Weddings

Dear Bitchless Bride: My Soon-To-Be Sister-In-Law Is Killing Me

How to resolve your differences without ruining your relationship.


Welcome to Dear Bitchless Bride, a series in which wedding planner Deborah DeFrancesco—the founder of Bitchless Bride the Podcast + Blog—offers uncensored advice on your most complicated wedding-planning woes. Have a question for Deborah? Email weddings@bostonmagazine.com.

sister-in-law problems

Photo via Getty Images/Wavebreakmedia

Dear Bitchless Bride,

I need to vent. My soon-to-be sister-in-law is killing me. All she does is complain about my wedding, and I am ready to lose it. I understand that standing up in a wedding is probably not what she wants to be doing. But frankly, she needs to pull it together for the sake of her brother, my fiancé. What’s nuts about this whole thing is that she’s 10 years older than us, but she’s behaving like a teenager. She got married about eight years ago, has two kids, and is just not in the same mindset as us. I understand that, but fighting every decision (including the bridesmaid dress) is more than I can take. Plus, she’s making it so difficult for me to enjoy the engagement because my other bridesmaids are constantly complaining about her. How do I fix this without destroying my relationship with her?

Sincerely,
Sister-in-Law Problems


Dear Sister-in-Law Problems,

Wow! That sounds brutal. I am going to ask a very simple question: Do you need her in your wedding? If I had to guess, I’d say that the only reason you asked her to be in the bridal party in the first place is because she’s family, and that’s what you’re supposed to do. But what do YOU want? Based on her behavior, it’s quite clear she doesn’t want any part in your bridal party, and by acting out, it’s almost as if she’s begging to be kicked out. So do it. Get rid her and her negativity. It’s all about how you do it that will save your future relationship with her and your in-laws.

My suggestion? Take her out for a few cocktails (without your sig other), and be straight with her. Call her out on her lackluster behavior, but do so without placing blame. How you present your case is important: This needs to boil down to how it’s taking a toll on you and your bridal party. Tell her that if she doesn’t want to be in the wedding but still wants to celebrate with you and your fiancé, you’re okay with her decision. However, if she wants to stay in the bridal party, then you need her to chill out and go with the flow. That doesn’t necessarily mean she needs to get out her pom poms; simply being more supportive and less argumentative would be a great place for her to begin.

Brideys, Sister-in-Law Problems is not alone. While it might not be your SIL wreaking havoc on your bridal party or wedding in general, you might have another bridesmaid or a MIL or a mother with a screw loose. The advice is the same: Confront the issue in a non-confrontational way. Nobody can tell you how you feel is wrong. So, make it about your feelings—not their attitude. Good luck!

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