Clashing Wedding Dates And Honoring One’s Commitments

by admin on May 16, 2013

I’ve been in the archives lately reading over stories from the past when I remembered the year I was married. First of all, both my hubby and I are go-with-the-flow people. The only time we like to fight is with each other. The year we decided to get married, both of our brothers also decided to get married. No problem, we thought, this might be fun, 3 parties with family and friends, yeah!

We were the first to get formally engaged and we originally wanted the weekend of Labor Day for our wedding. No sooner had we started talking to my parents about that weekend, my brother and his future wife decided a few weeks later that they should, in fact, be married that day instead. Even joking that they were stealing our idea. In my mind I’m thinking, “Yes. Yes, you are.” But, as I said, flow people, and we promptly moved our wedding date up to June 13 (just a random weekend, nothing special about it). Our wedding was simple, easy, and very subdued so it was easy to move the date.

During the Christmas season, my hubby let his brother know what date we chose and also the day my brother picked, as we were both to be in his wedding party. As it was getting closer to our wedding, I believe the end of April, his brother told us the date of his wedding. Apparently, they loved the idea of having it on Labor Day weekend too! So now, both of our brothers were going to be married on the same day in separate states.

There was so many things wrong with this situation and I don’t really know who is the most rude. My brother was mad at my husband for not being in the wedding party, his wife-to-be was pissed that plans had to be changed and told my hubbs that he should have told his brother no, he was already committed (which I kind of understand, even though nothing was ordered). This is my husband’s only full sibling and his mother made it seem like this was the only thing she had ever asked for in her life; and said not having me there wasn’t really a big deal because I was so new to the family (uh, thanks?, I guess the prior 3 years I wasn’t really family). His brother basically said you have to be there, no other option. Not “I want you there” or “It will mean a lot to me if you were there”, just  “be there”. I was pissed at everyone for being such jerks, so I may be the rudest of them all.

The best part of all this was our wedding was fantastic – everyone had a great time and partied all night long (except his mom, stepdad, brother, and fiancée, who left shortly after dinner was served – we hadn’t even cut the cake yet – they were going on a little weekend vacation and wanted to get it started right away). Our DJ even stayed for 2 hours past his ending because he was having such a good time. The worst part was I became deathly ill the 2 weeks prior to my brother’s wedding. So sick I had to be rushed to the ER during the night because I couldn’t breath and had a horrible lung infection. My best friend had to attend my brother’s wedding with me as I couldn’t drive or stay alone due to the many meds I had to take. My husband was sick to his stomach that he couldn’t be there for me and felt out of place at a wedding where he really didn’t know a lot of people.

We wanted to cancel on both due to my health, but we didn’t want to hear about how horrible we were for not going to either wedding nor did we want to let anyone down. My hubby joked that if only I’d gotten sick a week later, we both could have stayed home and had our own party in the hospital – which is horrible to say but how we felt. So he went to his wedding and I went to mine, which I had to leave as soon as all the formal events were finished to lay down. While we have wonderful memories of our own wedding, we don’t really have many of theirs. In the end, we truly felt there was no good outcome for these events. Both brothers felt their days were more special than the other and us being in the middle made no difference to either one.   0423-13

Your brother’s wife hit the issue square on the head.   Your husband should have honored his commitent to be in your brother’s wedding party.    He accepted the duty and if his word means anything, he should have stood by that commitment he made before ever knowing his own brother’s wedding date.   He clearly gave his brother much advance warning that he was not going to be available that weekend and upon hearing the date conflict, the first words out of his mouth to his brother should have been, “Wow.  I’m really sorry to hear that.  I told you I was already committed on that weekend and I cannot go back on my word at this point.  I am really sorry I cannot be there for you on that date. Are you sure you cannot choose another weekend?”

Bottom line:  You honor your promises, commitments and obligations regardless of how enticing a new offer seems or how manipulatively someone tries to get you to change it.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Harley Granny May 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I completely agree with admin.

Whoever picks that date 1st gets that date.

We’ve have to say “sorry we have a prior commitment” many a time.


Puzzled May 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm

So many people do not seem to understand this simple concept. If you made the commitment, you are indeed obligated to honor it. Only the most serious of reasons are the exception to this rule. It really does not matter what reaction the person issuing the second reaction has.


Coralreef May 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Strangely enough, no one seems to mind that the OP and her husband had to move their wedding date because the OP’s brother wanted hers (Labour Day).

OP’s husband was being pulled by his family (they are the ones who installed the strings, so they know which one to jerk to get results) and his commitment to his BIL’s wedding. You know, the one that decided he should have the Labour Day wedding rather than his sister?

The best answer may have been “My wife is sick, I’m staying home.” Because whatever option was taken, someone would be angry or disappointed and the OP and her husband will probably hear about it until the end of times.


AMC May 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I agree. What the heck is wrong with both of these families? I realize that one cannot ‘own’ a wedding date, but I think OP’s brother and SIL both deserve to be tossed into EHell. It would be different if it were a friend, a distant cousin, or if they had chosen the day before or after. But for an immediate family member to set their wedding date on the same day, knowing full well what kind of a position that put OP and her family in, is very selfish and seems like a power grab. I don’t know what kind of relationship OP and her husband have with their families, but given their behaviors, it doesn’t sound very good.


AS May 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I totally agree with you, Coralreef. OP and her now husband were the ones to pick the date first. What happened to “honoring the commitment” on part of OP’s brother and SIL-to-be to attend their sister/SIL’s wedding, and not plan a wedding the same day? Just because OP and hubby didn’t make a fuss about moving the date and bro’ and SIL expressed their disappointment, does not make them right. If anything, it makes them a hypocrite!


annie May 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Whoever picks that date first gets that date–wasn’t that originally our dear letter writer?


Michelle C. Young May 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I’m trying to be generous, and believe that your brother, rather than “Stealing” your date was actually hoping for a double-wedding. But double-weddings should be wanted by both parties, anyway, so it’s still kind of lousy of him to do that.

The other brother, KNOWING that your hubby was already booked for that date then demanding and ordering your husband to drop the prior engagement to attend HIS wedding, setting the date AFTER the fact – that just blows my mind.

Somehow, I get the feeling you have a lot more stories available with these people.

As for you being afraid you were the worst offender here, I don’t see how. You said you were “pissed,” about it. Well, you had every right to be. How you expressed yourself might have been bad. You did not tell us your specific words or actions, so we cannot judge. But if all you did was BE angry, while you went along with their plans, I cannot find you to be an etiquette offender, at all. Did you TELL them they were being selfish jerks? That would be a bit rude, yeah.

Although, yeah, selfish jerks. What was up with them, anyway?


WildIrishRose May 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Somehow I didn’t get a lot of support about honoring commitments when I posted the story of my former boss backing out of an invitation I had extended to him (Admin was on my side, though). I completely agree–unless there are extenuating circumstances (and a better offer does NOT count), you keep your word and honor your commitments, period. Your husband should have told his brother that he was already committed to your brother. And his brother and his mother would just have to get over it, or his brother would have to change the date of his wedding.


Cat May 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Agreed. Jerking people around, making demands, insisting on getting married on the date you had already picked, and telling you your presence was not a big deal since you were so new the shine hadn’t worn off, strikes me one continuous effort to make things difficult for you.
You handled it well, but your laid-back attitude might have been seen as permission to walk all over you. I hope they have not pulled anything like this on you again.


AIP May 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Technically yes, Admin and co is correct. However, I’m willing to bet that if SIL’s sister said that couldn’t be a bridesmaid because she already said that she was to be bridesmaid for her husband’s family’s wedding, we would still be suffering the nuclear fallout! Something tells me that etiquette, manners and honouring previous commitments wouldn’t be so desirable then,

Hopefully if one positive has come out if this mess is that OP and her husband now realise that “go with the flow” doesn’t necessarily translate to everyone else as “nice to be around” but rather “doormat”. Unfortunately, siblings pulled their stunts because they knew they could get away with it. But at least you got to have your own weekend without having to pay a financial premium for booking it during a holiday (clever people 😉 )


Michelle C. Young May 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm

One “nice” thing about this situation: According to, both your brother and your husband’s brother has given you a “get out of jail free” card, in that you are no longer under any obligation to visit them again. You may invite them, of course, but you don’t need to accept invitations from them, on the grounds that they jerked you around. You played along nicely, so that their weddings would not be ruined, but nevertheless, they are both guilty of jerking you around, and you are free to refuse any and all invitations from them, in future, because of it.

If you feel like cutting them off, they gave you the ammunition you need.

If you don’t feel like cutting them off, please build up a stronger polite spine before you continue these relationships.


Ergala May 16, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Is nobody going to mention that the brother picked the same date as the OP upon knowing that is what they had chosen? Right there is something I’d have a hard time gritting my teeth and getting past. I can see why the husband of the OP chose to go to his brother’s wedding instead. If I my sister was getting married the same day or weekend as my sister in law then yes I’d go to my sister’s. She’s my only sister and I’d be a real special piece of work to blow off her wedding for my in law’s. It’s not like they both only went to one. They each went to one and participated. Nobody was ignored or put out horribly. It sounds like this was told enough in advance that it wasn’t a last minute rush to find a replacement.

I just can’t believe how ballsy they were to pick the same exact date their sibling did for the wedding. I wouldn’t have rescheduled at all and immediately sent out Save the Date cards.


Marozia May 16, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Admin is right. BUT…and here’s the but… You & hubby picked Labor Day weekend to have YOUR wedding. Just because your bro wanted his on that date doesn’t mean you had to change YOUR plans. That’s just plain pandering (which I disapprove of most strongly). You planned yours first, bro should’ve honoured that date as your day. Digression, sorry.
As I said, Admin is correct, hubby gave commitment to your bro and his word is his bond.


Agania May 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Sage words Admin. But oh, the dynamics of a family! And the mother guilt and the brother guilt and all the crap that comes with being in a family. If hubby had stood by his word his whole family would have been up in arms and everyone would have come down on him like a ton of poop.

I agree with everyone so far. Hubby should have stood by his original word. Especially since he had given his brother advance warning that the other wedding was already booked in. If hubby’s brother had REALLY wanted him to stand up at his wedding, brother should have shifted the dates. He probably would have copped holy hell from his fiancee but it’s a question of priorities. OP and hubby tried to appease everyone and probably ended up appeasing no one. Oh well, at least their own wedding was awesome and that’s what really counts.


Wendy May 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm

While I agree with honouring a commitment, didn’t the OP and her husband already accommodate her brother and his wife by changing their date so the brother could have it especially after it was common family knowledge that was their planes date. What would have happened if they had said no we don’t want to change our date and you agreed to be our groomsmen honour your commitment.


Michelle C. Young May 19, 2013 at 9:14 pm

What WOULD have happened had they stayed firm with their original date? ALLLL kinds of family drama.

What SHOULD have happened? Bro would say, “whoopsie! I meant Memorial Day! You know I always get those two confused, right?”

OP and her husband are going to need to really stiffen their spines to deal with unreasonable relatives on *both* sides. It’s really too bad.


KB May 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm

How interesting that people are jumping on the ‘the first person to pick it gets the commitment’ bandwagon when the first person to pick the date was actually the OP! I was very disappointed that there was no acknowledgement by admin of the OP’s graciousness and willingness to step aside for the other wedding(s) that were later booked on that date so as to avoid a three-way conflict for people wanting to attend more than one of the weddings.


Lo May 16, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Honestly, I don’t understand why you didn’t cancel both if you were that ill. I cannot imagine family putting pressure on you or your husband in such a fragile time. No doubt the stress of the situation compounded it all. Sometimes you really do have to think of yourself first. I’m the sort that would have welcomed the excuse to avoid the drama.

Beyond that I agree 100% with admin. Yes it’s incredibly important to be at a siblings wedding but one promise you can’t break to do that (and I think there are many you can) is the promise to stand in the wedding party of your brother-in-law– or frankly any wedding party. It simply must not be done. He should have told his brother right then; sorry, no, you know I promised to stand in a wedding that day.

It really does sound manipulative. I don’t know your family so who can even say, but taking your original wedding date is not a good way to start a relationship with the inlaws.


Michelle C. Young May 19, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Yeah, if you’re sick, that is a valid excuse to stay home. True, if you are *not* contagious, and can get by with medication, it is gracious to attend. However, if you are contagious or if attending will stress your body too much (relapses are worse than the original bout of sickness, in my mind), then you should stay home. If you’re contagious, you stay home to protect everyone else. If you’re just not healed up yet, and cannot take the stress, you stay home so that you CAN heal sometime before next year. I’ve pushed myself before I was ready, and wound up turning a one week illness into a month-long illness, and my co-workers had to pick up the slack. If I had just stayed home those two more days, in the first place, I would not have relapsed. Likewise, after the first relapse, if I had just allowed myself to heal sufficiently, I would not have had a second (and later third) relapse.

Taking care of yourself is good for all of your social circle, in the long run, because if you don’t get well, you’ll wind up putting a burden on all those other people.

And I really cannot emphasize enough – IF YOU ARE CONTAGIOUS, STAY HOME!!!! I don’t care what the occasion is, or how much they want you there. Do NOT spread your germs if you know you are contagious. Some people are not as strong and/or healthy as you, and may be hit much harder than you are. What knocks you out for three days may land them in the hospital.

So, yeah, you were ill enough to stay home, and if your family pressured you, while you were that ill, it just adds to my feelings of “YUCK!!!” about these selfish people.


Kathleen May 17, 2013 at 5:45 am

At the end of it all, wasn’t it awesome that you didn’t insist on Labour Day weekend as your wedding day? Otherwise you would have been so sick, you wouldn’t have had as much fun as when you had yours.

But it is pretty obvious that your husband’s family really have no regard for you. First they diss the 3 years you were together. Then they chose the only day they know you will not be able to come to their family event – your brother’s wedding day. And finally, they cannot leave fast enough at your wedding.

Be careful. I don’t think this will be the last of the drama.


Sarah May 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

I agree with everyone that honouring commitments is the right thing to do, but I can’t see any way that it would have ended well for OP and hubby if they had – by the sounds of it, hubby’s family would have never let them forget about it.
The only way out of this situation would have been for OP and hubby to stick by their original date and tell both siblings to pick another – they had clear precedent. However hindsight’s always 20/20.
I suspect that both brothers were born with the diva gene and OP and hubby tried to avoid causing a situation with brother 1, which unfortunately made the whole thing worse when brother 2 got in on the act.


Dear! May 17, 2013 at 10:10 am

Sigh. I agree a person’s word is his bond, but family comes first. Both brothers and FSIL were being selfish idiots, but if it were my sister getting married, ragardless of her behavior, I wouldn’t miss if for the world. And, to miss a sibling’s wedding, to be in the wedding party of one of your FILs is just asking for resentment and future rifts in the family. Sometimes etiquette has to give way for what’s best for your sanity and the good of the many…..


Dear! May 17, 2013 at 10:12 am

And good point @ Wendy. Selfish knows no bounds…


June First May 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm

There’s being flexible, and then there’s being a doormat. Having a polite spine doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get into a fight. I hope this will help prepare you for splitting holidays between families when/if you have children.


Michelle C. Young May 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Why split holidays and expose the poor, innocent children to this nonsense? You are your own family, now. Only go to visit these selfish people if you really want to. Meanwhile, you can establish your own family traditions that do not involve them.

For Christmas, cook your own turkey, and if you want more company, then invite some local single friends or even another family with whom you are close. Invite the people you actually *want.*


June First May 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Baby steps, Michelle.
Splitting the holidays means they can still spend time with both sides of the family, and potentially avoid World War III. It seems to me that they WANT to please their families, so much so they moved their wedding date!


Michelle C. Young May 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Potentially, yes. But there is also the very real possibility that either side, or even both, will pull the “You’re not choosing MEEEEE! How dare you go visit them, instead of MEEEE! I’m FAMILY, and they’re just in-laws, and your spouse can go visit them, even though as your spouse, he/she should be HERE, with YOU, visiting MEEEEE!”

Yeah, I’ve seen that. Splitting is actually equitable, but they don’t want equitable. They want it all, and if it’s not all, it’s not enough, and sometimes all isn’t even enough.

I’m not saying that is what will happen. However, be warned and prepared that it might happen, because we’ve seen plenty of postings of people claiming full ownership of someone else’s time.

My own family has a real doozy of a selfish relative story, but it’s way off topic. No wedding involved.


Pam May 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm

I know thus is a minority opinion, but I don’t think bowing out of being a groomsmen in the one wedding was so horrible or showed an awful lack of commitment. It was his brother’s wedding, not just any old alternate event. The “bad guys” are the ones who were so rude as to steal the date and then the other family members who created the conflict of interest. Pretty crazy and a no-win situation.


Kelly May 22, 2013 at 11:54 am

I agree with you, Pam. Backing out of being a groomsman two weeks before the wedding to go to a concert or some other unimportant event? RUDE. Backing out before tuxes or anything are ordered to go to your own brother’s wedding? Perfectly understandable in my book. It’s not that something “better” came along, it’s his brother, for goodness sake. As far as the brother picking a date that he knew his own brother had a prior commitment on, not the best move in my part. BUT you can’t pick your wedding date based on everyone else’s schedules! I don’t think either brother was completely innocent, however, and OP and her husband definitely got the shaft.


Dolphin Click May 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm

You really do have to take your family’s schedule into consideration when you plan your wedding, within reason. I got married last June. My niece’s bat mitzvah was the last Sunday in June, so I knew I couldn’t schedule it then. My sister (her mother) insisted I couldn’t plan the wedding for the Sunday before that either because it was too close to the bat mitvah and she’d be going crazy with planning (she was also afraid our aunt and uncle wouldn’t want to drive 5 hours 2 weekends in a row). We thought that one was a little ridiculous, but didn’t use that date because my mother asked us not to in order to keep the peace. My husband’s aunt asked us not to get married the Sunday before that because her good friend was having a birthday party (we did not see that as a legitimate reason not to use that date). In the end, we got married the first Sunday in June, and there were several people who couldn’t come, but we accommodated family as best we could.

The OP’s brother-in-law knew his brother was supposed to be a groomsman in another wedding that day and should not have scheduled his wedding for the same day. Doing so demonstrated an extreme sense of entitlement and a total disregard for the OP. However, I don’t blame the OP’s husband for going to his brother’s wedding. It’s still his brother. There are times when you have to cancel plans because something else takes priority. It’s nice in theory to always honor your commitments, but if you have dinner plans or a doctor’s appointment or a business meeting scheduled, and your sibling picks that day to get married, you cancel your other plans and go to the wedding! There are certain things in life that it’s not OK to miss.


Stacey Frith-Smith May 17, 2013 at 11:54 pm

OP, it sounds like you and your hubs dealt with a difficult situation with as much grace as could be mustered. Hereafter, I recommend drawing a line in the sand and allowing no more drama to cause you to be swayed when making decisions for your little family. A one-time exception to (try) to keep the peace is one thing (although the precedent is awful)- any further concession and you’ll be doomed to endless cycles of attempts to mediate, to placate, to accommodate, and to recover prior to the onset of the next faux crisis. A polite spine and a united front may help to forestall the worst of these tizzy fits.


Allie May 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Admin, I think your take on this situation falls under the heading “easier said than done.” OP’s and her husband’s only crime was failing to develop a polite spine when his brother usurped their original date of Labour Day. I wonder what would have happened had they stuck to this date. Would OP’s
BIL still have chosen the same date as her brother’s wedding as some kind of statement or power contest (or perhaps he or his mother didn’t want her at the wedding)? The fact that OP and her husband would rather have been deathly ill in hospital than attend either wedding speaks to how much pressure their respective families put them under needlessly. Shame on both families. I think OP and her husband should have declined to attend either wedding.


Another Sarah May 20, 2013 at 7:25 am

Sorry if this is a repost but it doesn’t look like my original comment went through.
I do have sympathy for OP and hubby in this situation because there was no way for them to win when both brothers picked the date, however, I do think they brought this on themselves a little by being too accommodating in the first place. They wanted that original date, they should have stuck to it.
If you give some people an inch, they will take a mile, and by letting brother 1 take advantage of their laid-back attitude, they opened the door for brother 2 to do the same thing – assuming it wouldn’t be a big deal to miss brother 1’s wedding because OP and hubby just go with the flow and won’t get upset.


Michelle C. Young May 22, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Going with the flow is all well and good, until the flow becomes a rip-tide. That’s when you drown.


Michelle C. Young May 22, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Incidentally, if you ever do get caught in an actual rip-tide, the best course of action is NOT to swim against it, but to swim parallel to shore. Eventually you will swim to the edge of the rip-tide, and then you can swim toward shore, normally. Swimming against the rip-tide will get you nowhere (sort of like walking up the down escalator), and you will soon be too exhausted to continue.


starstruck May 20, 2013 at 7:58 am

yeah i agree. i know it would be hard to pass up being in your only brothers wedding, and that was a tough call for your husband, but in the end he should have honored his commitment. his brother could have easily picked another date. however its ones on choice as to when their wedding will be , so really the only one at fault here is your husband.


Angel May 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm

This post is almost too unbelievable! Who would put their own siblings in the position of having to attend each wedding separately?? If I were in the OP’s position I would have declined them both and stayed the heck home. It’s not as if she didn’t have a valid excuse.


AJ May 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Love it. Absolutely, Admin is right. He gave his word to his BIL, by the way, the same one that snaked their original date, so he should have went to BIL & SIL wedding. Absolutely correct.

And then, the real world steps in. And we get to the, the high cost of being right. He can, in his family’s eyes, keep his word and choose in-laws over his own family, or, he can honour his family and commitment to them. Right or wrong, that is the reasoning he facing. And as much as the comments and Admin has said he is wrong, most of us, at least if we are honest, will keep immediate familiar peace, or choosing the “right” thing.


Livvy17 May 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm

What I want to know is what the OP did when she first heard her brother decided to steal her wedding date. Did she call him and say, “Bro, what are you doing? I told you I was getting married that day, what’s the deal?”

But yes, the Admin is right…people are supposed to respond yes or no to an invitation quickly, and once they have accepted, they are not supposed to back out unless it’s a real emergency / act of God…not just because a better offer comes along. Who knows, BIL might have even changed the date if his brother had immediately said, ” I TOLD you four months ago that was the one day I couldn’t attend. I’m hurt that you planned your wedding to exclude me.”


Margo May 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I agree that once one has made a commitment one should stick to it, but it seems as though OP and her husband did the best they could in a difficult situation. And it’s hard to feel much sympathy for Brother who had no qualms about taking the date his sister was planning to get married, then throwing a fit because sisters’s fiance had to change his plans.

And while it’s not polite to back out due to a new invitation, I can understand wanting to be at your brother’s wedding.


M July 12, 2013 at 9:21 am

My poor friend, K, has a sister who put her wedding date on the day that K was due to give birth! K went into labor on that day and missed the whole wedding.


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