Dear Carolyn: I’m getting married in seven months and my best friend just told me she is pregnant with her second child and can’t come to the wedding because it is during her no-fly window.
By way of background, she moved overseas 12 years ago. I went above and beyond to help her plan her wedding because it ended up being a last-minute, DIY backyard wedding. I was happy to be there for her, and I felt like her wedding made us even closer. I also did it without expecting her to do the same for me.
Also, I’m an older bride (mid-30s), and I go back and forth feeling like I’m too old for all the pomp and circumstance in the big white dress with a gaggle of girlfriends around me. I can recognize the important thing is the marriage, and I’ve settled on splitting the difference by having a lower-key wedding and my best friend as the only member of my wedding party.
I don’t know how to get over the hurt I feel. First, I won’t have my best friend there for me, and it makes me feel quite lonely. Second, while I know the world doesn’t revolve around me, I’m hurt that she didn’t delay trying for this baby for a little bit longer so she could make it to the wedding.
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Third, this is amplifying my original feelings – that I feel ridiculous wearing a big white dress when my friends are focused on their families.
Missing My Maid of Honor
Fourth, please make this the last time you ever say out loud that she should have postponed her baby.
I'll assume your disappointment left you temporarily deranged, because the alternative is too depressing.
And I'll assume this bout of bridezillus horrificus has run its course, meaning by now you’ve reminded yourself that women in their mid-30s – or of any age, really – who want children don’t “delay trying” except for reasons of personal, relationship or financial health. Even when they love their bride-to-be best friends to bits.
I’m assuming too because I don’t want your overreaction to swamp your valid points. I don’t think it’s properly understood, or even particularly cared about, how it feels to be the last of your friends to hit a big life milestone.
It’s like a marathon: The front-runners have a cheering crowd three or four rows deep, enjoying the novelty and excitement. Then the hours pass and the crowd goes home to its other priorities, except for the loved ones of the people still trickling across the line.
And now you’re in your big dress without the one person you counted on to cheer you across. It’s not a calamity, but it’s lonely, yes.
If I were advising your group of friends, I’d remind them this is momentous still for you, and that caring about you means opening up to your joy.
Advising you is more complicated. Yes, you’ve set your date, but ask anyone who pulled the plug at the altar: You are not wedded to your wedding. You can flex your maturity and rethink your whole plan with your partner. What do you want, who do you want, and why?
Then: Can you satisfy these … next weekend at the courthouse? Four months from now, best friend in attendance? On the planned date but with updated expectations and a killer cocktail dress?
I suspect even those feted front-runners would advise this: Make it yours. Make it feel better than this.
Carolyn: We’re recently engaged and planning our wedding. However, my fiance’s older brother proposed to his girlfriend first, despite knowing my then-boyfriend was planning his proposal.
When the brother’s fiancee began wedding planning back in December, she mentioned how upset she would be if I chose the summer of 2016 since it would be too close to her wedding (that July). She was even more upset when I mentioned I had always wanted a June wedding. She exclaimed my date idea “pissed me off” and told me to reconsider.
My fiance and I have decided on the venue and are shooting for June 2016. Do you think I should reevaluate my date?
She sounds charming.
But not clever, since her threat is tempting you to stick on principle to an inconsiderate wedding date.
Of all the possible dates, you need one 30-ish days from his brother’s? Especially if key family members have to travel, that’s a needlessly me-centric move (by someone under a cloud of suspicion from that my-guy-thought-to-propose-first assertion, as if it matters).
So choose a better principle, one as warm, inclusive and decent as your future sister-in-law’s was bullying, then pick a date.
This someday sister-in-law seems eager to fight. You can’t beat that – except by committing to do, then trust, what’s right.