I had a very close friend and former-roommate get reunited with an ex-boyfriend, engaged to the boyfriend, and married to the boyfriend in the span of seven months. I fully expected to be on board on The Big Day, to support my friend in entering a new world, to embarrass her conservative values with a penis-themed bachelorette party, to watch her exchange vows and to generally be the friend I have always been. But I wasn’t invited, and neither were lots of friends who would have loved to attend (for totally legitimate reasons, and I don’t feel especially singled out or anything unfair—it was simply their choice to have a very small event on a very short timeline in another state).
But still! It really stings that after all we went through together as friends over this boy, I didn’t get to be there for the conclusion of their dating life. It feels like someone ripped the climax out of a really good book and left the entirely unsatisfying last page.
How do I make up for this sense of loss of not getting to participate? Do I just put on my big girl panties and act like it’s all okay? Do I confront her about it and make her feel bad for making me feel bad? Do I simply remember this feeling when it’s finally my turn and invite everyone I ever met? I want to be genuinely and un-distractedly happy for her when I see my old friend, the new Mrs.
~Suddenly A Downer; Bummer Friend Forgotten
SAD BFF, let’s look at this from a different angle, just for fun. You with me? Of course you’re with me:
I recently reconnected with my ex-boyfriend and found out that we’d both changed in wild and wonderful ways. The sparks flew, as did our clothes, until we realized that we couldn’t do without each other. In a whirlwind fashion (that is so not like conservative me!!) we reunited, got engaged and got married all within a span of seven months. I know it didn’t appeal to a lot of people, especially my friends, but we really didn’t want to waste any more time that we’d lost while being broken up. We decided to have a very small wedding in my husband’s hometown for a variety of reasons; some of which were due to budget constraints, the location and the very short timeline we decided on.
We were thrilled to pieces with our wedding, but apparently some of our friends were not. We did not single anyone out and tried to be as fair as possible about the guest list, but I feel that some of them don’t understand why they were not invited. I know feelings were hurt, but it wasn’t that we tried to exclude anyone; our small wedding ended up being the best thing for us. How do I make them understand that our friendship isn’t contingent on the invitation to our wedding and that I still adore them as much as I ever did?
~Suddenly Apparently a Downer; Bad Feeling Friend
Original SAD BFF, do you see what I’m getting at? I do feel really badly for you; it is very disappointing to not be included in a close friend’s wedding, but it’s a disappointment you’re going to have to weather. If you confronted your friend about it, what answer could she possibly give you that would make you feel okay? (Besides, you shouldn’t ever make someone feel bad if they made you feel bad. The moral high ground has a lovely view…) Your hurt is understandable, but cluing her into it won’t elicit anything further than an apology, followed by justifications on why they had the wedding they did and then a long uncomfortable evening.
There’s also the option that something way beyond her control kept her from inviting the people she wanted to and she already feels pretty bad about it. There are plenty of us who wish we had a do-over with certain aspects of our wedding and I bet 90% of us would include the guest list in that list. It’s a tough thing, planning a wedding, and the last thing you need to hear as a newlywed is how you did it wrong.
And, um, point of order—who says the story is over?!? Meg brought up, “We’ve been taught that all comedies end with weddings and all tragedies end with funerals. We’ve been conditioned since birth to believe this, but isn’t being there for your friends’ marriage the really important part?” Think of it this way—you and your friend’s relationship is not just one book, but a whole series. Sure, her wedding happened off-page, but that doesn’t negate the entire story; there is plenty of good stuff to come.
So strap on those big girl britches and wear them with pride. You are genuinely happy for her, aren’t you? (If not, that’s a whole other letter, honey…) When it is your turn, you will most likely remember this moment and then invite everyone and their mom. And that’s wonderful. Because that’s your decision—it’s what’s best for you and your family and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The best thing you can do is take a page from Meg and David’s playbook: when they have newlywed friends whose wedding they did not attend (invited or not), they take the couple out for dinner as a wedding present. The couple brings pictures and then Meg and David have them tell them all about it; the good, the bad and the hilarious. It’s a lovely little celebration ritual that allows you to experience the day as much as you can and to remember why you are friends with these amazing people in the first place.
P.S. Penis parties are not limited to wedding related occasions. I’m just sayin’…
Alright, ‘fess up, Team Practical! Have you felt the sting of not being invited to a wedding? And on the flip side, how have you dealt with guests who weren’t invited to your wedding when they felt they should have been?
If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh). We’re not kidding. It brings us joy. What, you don’t want to bring your editors JOY?!