Sister Squabble: When one wedding comes before the other

by epi on August 15, 2012

Q: My 26 year old daughter got engaged 4 months ago. They set their wedding date for 10 months from now. They are planning a very large wedding, thus a year was needed. My second daughter, who is 24, has been dating her boyfriend for almost 3 years and they both finish school this year. They became engaged yesterday and want to get married in 4 months, which is earlier than my oldest daughter’s wedding date. This is a good time for them and they don’t want to live together, etc prior to marriage, so it important for them to get married soon. Daughter #1 is furious, saying that her sister is ruining her wedding and she is extremely upset that her sister is getting married before her. In your opinion, what do families do when this happens? Is it rude for the younger sister to ‘cut in’ and get married during this period knowing her sister had her date picked out already?

A: There is no “rule” that states that the sibling who announces his or her engagement first should be married first.  It’s fine for your younger daughter to get married first.  Her getting married seven months before her sister shouldn’t ruin your older daughter’s wedding.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex August 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

I disagree. I think it’s beyond rude. Sounds like the younger couple is just rushing just so they can live together, and it really infringes on the happy time of planning for the older daughter. It’ll be double the amount of work for all friends and relatives for a year now. Seriously so rude, and unbelievable that she would do that to her own sister.

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Ashleigh August 15, 2012 at 11:46 am

I agree with the EPI on this one. Sister 1 and Sister 2′s wedding are entirely separate events. They really do not get any control over the other’s event. What if Sister 2 decided to appease Sister 1 and move her wedding until 4 months after Sister 1′s wedding and Sister 1 decided to postpone? Would Sister 2 then be stuck indefinitely delaying her wedding until Sister 1 deems it alright? Sister 1 needs to stop being a bridezilla and focus on her own “special day.”

Plus, if Sister 2 has her wedding first, Sister 1 can learn what worked/didn’t work for her wedding and can improve for her own.

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Brian August 15, 2012 at 11:58 am

Without knowing their families dynamic, I agree with EPI. It sounds like the elder daughter has some unmentioned resentment towards her younger sister for having to share the spotlight for things.

It was implied by the question that the younger sister wasn’t planning a large wedding. So the odds are it won’t double the amount of work for all friends and relatives. Also there appears to be roughly 6 months between the weddings, which is a significant buffer period for any people who are going to be hit financially with two weddings.

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Lilli August 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I also agree with EPI. So what if the younger sister’s motivation is to have a short engagement so they can finally live together? I think that’s a perfectly valid reason and pretty commendable in today’s society where they probably received a lot of pressure to live together before making it official. Anyone truly focused on the marriage instead of the pagentry of a wedding will not care whether her little sister decides to get married first – can’t she just be happy for her sister that she’s in love and starting a new life with her soon to be husband?

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Vanna Keiler August 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I also agree with the EPI response. Sounds like a plain ol’ case of sibling rivalry to me. Granted, in some moderate cultures getting the eldest married takes precedence to avoid “old maid syndrome” – to help focus on getting the older ones out the door so they’re perceived wedding age doesn’t expire. Nowadays however, no one in western societies seem to care when and/or how many times you marry, so long as you’re happy. So I think the old taboos are going out the window. I think elder sister needs to tone it down, feel happy for her younger sister (and participate in and attend her wedding), and continue to plan the wedding of all weddings for herself, as she intended. :)

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Chocobo August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I agree with EPI. One’s wedding does not stop the world. It always boggles my mind when people get upset because others have the audacity to become pregnant, married, engaged, or die in the many months before a major event. As though we should all put our lives on hold. Don’t they know that this wedding is the most important? Shouldn’t we all be foaming at the mouth in anticipation of the wedding of the century?

It seems to be a symptom of the “me, me, me” attitude and the overblown importance of wedding pagentry. I hope the older daughter comes to her senses in time to be happy for her sister instead of being so focused on herself.

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Miriam Puliti August 16, 2012 at 10:45 am

Greetings. I find this to be a complicated situation in which I am able to sympathize for both sisters. It is difficult to formulate a just opinion without a better understanding of the circumstance. Although the marriage is truly what is most important, the wedding day is a momentous event in a person’s life. The unity of two beings in love deserves a special celebration, and we each have our own unique vision of how that day should celebrated. Suppose the older sister wanted a lavish event, using the finest linens and most exquisite array of flowers. If the presentation of the younger sister’s engagement has affected her initially established wedding fund set by her parents in any way, then it is only natural that the older would feel injured. However, if there is an important reason for the younger woman to marry so hastily, then the older should do her best to be supportive and accepting of the situation, without taking away any happiness from her own wedding plan. Perhaps it could even be enjoyable for the sisters to go wedding shopping together. Though there is no set ‘rule’ on the chronological procession of sibling weddings, to have good manners is to consider the feelings of others, and if either one could have prevented a conflict, it would have been most gracious of them.

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Riss December 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm

As a woman whose sister did similarly, it’s not a great situation. My husband and I were together for 6 years when we got engaged (we wanted to finish school- including graduate work) before marriage, and we got walloped by the economic downturn. We were engaged in March 2011, and within 2 weeks set the date for late April 2012. My younger sister (by 5 years) and her now-husband were dating barely 2 years (he is 16 years her senior) and became engaged in July 2011. They had a June 2012 wedding. The weddings were similarly sized, but completely different. Our mother wanted a joint shower (for her crafty, musical daughter and rifle toting tomboy) which I declined, as I didn’t want my husbands family and friends to feel obligated to gift a couple they didn’t know. While both weddings were beautiful, and wonderful, it was a highly stressful year of planning for our families, and our parents who paid a huge portion of the bills. Due to the timing, I had two weeks of “newlywed bliss” which was our return and honeymoon, during which time I had to wrangle the rest of her bridesmaids to finish getting her shower together. I had to miss out on her bachelorette and many pre-wedding events because I had no time off left at work, and very little spending cash left after enjoying my own day (which I saved for for many years). While there may be no “manners” about this- siblings should try to stagger these dates with other celebration events and considerations for at least your immediate family (parents, siblings). We were lucky, we had a great support group and family to assist with our days, but it was a very stressful time and much arguing did take place.

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