Q&A: Do siblings have to be part of your wedding party?

I read this question posted in one of the wedding forums I am part of and thought I should post it here to get your opinion as well….

Q: Do siblings have to be part of your wedding party?

My answer: I don’t believe there’s a precise wedding etiquette for having your or your husband to-be’s siblings part of your wedding party. However, it is a general practice. I’ve got 1 older brother and 1 younger sister and we are now all married. When my brother got married, both my sister and I were bridesmaids. When I got married, both my siblings are part of the wedding party as well. When our youngest sister got married, I was the Matron of Honor and my brother’s only daughter was a flower girl.

I think it all depends on the kind of relationship you have with your siblings whether you’re close to each other or not. In my case, I was close to my siblings and it was sort of a practice being Asian and all.

In some cultures, wedding-related customs are much stricter too. When my best friend in university got married. She had to sit me down and explain to me that it is custom in their family (she’s pure Chinese) to get all her and her groom’s siblings (and she has like 3 sisters and a brother not even counting her fiance’s siblings!) to get their siblings for the wedding party so she couldn’t get me as a bridesmaid even if she wanted to.

In western culture, it’s not as ‘strict’ I think. My Kiwi co-worker’s sister got married and she and her twin didn’t feature in the bridal party. So to each his or her own really.

What about you? What do you think?

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    • nicola monaghan

      i totally fully agree, i am getting married soon i have asked my 3 very closest friends (since childhood) to be my bridesmaid. my parents are insulted and my sister is hurt i did not ask her. she is much younger than me and we do not particularly get on whereas i am very close to my friends and they know me so well. i cannot believe the outcry that has occured from this i am so insulted!! that someone would expect to be bridesmaid! and that parents would try and make you feel guilty about it. we are not living in the 1970s when this was the done thing i can completely understand if your sister is your best friend by all means have her if not it is your day and everyone should butt out!!!

    • vicky

      I totally agree!! Parents should be willing to give their opinion, and then get out. We should not feel guilty for not doing what they suggest or for doing things a little differently than tradition. Unfortunately, I think most parents are this way, so you’re not alone. :(

    • Jill

      Thanks for the advise! My fiance’s parents are upset that we don’t want his younger sister as a bridesmaid. She will be 20 when we get married, I will be 25 and all of my best friends who are bridesmaids will be 24-26. His sister couldn’t be included in the bachlorette party as she won’t be of USA legal drinking age. I wouldn’t hold the rest of us back for a night out on the town for one person, especially considering she is not close with me at all. We only see each other on holidays. We would like her to be an usher but his parents think that is an insult because it is a traditional men’s role and said “she shouldn’t be included at all if she is only good enough to be an usher.” I have been to multiple weddings this year, all which had female ushers. Siblings aren’t necessarily groomsmen or bridesmaids anymore either. Parents just need to realize that times have changed and it’s not as traditional as what it was they got married.

    • anonymous

      I know this is late lol but I’ll still comment … I fully disagree with everyone saying that you can have friends over siblings as being included in the wedding party. Sure, of course you want to include your friends, but your siblings, in my opinion, should take absolute priority. For a girl to include her friends as bridesmaids and leave her sister as a guest is just utterly sad beyond belief. Same goes for brothers not involved in the wedding party. What’s wrong with having your siblings and your friends all included in the wedding party? I could never ever in the world imagine leaving my sister or brother out of the W.P!

    • debbie

      At first I thought I understood why my future daughter-in-law wanted just her sisters. But then I became a little offended that she wouldn’t have at least asked my two daughters to be in the wedding party. As mentioned in one of the other comments, we are talking about family! And this is just the beginning of a hopefully new relationship. Doesn’t matter if it’s 1970 or present – family is important; and to snub or ignore future family members just doesn’t seem right.

    • Claire Gibbons

      I think family is very important. No matter how close or far away. Your daughters should have been in the wedding party. The most important thing is to express yourself – let her know.

    • Jennifer

      My fiance’s parents are in NO way contributing to the wedding financially. I don’t have any sisters, just a brother (who I adore and I am very close to). I have one bridesmaid, my best friend of 20 years and that’s all. My fiance’s little sister called yesterday pitching a fit that she wasn’t asked to be a bridesmaid. She is 19 and I am 30. We aren’t close and rarely see each other. She always expects me to give her things and expected me to purchase her bridesmaid dress/hair appointment as well. I don’t understand her issue. I am having a small wedding and I don’t feel comfortable asking her to be in the wedding party or be a part of the shower planning and bachelorette weekend. She doesn’t know enough about me and we don’t have much in common. She would expect me to pay her way and I can’t afford to do that (nor do I want to). I have asked her and my brother and fiance’s brother to be ushers. I am paying for the entire wedding myself and feel that it’s my decision. She claims that she’s been invited to be in another wedding and isn’t going to come to ours. She’s in college and we help pay her tuition, cell phone and car/insurance payments. I know I am ranting. But am I being unreasonable by letting this bother me?

    • Joan

      You know… it depends on your relationship with your siblings. That said, I kind of think an all or nothing approach is good. And if you are not going to have your sibling(s) in the wedding, tell them why, and try to give them some way to be part of the wedding. Otherwise, it causes a lot of hurt feelings and resentment.

      I have 2 brothers. Both have left me out of their wedding, although they had each other as best men. And it really hurts. Especially since they were groomsmen at my wedding, and I only found out about not being in the wedding through the grapevine.

    • Sarah

      My brother and his wife did not include myself or my sister in the wedding. They were high school sweet hearts, and got married after college. His wife is kind of stuck up, and they did not provide any explanation to why we were not in the wedding. They actually didn’t even tell us. I found out through the grapevine. My family is relatively close (not excessively as we live all over the country) and I was really offended that I played no part in their wedding. I’m still bitter and it’s been a couple years. Don’t leave family out. It’s just selfish and rude. And it reflects very poorly on you to others.

    • alykat797

      My little brother just recently got engaged. Originally I was told that my sister and I would be in the wedding and that my boyfriend would also be. Then there was discussion that my boyfriend might not be and then nothing after that. I am (or at least was, he’s been very distant since the engagement) very close with my brother and get along great with his fiance. All the talk of bridesmaids dresses and where to get them happens all the time but my sister and I started to feel like we weren’t going to be in the wedding. It finally got to the point that we had to ask my brother and all we got was a No. No explanation, no we’ve been meaning to talk to you about that, just no. Having originally been told we would be in the wedding and then just being ignored has been VERY hurtful which makes me angry. An explanation as to why would have gone a long way especially if they had come to us and told us that we would not be standing as originally informed. I’m sure the wedding will be beautiful and I will be graceful as will my sister but I don’t think this hurt is going away anytime soon which means there will be that lingering bad taste for a long time.

      Siblings don’t have to be in the wedding, though I promise my boyfriend’s sister will be because I believe that family is important to include, especially when everyone gets along so well. My advise goes along with the first few comments.

      Don’t leave the siblings in the dark. Talk to them, explain why the decision was made and make sure they know that you want them to be apart of such an important day. Finding out through the grapevine hurts and hurt leads to anger which may be around for a long time because once the day has passed, you won’t be able to fix it…at least not easily.

    • aimee

      I think everyone is missing the point, it is called ‘Etiquette’ or what I refer to as simple “class and respect”. I guess all the brides would be ok if half the guest showed up in White, or the men burped during dinner, or Dad refuesed to walk you down the isle and the first dance was wiped away. I love when people pick and choose tradition. Basically its being unselfish and considerate to life long family members, and if you can’t do that shame on you! Its hurtful people and if you are to spoiled to see that, WoW.

    • Brent

      Aimee,

      You seem to have the same thoughts as my mother, whom I am in an argument with about this very topic. So I have a question for you? This past Christmas DAY, in the morning, my sister screamed calling my wife a bi**h six (6) times from the top of the steps. My fiance was downstairs and could hear the whole thing. She began to cry hysterically and called her parents. My sister had no reason to do this, as i was in an argument with her that didn’t even involve my fiance. I sat down with my sister this past february and had a long discussion. I gave her my fiances number and she agreed to call and apologize. She didn’t. I asked her repeatedly the past four months and she still didn’t. This past weekend was my cousins wedding. During the wedding, my sister came up to my fiance and stated this apology, “sorry for christmas, hug.” Then got up and walked away. Incredibly insincere. My fiance and I weren’t even going to invite her, but decided now that we would. My mom says we HAVE to put her in our wedding party, but I don’t feel that she can be trusted and still feel that my fiance and I deserve more respect and a sincere apology. IF you were in this situation, would you want your sister in your bridal party? Also, my sister and I haven’t gotten along for ~3 years now.

    • Brent

      Oh, I forgot to mention, my sister turns 33 this year, but still acts like a child. She is also 9 years older than me.

    • Kat

      My sister is to be married in 3 days and i can even begin to imagine how I’m supposed to go and be the supportive big sister. I’m the oldest and we have another sister between us and a younger brother. My brother and his gf are in the wedding but my sister and I aren’t. We also weren’t invited to participate in her bachelorette party. (Although MY husband was included in her fiance’s) Now she’s askes that we (me, my husband, son, and other sister) join them at their rehersal dinner!??? Im so very confused, angry, embarrassed, and just deeply saddened by this entire thing. My sisted and

    • Kat

      My sister is to be married in 3 days and i can even begin to imagine how I’m supposed to go and be the supportive big sister. I’m the oldest and we have another sister between us and a younger brother. My brother and his gf are in the wedding but my sister and I aren’t. We also weren’t invited to participate in her bachelorette party. (Although MY husband was included in her fiance’s) Now she’s askes that we (me, my husband, son, and other sister) join them at their rehersal dinner!??? Im so very confused, angry, embarrassed, and just deeply saddened by this entire thing. My sister and i used to be so close and now i cant even hear her name without wanting to bawl my eyes out. I just dont understand.

    • Aisha

      My brother is getting married in a few weeks. He has 3 brothers and 2 sisters. One brother is married and one sister is married too. So, that leaves 3 single siblings, none of whom is going to be in the wedding. When I asked him why, all he said was you do that at your wedding. I don’t even want to attend the wedding anymore. These little inconsiderate things people do cause a lot of resentment. I’m so mad at my brother and his fiancé.

    • Monica

      I mistakenly hit submit before I was done, I only wanted to say that I even paid to upgrade her dress when she hated the one her now MOL urged her to get.
      As I said, she’s my only sister and to see that she had the groom’s sister as one if 6 or 7 bm’s I am so deeply hurt and saddened.
      I don’t know that I could talk to her about it without sounding bitter, or at least she would view it that way. Am I wrong to feel lihe this?

    • Amy

      I am not sure if anyone will respond since these posts are a year old. One of my younger brothers is getting married in September, My other two brothers are in the wedding, his fiancé’s one and only sibling, her sister is her matron of honor and I am not in the wedding at all. Since this is a destination wedding my mother (my father is deceased) is paying for part of the travel and such as well as her parents, Should I feel a little upset about this? I already told my mom and brothers that I will not be attending the Florida part of the wedding. I just feel a little left out of the loop on everything and this is my brother. Is my point valid or am I just being a big baby about the whole thing. Plus my future sister in law has made no attempt to get to know me even though I only live 20 minutes away from my family.

    • Cindy

      If parents are paying for wedding expenses a considerate bride and groom would not be using them just for their money. They should try to work together and include the siblings in some form or fashion. To totally snub a sibling is setting up a poor start in the family dynamic. He or she may not be your best friend, and you may not approve of them, however they are a vital part of the family. It makes the bride and groom look poorly to others. The Bride and groom may think it is their choice and everyone should be understanding of their decision however,many people recognize a sibling was snubbed and consider the bride and groom to have gone beyond rude.

    • jennifer

      debbie, i agree. i have the identical problem with my future daughter-in-law as well. we are planning on contributing financially to the wedding as her parents are apparently not going to be able to help with the cost of the wedding. but even if we weren’t, i would still be offended that she (and my son) have not thought to include my daughter in the wedding party. i think it sets a bad precedent to the future family dynamic.

    • http://theknot.com Bridget

      Nicole,

      I am going through this same exact situation right now. My best friend and cousin are standing for me… my sister is very upset and now has my mom and cousin on my case about her not being in the wedding. She has wrote me off as her sister over something very ridiculous and I don’t think it’s necessary to have your sister be in your wedding if you are no longer close.