What do I do if she wants her guy-friends as groomsmen?
“Here’s my problem. My fiancée asked me if she should have my sister as a bridesmaid. I told her my sister wouldn’t care either way, so it was up to her.
My fiancée asked my mom (good call) and apparently my sister would care, so she is now in the wedding.
At this point everything is great. Then we are talking about my groomsmen and my fiancée starts suggesting HER guy friends for a spot. I shot down her two suggestions because the first guy is a tool and has been rude to me every time he’s seen me. The other guy seems alright, but I’ve met him one time for a total of 30 seconds.
This all went down about a week ago. Last night fiancée started flipping out on me and said that she feels like I “owe” her a spot since she invited my sister to be a bridesmaid. Apparently since she gave up a spot for my sister, she thinks that she should get to fill a groomsman spot with one of her friends.
My two arguments were this:
1) I didn’t ask her to ask my sister, so why should I give her guy friend a spot to compensate
2) She didn’t bring this up when she was tossing out suggestions, so I thought she was just brainstorming, so I felt free to say no. (she said she shouldn’t have had to ask for the spot, I should have KNOWN)
So what do I do? Let her pick a groomsman that I barely know or is a dick? Or do I tell her that it was nice for her to have my sister as a bridesmaid, but that doesn’t give her a spot on my side to fill.”
In the year 279 BC, the Greek King Pyrrhus waged a bloody, epic battle against the Romans. You know how it goes. Think: Gladiator, 300, whatever. Chariots, archers, cavalry, severed arms, decapitations, eyeballs ripped straight from the sockets.
After two days of gory violence, Pyrrhus “won” the battle, but it cost him 3,500 men, crippled his army, and did more harm than good. According to historians (or, um, Wikipedia), the general said, “One more such victory, and we shall be undone.” And hence the origin of the term: Pyrrhic Victory.
Do you have the moral high ground? Yep. Is your fiancée being unreasonable? Yep. (At least based on what you’ve told us.) Will making a huge deal of this only exacerbate the situation and cause more trouble than it’s worth? Yep.
The merits of your position are clear. Not only was the sister-bridesmaid her idea, but it’s a qualitatively different scenario than using her guy-friends. One’s family, one’s not. Even if we accept her quid-pro-quo argument (which is not entirely unreasonable), the quid-pro-quo would be you tapping her brother as a groomsman, not her douchebag friends.
So, if you really want to make a stink over this, that should be your argument: the only reason that your sister is crossing the aisle is that she’s your flesh-and-blood. You would never ask her to accommodate one of your platonic girlfriends.
Your other potential angle: stress the positive. Keep it upbeat. Say that this is the most important moment of your life, and it’s really, really important that you have your very best childhood friends–Vince, Johnny, and Turtle or whatever–by your side.
To preach a little more to the choir: you’re not crazy. While it’s a (regrettable) tradition that a brother or sister can cross the aisle to be in the other’s party, it is NOT normal protocol to foist your fiancée with your own buddies. Does it happen? Sure. But it’s not excepted.
Sadly, we must return to the old General Pyrrhus. You could be 100% in the right, but if you bully your way and “win” this argument, it might lead to more drama, tears, and 7-hour arguments. If you’re backed into a corner, I’d pick the dude you don’t know over the douchebag you do.
One more thing: tone matters. Your email made us laugh–and we’re a fine audience for that kinda attitude–but, we hope you realize, banish that sarcasm from any conversation with your fiancée. When you talk to her, your attitude shouldn’t be, “WTF?!? I never signed up for this shit!” Instead, go for something like, “Hey, it’s really considerate that you picked my sister to be a bridesmaid. And my mom loves you even more now. If you want me to pick your brother (if she has one) to represent your family as a groomsman, I’m all for it. But when it comes to our friends…I think it’s best that your bridesmaids are your good friends, and my groomsmen are my good friends.”
If that doesn’t work, you have one last card to play: offer to include her friends in the ceremony…as ushers. As we’ve said elsewhere, ushers are the perfect bone to throw. You give them a nice courtesy, you can have as many of you want, and, best of all, you don’t have to involve them in any other activities (i.e. bachelor party).
Try that. If it works, great. If you get pushback, relent. Don’t let your 3,500 troops get butchered.