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Advice: How to keep peace with family at wedding? – Chicago Sun-Times

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An advice column where Chicago can ask questions on how to navigate life transitions, relationships, family, finance and more.

Dear Ismael,

I was pressured into having a family member as my bridesmaid. I’m getting married in 2025 and I decided I only wanted three bridesmaids — my two sisters and my best friend. I am not close to this family member, so I didn’t think she would care if she was in my wedding party or not. She found out from an aunt that I didn’t choose her, and she was upset and texted me within hours that she wasn’t attending my wedding because of cost even though we have not set a date yet.

My family members guilted me into adding her as a bridesmaid to “keep the peace,” and I ended up giving in. Whose peace am I really keeping, my family’s or mine?

— Keeping the Peace in Lake View

Dear Keeping Peace,

“Congratulations on your engagement! I’m happy for you.”

That should be only opinion people have when you invite them to your wedding — unless they are pitching in $56,000 for the event or buying you a house after the ceremony. Even then, let people enjoy their day.

Need advice?

Submit your question to ‘Someone in Chicago.’

Weddings can be insightful: If you want to understand a family’s dynamic, ask someone how their last wedding went and they’ll point out all the annoying troublemakers.

I’m really sorry you’re dealing with petty people. But I salute you being the bigger person in order to just get past such a childish reaction.

When I asked some of my married friends, what I heard is that it’s common to stress about keeping family members happy and to have a hard time standing up for yourself.

Next time something like this comes up as you plan your wedding day, sit down with people you trust — perhaps your partner or parents. And ask yourselves: “What are we willing to negotiate and what is definitely not up for discussion?”

That will help separate the bigger problems, such as “Who is going to walk me down the aisle?” from the little stuff like “What if my cousin doesn’t like that topping on their chicken?”

Realistically, yes, weddings are stressful to plan, and you may be a wreck in the weeks leading up to it. But it’s also important to remind yourself to be in the moment on the day you fully give yourself to that special someone.

Lean on those who care about you. While you’re taking those wedding party photos, the people who truly love you and want to see you happy wouldn’t mind fixing a button on a shirt or making sure everything is OK with the caterer.

Write to Someone in Chicago at [email protected].

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