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Choosing Bridesmaids Article

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Just So You Know, Nobody Is 'Required' To Be A Bridesmaid


The rules of wedding etiquette are constantly changing, making it difficult for modern brides, grooms and guests to find up-to-date and correct information. That's why we've launched #MannersMondays, a weekly series in which we ask our followers on Twitter and Facebook to submit their most burning etiquette-related questions. Then, with the help of our team of etiquette experts, we get you the right answers to your biggest Big Day dilemmas. Check out this week's question below!

"Is the only sister of the groom required to be a bridesmaid? Would the personal attendant do?" - Jessica Lust via Facebook

Anna Post -- great-great-granddaughter of etiquette guru Emily Post and author of Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette -- is here to help us answer this week's question. Find out what she had to say below:

"No, the groom’s only sister isn’t required to be a bridesmaid. In fact, no one is ever required to be a bridesmaid, or to be asked to be a bridesmaid.

First, a word on the word 'required.' It often implies 'I don’t want to, but I guess I have to.' While there is no etiquette that requires someone to be or be asked to be a bridesmaid, a wedding is about a couple becoming part of each other’s families. And that means making a good-faith effort to get to know new family members. Building relationships out of a sense of obligation often lacks sincerity, undermining the chances of success from the beginning. So I might think about this question more as, 'Would it be a good idea to ask the groom’s only sister to be a bridesmaid?'

Generally, consider asking close friends and family. There is no minimum or maximum number, and there doesn’t need to be an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. It’s also fine to have none at all. It’s a good idea to at least consider asking any future sister(s)-in-law. You may not know them well yet, but this is a chance to get to know them better and to honor their close relationship with your fiancé. By including them, you are banking on the future relationship you will have with them. If the groom has more than one sister, it would be a very smart idea to ask all of them rather than to pick and choose — or don’t ask any at all.

When being asked to be a bridesmaid, it is always fine for anyone — including the sister of the groom — to decline. As the groom’s sister, the same advice as above applies: Think about saying 'yes' as a way to get to know your brother’s new bride. If being a bridesmaid is really not for you, but the bride and groom would like you to be part of the ceremony, suggest doing a reading instead."

Posted on February 25, 2014 at 10:08 am


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