06/17/2013 12:31 EDT | Updated 08/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Sticky Situation: How to Deal With a Wedding Show Stealer

Sticky situation:

I was hoping you could help with a sticky situation.

We recently decided to postpone our wedding which was going to just be my fiancé and I, to opt for a more formal church wedding with guests since it was his first marriage. This is my second.

His sister is very excited, but so much so that she automatically expects, and has voiced this on several occasions, that she expects to be included in the wedding itself.

I asked my fiancé if he really wanted her in the wedding and what he wanted to do about the situation. He said yes, he wants her in the wedding.

I honestly think it is just to avoid confrontation and hurt feelings, but I'm having a hard time figuring out where to include her and I honestly don't want her as a bridesmaid.

Are there any other things that we could have her as a participant in the wedding, yet not actually a bridesmaid?

I am thinking that maybe she could participate in something like reading a poem. Perhaps even something like a greeter....but I'm not sure that is exactly what she is wanting.

I really feel like she wants the "spotlight" on her, when in fact, it's her brother's wedding.

I don't want to push her too far out of the picture that it upsets her in anyway and causes an issue either. But I want to reserve the role of bridesmaids for those close to me.

Thanks for your help.


Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Let's start with the rules, or lack of, for wedding attendants. First of all, both members of the couple should approve choosing wedding attendants. In your case, you did validate with your fiancé, and he does approve of his sister being in the wedding.

While there is no rule that says you have to include your future sister-in-law as a bridesmaid, I certainly recommend it. Think of the long-term effects of this gesture. It certainly is in your best interest to create harmony between you and your fiancé's family. Having your fiancé's sister as a bridesmaid is also a great opportunity to get to know her better.

If you have already chosen your wedding attendants, don't shy away from one more for the sake of perfectly paired attendants for the processional. You have options:

1) the groomsmen can be at the front, seated or standing, with the groom while the bridesmaids, single file, start the processional,

2) all attendants can go single file with bridesmaids first and

3) one of your bridesmaids, can walk down the aisle with a groomsmen on each side.

I encourage you to openly and frankly, discuss your future sister-in-law's role in your wedding, with your fiancé. Keep in mind that you are making lifetime memories and that you have the opportunity to set the tone for family harmony, in the joining of your two families.

Whatever you and your fiancé decide, to include his sister in the wedding party or assign her another role, I recommend that you advise her of your decision, together.

If you choose not to include her as a wedding attendant, explain sensitively your choice for others and add that you would love to include her in the other traditions. Ask her what she would like to do. Involve her in the decision of what she could do.

Lastly, etiquette exists to make things easier but there is nothing more important than respecting others and their feelings. Think of the future and the impact this decision may have on your new extended family.

On this one go with your heart. That is what a wedding is all about. Isn't it?

Have a Sticky Situation yourself, write to and Julie will reply promptly. You can also ask your questions on her Facebook page. Planning a conference? Julie travels coast to coast to give bilingual interactive conferences and workshops.

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