Ask The Swag Gal – January 19, 2011

Last week’s Ask TSGal was left up to the Swaggernaut community. I was blown away at the great advice and suggestions that many of our users contributed.

Our question came from a bridesmaid who is experiencing a dilemma and controversy within the wedding party:
I’ve recently been asked to be a bridesmaid in my friends wedding. As if it weren’t bad enough that there are 8 bridesmaids (apparently the groom is having trouble finding that many groomsmen!), the bride’s aunt wants her own daughter, the bride’s first cousin, to be added as the 9th bridesmaid. But the bride isn’t close to her cousin at all, and doesn’t know what to say to her aunt.

There is truly no right answer to this, because someone is forced to be dissatisfied within each scenario. However, the helpful users at Swag Nation have come up with some great solutions that could appease everyone.
Kayyrenn says:
“I think the bride should stick to her guns. It’s her wedding, and she needs to be happy with it, and she doesn’t need to let anyone else run the show or she will look back and wish she had done the whole thing differently. My personal opinion is that it is extremely rude to ask to be a bridesmaid. That is a special honor that many would like to have but it should be the bride’s choice who they are, and just because someone is family does not entitle them to be a bridesmaid. They should be honored that they are recieving an invitation and be satisfied with that.”
Karissa suggests:
“Honestly, I would tell the Bride to do what SHE wants to do. Other people may remember her wedding, sure. But this is HER DAY. As long as she politely explains to the girl who be the 9th bridesmaid why it simply be, I see no harm in it. Perhaps there is something else that her cousin could do in the wedding? Read a nice poem or passage, or help with the guest book or seating? There is much to do in a wedding, not everyone needs to be right up at the alter. :)”
Similarly, Mulkeyjb said:
“I had a similar situation when I got married and I also had 8 bridesmaids! I simply told the family member that I needed someone that had an outgoing, pleasant personality to attend the register. I explained that this person would be my personal representative when the guests arrived and I wanted it to be someone special. I further explained that I wanted it to be someone that would make each guest feel special and welcomed. I asked her to attend the register for me and she proudly accepted! Hope this helps!”
On the other side, Jolene advises:
“I had the same issue with my cousin who felt like she was a sister to me, but it was only one sided, if you know what I mean. I went ahead and let her be in the wedding, because I did not want to cause a family rift at my wedding or have my wedding be the cause of tension or be divisive. Some would say I should have stuck to my guns, but in the end, and now that I look back 5 years later, I could care less that she was there. My wedding day was wonderful, no stress from family tension and was very memorable. My entire family felt loved and that I wanted them to be there, and that’s what matters. When you look back on your wedding day you are not going to remember the little things like having a non close cousin as a bridesmaid. Look at the big picture, which is that you want to have a memorable day marrying the one you love. It has nothing to do with being happy with everyone else. Some people have 15 bridesmaids and it is not uncommon to have a large number. Would you rather offend your aunt and possibly others on your wedding day, or let them be a part of it and not have to be stressed over family tension, which would actually take focus away from you as the bride? You want everyone to focus on you and your hubby, not the hurt your aunt and cousin are feeling if they feel slighted by not being in the wedding. That’s my two cents, anyway:)!Good Luck!”
Bride-to-be, Anna, suggested looking at the pros and cons of each scenario:

“I’m also planning my wedding and fretting over who to have in my wedding party. It’s a tough decision, because you don’t want feelings hurt. The way I see it is to weigh out the pros and cons of adding so-and-so to the party.

Worst case scenario if you add them: the walk down the aisle may be uneven (but what guy would mind walking 2 ladies down? It’s actually getting pretty common)

Worst scenario if you don’t: feelings may be hurt, some people are very sensitive, and you may or may not have to deal with your aunt’s reaction to your refusal, which depends on her personality. If you know she would freak more than you think the trouble is worth, then tack on one more bridesmaid. If you think she would be understanding and you know feelings won’t be too hurt, stick to your choices if you really want to. It is your day afterall, but you also want it to be peaceful and fun for all your loved ones and family, because that’s what fond memories are made of 🙂 I always say, there’s no room for drama on your wedding day!”

Ultimately, this is the bride’s decision. However, I think it is a fantastic suggestion that if the cousin is not included in the wedding party to assign her another important duty: managing the guestbook, reciting a poem, handling the gifts, etc. Happiness is key, so the best solution would be the one that pleases everyone!
Whichever road she chooses to take, I wish her and her hubby-to-be a lifetime of happiness together. Thank you all for your helpful tips and suggestions!