DEAR MISS MANNERS: I intend to ask two of my childhood friends to be my bridesmaids. However, my mother-in-law has told me that it is “an unforgivable breach of wedding etiquette” not to ask her daughter, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, to be a bridesmaid. She added ominously, “If you don’t, don’t be surprised if (sister-in-law) makes a scene at your wedding. After all, being your bridesmaid is her right.”
I’ve never heard of this rule of etiquette, nor of any other rules governing the choice of wedding attendants. After all, I was never a bridesmaid at my brothers’ weddings, and I didn’t think anything of it.
Maybe I should have? I would hate for a grand snub to go unnoticed. Are there truly such rules? If so, could you please share them with me so I don’t cause offense?
GENTLE READER: Custom does often include the siblings of the bride and bridegroom in the wedding party, but doing so is not mandatory and neglecting to do so is not a snub.
Miss Manners fears this is the least of your worries, however. She would be much more concerned about a mother- or sister-in-law-to-be who wrongly imbues a bullying tactic with the full force of etiquette, and then offers to punish any lapses with truly unforgivable retribution. Is it too late to elope?