04 November, 2009

From the Trenches: Bridesmaid Ettiquette

From the mail bag:

Hey Erin!
Love your blog! I have been lurking for awhile, but just had to ask you a question. My fiance has two sisters. They are younger than me and I've never really spent a lot of time with them. My soon to be MIL asked me when she and the girls should meet up with me to pick out their bridesmaid dresses. I have already asked 6 of my friends to be my bridesmaids. I think 8 girls is too many. I really don't want to add anymore people, especially people I don't know that well. My fiance says I should try to find room for them because they are his sisters. He doesn't want my MIL and I to have a bad start. He also says, he won't be upset with me if I don't include them, because he doesn't really want to find 2 more men to fill out the bridal party. We just aren't sure we can afford it. My older sister (and my MOH) thinks I shouldn't worry about their feelings and tell them they can't be in the wedding. I feel conflicted. What should I do?

This is a toughy. I have to tell you, if this had been me, I'd have been inclined to give in. I was so worried about hurting people's feelings and starting off at odds with my MIL. The bad thing about giving in? Once you start, people will try and talk you into everything. Me? For one thing, I got talked into something I absolutely did not want. Calligraphy. I also got talked into adding 20 couples to the guestlist (True story.).

Since it sounds to me like neither of you really want to do this, here is my advice. Be honest, but tactful. Be assertive, not aggressive. Articulate the reasons why adding four more people to the bridal party is undesirable to you. Tell your MIL what you just told me. You don't know the girls very well, that a bridal party of 18 (8 'maids, 8 'men, and you and your groom) is too big and you just cant afford it. But (and this is a BIG but), offer alternative ways the sisters can be involved. Let them plan the bridal shower, help with the registry, take them with you dress shopping, plan the rehearsal dinner, the bachelorette party....the list goes on and on. They want to be involved in their brother's special day and they most likely want to get to know you. Let them. Make them special and show them that a relationship with them means a lot to you.

I hope I've answered your question and let me tell you, I hear this one a lot. Thanks for writing me, my lovely!

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