Can One Wedding Steal Another Wedding’s Thunder?

Usually no, but damn girl

Q:My fiancé and I are getting married in about seven weeks (yay!). We have been together eleven years—we’re high school sweethearts. My sister (eighteen months younger than me) got engaged to her boyfriend of two years about two months after we did. At first, everyone was asking me if I was upset about her “stealing my thunder,” and I genuinely wasn’t because she wasn’t planning to have her wedding until 2018.

But now, I am upset!

Now that it’s getting closer to both of our weddings, she wants to talk about her wedding a LOT and is irritated that my mom and I have been spending time planning my wedding and haven’t spent any time on hers yet. She has actually said, “But what about my wedding,” on more than one occasion.

I realize of course she is excited about it and wants to start planning, but it is more than a full year away. The other day at dinner she started talking about her centerpiece ideas, and I asked her if we could not talk about her wedding until mine was over. Then she got mad at me and called me a bridezilla.

I feel that we both deserve our time to be a part of “the bridal couple” and hers will come in seven and a half weeks, while I only have that amount of time to enjoy it.

And for the record, we never got along very well as children, and we still struggle as adults. That said, she is my MOH and hasn’t been that involved in planning.

Was I wrong in asking her to focus on my wedding for now? Or does this seem like it’s just me lashing out because of deep-seated sibling competition?


A: Dear HIANR,

Yeah, you were wrong. Sorry.

Also, your feelings are completely normal. COMPLETELY. But normal feelings aren’t always fair. And it’s not super fair to ask your sister to ignore that she has her own big impending life-changing event coming up on the horizon just because you want the spotlight for now.

Here’s one thing about wedding spotlight—there’s not a finite amount, not really. Your wedding is special because it’s yours. Hers is special because it’s hers. The folks around you aren’t going to use up all of their excitement on your sister’s wedding before yours gets here because, genuinely, honestly, from the bottom of my heart… they don’t care that much.

So this special almost-married time is only really significant to you. It only matters how you feel about it. And you can make the choice to see these weddings as two separate events, not in competition, not related to one another in the slightest. So do that!

I realize that whatever sibling backdrop you’ve got might be affecting how you feel about it all, and that part can’t really be fixed. Your relationship with your sister is what it is. You’re not going to tackle and undo and resolve years of sibling rivalry in one wedding (or even two). But on the bright side (sorta?) that also means you’d probably feel irritated by her even if she wasn’t planning a wedding at the same time. So… look on the bright side?

And also apologize. Ask her about her centerpieces. Yeah, you guys don’t typically get along. But maybe instead of this wedding-planning time being one more point of contention, think of it as an opportunity to both be interested in the same thing at the same time. Nobody else really cares that much about centerpieces (be honest with yourself here), but you both super do. And at the same time!


Q: My boyfriend and I are very into the idea of having a surprise wedding. We aren’t engaged yet but we both know that it will happen sometime this summer (he still wants to surprise me). We plan to have the surprise wedding at our engagement party, so we knew that we needed to have it planned beforehand. We’ve got most of the details planned out, down to where we want to have it, what the cover party will be, and who we want to officiate.

The trouble is that we are aiming for the end of August, about a month before a wedding that we are both in. My cousin has been engaged and planning the wedding for close to two years. She is going all out and having a big bash and ceremony. We know this isn’t what we want, which is why we decided to go the surprise route.

Does it make me a jerk to get married in a surprise ceremony a month before my cousin’s wedding?

—Not Trying to Steal Her Thunder


Nah, it doesn’t make you a jerk. But I would definitely avoid it.

All of the stuff I said above about wedding excitement not being a finite thing is still true. Folks can manage to be enthusiastic about two things at once! And also, no one gets to call dibs on the wedding excitement; you’re allowed to get married whenever you want.

But even with that being the case, I’d bank on there being some hard feelings if you went this route. Someone has been planning a wedding for two long years and is finally almost there? Chances are good she’ll be crying in the bathroom of your surprise wedding. Sure, you’re totally allowed to do it, but why not avoid that heartbreak if you can?

Besides, a wedding is one thing, but a surprise wedding will make people talk. And they’re gonna keep talking, probably a full month later, probably at your cousin’s wedding even. It would be really easy for her to feel outshined at her own reception, even if that’s not the case.

See if you can wiggle to have that engagement party/surprise wedding after your cousin’s. Not because you have to, not because there’s not enough wedding excitement to go around. But because there’ll still be plenty to be had after your cousin’s wedding, without any resentment or (unhappy) tears shed.


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