I am not suggesting that the sister stay silent, I am suggesting that she deal with her sister in law, possible her brother. I was taught that when adults have a personal conflict, then the adults involved that deal with it, they don't drag the rest of the family into it, or try to make people hate the other person. Would it be acceptable for the bride to go to her family and tell them how horrible (she feels) the sister is being? No one in this situation is a child, their parents do not need to be involved.
It is not giving in to deal with private problems privately. She should go right up to her sister in law and tell her exactly what she thinks of the situation, and tell her brother as if needs be (he is directly involved in the situation). If she feels her sister in law is being a bigot then she should tell her so. Then the three of them (I'm including the brother) can try to work out their problems, or go their separate if all else fails.
The sister is not being abused, or bullied. In one instance, her sister in law was terribly mean to her.
Without background, pattern of behavior, or any other information what so ever, the bride had been dubbed a bully and the sum of all evils. It has been suggested that the sister attempt to ruin her brothers wedding by convincing everyone not to show up, send mass emails telling everyone what a horrible person the bride is, and attempt have her publicly shunned. Can people really say this is not retaliation?
I have seen on this board, that people can terrible hang ups over things that I find to be ridiculous. Everyone has them, (including me) especially to things that have never been part of their reality. These things take time to adjust to. Sometimes people say terrible mean heartless things, and until the person that was hurt points them out they don't realize just how bad it is. Maybe they will have a moment of clarity, maybe they will just go on being a horrible person, the only way to find out is for person they hurt to tell them just how appalling their behavior was.
If you were judged only by your worst moment would you come out smelling like a rose?
Dignity and grace are do not go away when someone else is crass or nasty, that is when they are needed the most.
I agree with you about dignity and grace. And I don't think Susan should go around trying to get people to boycott the wedding.
But how, exactly, can she explain to her parents why she is not attending her brother's wedding? I don't think she should lie and say there's been a "falling out."
To go from being a member of the wedding party to not being invited at all--that's pretty big. And I suspect that the parents on both sides are going to want to know why.
And I don't think Susan should lie or cover up the facts in any way. The chances are high that Susan will be excluded from other events hosted by her brother and FSIL. Should Susan have to cover up for her SIL again and again?
I'd suggest that Susan refer all questioners to her FSIL for answers, but sadly, I'm not sure Louise can be trusted to respond with the truth.
The first thing I would do is contact my bother and say "Just so we're clear, you and Louise don't want me at your wedding, even as a guest, if I don't wear my prosthetic and cover it with a long sleeve. Is that correct?" just in case Louise is doing this behind his back.
Next I'd let my parents and siblings know up front that I'd been uninvited. Something short and to the point like "I want to give you all a heads-up that I will not be at the wedding. I've heard from David and Louise and they don't want me there. This is very hard for me, and I don't want to contribute to more drama, but I thought it best if you all knew ahead of time so you'd be prepared for my absence." Inevitably someone (most likely everyone) will ask her why, and that's a tough one. I could sit here as a poster on an etiquette board and say she should reply that it'd be best to ask David, but honestly if these were my parents and siblings I'd probably say "Apparently they don't want me there unless I wear the prosthesis AND cover it with long sleeves. I've declined to do that, so, they told me not to come."
With acquaintances who noticed I wasn't there and asked about it later I'd say I wasn't invited and "You'll have to ask David and Louise." if they wanted to know why. I wouldn't run around "outting" them, but I absolutely would not allow anyone to float rumors that I'd behaved in an inappropriate way, refused to come, etc. so if anyone approached me and said "I heard you weren't there because X.", yes I would clear it up. There's nothing wrong with saying "Actually they asked me not to come because I choose not to wear a prosthetic arm." No way would i cover for them!