Q: I’m in a real pickle, you guys. I got engaged last October and am getting married in November of next year. My future sister-in-law got engaged exactly one week after I did, and right away people were dropping “hilarious” hints that we should have a joint wedding. She set her date and is getting married next June. She had mentioned the idea of us having a joint bridal shower, and at first I thought, no problem. I live out of state, and it would be easiest for her and both of our families who all live in the same area to get together at the same time. However, I am starting to get nervous about the idea. I can sense a little bit of competition from her, and I don’t want to complicate things. (For example? I tried on wedding dresses with my future mother-in-law, who later went wedding dress shopping with my future sister-in-law, and she “jokingly” sent me a text of her wearing the dress I’d had my eye on. Rude.) Please help… I don’t want to be bullied, or lose the spotlight.
A: Dear Anonymous,
I feel you lady. (Though, full disclosure: that dress photo sounds exactly like a really awkward and poorly timed joke that I’d make myself.)
Dealing with competitive friends is sort of like one of those little paper finger traps. The harder you pull, the more you get stuck. If she’s shoving you out of the way, shoving her back will only make things worse. Your best bet is to make it super clear that you are in no way trying to compete with her for center stage. Express concern that she’s going to have her super special magical day. Check in with her about the details of her wedding, making sure there’s no problematic overlap. If you emphasize that you want to make sure she’s front and center for her own wedding things, she won’t feel the need to elbow her way there.
Meanwhile, in your own head, set some boundaries for what will make you feel like you’re missing out. Sharing a shower might not be it (it’s actually pretty awkward to be the focal point of those things), but maybe it is. Maybe you want a room of only your own friends and loved ones. That’s fair. Your weddings are far enough apart that you can have two separate days without it being a redundant or super inconvenient for loved ones invited to both. Think broader, though. Besides the shower, where else can you mentally draw a line? The double shower idea was sprung on you and you agreed before you had a chance to process—there’s a possibility that might happen again. What would you be okay with sharing, and what’s off limits?
It feels sort of weird to be planning a wedding at the same exact time, but it’s not that unusual. There’s often a bit of overlap with friends or family who are all in sort of the same life place. Last year, I was a guest at six (six!) different weddings and saw a bunch of the same guests at each, but each wedding was unique and special. Once all of this planning stuff is done, your wedding will be your wedding, no matter how competitive she chooses to be.
Team Practical, how do you avoid needless wedding competition?
If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: 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!