If you and your sister have spent the past 20-some years painting each other’s nails while gossiping, then she’s obviously going to be your Maid of Honor when you get married. But it’s not as simple for sisters who don’t have a close relationship with one another, or for a bride who has more than one sister. You may feel that your best friend you’ve known since middle school would be a better match for the position, but unfortunately, choosing whomever you want may cause drama.
If choosing a maid of honor were like selecting the candidate with the most impressive resume, then it would be a less painful process. But, unlike in the professional world, you’ll have to interact with rejected candidates, possibly for the rest of your life, at family gatherings or social events.
Luckily for you, there’s good news! There are ways to ensure that everyone is happy about whom you choose for the coveted position. So before I enter Dr. Phil mode, here’s a taste of how a maid of honor scenario can go terribly wrong.
One of my friends from college got engaged about six months ago and set the wedding date immediately. She decided, against her mother’s wishes, to choose her childhood best friend as her Maid of Honor instead of her sister. Her sister was blindsided and felt hurt by the news. The result was that my friend’s sister refused to be a bridesmaid, and I was asked to fill her spot.
As much as I didn’t want to be in that uncomfortable position, I accepted, hoping my friend and her sister would resolve the issue so I could once again be a guest at the wedding. My friend eventually apologized to her sister and explained why she chose her best friend. The reasons were not malicious. It was just that my friend’s best friend was incredibly responsible and willing to help organize the wedding, a task my friend’s sister would loathe. After a screaming match between the two, they worked it, out and I was back to sitting in a lovely wooden chair in the audience.
To avoid a situation like my friend’s, should you make your sister your MoH? There is no universally correct answer, so here are five important questions to ask yourself, as well as my thoughts on the matter:
1. Will your family be angry with you if you don’t choose your sister as your Maid of Honor?
Most parents want or expect their daughter to choose her sister as Maid of Honor because that’s a tradition they believe in. If you aren’t willing to make your sister your MoH, having a conversation with your parents before making a decision is always helpful. If you give your reasons for why you want someone else to fill the role, they may understand. For example, if you were the MoH in your best friend’s wedding and want to return the favor, explain that to them. Or if you think that your best friend has more time available to help with wedding preparations, then it’s important to tell your parents that. As cliché as the saying is, “communication is key,” and it’s vital in order to have a happy wedding party.
2. Do you have a close relationship with your sister?
If you do not have a close relationship with your sister, then you may not want to give her that role. Chances are that she feels the same way and may not be thinking of having you as her maid of honor either. In order to eliminate any awkward Maid of Honor drama between you and your sister, just sit down with your sister and talk to her about the issue. You both may agree that you don’t want to use each other as Maids of Honor and are perfectly happy being bridesmaids. On the contrary, you may both decide that what’s best is that you are each other’s MoHs. This helps eliminate any uncertainty when one sister gets engaged. It’s smooth sailing from there on out if you are able to have a civil conversation about it.
3. How do I know which sister to choose?
Let’s say that you are blessed enough to have two fantastic sisters that you love to death. This is an issue because choosing one over the other for Maid of Honor makes it look like you’re picking favorites, and this can cause tension. If one sister is already married, a solution could be to make that sister a Matron of Honor and the other sister a Maid of Honor. If this isn’t the case, you can simply make both sisters your Maids of Honor. It’s 2015, so there’s no need to stick to the traditional idea of having one MoH. Yet, if you are married (pun intended) to the idea of only one Maid of Honor, you can either go with the sister you are closest to or not make either of your sisters a MoH. Overall, it’s important to keep your sister, or sisters, in the loop during your decision-making process. At the end of the day, your sisters will be happy that you found someone great after years of “Will I ever find love?” pillow talk.
4. How will your sister react if you don’t choose her?
If you think your sister will rip the ring from your finger and chuck it at your head after she hears she’s not the Maid of Honor, then you should talk to her before a final decision is made. It may be the case that your sister doesn’t care if she’s your MoH. She may be happy being a bridesmaid because she may not be able or willing to help you with wedding preparations. It’s important to talk to her before making any decisions to ensure that she won’t blow up at you at a later time.
5. Are you obligated to make a cousin Maid of Honor if you don’t have a sister?
The answer is simple; you are not obligated to make your cousin or another close family member your MoH. You can absolutely do that if you want to, but most people wouldn’t expect you to unless you have a close relationship.
Choosing a Maid of Honor can be complicated for many reasons. But, in the end, everyone will be glad that you’re marrying someone who makes you happy. In my opinion, if you’re not the MoH, it’s still not a bad deal. After a few months of a wedding planning internship at Weddings in Vieques, a night of free food, drinks, and dancing with no responsibility doesn’t sound too bad at all!
Julia Steinly, Intern at Weddings in Vieques