Can I Fire My Maid Of Honor Right Before The Wedding?

I think I don't like her anymore

Q:DEAR AMY,

My maid of honor is my best friend of fifteen years. We have always had a very close friendship and even briefly “dated” as teenagers who were more curious than anything.

I have been with my fiancé for three years, known him for twelve. Our wedding is coming up fast, in the next fifty days or so, and I’ve noticed a huge change in my MOH. She has become increasingly jealous over anyone else I hang out with, guilts me into canceling plans, and makes up little white lies for no reason other than to coax me into something. I feel like it’s because she knows we are growing apart. Our differences are starting to outnumber what we have in common, we butt heads all the time, and her husband and my fiancé play nice, but don’t get along.

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Is My Friend Trying to Get out of Being a Bridesmaid?

She recently lied to me about the status of her dress. She said she ordered it on time months ago, but didn’t. She blamed it on the dress company when she discovered the color needed wasn’t ready to ship in her size. She told me they called her a week before it was due in, saying they couldn’t make it that big in that one color, but another color would be fine. I called the store and found out that she lied, because the order was never placed.

I haven’t said anything because I hate to confront people, and she always has a lie to cover up for her lies. She hadn’t been active in anything for the wedding, other than commenting on other people’s ideas and giving a bridesmaid money for planning my entire shower. It’s things like this that are building up, and I’m pretty sure I want our friendship to be over. I think you know where I’m going with this…. Do I leave her as maid of honor in spite of the fact that I’m sure in a year we will be those people who strictly run into each other at Target?

—missing friend

A:Dear missing friend,

I’m sorry your friendship isn’t in a great place right now. Weddings have a way of both making things harder than they usually are, and of making the regular ups and downs of friendship feel much more critical and important.

That being said, I don’t think you should kick your maid of honor out of the wedding. That’s a really final dramatic step that should only be taken in extreme circumstances. It’s incredibly hurtful to her, it’s disruptive to you, and your other friends are going to have feelings about it. Yes, things are not ideal, but they may be a little better than you think.

First of all, that long ago maybe dating thing you had going on? I feel like you’re pointing that out to paint a picture of her as jealous. Obviously I have no way of knowing that’s true, but maybe it is? And if part of what’s going on is a kind of complicated mess of feelings where she’s happy for you, and also happily married herself, but also a bit wistful and also maybe saying goodbye to a possibility she didn’t know she wanted, then I think she deserves your compassion for those feelings. That’s a hard thing, and she still is showing up for you, however imperfectly.

The thing is, there are two of you in this friendship, and I’m not sure you are doing your part to make it work for you. You say she guilts you into canceling plans. That’s actually a you problem—why are you letting her? Both to preserve your own happiness generally, and this friendship specifically, you need to work on your boundaries. “Nope, can’t do thing with you because I already have plans, talk soon, bye.” “I hear you’re upset, but I had plans and I can’t drop everything else in my life.” If she were writing in, I’d absolutely tell her to quit it with the guilt trips and white lies, but she isn’t, and you can do a lot more to stop that interfering with your life before taking the nuclear step of kicking her out of your wedding.

As for everything else, let’s run through the list:

  • Why does it matter that your fiancé and her husband don’t get along? They play nice. That’s like 85 percent of adult life. You play nice with people because it is important for whatever reason you do so, and once you are older than three, throwing sand at people doesn’t go over well.
  • When you say she hasn’t been active in anything, but also she helped pay for the shower and is trying to get you to cancel plans with other people to spend more time with her, I have to head tilt a little.  Because yes, she may not be active in the ways you would like her to be, but she is showing up.

My advice? Keep her as your maid of honor, because I think there is potential here for this friendship to be saved. And even if you are 100 percent right and it won’t be, you’re still stuck with your choices. I’ll give you one out though—I’m genuinely confused by all the litany of dress details. I have no clue if she has the dress or if it is possible for her to get the dress. If she can’t get the dress, and matching dresses is important to you, and it’s her fault she can’t get the dress, sure, you can tell her, “Hey, I don’t know what’s going on, but you can’t stand up with me at the wedding without the dress.” That’s just a standard part of the deal.

But outside of that? I think you give this long-term important friendship time to recover on the other side of the wedding, when both of you will have less feelings to deal with. And if it doesn’t recover, that’s also not the end of the world. Wedding pictures are full of wedding party members who people lost touch with in the many years after the wedding. It’s fine. Wedding photos are memories of how your life was then, not predictions of how your life will always be.

—Amy March

HAVE A WEDDING QUESTION?
EMAIL ME: AMYMARCH [AT] APRACTICALWEDDING [DOT] COM.

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