Feeling left out of the family...how to cope?

My brother is getting married this summer and included my brother in his wedding but I was not asked to be a bridesmaid. My feelings were hurt so bad I felt like I was grieving for a lost brother. I cried for two days. I have two questions…should I feel this hurt or is something wrong with me? What is the right thing to do about my brother? Should I tell him I was hurt or should I not say anything? How should a good Catholic respond to this?

This happened to me too. Unfortunately, it created a distance between myself, my brother and my sister-in-law (to this day).

I kept it in until my future SIL’s bridesmaids began planning her bridal shower. I got really hurt and said something to my future SIL that I wanted to be more involved. My SIL and my brother got angry with me and they shunned me until after the wedding.

On their wedding day, they did not include me in the family wedding pictures. They included me in one after my aunts protested, but they never printed it or included it in their wedding album.

This really really hurt me for a long time and it took me a good long while to get over it. Honestly, I am now more distant from them than I used to be. I no longer make the effort with them anymore b/c they treated me so badly.

This was my experience and if I can tell you anything, it would be to just let them plan their wedding and just express your desire to help in any way you can. If you tell them how you feel, they could very well push you away.

Planning a wedding is a very emotional experience and people’s bad sides are often exposed and drama is the end result. Don’t add to any drama; rise above it and let them do what they want bc it’s their wedding and they will do it how they want to anyway.

I went through what you are going through and it was very hurtful for me. I have never really forgotten the hurt. I just keep them at an arm’s distance now, so they can’t hurt me again…

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I don’t think that there is anything wrong with you because you “feel hurt”. None of us are perfect and when disappointements come our way we have to deal with the emotions that accompany them. However, even though you are hurt you should not do or say anything that would cause harm or ill feelings.
There could be many reasons why they have not included you as a bridesmaid.

What you should do is examine yourself as to why you feel hurt and so upset that you cried for days. Is it prideful that you wish to be in this wedding? Is it prideful that you feel so hurt by this? It may be that God is providing an opportunity for you to learn humility and service through this.
After carefully examining this (and possibly talking to your confessor) go to your brother and offer to do whatever he and his lady ask you to do. You may find that you will be even more vital, of more use and happier by participating in ways that are more “behind the scenes” than by being “on stage”.


It’s only human to feel hurt. But this is not your wedding. A bride often asks her family and her closest friends to be her bridesmaids. At some point they have to limit how many attendants they want.

After I had planned my wedding I learned that my new sister in law who I barely knew was hurt that she wasn’t asked to be in my wedding. As a concession to my brother I added her, which meant I had to scramble for another groomsman. I felt very imposed upon by this woman who forced me to change my wedding to keep her happy.

For the sake of family peace, be happy for your brother, be kind to your new sister in law and let them have the wedding they want and don’t try to take it so personal. It’s probably not personal at all.

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Good advice.

Great advice. I wish I had taken this advice earlier when I went through it.

I totally understand why OP is hurt…I felt really hurt too.

Too much emphasis on “It’s the bride’s day”. This is the day when both families come together. This is the time when the bride gets to be generous by including people who have been important not only in her life but in her husband’s life.

My friend’s daughter is getting married. One of her bridesmaid’s will be her fiance’s sister who has Down syndrome. What a wonderful thing to do for this girl who will never get married but who has been given the opportunity to wear a beautiful dress and walk down the aisle as part of her brother’s day. No wonder she adores my friend’s daughter. Ditto for the groom’s parents.

My husband has two sisters: one was a bridesmaid in our wedding and his niece was the flowergirl. Later, I had his older sister, mother of the flowergirl, has godmother to our first born. Odd thing was my Mom said to me I should not have a flowergirl as she will take the attention away from me. I wasn’t interested in “attention”, I was interested in bonding with my in-laws.

While your brothers action was cruel it is more important for your soul that you do not harbor any resentment. That leads to evil. Your personal pride was hurt and you have to replace pride with humilty
Follow Our Lords advice. Repay his act with kindness. This is not being weak. It is the greates power on earth. Be happy about your misfortune because if you are the victim of injustice and if you instead react with love you will be rewarded by God ( don’t expect anything from your brother)

Yes, this is what I should have done. Instead I finally told them I was upset 3 months before the wedding and then they excluded me from everything. They became angry with me. My now husband told me that they were being very selfish, but what could I do about it? Nothing.

I should have just seen it as a lesson in humility.

My advice to you, is don’t tell them how you feel and don’t tell anyone else how you feel b/c then they will hear about it second hand.

Just offer to help and remain humble.

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It is not your Brother’s place to ask you to be a bridesmaid to his future wife. This is her call and had nothing to do with your brother excluding you. Are you close to his fiance? When you get married, and your fiance has say 3 sisters, would you ask each of them to be bridesmaids and then be forced to leave your closest and dearest friends out of the ceremony?

Maybe you can ask to do one of the 2 readings, or to bring up the gifts.

But on the other hand, is it really right to require the bride to have all of her groom’s sisters and other female family members she may not have even met just to avoid having them hold a grudge against her that will permanently damage their relationship? The people who are demanding to be including have not been important in the bride’s life, and having them as bridesmaids means she will not be able to have the people who actually have been there for her through thick and thin as she journeys into marriage. Leaving them out would be more of a betrayal than not including someone she may not even know. Plus, why would a bride want her bridesmaids will be a bunch of strangers who are petty enough to let something ultimately so trivial be a reason to distance themselves from the bride to the point where they have just about cut her out of their lives? :shrug: I’m not saying that’s what the OP is doing, but that seems to be a common reaction to this sort of situation. They treat it like it’s the ultimate, unforgivable betrayal.

It’s just a fact that if a bride can only have a few bridesmaids, perhaps as few as 2 or 3, then not everyone can be a bridesmaid. Sometimes that means the bride can’t reciprocate if she had been included in the wedding party for a friend or family member. I think the bride should be allowed to have the people who mean the most to her stand by her on the most important day of her life rather than have her inlaws dictate who can and cannot be there with her under the threat of holding it against her for the rest of her life like it’s some kind of highschool drama. I know it can hurt, but there’s no reason to hold on to the pain forever and let it hang like a dark cloud over the relationship.

For the record, I had 3 bridemaids and finances would not allow me to have more than that. My matron of honor was my SIL whom I had only met three times before, and the other two were my cousins. I could have picked friends but family is important to me and I wanted my wedding to reflect that. However, if I I had wanted my best friends to be bridesmaids, I would have been very upset if my SIL had demanded that I cut one of my friends out of the wedding so she can be in it. I don’t see how that could be considered any less petty, rude, and intrusive than a bride not having the SIL as a bridesmaid just because she is the SIL. What an awful way to start off a new family relationship. It’s wonderful when all family members can be bridemaids and groomsmen, but not everyone can afford to have a wedding party with 24 people in it like my SIL did. Her parents had to take a loan out against their house to pay for it.

I understand that a wedding is a time for two families to come together, but we have to remember that this is not the MIL’s wedding, it’s not the SIL’s wedding, it’s not the BIL’s wedding - it’s the bride and groom’s wedding. It’s an important day, but it’s just one day. It shouldn’t be allowed to damage the family for years to come.

How do we know the brother’s action was cruel…The OP has not given us enough information to make such an assessment…


Bridesmaids are asked by the bride, not by the groom. Generally, a bride asks her sisters and friends to be her bridesmaids. It would be VERY uncommon for a bride to ask her grooms sister.

It sounds like you need to grow up a bit. This is absolutely nothing that you should be at all upset about.

Being a Catholic has absolutely nothing to do with how one responds to this.

Here’s another thought… put the shoe on the other foot.

How would you feel if you and your fiance planned a wedding and later you found out your new SIL, who you barely know, is mad at you because you didn’t include her in your wedding?

Be gracious, kind, and loving and you will reap rewards for a lifetime. And not have to wear the ugly dress!:thumbsup:

You are not a young woman, I gather. I went through this too and was feeling hurt. You can’t control your feelings; only your actions. That’s what being mature is all about.

Another question is …How close are you to your brother?

My family is very close, however when my brother was married, none of us were in the wedding…and he has 5 sisters. None of us were offended or hurt at being left out. Now…if we hadn’t been invited at all that would be a different story.

Really, when you get right down to it, you are wasting too much time and energy pouting over something that you can not change.

It is the bride’s prerogative to choose her maid of honor and bridesmaids. While it would have been nice if you were included, perhaps the bride has sisters and close friends that would be hurt if not included in the party. I’ve seen some wedding parties so large that it was silly, just because the bride had to accommodate all her friends. Your brother, being a guy, would probably never even have thought of it, so perhaps you can forgive him.

Undoubtedly, you’ll be included in the festivities leading up to the wedding, and of course you’ll attend. Why don’t you buy the most beautiful dress and knockout shoes, smile, and have the time of your life celebrating your brother’s wedding.

One day you’ll be having your own wedding, and may or may not ask you sister-in-law to be in the wedding party. If not, it won’t be because you’re mean, but because you have all those girlfriends who expect to be in your wedding party. God bless

I think that opposite-gender sibiling situations in weddings can be difficult. I have three brothers, all very close in age. In the past 2 years, two of them have gotten married

My older brother got married 1000 miles away the week I moved and I was unable to attend. However, I’d of likely been invited to participate in the wedding as his wife and I get along and have known eachother for years. I miss the both of them like crazy.

My younger brother, on the other hand, had a whirlwind romance. His wife is a wonderful woman but at that point I hardly knew her…or her friends. While, at first, I felt left out, afterward I was glad. I didn’t know her sister or her friends. They’d grown up together and shared everything. A wedding ceremony was not the time to get to know them all and whimsically wear matching dresses. Plus, they were those stunning blonde creatures…and I would of stuck out like a sore thumb.

My brother would of tolerated a demand, but I think it would of forever changed how my SIL views me. Today, we get along well, and I have done more important initations into the family, like how to cook secret-recipe desserts and how to test food for hot pepper tampering at family parties.

As far as if I ever get married I see it as a commitment before God, not your bff. I do have one close friend that’d I’d want to “stand up” and if the man I married wanted to have more than a best man, I’d include a sister/friend of his in “my” party so it’d be balanced. (most of my friends are older and or shy and WELL past wanting to be included in a wedding) I’d never DREAM of my brothers demanding to be included. Mostly becuase they’re guys, but also becuase we have our own lives, friends, and are secure in our place in the family. I don’t need to have to be included in a wedding…I already BELONG to the family.

Thank you all for the advice. I don’t feel like I was entitled to be included. She is having 7 bridemaids and both of my brothers were in my wedding. I don’t know…if it was me I wouldn’t ever think to exclude my family in something as big of an event as a wedding. So it strikes me as a sign that family is not important to this new union. I offered a party to celebrate the engagement and have tried to be supportive.

I don’t want it to distance ourselves. Family is so important to me. What I want to do is find a way to resolve it in my heart. I’m not angry, I’m just sad. Extrememly sad. I have grown increasingly resentful, which I am trying hard not to do.

Very few men dream about their “perfect” wedding. Women do. It’s pretty common. And chances are the brides parents are paying for the wedding. (maybe not, but in a traditional situation that’s the case.) And the budget dictates much. It’s just quite possible that you have not been in her “dream” all this time.

Now, I realize there are plenty of bridezilla’s out there. And they can’t see their whole family. That’s sad. And if that’s the case, you should be THRILLED not to be involved. There is little worse.

I’m not sure why it’s up to the bride to do all the welcoming and inclusion. Now, I will say that I’ve made many efforts to do this. But my in-laws have issues. There is little I can do to appease them. And needless to say, I watched my SIL exclude, EVEN her Step Daughter… so it may be that your future SIL has issues… and it’s NOT YOU!

Personally, however, I would probably ask your brother if there is something he thinks you could do that would be special for the wedding. Perhaps to suprise his bride. Something that welcomes her as a sister. Sounds like this is your only “sister”… perhaps one of those heart charms that says sisters, and breaks in half… each of you getting one. You can prepare a toast that welcomes her to the family and such. You could invite her to a girls day/evening out with you and your mom, and other women from the family. REALLY welcome her. Make her comfy, she may not be yet.

There’s no reason you can’t help create a wonderful friendship. It’s not just up to her. Relationships are a two way street.