Dear ESB: Can I tell my cousin-to-be to CHOOSE ANOTHER DATE?

Categories   Wedding Advice

Eeek. Sticky situation, best handled by our resident drama/etiquette expert East Side Bride.

Dear ESB,

I’ve been engaged for about a year. We set a date about, I think, 8 or so months ago and have been saving every penny to pay for our wedding. To our delight, every dating couple in my fiance’s family seemed to hurriedly up their marital plans during the time of our engagement. I know that it’s not “all about us,” and have happily bought plane tickets, shower gifts, wedding gifts, bridesmaids dresses, shoes, alterations, and, to the best of my ability, been happy and excited for them.

My question is this…. 

A close cousin to the groom got engaged to his short-term gf immediately after one of the siblings’ weddings. After a few jokes were made about actually taking our wedding date, she chose to have her wedding the weekend before. 

The cousin spoke to my in-laws asking them if we minded (they said that it sounded like an inconsiderate idea), and then the cousin called us. Their reasons were that the bride wants a fall wedding, doesn’t want to be associated with Halloween, and wants to go to home football games. We politely asked them to chose any other date. 

A month later the cousin called again asking if we minded. More forcefully, we urged him not to pick the date. The cousin knows he’s stepping on toes, but when he tells the bride she “cries as if I told her her dog died.” I’d like to talk directly to the bride, but she won’t call us back.  

Am I being a bridezilla?  What would you do in this situation?  

Tired of his family


You said your piece. Now you have to STFU.

Betcha the bride will cry even harder when family members who received your save-the-date first decline the invitation to her wedding.

(Photo by Emma Summerton for W Magazine via Fashion Gone Rogue.)

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Sara on Jan 27, 2012

People did this to me. I'm not attending their wedding - It's out of town even, and I've got too much to do in the week before mine! - but this is how I'm looking at it: Do nothing. All the guests and family will see what's going on. The people who matter will be at your wedding. And at the end of the day, you'll be MARRIED!! xo

G on Jan 27, 2012

"Am I being a bridezilla?" You'll only be one if you push it further.

Claire on Jan 27, 2012

Why does it matter? You obviously don't have to go, due to the timing (although if you wanted to go, I see how that bums you out) so just don't go and don't spend another second thinking about their wedding. Just focus on your day and don't worry about it! Best of luck!

Ms. Bunny on Jan 27, 2012

When I first read the title and the intro to the post, I thought this was going to be about asking a cousin not to bring his fiancee as a date! Glad it's not that crazy. I agree with ESB, you've had your say. It wasn't what she wanted to hear. Nothing you can do about that. Just continue planning your wedding and get those save the dates out quick.

Hillary on Jan 27, 2012

Wants to attend all the home football games? How old are these inconsiderate soon-to-be-inlaws? Who prioritizes a damned football game over relatives?

Katherine on Jan 27, 2012

All I'm going to say is that you better keep EVERY wedding idea a total secret, because if she steals your ideas - she gets to do them first.

Melanie on Jan 27, 2012

I have to agree also, as much as it sucks for you, you have told them you were not happy, but they chose not to listen and at the end of the day it's THEIR wedding. They therefore have the right to do it whenever they want to do it. It probably will not make much of a difference for your own wedding anyway unless you stir up more family drama in which case the family will think that not only is the cousin a b... but you as well. Don't get sucked into that or it will make everyone uncomfortable.

Michelle on Jan 27, 2012

My aunt is on her 3rd husband which is convenient because the guy she's marrying is on his 3rd wife. They wanted a backyard wedding 2 weeks before my fiance and my first (and hopefully only) wedding. We said fine - their party was supposed to be small. Now it has morphed into this grand affair and we are pretty annoyed. I feel disrespected because throughout all my plans, she said she'd help me every step of the way because she has no daughters. Meanwhile she's taking my ideas and and growing her wedding into a scene-stealing monster. I hope half my guests aren't wedding-ed out before my day.

Martha on Jan 27, 2012

Who cares when they get married? It's not on your wedding day, so I don't understand the problem. If you're too busy to go, that's fine. They'll probably be on their honeymoon and won't attend your wedding either.

ALKD on Jan 27, 2012

If asked again (and ONLY if asked again), I would simply say this: Since we've already set the date for our wedding, and have already invested in that date, we know that the weekend before is going to be incredibly busy for us. It saddens me that you're picking a date that we will not be able to attend, and that it potentially means you'll intentionally be missing our wedding to go on your honeymoon. And share this opinion with your parents, since they had been asked their opinions before as well. Honestly - two weddings in the same season in the same family is a bit much. But, in the end they'll do what they do.

Kayla on Jan 27, 2012

Look, like ESB said all you can do is say your peace and move on. Being from the South, I understand the whole home football game thing. Although my husband and I both couldn't care less, we had actual family members not come to our wedding because it was the night of an afternoon football game and they wanted to stay and party in the Grove. That's cool, if that's their decision that's fine. The bride has her reason and she chose the date that worked best for them. Even if she does "steal your ideas" she's not going to steal your wedding. She can't (and come on, most wedding "ideas" are either traditions or inspiration taken from the same internet blogs that every other bride reads). The important thing is, you'll be marrying the love of your life surrounded by family and friends who care deeply about you. Just like she will. So let it go, this will by far not be the last thing you have to let go of when your vision of your wedding day smashes into the reality of your wedding and it probably won't even be the hardest. Don't loose sleep. Enjoy it.

HiLLjO on Jan 27, 2012

A wedding is not a performance. A wedding is not a date or who-does-what first. A wedding is the first day you are married. Be gracious and let it be. For once I agree with ESB, STFU. Things work out better for those who put a sock in it graciously. I wanted mismatched B-maids but FMIL said it'd look tacky in photos. She knew how I felt and I just said, "Ok. You're in charge of those, then!" After styles not being available in all the colors and sizes we needed, I got mistmatched bridesmaids. And I love my 'tacky photos' because I STFU and got my way anyhow.

Rachel (heart of light) on Jan 27, 2012

Two of my cousins got married this month, exactly one week apart. It wasn't a big deal at all. I don't think people actually get all wedding-ed out unless they're the sort of people that aren't that into weddings to begin with or if they end up attending a wedding a weekend for a full month. You'll be fine!

Treen on Jan 27, 2012

Your friends and family aren't going to to let her wedding a week before deter them from being there on your big day. If you are upset about not being able to attend yours, I think you will still be able to. I wasn't extremely busy the weekend before my wedding (and I planned it all myself). I could certainly have spared a few hours. And you can always skip out early! If you're upset about them not being able to come to yours, well, that is their problem and their decision. I knew a girl who was a bridesmaid in a wedding one weekend, got married herself the NEXT weekend, and then was a bridesmaid in another friend's wedding the NEXT weekend! Talk about busy. But if she could pull that off, surely your cousins can do they same if they really want to. And you are going to much bigger worries/joys on your wedding day than fretting over who was and wasn't there, or what went on the weekend before. I wouldn't be surprised if your relationship with them takes a hit, but I think you've explained your feelings and are putting the ball in their court, so you can't blame yourself for that. I would hope that her wedding day and her future family relations would be darn well more important than a football game.

Boni on Jan 27, 2012

Many years ago, my boss got married the day before my wedding. His was on Saturday, and mine was on Sunday, but we invited all the same guests (many) from our office. Of course this situation isn't the same as your cousin's, but everyone had a great time at both weddings! In fact, our co-workers said they couldn't wait to party all weekend! The point is your wedding is different and special from everyone else's, so don't worry. The wedding is not important; it's your marriage that is.

Melissa on Jan 27, 2012

My husband's groomsman got engaged after us and set his date after us for the weekend prior to our wedding. And my husband had agreed to be in his wedding as well. We had to fly up the east coast and drive several hours and the wedding was on a Sunday so that meant flying back on Mon. At first I was majorly stressing out and to be honest, annoyed but I decided that if it were my bridesmaid or friend (I had never met the groomsman) I would suck it up. So I did. And we had a blast and it was actually a great break, albeit forced, from the wedding insanity I was facing at home. I would actually recommend taking the wkend off and go to the wedding and relax a bit! Plus I got to know the groomsman and his new wife who are awesome (duh that's why my husband is friends with them) and that rocks. Suck it up, let it go, maybe even attend and you just might be glad you did Ps - you might even see a few things you would do differently that will make your wedding better than you'd originally planned

Allison on Jan 27, 2012

Yes, you are pushing it too hard. If she wanted to have her wedding on the SAME weekend, I would be understandably angry. But this is her wedding, and she can choose any date she wants. She is already being considerate if she has her fiance call TWICE to ask permission, which she does not need. If you've already planned your wedding, and have already had family get plane tickets and etc in advance, she will most likely not see those relatives that have already planned to attend yours. I wouldnt worry about having guests "jump ship" to her wedding instead. I agree with @Ms. Bunny, just get those save the dates out TODAY and try not to worry about it, having your weddings so near each other will only negatively affect her wedding (not yours). (Oh yeah, and do not tell her about any of your wedding plans. She MAYYYYY be the type to steal them, and act like she is the genius who came up with the idea!)

Ariana on Jan 27, 2012

"Even if she does “steal your ideas” she’s not going to steal your wedding. She can’t (and come on, most wedding “ideas” are either traditions or inspiration taken from the same internet blogs that every other bride reads)." THIS Also, I agree with everyone else. If they ask again, you can be honest, but don't call them to talk about it. Move on.

Em on Jan 27, 2012

There are three weddings in my family this year- a cousin on my mom's side in June, me and my fiance in July and a cousin on my dad's side in September. I remember my mom mentioning something about how it would offend my aunt (mom of cousin getting married in June) if we chose a date before our cousin's wedding. We considered earlier dates anyway but we ended up with our date and are very excited. No one has mentioned feeling too stressed about all the festivities to me, only excitement, but I guess I would be the last to know anyway. It's tough if you have a big family with a lot of cousins who are close in age though I'll admit that choosing the weekend before seems pretty insensitive. I am not someone who relishes in the stepping-on of toes, but we got engaged in summer of 2011 and wanted to get married in the reasonable near future (i.e. 2012) and had to work around a large and growing list of saved dates. The football excuse does seem lame, but people don't always share the same priorities. Two couples I know who got engaged last year ended up both setting the same date in different cities. The two grooms were college roommates and share many, many close friends from college (incl. my fiance and me!). So it could be worse! (typical dudes though, am I right?)

BR on Jan 27, 2012

"To our delight*, every dating couple in my fiance’s family seemed to hurriedly up their marital plans during the time of our engagement." *this is sarcasm right? "I know that it’s not “all about us,” " -->Clearly you don't. "to the best of my ability, been happy and excited for them." --> To the best of your ability?? You're being a bitch. ESB should have been a lot snarkier with you. You got off easy.

jB on Jan 28, 2012

Wow that is tough situation, wedding seem to bring out the best and worst in everybody, I think that your special day will always be that, and it may be worth it in the end to be the bigger person

Farah on Jan 28, 2012

A week before your wedding?? You better thank God that it's not on the day of your wedding! Where I'm from, there are weddings every weekend; sometimes two or three weddings on the same day! And because our society is so small, the same group of guests are usually invited to different weddings on the same day, meaning we have to spend a little time here and a little time there. HECTIC, but even then, we make it work! And I've NEVER met a bride that was upset because so-and-so had her wedding on the same day (let alone the same week!!)! I would totally understand if you were upset over her choosing the exact same date as your wedding, but she is NOT. A week is a long time for people to relax and get ready for another wedding. You're missing the point. Your wedding is one day. Your marriage is the rest of your life. Don't lose focus of what's really important.

No biggy on Jan 28, 2012

My cousin got married a week after me. Other than her and her family not being at my wedding. It really was no big deal. Everyone loves a wedding even when they are back to back.

zina on Jan 29, 2012

“To our delight*, every dating couple in my fiance’s family seemed to hurriedly up their marital plans during the time of our engagement.” *this is sarcasm right? “I know that it’s not “all about us,” ” –>Clearly you don’t. “to the best of my ability, been happy and excited for them.” –> To the best of your ability?? You’re being a bitch. ESB should have been a lot snarkier with you. You got off easy. To this i say: your comments are a little mean and unnesesarry. We've all been in situations that are difficult and at least "tired of this family" is asking for advice on how to handle this, which to me means she's trying to do the right thing. Everyones had some great advice. But It's a tough situation. I think just focus on your day, get your save-the-dates out, and if they go ahead with thier chosen date, be gracefull about it or you will end up looking like the difficult one.

anonym on Jan 29, 2012

"She is already being considerate if she has her fiance call TWICE to ask permission, which she does not need." I think the number of calls + refusal to change make it pretty clear that they're not asking permission, they're trying to get OP to give in and say "Of course! Do whatever you want! You're not being inconsiderate AT ALL!"

Jane on Jan 29, 2012

Hi Can you tell me which magazine the image you used for your 27 jan post is from? I love the Chanel silk organza dress. Thanks, Jane

east side bride on Jan 30, 2012

@Jane the photo is from W:

uk Bride on Feb 1, 2012

I don't think you need to worry. They have chosen this date and they clearly know it will cause a bit of a stir and that is why they have asked your parents as well as you on a few occasions. It could be a case where the bride is just being difficult and her soon to be husband is struggling to get her to back down. I wouldn't say anything or think about it any more and concentrate on your day. Your family and friends love you both and will for sure make the effort to make you as well as the other couple happy and attend your weddings. you can never have too many weddings. My cousin is having her wedding a few weeks before mine but I am very happy and over excited for her and I'm for sure going to the wedding, the wedding is even in a different country and she will also come to mine and then go to her honeymoon. at the end of the day family is family and there should be understanding from both sides. A wedding day is just a day of gathering of loved ones and happiness for the beginning of this new journey. If it was me I would try to get a lot more done before that weekend, and make the effort to go to the wedding even though it is a weekend before, then leave slightly earlier and give my best wishes to them both and head home to continue with your wedding things to do. They clearly know that they have the choice in making their wedding on that day and to come along to your wedding. but I really wouldn't worry about it. It's a decision that you cannot control. Your getting married, that's way more exciting to think about. congratulations and best wishes

Katy on Feb 1, 2012

To answer the letter writer's question, yes, you are being a bridezilla. Simply put. You do not get to pick that woman's perfect wedding date. Your sarcasm is loud, clear and inappropriate. Your comment on how long they've been dating is your judgmental opinion only. And your attitude is childish. She didn't pick the same date as you. You don't get both weekends for your wedding. I would suggest you start playing nice before you cause even more issues with the family.

Andrea on Feb 5, 2012

I know it can feel...frustrating. Because we gals dream our day up from the time we are little not just from the time we get engaged! And then when something that you have no control over doesn't go as planned it just feels like, "Wait a minute, no!" I can relate. My oldest brother and his fiance are getting married two weeks after us. My maid of honor and sister-in-law is pregnant with our first baby to our family and her due date is my brothers wedding date! She won't be able to attend either of our weddings. And my closest cousin (like a sister) is also pregnant, due on the very same day! Two weddings, two babies, all within two weeks. We choose to see it as a blessing and a great omen for all of our happiness. Look for the silver lining. Be excited for them. And then the day after let all the butterflies seep in for your big day just a week later! Congratulations by the way :) Andrea

Valeri on Feb 5, 2012

you just get 1 day sweetie. but honestly, at all the weddings i've been too, once we're at the reception; everyone is talking about the NEXT wedding/bride-to-be. poor choice on the other brides part.

christina on Feb 8, 2012

I had this same exact issue for my wedding. The problem actually, was that my family could not afford to do BOTH weddings, therefore the family had to choose which wedding they could afford to attend. Sadly, in the end both weddings were divided. It's a bummer situation and this so called cousin by marriage seems like she's already unruly and a pain in know what. Do what's best for you! It's the only thing you really can do.

zita on Jul 26, 2013

I LOVE ESB's answer here. Yes, it's time to just stop and let them do it. The fact that they keep asking means that they're going to do it anyway. Do not care about the "cousin's" wedding. People will know, and the family will gossip- be the better and more graceful bride. Just send your save the dates out first.

Danipants on Dec 19, 2013

Wow, I just happened upon this thread because I'm in a similar situation. My fiancé's cousin wants to have her wedding on top of ours because it will "save everyone money." It's a point I recognize and respect. However, 1. No one on that side will talk to me face to face about it 2. We've been asked to match guest lists so it will be more of a reason for people to attend hers/our wedding. 3. Being told to move around first looks to accommodate their event. I'm bummed though, it's not a bitchy thing, but I feel very disrespected. I'm a really reasonable person and quite easy to work with if you just talk to me. It doesn't bother me that at every family function, on his side, I'm asked about our plans , and interrupted nearly immediately and it turns all into her. It's cool, she's blood, I'm not. My family is excited and inspired since we are a bit off beat. They share in the excitement and planning. The one last thing that really tops it off, the proposal isn't until next week. They've saved themselves for marriage and have decided that once they get engaged they won't be able to hold off temptation. Six months at the most. Since we have a wedding six out, the family has been aggressively pushing for that date for her. Thoughts anyone? I'm with them for the holiday and it's going to come up plenty. It really doesn't make sense, it's only been a couple of days since they spilled their date plans, I'm still absorbing. And the whole family insisting it's with ours to save time and resources, I can't get my head around. Instinctually, I want to rearrange the guest list. If coming to a wedding is putting someone out, I'll gladly remove and add someone we'd love to share our day with. I can't be petty but I realllllly want to trim off the problem family members (and this behavior is very normal on their part). We have a fixed number, and not many of our friends are coming because of all the obligatory family guests. I suppose I'm venting at the moment. If anyone takes the time to read this post, you've got my gratitude. If you can advise, I'll be forever thankful. If you have anything to add, again you have my gratitude. D

maria on Dec 29, 2015

I think ESB is way off base on this one. To have a date picked and then have a relative, after the fact, pick a date within a week, or even a month, is the epitome of rudeness and shows a total lack of etiquette. What about the showers, bachelorette parties and other events. Any person who would do such a thing is simply selfish!

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