Hi everyone - thanks for the advice.. I think I know in my heart that you're right - she IS my sister, and as much as we fight and yell and hate on each other, she will be by my side (whether I like it or not) until one of us goes to the giant bowling alley in the sky.

    And now that i've thought about it a bit more, I feel a lot more peaceful about having her, and just hoping and praying that she'll surprise me with support. Even though we don't have the best relationship, I've known her the longest out of anyone, and I do feel very comfortable with her.. I imagine this might be a nice feeling when she is sitting with me in the car on the way to the church and I'm FREAKING out.

    Although, it raises the question of my poor littlest sister. Us older three are all in our twenties, and then my folks got bored and had her almost ten years later, so I think the poor thing probably already feels excluded in a lot of things we do. She is really too young to be a bridesmaid, but I can't help but feel that she (only being 12) won't see it this way, and I can't say I blame her. And she's just so adorable and cute and freckly, I will feel like a monster when she invariably cries about it ): If I could be so greedy as to ask for more advice?

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  27. I would have her be a bridesmaid only in name - as in, she'll wear the dress, stand up there with you, but involve her in stressful situations as little as possible. I am sure your two besties can be in on it; get them to help you and and steer her away from potentially dramatic situations. I'e been a bridesmaid in weddings where there were two "tiers" of bridesmaids: the ones that got shit done, and the ones that stood there and looked pretty. I'd say that having your older sister as the second variety would be the least stressful way to go.

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  28. @Celia WHERE ARE YOU? Talya needs more advice re: her sisters.

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  29. re: the young one. 12 isn't too young to be a bridesmaid if it will really make her happy and you can live with it. I realize that bumps your wedding party up to 5 people, but there are worse things.

    My sis and I were bridesmaids in my brother's wedding back when I was 14 and she was 10. They just made sure she had a dress that was appropriate for a 10 year old and we were good to go. Also, it was probably the most exciting moment of her life to date. Standing up in a wedding is a serious happy-maker for most adolescent girls.

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  30. i'm here! i'm here!

    seeing as 12 year olds aren't exactly logical, you do have a bit of a situation on your hands. unfortunately, she's too old to be a flower girl... bummer. you do have a few options, however. the bottom line is, she's a kid and she doesn't fully know what being part of a wedding party entails. all she's going to want is to wear a pretty dress and carry some flowers.

    option 1: fuckitall and make her a bridesmaid too. if you're having 4, why not have 5?

    option 2: is your dad walking you down the aisle? if so, perhaps she could walk down with your mom. how sweet and adorable would that be?!

    option 3: how about making her a girl ring bearer? hear me out here... twist the tradition a bit by having her wear a dress in the selected color scheme and tying the rings to her mini bouquet instead of a pillow. she can walk down the aisle with the rest of the clan and then take a seat in the front row. when the time comes for the ring exchange, she can be the one who brings them to you guys. she'll feel so honored and so cool to have such a special role in the ceremony.

    that's all i've got for now, but i'll check back in if i come up with anything else...

    xox

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  31. OPTION 1.

    Like I said, I don't have a sister, but if ANYONE. EVER. tried to make me a ring bearer I'd definitely slit her throat.

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  32. re: the younger sister
    not sure if it's a strictly midwestern thing but around here, there are often "junior bridesmaids"-- younger sisters or cousins that are essentially bridesmaids in name only. they get to stand up with the bride, feeling grown up in their clear nail polish and brown mascara, but they don't have to be bothered with party planning or spanx wrangling like the older women.

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  33. as the youngest of 3 girls, I'm going to agree that the 12-year-old will feel pretty left out if she doesn't get to be in the party, and also will not really understand. I thought there was something called a "junior bridesmaid" where they wear a more kid-appropriate dress but get to walk down the aisle like a regular bm and be in the pics and whatnot? I think that would be a nice solution.

    I have to agree with ESB on the ring bearer idea - it's really sweet but if this girl has any idea that it's normally a job for a toddler she will NOT be pleased.

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  34. hmmm... i remember being young when my cousins were getting married and being so mad and hurt that i was put with the "kids" when they were 9 and i was 12. now that i'm older i see why, but i still understand my hurt feelings. now if it was my sister, i would be super upset. i say invite her to be (significant) part of your wedding - be it a bridesmaid or what or hell, ask her what she wants - and those memories will mean a lot to her, and you'll win coolest sister award. just my 'pinion.

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  35. I am SO glad the younger sister issue came up. Don't leave her out! Honestly have as many bridesmaids as you want - clearly, you have three sisters, who you love, and two best friends, who you love - who is going to be sitting in your wedding judging? For god's sake get a grip!

    Also, in England bridesmaids are any age - 12 is the perfect age to be a bridesmaid, you get to wear a pretty dress, you're not quite a teenager, you feel special and you get a present. What's not to love?

    Alternatively, just be mean and imply through your actions that you love the other two a lot more than her.

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  36. Jumping in late, but I think the junior bridesmaid title is a good one.

    I was the junior bridesmaid when i was 11 or 12 in my cousin/godmother's wedding, and I just walked in after the flower girl and before the other bridesmaids. I wore the same dress (slightly altered for less cleavage) and had dressy sandals instead of heels.

    I know I felt super-special to be included in the official bridesmaid group. Grown-up like and such. Considering that she was my cousin who I look up to vs my big sister, I'm sure she'd really appreciate it. :)

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  37. Junior Bridesmaid! Or who cares! Just have her stand up with you. I mean it's not like 12 is too young to be a bridesmaid and too old to be a flowergirl so must be left out, right? Give her whatever title you want, just give her a dress and flowers and let her stand up there.

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  38. I had a similar (but not exactly) situation to deal with when dealing with my wedding party. I have one sister, two best friends, and three cousins, 2 who live beside me and are like sisters. I wanted to include my two cousins, but the last would be left out, so I just decided to include everyone. No one says that you can't have five bridesmaids! It's your wedding! And you don't have to have the same amount of groomsmen as bridesmaids! Who says that you and your hubby should have the exact same amount of people who you are close with? It's better to include everyone now, and not regret it later, or hurt feelings. Me and my sister aren't the closest, but I feel like, when I move out and we have some space, we will get closer.

    So throw them all in. The more, the merrier. And hopefully your other ladies can keep your "bad" sister in check. Good luck!

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  39. I'm torn. I'm half only child, half sister (my half-sibs are much older). I don't plan on having either of my half-sisters in a wedding party when that time comes - but that's b/c I'm not particularly close to either of them. I'd be more likely to have my brother in the wedding. And something about that feels ok (he's the only one who really knows my guy), but I can't imagine asking only one sister and not the other.

    That said, every family is different. Yes, sisters may be different than brothers, but not all sister relationships are the same. Go with the option that will give you the most peace of mind. If your sister is going to go ape shit on you b/c you don't ask her but she goes ape shit on you anyway, then maybe it's all the same if you don't ask her....?

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  40. thanks again everyone! I didn't want so many people in the bridal party because it was making my wedding too big, and not personal, blah blah, but I have to realise that's codswallop. I have a HUGE family, and I've always loved it, so why don't I love it now? And also, regardless of how many people are standing up the front, a wedding will always be a huge deal.

    I do want there to be the same number of bms and gms, as i'm a but funny with symmetry that way!

    thanks again all so much - my sisters will be very happy to hear they are getting to wear matching dresses (and in the case of one - even CLEAR NAILPOLISH!) (:

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  41. I was a junior bridesmaid and the experience was fantastic!! Additionally, you can get really creative with the dress choices. The older bridesmaids in my case wore dark green and I wore a dress with greens, yellows and pinks.

    The only problem with this is, if your sister is maybe partially prone to feeling left out, being a "junior" (read: "different") bridesmaid is not likely to change that too much. In my case it was my older cousin and I was clueless about weddings so the prospect of sneaking sips of champagne and unlimited dessert was complete bliss for me... But if for your sister that won't ring true, just have her as a bridesmaid.... You're so lucky to have so many sisters :) Try to keep that in mind!

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  42. Just chiming in late to say, yes! To everything. I had a funky East Village wedding and ended up with 6 bridesmaids and 2 junior bridesmaids, which seemed like SO MANY, but it was awesome. Totally worth it to thrill my "god-sisters" by having them be the juniors (I had never heard of the position until the younger of the two brought it to my attention). Better to include the people you love than have an arbitrary cap because of a fear about appearances.

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  43. I'm happy you decided to include everyone! Avoiding hurt feelings is more important than symmetry!

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