Should I Attend a Frenemy’s Wedding?


Ask APW: Should I go if she's not invited to mine?

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

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Q: There is a “friend” who is just truly not a friend to me. My feelings about her are that it is time to move on and stop playing the “pretend friend” game. There is just one catch: she is getting married a bit before I am. And although most people have a similar relationship with her as I do, she wants all of us to be involved in the bachelorette, throw her showers, come to the wedding, etc.

While I am all about a good party, I keep going over and over what I should do about this in my head. Our relationship was so toxic that I have no intention of including her in any of my wedding stuff. I don’t mean it maliciously; I just feel this is practical. My close friends all agree that she should not be a part of any of my big day or things leading up to it.

What I am torn about is this: all of my friends are encouraging me to go to all of her events. Their reasoning is that it will be a great way for us to see each other. While that is true, I feel weird about attending everything while knowing the whole time she won’t be invited to my events. I especially feel weird about it knowing how confrontational she is, and that she will definitely want to have words upon the realization she is not invited to my wedding.

So, what should I do? Go, enjoy myself, play it cool? Or go with my gut and just avoid all of it all together. Skip the bachelorette and shower and just go to the wedding, keeping the involvement minimal? I am trying to balance my feelings, my friends’ feelings, her feelings, and it just is not going well. Additionally, some say I should invite her just because she is inviting me to her stuff. How do I explain to people that things like that don’t matter to me, and that having only the people I love there is most important, in a way without sounding (for lack of a better word) like a complete b**ch.

Too old to play pretend (with friends)

A: Dear TOPPWF,

Well, no, you don’t have to invite her to your wedding. And of course you don’t have to skip her stuff. Wedding invitations and the like aren’t tit-for-tat.

If she invited you to her wedding, the assumption is that she wants you to be there. So, go if you want to go. Whether or not she’s coming to yours doesn’t factor in. These are separate unrelated events, with separate unrelated decisions. And frankly, you don’t have to rationalize whether you go or don’t go, if you invite her or don’t invite her. “I was busy.” “We just didn’t have room.” The end.

The status of your friendship, on the other hand, does factor in. But even then, just slightly. You don’t have to be besties to wish the best for someone, be supportive of their marriage, and take them up on an offer of free food and dancing.

My one caution: be aware of the level of intimacy of these different events. You don’t super love the girl? Yeah, sure, go to the wedding. But maybe skip the bachelorette party if it’s just you and her two best friends. Pass on the dress shopping. Stick to events where you’ll be contributing to a merry, well-wishing crowd, and decline the ones that are just for nearest and dearest.

Whether you go or not, whether you invite her or don’t, keep in mind that a lot of people are terrible in college and eventually outgrow it. Make confident decisions that protect you from hurt, but be sure to leave room for the possibility of growth and change.

If you would like to ask APW a question, please don’t be shy! You can email: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off! 

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.

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  • Amy March

    I think you need to not be gossiping about her to your mutual friends full stop. And definitely not attending parties as part of a group that has collectively agreed about their negative feelings towards her. That’s just mean.

    In general I agree with Liz that wedding invites aren’t tit-for-tat. But here you’re not inviting her because you don’t like her anymore. So no, I don’t think you should attend her wedding or related events. While ordinarily the assumption is that she wants you there, I think if she knew the truth of your feelings for her, she wouldn’t want you there, as you seem to acknowledge in you reference to her being confrontational.

    • Lian

      I agree, and in this case that truth of the feelings is going to come out very soon when this friend doesn’t get an invite to the letter writer’s wedding.

      I’m sure there were people at my wedding with whom I’ll lose touch. But if there was a friend there who very quickly after my wedding made it clear that they don’t consider me their friend (by not inviting me to their wedding, and it sounds like the not-friend in this story will try to get to the bottom of why, and will thus find out the true feelings), that would make me very sad and would taint part of my memories of the wedding. It seems kinder to let her down now, than on/very close to her actual wedding day.

      • ML

        Agreed. If I found out later that the majority of the friends at my wedding really didn’t like me, it would totally ruin my memories of the day. There is no taking back the past. If they all RSVPed no, that would hurt and I would be confused, but at least it would give me some time to process it, reflect on my behaviors, identify true friends, etc. before what is supposed to be a very joyous occasion.

        • Lian

          Yeah, exactly.
          By the way, I do feel like there are definitely situations where you attend someone’s wedding and don’t invite them to yours and it’s fine. But for me that only really makes sense if the size of the wedding is vastly different, or if there are other issues (maybe, eh… maybe the not-invited friend has a history with the groom’s brother and they can’t be in the same room and family trumps friendship) but even then I’d imagine an honest conversation between the friends where it is explained. Here an honest conversation would be: “I don’t like you. I think our friendship is toxic. You’re confrontational. I don’t count you among people I love. But I like our mutual friends so I’ll come to your party, ktxbye.”

          • KH_Tas

            I think the good Captain would be harder on the friends encouraging her to go to all the events and invite the not-friend than the letter writer, myself. After all they were the ones who came up with the idea of using the bachelorette as a reunion in the first place.

          • Lian

            That’s true, the letter writer’s initial choice of how to deal with it seems good and her intentions also seem good. Those friends though… Yeah, you’re right I think.

      • Lindsey d.

        Eh… I had a friend at my wedding who I thought I was closer to than I apparently was. I’ve now seen her once in the nine months since the wedding, although she has spent plenty of time with other mutual friends. We have kept inviting her and her husband to parties and events, but she consistently declines. It is clear that she doesn’t want to be friends. But in no way does that dampen the amazing wedding day we had.

        • Violet

          Just curious, if your guest had turned down the RSVP, would you have been able to invite someone else in her stead? I’m wondering from a logistical point of view, if it would be kinder for OP to let the bride have the chance to invite someone else (assuming it’s early enough, that the guest list size might be a constraint, etc.).

          • Lindsey d.

            Hmm… Maybe? There were a couple of people I left off the guest list who it ended up we would have had room for (even with this couple there). I wish I had invited them. If they had declined, perhaps I would have invited the other couple.

            In thinking about this more, I’m glad they came to the wedding. I think if they had declined before the wedding, I would have been more upset about it. I still don’t know what happened to our friendship except that another close friend who kind of bound us all together moved away and I’m pretty sure that my husband and I just aren’t cool enough for this couple. I certainly felt more upset about it earlier in the year, but now I’m over it and wish her well.

          • Violet

            Gotcha, thanks for your perspective!

    • KateS

      generally agree, but wanted to point out that i didn’t read her mentioning having talked to other friends in the group necessarily as “gossip”, more like she probably floated this same conundrum to them asking for advice or input, which I think is fair.

      but yeah, bottom line: if you don’t like the girl and can’t bring positivity and support for her on her wedding day or the related events, just don’t go. politely decline and move on with your life, distancing yourself from this person as needed to maintain sanity & happiness.

      • Amy March

        The parts that moved it to “gossip” from “getting advice” for me were the references to all her close friends agreeing. I can see wanting to talk this through with one person but getting a whole group in on this isn’t nice.

        • KateS

          yeah, I do see your point.

        • enfp

          Plus, the letter writer stated that “most people have a similar relationship to her that I do”, sounds like there’s a group of friends who all find this person toxic, who are in on this.

  • ML

    If you really do not want to be friends with this person anymore, it seems disingenuous to attend her wedding (or the other festivities). I don’t think it’s right to use those events as a convenient reunion for you and your friends, while everyone secretly or not so secretly resents or dislikes the host. If you can be happy for her and attend the wedding and related events in good will and spirits, then go. If not, I just don’t think it’s the kind thing to do.

    • Sarah E

      I agree. Using the host’s party as a reason for your own party (“we’re really all here to see each other, but pretending we’re here to celebrate the host”) isn’t a nice thing. If you don’t like her, don’t go, and like Liz said- no need for long justifications. “Thanks for the invite, but I can’t make it!” works fine.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Agree, agree, agree. She sucks, you hate her, so don’t go. Don’t use her wedding (or any of the ‘wedding events’ – ugh) to hang out with your buddies. Make up an excuse, send a cute card, and get your nails done that day instead.

    • emilyg25

      I was just going to come here and say this. It’s not cool.

    • NL

      I agree, liking the person or not, going to their event when the purpose is to shower said person in love and good wishes just to see your own friends, and not to participate is selfish at best. If you’re in the same town that the event will be held, set something up to see your friends the next day. It’s like going to a wedding and saying “I hate the couple, and I hope they don’t make it, but I want to drink their free booze and party.”

      It just feels gross

    • Jenny

      I agree with the sentiment, especially about being happy for the person being a reason to attend. I think you can have issues with someone and still wish them the best. I had some tumultuous events with friends and family that led to it being better for us not to be intimately involved in each other’s lives. But I certainly wish them well, and would gladly attend their wedding as a show of support and good will. I got the feeling that this is more of a friend demotion/ we are growing apart, rather than a total change of heart, but I suppose it depends on her true feelings, she states that she doesn’t feel malicious.

    • Lawyerette510

      Yep! I couldn’t agree more. This “all of my friends are encouraging me to go to all of her events. Their reasoning is that it will be a great way for us to see each other.” is the absolutely WRONG reason to go to someone’s wedding, shower or bachelorette. Go because you’re happy for her, go because you wish the couple the best, but don’t go because you want to see mutual friends.

      • MTM

        What if we replaced friends with family here? I think some of the reasons people go to family weddings they may not want to is to see family all together that they don’t usually get to see…I’m torn on this one.

        • Lawyerette510

          Fair enough point, but I think it comes down to one of those things were friends and family aren’t totally interchangeable. An invite to the huge wedding of the second cousin you’ve never really gelled with, but that you accept because sure you want her to be happy in her marriage and you’re pumped to see Aunt Dorthy who lives 5 time zones away is a very different (to me) than an invite from someone who you want to stop being friends and that your instinct is to decline but you’re considering going to because you want to see your friends.

          Additionally, I think there are times it’s crappy to go to a family member’s wedding. For instance if you and your dynamics with other attendees are likely to cause drama, or if you don’t actually support the marriage that is happening. I recently declined an invite to a cousin’s wedding because while I totally support the marriage, due to dynamics I had with another family member who was going, I didn’t want to risk shit erupting during someone’s wedding weekend.

    • Nell

      I think that being happy for someone is actually kind of a high bar for wedding attendance.

      I’ve attended at least one wedding where I was selfishly jealous of the couple the whole time, and at least one where I thought my friend was making a mistake with this marriage.

      Sometimes, you go to weddings regardless of whether it makes YOU happy – you go because you are a part of this person’s community, and being a part of a community sometimes means being inclusive of people who make you slightly uncomfortable.

      That said – if you can’t be civil, kind, generous, or participatory – then don’t go. But I would argue that opting out could be just as hurtful to the bride in question.

      • Jules

        “Happy for” is maybe a stretch. I’ve been to weddings in the past where I was not 100% behind the couple, BUT I was showing up to support the half of the couple (she was a good friend) and her decision. So…I’m not sure I was happy, per se, because I had some doubts. But i also knew that I loved her and trusted her judgment.

    • Ashley Peterson

      Absolutely. The emotional and financial drain of all this “pretending” does not seem worth it for someone you don’t like, aren’t related to, and don’t plan to stay friends with.

    • Lauren from NH

      I think a lot of people are getting at an idea of what it means to be a good wedding guest, so I am going to link to this old post about the dishes because it’s a classic!

      https://apracticalwedding.com/2012/07/how-planning-a-wedding-has-made-me-a-more-thoughtful-wedding-guest/

      If the link doesn’t work because DISQUS and I aren’t friends, search thoughtful wedding guest APW and you will get there ;)

    • Chaka ♥

      Couldn’t agree more. If you aren’t genuinely there to be happy for and celebrate her marriage, then do you both a favor and stay home. Free up the space for someone who actually does want to be there for her.

  • Anon

    I recently experienced a very similar situation with a very toxic woman who considers herself my “friend,” but with whom I’ve been limiting contact. I ended up going to her wedding but to none of the bachelorette parties or showers. I invited her to my wedding, but to none of the other stuff. We had a large wedding with lots of our mutual friends there, so I felt I had to invite her, given that she would know 40 other people there. In this case, I felt that there was high potential for toxic drama before the wedding if I did not invite her, and I wanted to avoid the drama and hurting her feelings. If we had been planning on a smaller wedding or had any concern about guest list numbers, she would have been the first to be taken off the guest list. It all turned out fine.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m a little surprised by Liz’s advice here. I agree with the other ladies advising against attending her wedding and its related “events.” After all, LW goes as far as to say: “Our relationship was so toxic that I have no intention of including her in any of my wedding stuff.”

  • NL

    While I agree that weddings are a “tit for tat” situation, if the LW goes to the wedding of the frenemy, I do think that by etiquette she should invite that person to her wedding. Given that the two of them are getting married closely in time to one another, I would have a hard time if someone was invited to my wedding and then got married say a month later, had a similarly large party and did not invite me….

    • TeaforTwo

      Meh…anyone who has planned a wedding knows how fraught the guest list process is. That standard may work for exchanging holiday cards or something, but there are just so many variables with a wedding. I’ve posted before about how my husband and I had 150 guests at our wedding, and because of the size of our families, were only able to invite three friends each. Our venue couldn’t accommodate more than 150 without breaking the fire code, and we couldn’t afford any of the larger venues available in our city. Besides which, once you get over 150 a wedding can start to feel HUGE.

      We have a lot of friends who couldn’t be included, and probably some of them were sad about it, but we just explained to everyone that it was “family only” and then everyone moved on with their lives.

      • NL

        True, I guess I mean, if I planned a wedding invited person X, and all of our mutual friends, A, B, C, D, etc… and then the next month X got married and A, B, C, D were all invited and I was not, I’d feel pretty crummy. I absolutely that each wedding is a different animal in and of themselves, but depending on how similar they are, the slight might be worse.

  • JD

    I have a friend from whom I have distanced myself considerably in the eight years since she was a bridesmaid at my first wedding. We are separated by about 1500 miles, which helps. She recently got engaged and I’m afraid she is going to ask me to be a bridesmaid. I don’t want to because we are no longer close, IMO, but she doesn’t have many other friends and so I think there’s a good chance she’ll ask. The other factor is that I am just not in a financial position to be a bridesmaid. I feel like I can’t say that, though, because she traveled to my destination wedding shortly after we were out of college and I know she wasn’t making much money. We’re in our early thirties now, and I should be financially stable, but because of my divorce, I’m just not. What can I say to her if she asks?

    • Amy March

      I’m sorry, I’m so so happy for you, but I’m not in a financial position to be a bridesmaid at the moment. [if true tell her you can’t wait to celebrate at the wedding].

      Her financial decisions 8 years ago don’t play a role.

      • Violet

        “Her financial decisions 8 years ago don’t play a role”
        Yes. We can’t make financial choices for ourselves based on how others make them for themselves. I have some friends who are freer with their money than I am, and some who are tighter with theirs than I am. I can’t adjust my spending/saving budget in accordance with who I’m with.
        JD, I know this feels like an awkward situation for you, but I think sometimes you gotta embrace the awkward.

        • JD

          Thank you both for the advice. I think the other worry I have is that my boyfriend is planning to propose over Christmas, and we’re already planning an elopement for the fall. I’m concerned enough about spending the money on our small ceremony and minimoon, but I’m afraid that she will see that I’m spending some $$ on my own wedding (which she doesn’t know is happening yet) and be upset. I suppose I can’t control that, though. And I also feel like I have other friends who would be totally reasonable about this, and I just don’t think she will be, and that’s part of why I hesitate telling her. She creates drama, and I’m realizing it’s causing me to think in circles.

          • Violet

            Sounds like her past reactions have been so unpleasant for you that they’ve shaped your current thinking and behavior. If you’re ready to let this relationship go, you really don’t have to give any justification. “I’m sorry, but I have to decline. I wish you the best” If she pushes, the vague-yet-true, “I just am not in a position to support you during this life event the way you should be supported. I really wish the best for you.” If she presses further, that’s when you do the only wish her well thing, “Like I said, I hope you have a spectacular day.” You’re right that you can’t control her reaction; that’s on her. But you don’t have to get swept into her reaction, either.
            But really: easier said than done!!!!

          • laddibugg

            uh, part of the reason you’re ‘not in a financial position to be a bridesmaid IS because YOU’RE going to be a bride (true or not) For all she knows your wedding money might come from parents or other family.

          • E

            If you have limited funds (who doesn’t), shouldn’t they go towards your wedding and not being a bridesmaid in someone else’s wedding? That’s not something anyone should get upset about… even if you were on great terms.

    • Jules

      Financial position and 1500 miles = easy out.

      “I’m so sorry, but I just don’t think I would be able to be the best bridesmaid possible right now because I’m having a tough financial year and am so far away. I’m so honored to be asked and happy to support you, but I will have to do it as a guest – I hope you understand.”

      I understand how you feel re:reciprocity, but we have to make each decision in the moment we’re currently living, not 8 years into the future! My MOH is also far away and we are in our early 20’s and neither of us has a ton of money. I feel guilty that she wants to come into town JUST to do wedding-y events or for my bachelorette, but then I remember that she is doing them because she wants to, not because she is obligated. And that is a gift I have to be gracious enough to accept! There is something about bridesmaids that feels very tit-for-tat, but your life circumstances and relationship have both changed.

      • JD

        Thanks for your input, Jules- I think that idea of “wanting to” vs “obligated to” is a great one, and definitely playing a role here. I really don’t want to be a bridesmaid, but I do somewhat feel obligated to be one- but you’re right, it doesn’t need to be tit-for-tat. I would like to attend her wedding as a guest (which would still involve a flight and hotel room, but I do want to celebrate with her)- I guess I’m also afraid if I decline to be a bridesmaid, she’ll not understand why I am willing to pay $xxx to attend, but not $xxxx to be in the bridal party.

        • Jules

          Let it goooo! Just because she was in yours 8 years ago and might have done a ton for you doesn’t mean you must be in hers. You have every actual “acceptable” excuse (geography, money, tough year emotionally) and don’t even have to delve into the more awkward stuff (you aren’t close anymore…).

          And only you will know this, but often the “what ifs” are WAY WORSE in my head than they turn out to be in real life. I was terrified of what people might say when I got engaged 14 months into my relationship. The truth? 100% of people were elated and if anyone has disagreed with it, they’ve kept it to themselves like a grown person. I was worried about hurting feelings when I chose to only have 2 MOHs and no true bridal party. And…it’s been fine.

          If your fears turn out to be well-founded – say, she starts drama over the fact that you’re putting money towards your OWN wedding rather than bridesmaid expenses for hers (um…this is perfectly fair, btw) – there is nothing you can do right now to control that, nor should guilt be the primary reason for accept a bridesmaid invite, so don’t try to think out every situation. I think you have done the right thing to mentally prepare an answer IF she asks.

      • Great advice Jules! Love the suggested conversation too, it makes it really clear, is supportive but firm too.

    • Nell

      Is she likely to offer to pay your way if you tell her it’s a financial thing? And if she did pay for you, how would that affect your feelings about being a bridesmaid?

      • JD

        I’m actually wondering if she may offer this. I’m not positive, but she’s a successful businesswoman and may have the funds to do so. If that’s true, I would accept (in part because I don’t think she has a lot of options, and I don’t want her to feel embarrassed), but feel guilty because 1) it’s her money and 2) kind of feel hypocritical because she’s just not my favorite person anyway. I truly am happy for her, and don’t mind being a second-degree kind of friend, but I find it sad if she really feels I’m one of her closest friends still. It’s to the point where I’m not even invested enough in the friendship to tell her how I feel about her.

        • Jules

          If you do, be sure you get a clear idea of what her expectations are. Maybe she will cover airfare to fly you in for any wedding events. Maybe she will offer to pay for your dress/hair/makeup/shoes/accessories and the hotel the night before the wedding, but expect you to host a shower and/or bachelorette party. And I would try to tactfully get an idea of how she plans on covering these things (would she buy your dress outright and have it mailed to you? would she make the reservation in your name? or would you just get reimbursed by her?).

          This is a tough situation. I know I would feel, though, that giving up control of my schedule/look by allowing someone else to pay would make me uncomfortable (especially as I try to plan my own wedding, and especially if I didn’t want to attend a pre-wedding event since “i can’t afford the airfare” isn’t a valid reason anymore). It’s kinda like when you accept financial contributions to help pay for your wedding – sometimes they come with strings and you’re better off trying to plan the event YOU want with your money. Using someone else’s can get sticky. It depends on the giver.

        • Nell

          I agree with Jules. Set up expectations in really clear terms, let her know what your restrictions are (in terms of time, money, and emotional energy) – and try not to worry too much until she asks! For all you know, she may decide not to have attendants at all!

  • Natalie

    I understand the sentiments of many of the comments – if you don’t want to be friends with her anymore, don’t go to her wedding. And I think in some cases, that’s the best course of action. But if you were friends, and you still care about her and are happy for her, but just need to distance yourself from her because she’s toxic…. well, maybe you can go to her wedding and invite her to yours, but not all the other stuff. Someone she believes to be a friend not showing up to her wedding may be more hurtful than drifting apart after said wedding. I think this decision should depend on exactly the sort of relationship you have. It may be kinder to go to her wedding, be genuinely happy for her, celebrate with her, and then move on with little drama and no confrontations. There’s more potential for toxic interactions at smaller gatherings like showers and bachelorette parties, so for your own emotional protection it makes sense not to attend those events or invite her to yours. I do think going to her wedding-related parties just to hang out with your mutual friends and not to celebrate her is rude and hurtful. Only go if you truly want to celebrate with her.

  • Sara

    I have a similar-but-opposite problem. A couple years ago, my best friend and I got into a really big fight. She got engaged shortly after, and is getting married next May. We’ve slowly begun repairing our relationship and she’s invited me to her wedding (yay!). But now I just found out my favorite cousin is getting married the same day in a different state. I don’t know how to decline her wedding without totally firebombing our friendship but I’d much rather go to my cousin’s wedding. Neither has actually sent invites, but her wedding has been set for a year already and I knew the date first.

    • Sarah

      The best you can do is frame it as an obligation…We had the same thing happen with a very close friend-couple of ours, where we knew their wedding date way in advance, but my fiance’s half sister scheduled her wedding on that same weekend, so now we can’t go. They understand, but are sad we can’t make it now. We’d actually rather go to this couple-friend’s wedding because of reasons, but…family, ya know?

    • Juliet

      I understand your dilemma, but I actually think the solution to this one is pretty straight forward- just be totally honest with your friend.

      “I am so sorry, but my close cousin is getting married on the same day. You know how tight my family is, and I really need to be there. A family wedding is the only reason I would miss your wedding- please know how disappointed I am.”

      • Sara

        As much as I try to sell it, she’s going to be mad/disappointed. And I’m not totally sure she’ll forgive me since she’s a grudge holder.

        • Amy March

          Oh well? If she’s going to refuse to be your friend because you have a family wedding the same day as hers there’s really not much else to do here.

        • I think family events > friend events is pretty much a default (at least in my family.) It’s understandable that she’s mad, but most people in the same boat would probably have to go to the family wedding. Maybe you can let your friend know you’d still like to be involved in whatever pre-wedding events, and promise to call/text her the day of so that she knows you still care a lot about her wedding day?

        • Beth

          While feeling disappointed – even a little irrationally mad – would be a totally normal reaction, if she’s actually going to hold a grudge about that, it may be worth examining if this is a friendship really worth salvaging. But at least let it play out; she may surprise you in how she handles it.

        • K.

          Disappointed is normal; mad not so much. It’s not like you are maid of honor or had even committed to being a bridesmaid (which *would* complicate things a bit more). But having multiple weddings on one weekend is just sort of what happens in life. If she doesn’t get that, then she’s setting herself up for many more mad/disappointed feelings in her life than is strictly necessary.

          But I get that your friendship is already on precarious ground, so there may not be that same room to level with her like you would a normal close friend. I sympathize with that!

    • Emily

      I had a similar problem with a friend/family wedding situation and I went to the family wedding, but made plans with the friend for dinner to celebrate with her on her own. it ended up being a a few weeks after the wedding and she showed me proofs of the pictures and bitched about her aunts big wedding day drama and we split a bottle of wine and it was all good. Oh and I still got her a nice gift. If you frame as ‘I can’t be there to celebrate with you on your day, but I still want to find a way to celebrate your marriage,’ then you can make up for a lot of hurt feelings.

  • emfish

    I think it really depends how toxic the relationship is. The word “frenemy” raises a red flag for me — that indicates that this isn’t merely a friendship the letter writer has outgrown. It indicates animosity. When I think of frenemies, I think of people who maintain a toxic relationship because they get a perverse satisfaction (but also a lot of pain) from seeing and interacting with a rival on a regular basis. “Frenemy” indicates competition and jealousy. And the last thing people who are competitive and prone to jealousy should do is attend one another’s weddings in a short span of time.

    The writer should ask herself whether she will even be able to enjoy the shower or the bachelorette, and should consider that when she attends them, she will be in the midst of planning her own wedding. I remember attending the absolutely wonder wedding of a genuine, non-toxic, wonderful friend just a few months before my own wedding. I had a great time, I was so happy for my friend and her new husband, I was honored to have been included. And in the back of my mind, I felt little pangs about the fact that my friend had had the budget to get a high-end lace dress and fill her venue with flowers. If I hadn’t been so happy for my friend? If our relationship was based on rivalry or a toxic dynamic, instead of joy and shared happiness? That would not have been a little pang.

    It’s not right to attend the wedding of someone unless you really do feel happy for them, and if you consider them an enemy with whom you fake a friendship, I have a hard time believing you feel happy for them. Likewise, why would you want to subject yourself to that toxicity during your own wedding? To me the answer here seems clear, unless the writer is tossing around words like frenemy and “pretend” friend a lot more casually than I would.

  • AJ

    If you’re “too old to play pretend”, then just don’t go. It sounds like you’re interested in attending the wedding solely for “a good party”, and that’s not what it means to be guest of a sacred union between two individuals.

  • Is it maybe time to just break up with your friend?

    • Erin

      Clean breaks are less hurtful than prolonged bridal party drama.

  • Erin

    I hope I am not hijacking tbe convo here, but I fear a friend may have treated me this way at my own wedding last month and my story might help the LW see things from her “frenemy’s” perspective. …I have a friend who in retrospect I probably should not have asked to be in my bridal party because she flakes out on plans about 50% of the time, citing work, not feeling well or forgetting she’d already made plans. I thought everything was fine when she attended my shower, bachelorette and rehearsal dinner, but at 6 am on my wedding day I get a text from her husband from her phone saying she has been throwing up all night and he’s taking her to the hospital. She texted me 2 days later saying she was so sorry and was devastated she missed it and we made plans for her and her husband to come over for a “make up celebration” dinner. …To make a long story a little shorter, she pushed that dinner back too, citing work, but then I saw a Facebook status indicating she’d gone to a party that night. (The post vanished soon after I saw it.) I have always felt we had a strong friendship but am really starting to distrust her. If she hadn’t wanted to continue our friendship or been involved in the wedding, I would much have preferred to deal with the fallout months ago rather than have it put a dent in my memories of my wedding day. I bet the LW’s friend would feel the same.

  • One thing I am learning as I get older is to trust my gut. If I was in your position, and I felt that I didn’t actually want to go to the wedding and associated events, I wouldn’t go. That way you avoid the drama, and avoid the ‘but you came to mine, why aren’t I invited to yours?’, even if that’s not the way you see things yourself.

    I am also learning that it’s time to cut ties with people who don’t give as much as they get in a friendship, and I think this is also where you’re headed! Hope it works itself out.

  • cupcakemuffin

    I think “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a pretty good guide here. If you had a wedding invitee who had all these horrible mean feelings about you, would you really want them at all of your events? I certainly would NOT. So, do your friend the favor of treating her in a way you would wish to be treated.

  • Jasmyn Elliott

    Trust your gut and save yourself the torture of being somewhere you genuinely don’t want to be. There’s no sense in ensuring what will be a highly awkward and uncomfortable situation for someone you truly don’t care for. Be fair to yourself first.

  • isla

    I was in a similar situation a few years ago when a woman I was fairly certain I wanted to break ties with (who had formerly been one of my closest friends) got married. I knew I was probably going to get engaged very shortly after her wedding (which I did), and I also knew that I definitely didn’t want her at my wedding. I tried to back out of attending her wedding by being vague and citing financial reasons, but after she harangued me about it I ended up going. And I REALLY wish I hadn’t gone. I had an awful time, with such a guilty feeling in my gut from knowing I was being disingenuous to both her and myself.

    In retrospect I think I only went because I was too afraid of having a break-up conversation with her, but of course we ended up having that conversation anyway, when she realized she wasn’t invited to my wedding. And my going to her wedding certainly didn’t spare her feelings, either–she told me during our break-up conversation how hurt she’d been that I didn’t seem very happy at her wedding, which made me feel even worse. It probably would have been better for both of us if I’d just sucked it up and been truthful to begin with. If it’s going to be awful at some point, I’d say that it’s better to get the awful over with.

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  • AC

    Although I don’t think you should pretend with friends, if you are going to her wedding (though just to be with other friends), you should definitely invite her to yours. I am going through a similar situation with a frenemy who was friends with my beau before me. I tried to become friends with her before he and I even started dating but it just didn’t work out – and originally when I thought she was going to be a bridesmaid I decided I wouldn’t be happy with her in the party period. She’s being invited to the engagement party (because she’s his friend) and wedding only. Not inviting her to the bachelorette party or bridal shower as when my friend tried to plan a surprise wedding planning party for me she flaked. She’s clearly not interested.