Do I Have To Ask My Fiance’s Sisters To Be Bridesmaids?

Annabel,

I love reading your blog and your etiquette advice! I have a question about what you would recommend for my situation. My boyfriend and I just got engaged and I’ve always known the girls I want in my wedding. Some longtime friends going back to middle school, some college friends, and my younger sister — a total of seven (including MOH).

My fiance has two older sisters (eight and nine years older than us) who I love and think of as my older sisters, but I don’t know if I should include them in my bridal party. We’ve asked both of their children to be our ring bearer and flower girl, and I truly do not know if they would want to be bridesmaids.

I’ve considered asking them to be my wedding coordinators. I checked in Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette and she said she would recommend always asking the groom’s sisters, but I’m just not sure in my situation. I also don’t know if having nine bridesmaids for a wedding guest list around 150 is appropriate?

Help! Please! šŸ™‚

Thanks,
RLB

Hi RLB,

Congratulations on your engagement!

I agree with Emily Post. It’s always nice to ask the groom’s sisters to be part of the wedding party (although from an etiquette point of view, it’s not a hard and fast rule).

In your case, I’d recommend sitting down with your future sisters-in-law and having an exploratory conversation. You might say something like:

“[Fiance] and I really want you to be part of our wedding ceremony. Would you like to be bridesmaids, light a candle or do a reading? If none of those options sound quite right, maybe you could escort [niece and nephew] down the aisle…”

What you don’t want to do is make your fiance’s sisters feel left out or forced into uncomfortable roles. Weddings tend to stir up a lot of emotion, and you’ll want to be mindful of your new family members’ feelings so you start off on the right foot.

I’m not sure how the wedding coordinator idea will land. I assume you mean they would act as “day-of” coordinators as opposed to wedding planners, but it’s still a considerable amount of work. It’s OK to include this as one of the options for how they can be involved — just make sure it doesn’t sound like you want them to plan your whole wedding for free. šŸ™‚

As you pointed out, this conversation could lead to a large wedding party. I think that’s perfectly fine – it just means you and your fiance are blessed with lots of dear friends. However, I’m pretty sure my mother would roll her eyes and say nine is too many. It’s up to you to decide what’s more important — keeping the wedding party smaller or including your groom’s sisters.

My guess is you’ll feel much better after you talk to them. Just be open, warm and receptive to ideas.

Good luck with the chat, and have fun planning your fabulous wedding!

Graciously yours,

ANNABEL MANNERS

P.S. Love the dresses pictured above? Check out CorenMoore.com for more information. Her whole site is a preppy delight!

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