SOCIAL MEDIA

25 September 2016

When Your Sister's Getting Married

My sister got engaged in August. It's a pretty big deal for the family.


One of the cool things about starting off with an abnormally large number of siblings is that you're bound to end up with an abnormally large number of siblings-in-law and odds are you'll like at least a large percentage of them, which expands the number of people 'on your team', so to speak. Yes, from a purely selfish perspective, it's good for you when your siblings get married to awesome people. It's also good for them.

But what exactly are you supposed to do when your little sister announces her engagement and plans to wed in the next year? I've never been in this situation before. I'm the only married one among my siblings. How did they all feel when I announced Angel's entry into our family? What did they do about it? I can't really remember how I felt, let alone how they did, that year was kind of a blur for me.

So, how should you respond to this joyous news?

1. Successfully resist the urge to tell anyone you're not supposed to tell until the engagement news is made public. I'm giving myself a pat on the back for this one. I hate keeping secrets, it's just the worst, but people deserve the chance to share their own good news in their own good time, so don't spill when you've been ordered not to.

2. Don't compare: fiances, rings, engagement timelines, wedding budgets, wedding dresses, wedding day gorgeousness. Realistically, she's definitely going to "win" on some points and you're going to "win" on others and everybody will be left feeling awkward and not completely happy if you and others are busy comparing. Complete happiness, people!! Truthfully, you wouldn't want to be married to anyone else, so it doesn't matter if your sis's ring is bigger or her dress is prettier or her guy is taller. None of those '-ers' add up to make the guy you're head over heels for, anyway.

3. Remember that uniqueness is what makes everything awesome. Err on the side of support rather than critique. Odds are, the bride is going to get enough critique from family members belonging to previous generations when it comes to her wedding planning. Times have changed, and they don't always approve of the changes. As long as she's not truly planning something unsafe, unkind, or illegal, you, being a sibling and belonging to the same generation, should probably support it.

4. Don't speak overly negatively about marriage. In the season of being engaged, it's very advisable for your sister to seek premarital counseling, to read some marriage prep books, and to talk to people she trusts about concerns that she might have, and to think through whether she's ready for the commitment. What she doesn't need is another, more experienced, wife constantly winking and joking about what a drag husbands are, and how all the fun in life is before marriage. If you actually believe that, go get some marriage counseling, but if you don't, and you're just joking around and trying to freak her out, stop. Not helpful.

5. Celebrate her! If you're there--host a bridal shower. Make shopping for wedding decor fun and go out for lunch in between wedding errands. I'm not around for my sister, but I'm already developing schemes for a virtual bridal shower because it would be a shame to let my epic party-planning skills go to waste just because I don't live in the same country. Write her cute letters, make her a wedding day countdown, send her a surprise wedding gift. Remember her favorites--colors, movies, songs, hobbies--and find ways to tie them into your celebration of this exciting change in her life.

6. Offer your help--if you can and if you want to. Don't offer to help send out invitations or DIY flower arrangements if you're busy and are going to resent spending time on a project for her event. Don't offer to do something and then not to it, or do a slapdash job of it. Do offer if you are skilled in some area, have the time, and want to make life a little easier on her. I love DIYs and basically everything to do with getting ready for an event, but I'll be content with helping digitally from a distance since I'm not there.

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How have you found practical ways to show your love and support when your sibling announces that they're getting married? After June, we'll only have 5 more rounds of this to go in my family...

22 comments :

  1. I'm fine with it as long as I don't have to be in the wedding. You've offered sound advice here for normal people who want to be involved. ;-)

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  2. This is great advice. My family spread out and siblings were married long after we had all moved away from home and I often wish I had been able to take a more active role in all of our weddings. I wasn't even able to attend two of them because one was planned in three weeks and the other I was dealing with a serious family crisis on my then husband's side of the family. Great advice.

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  3. Such great advice!! Congrats to her!!

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  4. These a great tips! It's so cool that you have such a large family! I would definitely have a hard time navigating the politics of it haha but you're perspective is great!


    Rachel | www.theconfusedmillennial.com

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  5. Great tips! My brother just engaged to a girl I already feel like it my sister so I'll have to keep these in mind!

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  6. Love this--my sister got married back in April, and it was such a happy, surreal experience. It's just the two of us, so having my baby sister married off was an incredibly emotional time for both my parents and me. She's got a great guy that I'm glad to add to the family, and we had a blast picking out a wedding dress and everything!

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  7. I don't have a sister close to my age but my cousin got engaged a few months ago and I'm so excited to help her plan the wedding!

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  8. These all seem like good tips. I don't have any sisters so I guess I never experienced the threat of "competition."

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  9. I love your point about not comparing and how you said that "She will win some and you will win some" but you'll be less happy if you play the comparison game! So true!

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  10. Love "Celebrate Her." We LOVE weddings around here, but I think its important to not lose focus on the bride/groom and to help them as they prepare for their big day! Excited for your fam!

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  11. This is such a neat post, and I love all of your ideas! I especially think #3 is so important. None of my siblings are married, but about a year ago, my sister-in-law got married, and we got to come out a week or so beforehand to help with last-minute wedding preparations. It was a ton of fun, and I think it helped that I kept trying to remind myself that uniqueness is awesome, and that just because the way families do things are different (my husband's family does some things very differently from my family) doesn't mean that either of them is "wrong"-they're just exciting variations of living :)

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  12. These are great tips, and I'd say they're also very relevant to girlfriends. I'm the youngest of 4 girls so I'm on the other end of the scale to you; my sisters weren't able to be too involved but I appreciated everything they did. One thing that particularly touched me was my sister ironing my honeymoon clothes for me before I packed them. That meant a lot.

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  13. These are some good tips you listed. My siblings weren't a apart of my wedding because it was really small

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  14. I never thought of this before! I'm the first one in my family to get married, too, and I know it's going to be weird seeing my younger sisters planning a wedding. I definitely agree with offering help and celebrating her! Great tips, Rachel!

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  15. This is great advice! I especially love the don't speak bad of marriage one. I can't tell you how many people told me that getting married was the worst thing I could do. But I do know at least 3 of those people have come back to tell me that it was the right choice after all! My little sister got engaged a few months ago and I am beyond happy for her.

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  16. I love ALL of these, especially number 3! I didn't realize how much I would need that when I got married, but I really did and I'm very happy and grateful that my sister-in-law was so on my side 100%!

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  17. Every time one of my sister's gets engaged it is a huge party! haha. I love it. I think just being the sister and friend you have always been is what you need to be! Excited, helpful, full of godly real advice, encouraging, and loving!

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  18. Wow these are good; they include so much encouragement to be encouraging and loving and honest. I need to bookmark this to keep in mind for when my siblings get married, Lord willing! I want to be SO excited for them, because it's honestly one of the best things that could happen in their entire life. It's such a beautiful picture of Christ and the church.

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  19. Perfect! My little sister got married this June. The biggest difference was our budget...her's HAD to be bigger than mine because she got married 4 years after I did and wedding-saturated Utah inflates prices ridiculously! But, she and I have different tastes and personalities, so it was really easy to NOT compare. I do have to say, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED her wedding dress--I would NEVER wear it myself, it's not my style, but she looked absolutely STUNNING!!! But, when NOT talking negatively about marriage, it is important to be honest. Since I'm the oldest and the only one married (before her), she asked me a lot of questions about being newlywed because she knew I'd be open and honest with her. It was so fun to see her grow up and get married!

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  20. This is all such GOOD advice for not only when siblings are getting married, but also for when anyone you know is getting married. I remember so many times when I would tell someone I was engaged and their first response was to tell me how hard married life is. Maybe they wish someone else had given them a heads up that it's not a Disney fairytale so I do feel like there is a time and place to make sure the couple has done premarital counseling or something like that, but the time for that is definitely not in the first 2 minutes of their announcement. And all the comparison stuff too! So true! I remember when we got engaged and someone was pointing out how my engagement ring was platinum and hers was white gold and it bothered her that my ring was "nicer". I remember how awkward that was. Anyway, all solid advice here!

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