Reader K., who wishes to remain anon for obvious reasons, wrote to me to ask about siblings in the wedding party – specifically inviting other people’s siblings into your own.
I’m getting married to a great guy at the end of this year and neither of us has chosen our attendants yet. I was talking about the whole thing with one of my friends who said right out that she’d rather not be included as a bridesmaid so I’m safe there, but she did mention that I probably ought to invite my fiance’s younger sister to be in the bridal party because not doing so would be offensive to my fiance’s family. What? I’ve never heard anything like that and my fiance has never brought it up, but it’s so easy to hurt people’s feelings and I don’t want to offend anyone. Do I really need to invite my fiance’s sister to be a bridesmaid? She’s nice and all, and we get along, but it’s not like we’re close.
Let me tell you a story: Once upon a time, an ex boyfriend told me that if we ever got married – thank goodness that train never left the station – he’d expect me to invite his sister to be a member of my half of the wedding party and that if I didn’t, he’d and his entire family would be sorely offended. It would literally be an insult to not invite her to be a bridesmaid. I was all, wait, that’s a thing? Turns out that in some families, it IS a thing. As in a thing you better do if you want to have at least a passing relationship with your in-laws. But from what I gather, my ex’s family’s attitude is thankfully not the norm.
Sometimes, of course, a bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom) will come to some agreement regarding swapping or including siblings to keep the halves of the wedding party even or segregated by gender. Now that it’s becoming increasingly acceptable to have bridesmen and groomsmaids, however, fewer couples feel compelled to hand off sisters and brothers to their future spouses. There’s no one wrong way to build a wedding party, so siblings can be included however you want them to be included. That is, IF you want to include them.
I’m guessing from the tone of your email that you’re not exactly thrilled with the idea of having to give up one of your bridesmaid spots to someone you’re not particularly close to. My take on the matter is this: If you haven’t felt any particular pressure to include your fiance’s female siblings in your side of the wedding party and the idea never occurred to you on your own, I’d say don’t worry about it. It’s highly unlikely that your fiance’s family is gunning for your FSIL to be a bridesmaid and if she or your fiance hasn’t even hinted at the matter, you’re probably in the clear.
And let’s say the worst happens and someone does get offended… they’ll get over it. That’s a heck of a lot better than planning a wedding all on your lonesome because there’s no one among your bridal party that you’re close to at all, which really sucks.