I just heard a horrible story from a girlfriend of mine who is getting married in five weeks. Her sister-in-law (not her future SIL, her brother's wife) has been behaving VERY badly lately. She has been terribly rude to the mother of the bride, and just plain nasty to the bride. After hearing the story, I only had one piece of advice for my dear friend the bride -- "Uninvite her." The bride's response -- "But she's a bridesmaid." Oh no.
First off, there's no rule in the world that says you have to invite your sister-in-law to be in the wedding. That tradition was a southern one, and it's as gone with the wind as chivalry is dead. Even if you were in her wedding, if it was awhile ago and she has proven herself to be a total which since then, you certainly don't have to ask her to be a part of your wedding party. Unfortunately, my friend already asked her SIL and has included her in everything, and for the sake of her relationship with her brother, she doesn't want to kick her out now and create mad family drama. I told her to do it anyway and then shut my mouth about it (after I asked if it was okay to blog about it), but then again, I'm her friend, not her wedding planner.
IF I were her wedding planner, I would tell the bride that, while I'm impressed she is thinking ahead and has gotten an extra hotel room to use for a "time out room" in case chaos reigns, I think it's a better idea to incite the riot now. Sure, there's gonna be drama and blowback and people are going to be mad, but there's enough time for those same family members to cool off before the wedding more than a month away. Maybe her SIL will even clean up her act and redeem herself after she gets the bitch slap. If you REALLY think any member of your wedding party is going to be so badly behaved that you are going to have to separate them from the rest of the wedding, you are looking for trouble by keeping her as a bridesmaid. I don't care if she's a relative or not -- this is your wedding day and you shouldn't need a security plan for your attendants. Perhaps for some of the guests, but not for a bridesmaid.
It isn't just about the bride in this case. It's also about her mother. I know the back story and trust me, the SIL has been terrible to the MoB. The second most important woman at the wedding is the bride's mom. Poorly played by the SIL/bridesmaid all around.
Not kicking her out of the wedding may also be really unfair to the man of the hour, if you're distracted on your wedding day because of family issues. He loves you despite your family, not because of it, most of the time. But on your wedding day, he deserves to be your focus and he also deserves a peaceful day. In this case, the groom actually works in the wedding industry so he knows what is gonna go down. Almost worse for him because at least most grooms get blindsided. This guy is packing the first aid kit and extra booze for himself. Good call.
Here's the truth of the matter -- if you have a family member who is doing things that telegraph their intention to mess up your wedding weekend, they need to be uninvited. I don't say this lightly -- one of my cousins who is truly my bff and I had a big disagreement shortly before her wedding and she didn't invite me. A couple of years later, I returned the favor. Now we are closer than ever, grown up and all that, and I think we both regret not having been there to witness such an important moment in each other's lives. So when I tell a bride to "uninvite" a family member, it's only because that person has done something so egregious that I cannot imagine them being present in the same state when the bride and groom exchange vows. Nobody needs all that negative energy at their wedding.
My friend is not going to uninvite her SIL unless something crazy takes place between now and the wedding day, but it's entirely possible that will happen because the SIL is a nutjob who doesn't know when to quit. I know the bride well enough to know she's coming from a good place -- she cares more about her guests and family than herself. She can't imagine causing such strife. If it were another bride, I might think she was inviting trouble intentionally because, let's face it, some brides thrive on the mere prospective of drama as they proudly tell you they've made security arrangements. Too many times when we've had a badly behaved guest at a wedding, the bride and groom tell me afterwards that they could have predicted who would act like a jerk.
Take a step back and think about what's really going to happen on your wedding day. If you seriously think a bridesmaid is going to act up enough to require a "time out room" (which btw, I think is hilarious despite the fact I don't recommend it), it might be time to consider reducing your bridal party by one.