Bridesmaids in Blue: Unconventional participation

by epi on January 16, 2013

Q: My cousin is getting married in a few months. She and I were very close when we were young – since we were the only 2 female cousins of around the same age – but after I went away for college, we drifted apart as our interests changed. Nevertheless, I was a little taken aback when she didn’t ask me to participate in her wedding. I understand that who she chooses as bridesmaids is her choice, but I figured she would at least include me in a minor role, such as ask me to be an usher, read at the wedding mass, etc. My mother became upset when she found out that my cousin asked a co-worker she had known for 4 months to be a bridesmaid, yet did not include me, her closest cousin. I reasoned with my mother that the selection was ultimately my cousin’s choice. My mother’s complaint must have reached the ears of my cousin because a month ago, my cousin wrote to tell me that she wanted me to be a part of the wedding, but since my role was ‘non-traditional,’ she would get back to me about what it was. In addition, she wanted me to wear a blue dress, since the bridesmaids will be wearing blue, and that would set me apart from all the other guests. I don’t think it is proper for me to wear a blue dress. I am not a bridesmaid, and wearing a dress that is a similar color to the bridesmaids’ will appear as if I wish I were a bridesmaid. I feel the need to go along with whatever my cousin requests since it is her wedding. I mentioned that I had already purchased a dress for the wedding, and it, unfortunately, is not blue. My cousin, however, insisted that I buy a blue dress. I was shocked. To this date, my cousin has not mentioned what my role would be and the wedding is in less than 2 months. I feel she only mentioned this supposed role out of pity or because she felt forced to since she had not included me in her wedding plans. I planned to fly home 2,000 miles for the weekend to attend the wedding, but, honestly, I no longer wish to spend so much money and take time away from my hectic schedule to attend a wedding where I sense my presence would only be due to obligation. I don’t know what to do because I love my cousin very much, and I know this is a very important and special day for her, but she no longer is the same person I remember from my childhood and adolescence. I don’t want to appear slighted, nor do I want to slight her. Am I wrong to not attend? How should I handle this situation?

A: It’s ultimately your choice whether or not to attend your cousin’s wedding. However, given your past close relationship, it might be diplomatic to attend but it’s still your choice. Since your cousin said she wanted you to be in the wedding, it would be fine for you to ask her what your role might be. You might also add, if you want, that you understand if she ultimately decides not to have you participate in the wedding itself. You might also say that you understand it’s her special day and that you want to cooperate in any way.

It is unconventional for those who fill “honor” roles to wear the same color as the bridesmaids. It is more traditional for those people to be identified by wearing matching corsages in the wedding colors. However, as you said, it’s her wedding.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tam h January 16, 2013 at 1:54 am

When I got married, I decided not to do official bridesmaids since I didn’t want to have to choose who to ask or not. I told my friends if they wanted to wear a dress that was my wedding color,money could. As you guessed, this was mostly for their sake so they wouldn’t be offended that I wasn’t having them be bridesmaids. Be open with her, you don’t want to wear the color and appear like a bridesmaid, you don’t mind that you aren’t and definitely still go tomthe wedding. Enjoy it for what it is :)

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Alicia January 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

Why not just call your cousin. Explain to her that you think your mom throwing a fit is wrong and that you feel like she is likely including you out of aunt guilt. That you are happy to be just a guest and have already bought a pretty dress. That you would do anything possible for her but that you do not want both of you uncomfortable because mom is being less then gracious.

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