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My brother is getting married next May.  He's been with his future wife for 11 years, and while we're perfectly friendly we are not friends whatsoever - we chat politely when they're over for dinner every couple months, but that's it.

She went dress shopping recently and wanted both me and my mom to come, but I was out of town.  My mother went, and said SIL mentioned wanting me in the bridal party.

First off, I don't want to be a bridesmaid.  I don't mind helping, but I don't want to wear a dress and stand there and be in the pictures.  Just not something I've ever been into.  Secondly, I am soon moving out of state so I won't be here for the dress fittings and the helping out etc.  Thirdly - SIL's sister dated my current boyfriend back in the day, and he fell for me while still dating the sister (this is when we were like 15, mind you), and to this day things are kind of awkward because of that. SIL's sister is the maid of honor, so I'd have to spend a good amount of time around her, which DO NOT WANT.

So, there's many reasons I don't want to be her bridesmaid.  We're also not close at all, and I feel like the bridesmaids need to be the BRIDE'S people.

TLDR: SIL wants me to be a bridesmaid - how to politely decline without hurting her or my brother (who probably cares 0% who the bridesmaids are)?

Comments

( 9 helpers — Give some advice )
1_2_suckerpunch
Jul. 21st, 2014 10:57 am (UTC)
IMO, it's very likely that you are only being recruited as a gesture, not because SIL really thinks you guys have a connection. You should get more info from your mom. If you need to decline, you should say "I really appreciate the request, but I have too much on my plate with the move right now to be able to commit. I'd be happy to help with the wedding in any other way, however! Thanks again for asking."
luminate
Jul. 21st, 2014 12:14 pm (UTC)
I agree 100% with this. I just got married saturday and I didn't ask my husband's sister to be a bridesmaid. I was the guestbook attendant at her wedding, and we asked that she do the same.

I would just explain what's going on and offer to help in other ways pertaining to the day - guestbook, etc.
lilka
Jul. 21st, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
"SIL, thank you so much for inviting me to be in your wedding party, it's a really sweet gesture. Unfortunately, due to my upcoming move it will be too logistically difficult for me to be a bridesmaid. I would love to [something practical you don't mind doing] to show my support for you and Brother, and of course I'm really looking forward to your big day!"

If at all possible, get your mother and/or brother onside first. It sounds like she's mostly asking you out of politeness or to make a nice gesture, so she probably won't be too disappointed that you're not interested.
gorgeousg
Jul. 22nd, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC)
IAWTC, especially about talking to your brother first.
meowed
Jul. 21st, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
I've been to lots of weddings where the groom's sisters are bridesmaids. I don't think the brides always wanted it that way but felt obligated to ask anyway.

I'd just site the distance with regard to fittings and offer to do something else.
lupinlover
Jul. 22nd, 2014 03:07 pm (UTC)
This is why weddings are the worst! All the obligations.
k611
Jul. 23rd, 2014 01:12 am (UTC)
As others have mentioned, you should thank her for the offer and say that you have too much on your plate right now to be able to commit to being a bridesmaid. If she asks what's on your plate, say that you're moving out of state soon and will be too busy to attend the dress fittings, so on and so forth. A more detailed explanation isn't required, because frankly, what's going on in your life is really none of her business. If you want, you can offer to help her out in some other way, but you shouldn't feel obligated.
segunyo
Jul. 23rd, 2014 01:07 pm (UTC)
My brother's wife asked me to join the bridal party and I had no relationship with her, I was living in a different country for their entire relationship. I believe this was a way in which she wanted to foster our relationship. But, I was a terrible bridesmaid - I got drunk at the party and was trying to dance dirty with my husband on the dance floor. Then I gave her a hard time for not letting my brother come out for more drinking after the wedding.

So I guess she got what she deserved :p

That aside - have you considered she asked you because she cares about you as her sister-in-law, she wants to be closer to you and share her special day with you and she and her sister are over the dating history of 15 year olds? Your brother may not care who the bridesmaids are, but he may care if you inadvertently hurt his partner's feelings by rejecting her attempts to get closer to you.

To answer your actual question - I agree with others. Write to her or call her personally (or go and see her if you can) and let her know how much it means to you that she asked you to join her bridal party and how much you are looking forward to officially welcoming her as part of the family. Then I think you should be honest - tell her you are more than happy to help as much as you can, but that being a bridesmaid is really not your cup of tea and you would rather not be in the wedding party.

One of the problems with trying to find excuses (I can't do it because I'm moving and I won't be here for the fittings, I have no money for it, etc) is that she can always find ways around that (I can accommodate you! We can find a same-day tailor! I can send you the dress and you can get it fitted where you live! etc etc). If you are honest, there is really nothing she can say to address your "concerns" because they are not simply logistical barriers that can be overcome.

There is actually nothing wrong with not wanting to be a bridesmaid.
amymeenieminymo
Oct. 6th, 2014 05:12 am (UTC)
More than likely you've been asked because you are his only (?) sister and it's become kind of the norm to ask siblings regardless of their relationship.

I would politely decline and give the reason of moving out of state soon. When I got married, I asked both of my future SILs to be BMs. I asked A. out of niceness to include them, and B. to hopefully become closer to them. The local one accepted but the one that lived across the country declined since she was so far. I was perfectly fine with this, and was not offended at all.
( 9 helpers — Give some advice )

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