Overlooked Possible Bridesmaid?

by admin on March 5, 2013

A few years ago one of my half-brothers got married to a lovely women. I have two half-brothers; one from my Mom and another man and one from my Dad and another women, my Dad’s son was the one getting married. So I’m very excited for the wedding but I notice that I’m not asked to be a bridesmaid. I don’t think that this is a huge deal, maybe they don’t want siblings in the wedding. (It’s important to note that my half-brother has another sister from his mom and another man and his wife has two sisters.) Come wedding day I find out that I am the ONLY sibling that is not a bridesmaid, my brother’s other sister was, his wife’s two sisters were, and so were a few of my brother’s cousins. I felt, and still feel, VERY hurt about this! I live only an hour away from the wedding, was old enough, and had enough money to buy whatever I needed to buy to be a bridesmaid. I’m wondering if I’m blowing this all out of proportion…or if I’m justified in being hurt. 0223-13

Even if you were justified in being hurt, what would you gain by continuing to be offended years later?  I don’t know the reasons why you were overlooked to be a bridesmaid but if you interact with your family with an obvious chip on your shoulder, you will definitely confirm in the minds of some that perhaps it was a good idea after all to keep you out of the wedding party.   The wedding was a few years ago but today is the here and now.   You want to be gracious, helpful and kind so that your relationships with your brother and his wife are enhanced.  Move on.



{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Cat March 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

It’s painful when you feel left-out of something in which you would have liked to have been included. When it’s family, it seems very personal when others are included and you don’t know why you were excluded.
There’s nothing we can do about what happened to us in the past. Someone once said that we crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow. Sometimes it’s best to just accept that this brother is not as close as you would like him to be and go on being polite to him and to his wife, but with no expectations of a close relationship.


Ashley March 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I don’t think anyone is owed a spot in anyone’s wedding party, family or not. I’m a girl with three brothers and no sisters. When one of those brothers got married, I was not in the wedding, but my other brothers were. When my oldest brother got married, I was in the wedding on the brides side, and one brother was on the grooms. The other brother was not in the wedding. NONE of my brothers are in my wedding. And guess what? None of us holds any ill will towards the others. We’re grown adults. There’s no time in our lives for childish drama like that.

It always surprises me when people get offended somehow that they weren’t invited to be part of a wedding party. It’s not like being in the wedding party grants you any special powers or something.

And admin is right, OP will gain nothing by walking around with a chip on her shoulder over this. Let it go. It wasn’t a big deal in the first place, it certainly isn’t now, years down the road.


Library Diva March 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm

You never know what factors play into picking attendants. It may have had to do with the relationships among people: if people in his family still aren’t over whatever went on between your father and your brother’s mother, it may have just caused stress and caused you to have a more epic submission about how you were treated in the run-up to the wedding. They also could have simply flipped a coin and you lost out to one of the cousins. They may have misinterpreted your situation and heard you didn’t have the money, and thought they were doing you a kindness. You live an hour away, but if this is a “stay in town” crowd, they may consider you an out-of-towner. Who knows. You can’t help feeling hurt — I still feel a little hurt every time I think of a wedding I wasn’t asked to be in — but don’t let it color your interactions and don’t obsess.


Wren March 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm

My younger sister was my maid of honor. I wasn’t even invited to her wedding because Sis’s husband “wanted it to be small.” I’ll never forget how it hurt, and yes, over 20 years later, it still hurts. But I have forgiven. So try to forgive, even if your mind won’t let you forget.


Angel March 8, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Small or not, not inviting a sibling to your wedding is just mean! Were any of her husband’s siblings invited? I couldn’t imagine not inviting my brothers to my wedding!


Wren March 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

I can’t recall whether any of his siblings were allowed to attend. They finally relented and let our mother attend. They must have had witnesses, but I don’t know who they were. I guess it shows my selfish human nature that pretty much all I remember about the whole situation is how they excluded me and how it hurt me. It all happened over 20 years ago.


kingsrings March 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm

I had the same thing happen when my father re-married over 20 years ago. Ever hear of a father not inviting his own kids to his wedding? You have now. We knew they wanted a small wedding with only a few guests, but when he invites his best friend over his kids, that’s pretty hurtful.


gellchom March 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Although I agree that you will be happier the more you can let this go, I just want to tell you that I sympathize, and although of course in principle anyone can have anyone they want in their wedding, I think it is both unkind and stupid to include several siblings and include only one.

I had a similar situation when my husband’s sister got married. All the siblings were included. My husband, the bride’s only sibling, officiated. They had, as attendants, the groom’s two brothers, his sister, and one girlfriend of the bride. None of the other siblings was married at the time.

I didn’t make a fuss or complain, and I tried not to let it show, but I felt hurt and rejected. I had only been married into the family for a few months, and I felt humiliated, as if it were an announcement to all the relatives that she didn’t consider me really family. FYI, she had been in our wedding. (Her husband was not, but they weren’t even engaged yet when we got married.)

Now, remember that I was only 25 then. It wouldn’t bother me like that today, and believe me, I haven’t spent the last 30 years brooding about it or letting it affect our relationship!

But I do remember how hurt I felt then. Weddings just loom so large to young people. It would have been a kindness to include me. I was glad to hear my daughter (who just got engaged!) say she is planning on including both her brother and sister-in-law, as well as her fiance’s three siblings (none married). I also think she is smart.


Bint March 6, 2013 at 9:22 am

“All the siblings were included.”

I’m not meaning to be unkind, but I’m genuinely surprised that the bride’s brother’s wife would expect to be in a wedding, or put herself on the same level as a blood sibling. It wouldn’t even cross my mind to expect my husband’s sisters to put me on that level when they get married. We’re not siblings, so of course we wouldn’t have the same status. The bride was in your wedding as a sibling (her brother), and had all the siblings in hers. In-laws just aren’t in the same position for many people, and I think it’s a bit unfair to compare them. I’m sorry you were hurt by it, but that was an expectation that it really wasn’t fair to have.


Tracy March 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I agree. It seems like everyone else had a direct relationship with the bride or groom – they were a sibling or friend of one of the people getting married. Your relationship was one step removed.


gellchom March 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm

oops, I meant “exclude” in the first paragraph.


starstruck March 5, 2013 at 8:36 pm

heres the thing . you have every right to be hurt . your feelings are yours and no one can tell you how to experience them. however, when someone is getting married its their day .and i think they should pick who is to be in their wedding without having to be on pins and needles worrying about the backlash of excluding some, and i think far to many brides do choose their bridesmaid this way. when my really good friend got married she passed me over to choose another girl who she didnt even know for very long. i was crushed as i had known this girl since we were five. but i had to let it go and deal with the fact that it is indeed her day. i never even told her that it hurt me.


Sarah Jane March 5, 2013 at 10:48 pm

I don’t think it’s “childish drama” for someone to be hurt because he or she is excluded from a wedding party…especially that of family. A wedding can be a very important event to the family, and all the planning/excitement/details experienced by every person who WAS included can be talked about for months. And believe me, I’ve seen my fair share of wedding pictures hung on walls of family houses, and for years to come, questions like, “Mommy, where are YOU in this picture?” are very awkward.

Also, assuming someone you love did not ask you to be in his/her wedding because they wanted to save you the hassle, or worse, the money, is no comfort to some people.

I don’t think siblings should be “optional” unless there is a serious rift. But that’s just my old-fashioned opinion.


NostalgicGal March 6, 2013 at 12:45 am

The only people that HAVE to be in the wedding are the couple being married, and two witnesses. Anyone else, is there for whatever reason… and in most cases unless you’re one of the ones getting married or one of the required witnesses… if you’re not in the wedding party and it’s after the event, nothing else TO do but get on with life. I’m just as married after over 30 years and there were no real attendants, just us and the two people we picked to be our witnesses.

Drama be darned, get on with your life. Yes it may hurt for whatever reason, but. Life is what you make of it and it’s too short to have grudges to trip on.


FunkyMunky March 6, 2013 at 1:34 am

This was your half-BROTHER. In my experience, the bride, not the groom, chooses the bridesmaids. Maybe she knew the others better and was closer to them. Either way, no-one is guaranteed a bridal party position. I didn’t have my only full-blood sister as my bridesmaid.


Bint March 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

I have two sisters and none of us were bridesmaids for each other although we’re all very close; we all did readings, speeches or signed the register instead. It was never an issue. Try explaining that to my inlaws, who still think it’s horrific we all did that and are convinced it’s a sign we secretly hate each other.

Then again, all of us have been BMs four times, so maybe we’re just not that wound up about it.


Bint March 6, 2013 at 4:19 am

“I notice that I’m not asked to be a bridesmaid. I don’t think that this is a huge deal, maybe they don’t want siblings in the wedding.”

Or maybe the bride would like to choose someone else. A problem here is that your default expectation was to be a bridesmaid. Yet the bride traditionally chooses her own attendants from her own side, although these days many brides come under pressure to have the groom’s side too. You started out with expectations and that is never a good idea when it comes to someone else’s wedding.

“my brother’s other sister was, his wife’s two sisters were, and so were a few of my brother’s cousins”

You just don’t know why they made these choices. You don’t know what went on behind the scenes. Look at your relationship with them now. Are they loving to you? Do they care about you? And if they are, does it really matter that you weren’t a bridesmaid? Because for all you know, your brother was forced not to have you just to keep the family peace, and never told you because he knew that would hurt you. Maybe he was forced into taking the cousins and didn’t want them there. Almost all couples getting married come under pressure from other people, but ultimately it was one day in a dress, and if that’s all you have against them, you need to let it go.

My MIL had issues with her daughters not being my BMs. She’d just assumed they would be, even though my own sisters weren’t, and she asked me why I hadn’t chosen them. I mean, picking his sisters over my own! I don’t think so! I just said, “I’ve always wanted my two best friends” but I remember being taken aback that she would question my choice of bridesmaids. And my MIL is a very nice, rational lady 99% of the time, so you never know what your SIL had to put up with.


Rodinne March 8, 2013 at 8:17 am

I think what is important to note is that she didn’t know until the wedding that the other siblings and cousins were attendants.

When my brother got married, I knew all of his attendants except one, who had been in his fraternity at his out-of-state college. The rest were guys I had run into at various sports-watching or poker games at my brother’s house. I knew one of the women his fiancee had chosen for her attendants. I knew when she was shopping for dresses, even though I wasn’t invited along. I knew when they were debating including my young cousin as a ring bearer and where they were thinking of honeymooning. These things came up in normal conversations because I am part of my brother’s life, and to some extent his fiancee’s as well. I asked about her wedding plans much as I ask about her business trips and her marathon training.

If you have the type of relationship with someone where you can show up at a wedding and have no idea who has been chosen as an attendant, you’re not close enough to expect to be an attendant. Had the LW actually been chosen, it would have been for show, not for amity.


Ally March 6, 2013 at 8:45 am

You didn’t seem to know the bride very well, so perhaps you didn’t understand the relationships at play. The bride very easily could have known the sisters and cousins well or even independently from the family. Also, you don’t make it clear how close you are to your half brother.


Shoegal March 6, 2013 at 9:16 am

There is no obligation to put you in the wedding – and I believe that no matter what anybody says here – you just can’t help how you feel. I totally understand. But I think, you will realize that with time – whatever the reason – I don’t believe that anybody set out to deliberately hurt you. It is a personal choice that the bride and groom make – and it would be nice if they could make those choices without the influence or expectations of other people – but I’ll grant you that, in itself, is a tall order. I always say that weddings are extremely political. There is always some drama about something.

When I married – I only asked my sister to be maid of honor even though I am extremely close with my older sister and my best friend. I just wanted it to be small and elegant – I had 2 of my nephews act as ushers. My husband only chose his close friend to be best man. I didn’t ask my husband’s sisters or his neice – and I didn’t ask any of those people specifically to hurt them or to exclude them. My young neice asked me why I didn’t ask her to be a flower girl – well, my reason was because it was just very small – I was an older bride and I didn’t want to have a grand wedding with many many bridesmaids, flower girls, ring bearers, etc. etc. even though I could have had all of that. I wanted it to be intimate. That is all that went into the decision.


WildIrishRose March 6, 2013 at 9:43 am

I’ve never been asked to be a bridesmaid, although I’ve sung in several weddings–but never a relative’s, if you can believe that. But I never cared. I seriously do not understand why people get so worked up over being a bridesmaid, but that’s just me. It always struck me as being expensive and stressful, and I don’t know why anyone would want to go there. However, I do understand that being left out of your brother’s wedding party would hurt your feelings, and pretty deeply. I’m just wondering why you would clutter your life up by holding on to those hurt feelings. Let it go. You’ll feel much better.


Hanna March 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I’m pretty sure that in general, the bride gets to choose the bridesmaids. Just because my husband has sisters does not mean that I must make them bridesmaids. What if I am not close to them? What if there are other women in my life who are more important than my husband’s sister?

I was a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding, but my other sisters were not. This was completely normal and natural and my other sisters didn’t think a thing about it because the bride and I were the same age, and were friends before she met my brother, and through the whole duration of their relationship. My sisters, who were 9 and 7 years older than the bride did not at all expect to be bridesmaids just because my brother was the groom.


June First March 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Sometimes I feel like being a bridesmaid is treated like high school prom or homecoming court: a popularity contest.
Of the criteria OP mentions, I’m not seeing the most important one–relationship with the couple. And, in response to some of the comments here, I don’t think length of relationship trumps closeness. My bridesmaids were my two sisters and a coworker I really like. I hadn’t known the coworker very long, but we clicked. Many of my wedding guests had known me a lot longer, but we didn’t spend as much time together as we used to.

Yes, you have a right to feel hurt. But if you’re still carrying this grudge after a few years, you might be missing out on other family time.


Sonia March 6, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Until I started following this board, I never knew some people expect to be BMs at family weddings. BMs in my area are only ever BFFs not relatives. Likewise the grooms best friends are his attendants not family. Expecting to be a BM for a half sibling who is a male is beyond explanation. I agree with one of the riot posters. You had that as a default expectation and that was wrong. The BMs are there to support the Bride. Strangers cannot give that support. A test with my niece who is getting married, was “you are over the limit, have no money, 20km from home, it’s 2 am on a Wednesday, name a person not a relative who would both pick you up and take you home and never hold it against you (and not st something on Facebook) and that is your Bridesmaid”. Did you have a relatnship with the bride to that level? I doubt it otherwise yu would have know who the bridesmaids were before the wedding, since you would have heard about all the arrangements through your many meetings, visits with your brother and fiancé.


Cheryl March 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm

It depends on how close you are to the brother and his fieance. If you met up with them once or twice in a couple of years then that is expected. However, you didn’t mention that you had another job in the wedding, reader or cake server. However, most girls dream of being maid of honor or a bridesmaid, this is rarely the case where you are not dealing with other incompetant bridesmaids or a bridezilla. It maybe exciting the first time, after that, you are ok with never being asked ever again. You can’t hold a grudge, your feelings were hurt but it isn’t your wedding, therefore, not your choice. When you get married then you can leave your half brother, his wife and their kids out of the wedding if you choose to.


Jane March 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I totally understand why you are hurt, but unfortunately, the only thing you can really do is move on. It does seem a bit silly to have literally every other sibling and then leave one out, and I understand why you’re hurt.

When I was married, I had three bridesmaids. One of them got married about a year and a half later. She told my mom she was going to ask me to be in her wedding. I waited, and waited, and the request to be a BM never came. It hurt, but if I wanted to continue our friendship, all I could do was move on.


MidoriBird April 2, 2013 at 1:12 am

I know I dislike it when details are left out of the weddings I attended…like my mother and I being conscripted into waitstaff without our consent, or at another where my sister was a bridesmaid with matching gowns and everything…and nobody had told me a thing about it.


CatLuva April 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm

My best friend of 20 years got married and I wasn’t in it. I’m not going to lie and say it didn’t bother me at all – I think it was weirder just trying to figure out why she asked friends from work and not me and having to field my mom’s questions when I didn’t know why I wasn’t asked to be a bridesmaid. I was hurt but I stuck it out in our friendship and we’re still friends.
The point is, I guess, that you’re going to go to a lot of weddings in your life, and you’re not going to be in every single one. It’s just common sense, unless you’re like Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses or something. I would always give the person getting married the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a really tough decision and it wasn’t personal. If you don’t, you’ll go crazy. Be grateful that you were spared the expense and the responsibility and that you were just able to enjoy the day as a guest stress free!


Chris R July 29, 2016 at 8:45 am

Totally understand.

Just been best man at my brothers wedding which was brilliant as we’ve been close all our life. The matter of bridesmaids was brought up a while back and he said to me and my wife that they were just having there 2 young daughters and the brides 2 sisters and a few school friends as bridesmaids which was great you would think…?? :o) Anyway on the day of the wedding (to my shock) as I turned round in the church to see the the brides 2 sisters daughters were also bridesmaids. This really annoyed me as my 2 daughters and my sisters 2 daughters had been totally overlooked and forgotten about. Haven’t had a chance to speak to my bro and sister in law yet as there on Honeymoon currently but the anxiety is eating me up inside. Don’t understand why they did this, really don’t, can’t sleep at night thinking about it….:o(


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