What Can I Do to Make up for Missing My Best Friend’s Wedding?

AAPW: I really love her, but have to put my needs first.

two women dancing together

Q: My best friend is getting married in Mexico… in seven weeks. This decision for her to get hitched in Mexico certainly hinged on my (maid of honor) ability to go. Of course I agreed. Sand, sun, booze, food, count me in!

Then I got pregnant.

But totally fine right? I had to get a bigger dress size and bigger bathing suits, but there will still be lots of sand, sun, and food (minus the booze). Except, now there’s a virus transmitted by mosquitos called Zika that’s currently making its way through Mexico. This particular virus is extremely bad for pregnant women and may be causing fetal deformities.

I can wear all the bug spray I want, but if a mosquito wants my delicious blood, there’s nothing I can do to stop him. Doctors are advising pregnant women avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico until more information arises. So that begs my question: How do I break it to my girl that I can’t be there for her wedding? She’ll immediately hit heart-broken status.

—Ashley

A: Dear Ashley,

I totally mean this in the nicest way possible but girl: I do not envy the position you’re in. On one hand, your BFF basically planned the timing and location of her wedding around whether you can make it… and on the other, you’re pregnant and Zika is no joke.

I think, though, that your only viable option is pretty clear. You’re going to have to bail on the wedding. If your BFF is as close to you as it sounds, she should totally understand. After all, it’s not like you’re bouncing out because you don’t like the color of your dress and the weather in Mexico. You have a legitimate health concern and obligation to both yourself and your fetus, and stuff like that takes precedence. I think the real question isn’t about whether or not you go to the wedding, but what you should be thinking about doing when your friend gets home.

Without further ado, I present to you my quick and easy guide to making up it up to your BFF when you miss her destination wedding (and it’s not your fault):

Skype in the day of the wedding

Something that’s great about living in 2016 is that technology is awesome. Even if you can’t be at the wedding physically, between all the apps and programs out there, you can totally be there virtually. Have another friend set up their computer with Skype or a similar program, set an alarm for the time difference, and get ready to plug in and watch your BFF get married in Mexico. Sure, you won’t have the sun on your face, and you won’t be standing right there, but you also won’t be getting eating by possibly Zika transmitting mosquitoes.

when she gets back, make it all about her

Once your friend is back from the trip, give her a few days to recuperate and then head over to her place. If you guys are super tight, it’s likely you’ll have already picked a date and time while she was still in Mexico (or even before she left). Bring over a snack she loves and start with the questions: How was the wedding? Was the weather okay? Did everyone have a great time? Were there any standout moments, emotional happenings, or funny kid moments? What did she love the most? Was there anything she didn’t like? And so on. Let her talk, talk, talk. Spend some time gushing over the hashtagged photos on Instagram, ooh and aah over the sneak peeks her photographer might have posted, and enjoy.

You’ll have already apologized half a dozen times for missing the wedding in the first place, so there’s no reason to make it about you or how sorry you still are. Just enjoy her happiness and everything that happened.

plan a post wedding party

Okay, so, this one obviously is dependent on your energy levels (early pregnancy can be a bitch), but if you’re feeling up to it, plan a post-wedding party for when the couple returns. Since you missed out on all the day-of celebrating, it might be fun to meet up with a few friends on the couple’s one-month anniversary. Everyone can dance and sing and celebrate them all over again—and this time, you’ll get to be there. If you’re close friends with the bride, you’re probably also close friends with many of the other guests, so it’ll be fun to hang out with everyone.

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