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What Do I Say to the Couple Who Didn’t Say Thank You?

We worked really hard—and she went out of her way to thank other people

Q:Dear APW,

My very close friend just got married, and asked (expected?) two other friends and myself to do some very big jobs (photography, makeup, day-of coordination) for free on the day of the wedding. We did it, because we love her and know her budget was small (although, the groom’s family paid for several big ticket elements and it was only a cocktail reception with partially open bar, so I feel like maybe a professional could have been sprung for for some jobs, but I don’t know!). During the reception, my friend, her mother, and the groom all stood up individually and gave thank yous to various people: the groom’s family for traveling, the bridesmaids (immediate family of the bride) for showing up, the bride’s sister (not a bridesmaid) for making a cake, a friend for officiating, the staff at the venue, and… not us. There was even more salt in the wound when later in the evening, the bride went around handing out thank you cards and the three of us were again forgotten!

I understand that it is easy to not see the forest for the trees on your wedding day, and she probably had a million things on her mind, but it really hurt! Is it worth addressing with her? It’s not like she can publicly thank us now.

Two of the three of us are getting married in the next few years (the other is already married and we were all bridesmaids at her wedding—we worked for that one too, but also were thanked and acknowledged, and it was a lot of fun). I’d like to think I would make sure that my nearest-and-dearest feel appreciated if they help me out on my own wedding day. I’ve always wanted a big bridal party, but obviously I’m feeling pretty resentful of this particular friend in relation to weddings. She would definitely be confused if she wasn’t one of my bridesmaids (and normally, she’d 100% be one), so is it better to have this all come out now rather than then? Or is letting it go the only real option?

—Anonymous

A:

Dear Anonymous,

Ouch. I can see why that would sting. That’s a major oversight.

You’re right, she can’t go back and publicly thank you now. But is that really what would fix it? This isn’t about being publicly acknowledged, it’s about knowing your friend appreciates you and your hard (free!) work. Tell her you were hurt that she didn’t seem to appreciate how much you did for her. Give her the chance to apologize. That alone is worth it, and can be very healing even though there’s no time machine.

Also, you know, you call her “very close” and there’s this sort of lovely (but sometimes not) thing that can happen with the people closest in your life, where your appreciation for them becomes a given. Of course you’re grateful for them. It’s expected that they already know. My mom would be offended if I sent her a thank you card for taking me out to lunch, for example. We’re closer than that. There’s a point where your closeness is comfortable enough to seemingly preclude the formality of, well, manners. And sometimes that goes too far, sometimes our affection, our gratitude needs to be voiced. Sometimes the “taken as a given” slips into “taken for granted.”

That’s why this conversation would be so great. There’s a pretty good chance she really appreciates what you did for her, and did a crappy job of showing it (which she can fix by clarifying now). If not, she can at least be better about appreciating you in the future. And just voicing your hurt might be all you need to let it go.

If nothing else, it’s worth a try before making dramatic changes to your friendship.

—Liz Moorhead

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