Choosing bridesmaids is never easy, but when family’s involved it can feel impossible. Take this reader’s question, for instance:
I recently got engaged and I’m in the process of selecting my wedding party. I’ve chosen one of my two half-sisters to be a bridesmaid because I’m much closer to her. However, my mother told me it would be rude to include one sister and not the other. Is this true? Do I have to include a (half) sister even if I barely talk to her?
Thanks in advance for your advice.
Quite frankly, you don’t “have” to do anything. It’s your wedding, after all! But here are some things to think about as you make your decision:
- What will the repercussions be? If your half-sister is the type to throw a fit over the news, include her. It’s not worth a lifetime of resentment! But most reasonable people will understand that a wedding isn’t a competition among siblings, and she might even be relieved that she’ll be spared the expense and time commitment of serving in the bridal party for a relative with whom she’s not particularly close. That all depends on her personality and your family dynamics.
- Can you talk to her about it? It’s always best to deliver this type of news in person so you can explain yourself. It might be an awkward conversation, but it can also save a lot of hurt feelings and confusion later.
- What other options do you have? Can you give her another responsibility, let her perform or read a verse at the ceremony or otherwise let her shine? Does she have great style, decor or flower tips? You can be inclusive of family members in a lot of different ways without adding them to the wedding party per se.
- Will this be the best possible way for you and your spouse to start off your new life together? We’ve often found that most dicey etiquette decisions turn out best when you think about the tone you want to set for the rest of your marriage. If you can feel good about your choice in that light, it’s probably the best decision for you.
We hope this helps guide you toward the right choice for you. In the end, all that matters is that you get a big, happy wedding celebration you’ll look back on with love for the rest of your life!
Do you have a question for our wedding experts? Send your etiquette, wedding planning or style dilemma to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post an answer for you.