While it's common for a bride-to-be to invite her future sister-in-law to join her bridal party, there are circumstances — from an already bulging-at-the-seams attendants' list to happy family news, such as the sister-in-law's pregnancy — that can make it impractical for a bride to ask her to be a bridesmaid. But luckily, says Julie Bunkley, owner of Invision Events in Birmingham and Atlanta, "finding a way to honor a sister-in-law in a way that will be meaningful doesn't always mean making her a bridesmaid."
So if you'd like to include your future sister-in-law in your wedding in a non-wedding party role, here are six expert ideas to get you started.
1. "Ask her to give a special reading at the ceremony or a special toast at dinner," suggests Michelle Leo, owner of Salt Lake City-based Michelle Leo Events.
2. Include her in getting ready activities. Think: A big-day brunch or breakfast, makeup and hair appointments, or giggling and gossiping with pre-ceremony champagne, says Bunkley.
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3. "Ask her to wear a color dress that complements the bridesmaids' dresses, but isn't an exact shade," suggests Leo.
4. Ordering floral corsages for your female family members? Make sure to include your sister in the order, says Leo.
5. If your future sister-in-law has children, consider involving them in your wedding, Bunkley suggests.
6. Purchase a gift that's just for her. "It should be a special gift that is personal and thoughtful beyond what the rest of the wedding party has been given," says Bunkley.
However you decide you'd like your sister-in-law to participate, it's best to ask her opinion on the role. "Always leave the final decision of her involvement up to her," says Bunkley. "Being forced to play a certain role isn't fun."