“The man I am about to marry has a daughter with his first wife. Their divorce was difficult, and his ex-wife has always she made it very hard for him to see the child.
He and I plan to marry in the summer, and it will be a white wedding with my two sisters as bridesmaids.
My fiancé’s mother insists we should be asking his daughter to be a bridesmaid as well – and now says she won’t come to the wedding unless this happens.
“I know she doesn’t like me and thinks I had something to do with the divorce (I didn’t – he and I didn’t even know one another when they split).
The trouble is, I just know what will happen – we’ll go to all the expense of organising a dress and everything, then his ex-wife won’t let her come.
“If I say yes to this and then the girl doesn’t come, it will spoil the day for my fiancé and he won’t enjoy the wedding.
If I say no, it’s going to upset my mother-in-law-to-be, who then won’t come – and that will spoil things for my fiancé too.
I just want my fiancé to enjoy our wedding! He says it is up to me, but I know he really wants his mum to come and would really love for his daughter to be a bridesmaid. I just don’t know what to do for the best.”
“I can understand why you don’t like the idea of being given ultimatums by your mother-in-law-to-be, but stop for one moment and think about this little girl.
The one who is about to become your stepdaughter. If she knows of the wedding plans, she is probably feeling very left out, and I have to say, I am rather concerned that your fiancé isn’t more concerned about including her.
“Lots of little girls get very excited at the idea of being a bridesmaid, and I’m sure your fiancé’s daughter is no different.
Trying to organise this with your husband’s ex-wife will I’m sure be tricky, but there’s someone else who could do this and might really appreciate the opportunity.
“Rather than be at loggerheads with your new mother-in-law, why not talk to her and explain your fears? You could then ask her to broker the arrangements.
I’m sure that, between now and the summer, there will be the opportunity to organise a dress for her (make allowances for her to grow a little of course).
“Then you could suggest, for example, that the little girl could come and stay with her granny a few days before the wedding (for rehearsals etc).
If that were to happen then it’s more likely she would be able to be there on the day. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to have one more bridesmaid at the wedding, and you could be building important bridges by asking her to be there.
It will help your relationship with your mother-in-law-to-be and – more importantly – it will help to build a relationship with your new stepdaughter too.”
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