Friend’s Wedding Snubs Confuse Bride-to-Be

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Dear Miriam,

I wasn’t asked to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding. I wasn’t too upset; she had asked family members and friends from childhood, and I haven’t known her as long as they have. I still consider her a close friend, so I recently asked her to be a bridesmaid at my wedding next year.

Then, at her wedding, I learned that she had asked a mutual friend to sign her ketubah — a friend she hasn’t known nearly as long or spent as much time with as me. She didn’t congratulate me on my recent engagement even though this was the first time we had seen each other in person since I got engaged, or say more than two words to my fiancé and me the entire evening. Furthermore, my fiancé and I were seated at a table in the corner, far away from our close friends. I felt left out and also foolish for considering her a closer friend than she might consider me.

I don’t suppose it’s kosher to revoke my invitation to her to be a bridesmaid, but I’m having trouble imagining her having such a significant role on my special day when I don’t think I’m that special to her anymore. How should I handle this?

Signed,

Bridal Blues

Dear Bridal,

This sounds really confusing and painful. It also sounds like there could plausibly be less jarring reasons for everything you describe rather than the conclusions you’ve drawn about your friendship not being mutually valued. Either way, you need to find a way to talk to this friend — after the dust has settled from her own wedding — so you can decide how to move forward.

As you know firsthand, people are under tremendous pressure when planning a wedding. There are numerous explanations for how and why your friend chose her bridesmaids, ketubah signers and seating arrangements. You are certainly entitled to wonder why you were excluded in these ways, but I wouldn’t dwell on it. I also think that not being talked to at the wedding itself is an indication more of the stress of the day for the couple rather than the importance to them of any particular guest. While your engagement was at the top of your mind, it makes sense that it wasn’t for her.

When things have calmed down, invite your friend out for coffee. Be prepared for her to talk a lot about her own wedding experiences. Let her. You could even graciously say, “I have a lot to learn from you as I get further into wedding planning myself.” Then, when there’s a pause in the conversation, say something like, “Even though I didn’t have a role in your wedding, I still look forward to having you involved in mine. I just wanted to make sure that’s something you’re still up for.” You could add, “given how busy you’ve been,” or, “now that you’ve just gotten through your wedding.”

There’s the possibility that she’s been looking for an out and will be relieved. There’s the chance she’s totally clueless about how her wedding choices may have felt to you. She may be self-centered enough not to be thinking about you at all. She may be understanding and apologetic and offer explanations for her wedding choices. There’s also the potential that she’s not as good as a friend as you thought and may not be gracious and kind about any of it.

If you really no longer want her as your bridesmaid, you can skip all of this and just tell her plans have changed. You’d likely be burning future bridges to friendship and could probably not even invite her to your wedding at that point. If someone’s not a good friend, though, you shouldn’t care about her being there anyway. I’m not drawing this conclusion, though it’s certainly one possible outcome.

More than anything, and regardless of what you decide to do, know that emotions run especially high around weddings. Despite the idea that your wedding should represent you, they aren’t always the best indication of a person’s true values and priorities. More time one on one with this friend will hopefully give you the information you really need to move forward. Most importantly, this whole experience will hopefully give you even more compassion when you’re making decisions for your special day.

Mazel tov on your upcoming wedding, and be well,

Miriam

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