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Author Topic: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?  (Read 9311 times)

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Lynn2000

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2015, 02:59:01 PM »
Another thing to consider is that some people place a great deal of value on being in the wedding party, and if their expectation doesn't match up with the HC's, things can get ugly, especially if everyone is family and pushed to take sides. Should one have to include Person A just because they really want to be there? No. But, it can be the pragmatic thing to do to avoid further tension. As I've mentioned I've known people who decided to have zero attendants, primarily because there were one or two people who would expect to be asked, whom the HC actually didn't want to deal with.

And vice versa: sometimes it's the HC who are keen on certain people being in the wedding party, when the person themselves would really rather not. If it's just a friend it will probably stay just between Friend and the HC; but if it's something like one sister of three, the HC might find themselves frequently saying, "Oh, Susie really didn't want to be the wedding party!" which may not look that great for Susie, but is meant to assure people the HC didn't deliberately exclude her.
~Lynn2000

camlan

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2015, 03:29:47 PM »
Just for an example, 4 of my brothers have been married.

In the one wedding upthread, neither my sister or I were involved in the wedding in any way. This caused a fair amount of talk among my extended family.

In DB#2's wedding, my sister and I both did readings, and the bride kept her attendants to her sister and one close friend, while my brother had all 4 of his brothers as groomsmen/best man.

In DB#3's wedding, I went as a guest and my sister provided some of the music--she's an excellent violin player. The other four brothers were again groomsmen/best man.

The one wedding where there were comments was that first wedding. Now that I look back on it, and compare it to other weddings in my general circle, it is a little odd that neither my sister or I was asked to do anything. But-- the bride was from the other side of the US, and regional/cultural expectations may have been involved on both sides.

In DB#4's wedding, it was not in the US, the bride was not American and there were no attendants at all, and I don't think attendants are normal/common. Sis and I went as guests with the rest of the family.

Personally, I've been relieved I didn't have to buy a bridesmaids' dress or throw parties, etc. But some people like that sort of thing and might feel a bit disappointed if not asked to do anything.
In DB#4's wedding, it was not in the US, the bride was not American and there were no attendants at all, and I don't think attendants are normal/common. Sis and I went as guests with the rest of the family.
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Lynn2000

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2015, 12:01:32 PM »
I have a set of cousins who are three sisters. When Anna got married, Betty was a bridesmaid, but Carla wasn't. I was young at the time and the only reason I even remember this is because Anna was very anxious to go around telling people (at the reception) that she offered to have Carla be a bridesmaid, and Carla said that if all went well, at the time of the wedding Carla would be very pregnant or possibly even in labor (so better that Carla's DH not be involved in the wedding, either). As it happened, Carla was able to attend the wedding, but was indeed very pregnant, and it totally made sense to everyone why she wouldn't want to have been standing in an uncomfortable dress or really doing anything except getting herself around. (It was also very hot!) But I thought the dynamics were interesting, that they all felt like public excuses had to be made, because otherwise people would wonder why Betty but not Carla were bridesmaids (along with Anna's other friends).
~Lynn2000

gellchom

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2015, 12:39:25 PM »
I want to add that I agree with those posters who say that although if the HC wants even numbers and only men on the groom's side and only women on the bride's, fine, but more and more frequently I see that ignored.  At DD's wedding, she had her best friend as MOH and her brother and sister-in-law on her side, and the groom had his "twin cousin" as BM and his three sisters (all unmarried) on his.  So 1 man and 2 women on the bride's side, 1 man and 3 women on the groom's.  All siblings or sibling-in-law except for MOH and BM (who is practically a sibling in that family).

One thing I may part company with some posters on is this: I think that if the HC decide they want only men on the groom's side and only women on the bride's, that really doesn't change anything about whether or not to include the HC's opposite sex siblings.  That is: if the bride has a brother and a sister, there's no reason IMO to treat them differently when choosing the bridal party.  I don't really think of the men as just the groom's attendants or the women as just the bride's no matter where they are standing; they are all there for both of them, aren't they?  (Who gets invited to any parties or showers or whatever is a completely separate matter.) 

And in a community or family where siblings are customarily included, people will be just as upset or speculative by the exclusion of an opposite-sex sibling.  But even in other situations, I think this is another area where citing a "rule" that the bride and groom each choose their own attendants isn't going to get anyone very far if it feels like a glaring exclusion.  Particularly as the option of having opposite-sex attendants is always there anyway, and there's no other reason you don't want that person included (obviously it's different if there's some other reason, like Brother and Groom hate each other or something): "Well, if Cuthbert is so mean as to exclude Brother from "his" attendants, why don't you just have him as one of yours, Petunia?  What -- for no reason other than you want an all-girl 'look'?  That's more important to you than your own brother, Petunia?"  You have the group you want, but now everyone thinks Groom is cold and Petunia is petty.  Not much of a win.

nuit93

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2015, 01:56:14 AM »
I wasn't in my sisters' wedding party, it didn't occur to me to even expect to be until my sister told me that she would have asked me except that she didn't want to ask our baby sister and she thought that if she asked me she had to ask her too.

Honestly, given that her bachelorette party involved a trip to Disneyland that I couldn't afford and the dresses weren't a style I would wear anyway...I was really rather relieved.  A few people asked why I wasn't in the wedding party though.

Another Sarah

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2015, 05:30:26 AM »
I always thought it was good etiquette to involve the people close to the bride and groom as a unit, no matter what side of the gender divide they fall on, and that's always been the way it's done in the weddings I've been to - I'm a bit surprised that some posters are saying that the bride's brother should expect to be an usher but the groom's sister shouldn't expect to be a bridesmaid? Can someone tell me why they see the two differently? (not being snarky, genuinely interested)

I don't really think of the men as just the groom's attendants or the women as just the bride's no matter where they are standing; they are all there for both of them, aren't they?  (Who gets invited to any parties or showers or whatever is a completely separate matter.) 
This is my opinion on it too - I don't think it's wrong to have bridesmen or groomswomen at all if that's what you want, and you shouldn't have to pick your best man or MOH along gender lines or have even numbers of both, but I just find the idea some couples seem to have that there's an invisible line across the altar that says "these people are here for me and those people are here for you" a bit odd - surely "these people are here for us" is more in keeping with the idea of two individuals becoming a unit?

CakeEater

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2015, 05:52:25 AM »
I've never seen the groom's sister be a bridesmaid, and it never occurred to me to ask DH's sister to be a bridesmaid. She did a reading during the service. It never occurred to DH to ask my brother to be a groomsman either.

Twik

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2015, 08:58:29 AM »
There is no "should" in wedding parties.

Hear, hear!
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Ms_Cellany

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2015, 09:37:26 AM »
I liked how this couple did it: Vanessa's Wedding Surprise.

The groom had groomsmen and a groomswoman. She wore the same style of dress as the bridesmaids, but in a different color.
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LtPowers

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2015, 10:24:26 AM »
One thing I may part company with some posters on is this: I think that if the HC decide they want only men on the groom's side and only women on the bride's, that really doesn't change anything about whether or not to include the HC's opposite sex siblings.  That is: if the bride has a brother and a sister, there's no reason IMO to treat them differently when choosing the bridal party.  I don't really think of the men as just the groom's attendants or the women as just the bride's no matter where they are standing; they are all there for both of them, aren't they?  (Who gets invited to any parties or showers or whatever is a completely separate matter.) 

We do part company here.

It's customary for each person's attendants to be personally selected by that person. It's fine if the couple wants to consider the wedding party completely joint, but it's certainly not required.


Powers  &8^]

Mergatroyd

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2015, 10:41:06 AM »
We didn't even invite our sisters. DH had his brother (who lived in our town) stand with him, and I had my BFF stand with me, and the only reason our parents were even there is his parents declared they were coming so I felt obligated to invite my parents (who I wasn't really happy with at that time) too. DH's sister lived far away, and my sisters were underage (we wanted to go to a specific restaurant for dinner after and I didn't want to have to sit in the 'family' section) so they weren't allowed to come. I don't think they cared. My sisters wedding had only friends in the wedding party, no relatives, it was quite nice.

I really don't see the point of having someone you may not know very well be a BM/GM just because they are related to your spouse. We've been married ten years and I still don't know my SIL well, having only met her once every few years.

Lynn2000

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2015, 10:43:49 AM »
I agree with the idea that "everyone is standing up for everyone" in theory. However, in practice there seem to be a lot more complications. Groom's sister standing on his side--hey, no problem at the ceremony. But... what does she wear? One recent thread had the groomswoman literally wearing a man's suit to match the other men. Other people dress them identically to the bridesmaids, or same dress different color, or something else. That's something that has to be decided, and there aren't clear rules to go by, and you never know what someone is going to be sensitive or have expectations about.

And that's fairly minor compared to other things like, is she invited to the bachelorette party? Is she supposed to help organize the shower? Does she go clothes shopping when the bridesmaids do? If the other bridesmaids are expected to pitch in and help the bride stuff invitations, is this groomswoman meant to join in that?

None of these things are insurmountable obstacles with good communication, but if we all had good communication, I don't think this site would exist. :) And obviously if the bride and the groom's sister are good friends already, they'll probably work it out okay. But I'm picturing situations where they don't really know each other so well, or have kind of clashed in the past--maybe the bride is thinking, "Great, I'll stick her on the groom's side, and then I don't have to deal with her much," while the sister is thinking, "Okay, I'm basically a bridesmaid, right? So I should be included in X, Y, and Z." She could end up feeling left out and even more distant from the person her brother is marrying. Or their expectations could be completely reversed.

My point is that when you do something that doesn't have a lot of tradition behind it, people don't have much to base their expectations on, and communication needs to be extra-clear to be sure there are no misunderstandings. Big weddings have all this stress and chaos and high emotions anyway--you don't want it to become an occasion where you offend your in-laws due to an oversight or obliviousness.
~Lynn2000

gellchom

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2015, 01:08:49 PM »
One thing I may part company with some posters on is this: I think that if the HC decide they want only men on the groom's side and only women on the bride's, that really doesn't change anything about whether or not to include the HC's opposite sex siblings.  That is: if the bride has a brother and a sister, there's no reason IMO to treat them differently when choosing the bridal party.  I don't really think of the men as just the groom's attendants or the women as just the bride's no matter where they are standing; they are all there for both of them, aren't they?  (Who gets invited to any parties or showers or whatever is a completely separate matter.) 

We do part company here.

It's customary for each person's attendants to be personally selected by that person. It's fine if the couple wants to consider the wedding party completely joint, but it's certainly not required.


Powers  &8^]

I never said anything was "required."  What I said was that "there's no reason IMO to treat them [opposite sex siblings] differently when choosing the bridal party."  (In case you've never encountered it before "IMO" stands for "in my opinion.")  Anyway, the point I was making was that not everyone agrees that the men are the groom's attendants and the women are the bride's -- many people see them all as the HC's attendants irrespective of sex or who is standing where.

And that still doesn't mean that anyone must be included.  My point was just that if you are in a community or family where the expectation is that siblings will be included (if the size of the family and the number of attendants make it feasible), that expectation is the same for all siblings whether or not their sex "matches," whether that means Bride's Brother is a groomsman or stands on the bride's side.  You still don't have to include Brother -- the point is that "Well, I would include him, but The Rule is that the groom gets to choose all the men" isn't going to mean anything to anyone.  The response will either be "Why?" or "Well, then, he should choose Brother, since you seem to think you can't" or "You are saying that you consider some silly rule that doesn't even exist more important than other people's feelings."  It just won't work if that's not your family's custom.

I can't remember the last wedding I attended where all the siblings -- and their spouses, if any -- weren't attendants, other than very tiny weddings with no or just 1 attendant and second marriages where the HC's children were the only attendants.  And look how different that is from CakeEater's and Mergatroyd's experiences.

So as we can see, for many communities and families, weddings are much less family-centered and much more friend-centered, and siblings would even be surprised to be included.  But for many others, it's exactly the opposite, and excluding a sibling would be a major slap with permanent consequences.  That's why there's no one-size-fits all rule about this.  One group doesn't have to be wrong for another to be right.

Which is why my only advice was not to rely on any abstract, supposedly objective "rule." 

Regarding parties and shopping and all that -- that's another red herring, because none of it is actually part of being an attendant, or at least not a requirement, nor are those things only for attendants.  After all, if your 14-year-old sister is a bridesmaid, you don't expect her to host a shower or attend a bachelorette party at a bar, and if your MOH lives across the country, she's not going to go on every shopping trip with you; conversely, the attendants are not usually the only people at or even planning a bachelor/ette party or going shopping with you. 

lmyrs

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2015, 02:02:38 PM »
Quote
I can't remember the last wedding I attended where all the siblings -- and their spouses, if any -- weren't attendants, other than very tiny weddings with no or just 1 attendant and second marriages where the HC's children were the only attendants.  And look how different that is from CakeEater's and Mergatroyd's experiences.

Wait, I think I misunderstood this point initially, but now I've reread it and I need to know: Are you saying that it's normal that every sibling and every sibling in law of the HC are in the wedding party? Doesn't that make for enormous wedding parties? If DH & I had done this it would have been 4 bridesmaids and 6 groomsmen just from that group. Before we've asked any of our friends or cousins or whatever. I do not agree that you have to ask every sibling if you ask one, but I can sort of see why someone would think that. But I cannot believe that you also need to ask all of the siblings in law. That seems like a bridge too far for me.

Lynn2000

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Re: Is there anyone that the HC *should* ask to stand up for them?
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2015, 02:05:53 PM »
Regarding parties and shopping and all that -- that's another red herring, because none of it is actually part of being an attendant, or at least not a requirement, nor are those things only for attendants.  After all, if your 14-year-old sister is a bridesmaid, you don't expect her to host a shower or attend a bachelorette party at a bar, and if your MOH lives across the country, she's not going to go on every shopping trip with you; conversely, the attendants are not usually the only people at or even planning a bachelor/ette party or going shopping with you.

I don't think it's exactly a red herring. Officially, those extra considerations are not part of being an attendant, but functionally, in many circles, they are. I think it's actually similar to your main argument--that The Rule (if one exists, which is debatable) is not as important as family dynamics. If someone says to the groom's sister, "You are not a bridesmaid, you are a groomswoman, therefore, you can't come to my party and you can't join me for shopping," that's probably going to be hurtful, and no reasonable person is going to buy it when the bride says, "But she isn't a bridesmaid! The rules say I don't have to include her!"

I think it gets to the heart of the question--the groom can ask that his sister stand up for him, but he can't do it in a vacuum, even if he wants her to literally stand on his side. He has to coordinate with the bride and decide how each person is going to be treated, or it could just hurt the relationship. Same with the bride's brother/male BFF/etc.. (I am suddenly reminded of the guys from The Hangover being stuck with weirdo Alan on their road trip, because he's the bride's brother.)

So if the bride is saying her brother "should" be an attendant, does that mean she sticks him on the groom's side even if the groom dislikes him? Or does he stay on the bride's side, but do things with the groomsmen (still brings the groom into contact with him)? Or is he on the bride's side, but somehow incorporated into what her female attendants are doing, which may or may not be to his interest (or theirs)? Does he fall through the cracks and do nothing but show up at the wedding? Just saying her brother "should" be standing up in the church in a tux isn't the end of the discussion. And if for whatever reason no one wants to deal with him, maybe they need to think about modifying that "should" somehow.
~Lynn2000