Can I Make My Sister Keep Her Promise to Help with My Wedding?


From MOH to MIA

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

woman drinking coffee at train station

Q: My sister and I used to be close. We used to go out to dinners together, go to shows to see our favorite local bands, and I considered her to be not only my sister but my best friend. A few years ago, things started to change in our relationship. We would only hang out when it was on her schedule or something she wanted to do, she started telling a lot of little lies for no known reason, and she was just generally acting incredibly selfish/self-important. She stopped making an effort to come to extended family get-togethers, weddings, etc., because she was always too busy. (By the way, we have a huge extended family and our get-togethers are so much fun, so it always bummed me out when she couldn’t/wouldn’t make time to be a part of things.) I, maybe wrongly so, chalked all of this up to her being in her early twenties and figuring herself out.

When my fiancé and I got engaged about a year ago, she was naturally my pick for maid of honor. Despite how our relationship has changed, she’s my sister, and I wanted her by my side on my wedding day. Fast-forward to today, three months from our wedding, and she’s completely cut my family out of her life, for no known reason. She hasn’t seen or talked to my parents since midsummer last year, despite their multiple attempts to see or get in touch with her. She just doesn’t seem to care. At all. I have minimal contact with her, by her choice—for every three messages I send her I’m lucky if she responds to me once, and it’s been almost two months since the last time I’ve heard from her. I’ve tried every way I can to reach out to her. I’ve tried just being a friend; I’ve tried being honest and telling her how she’s affecting people. I’ve flat-out asked her if she’s still planning on being in the wedding. (Because although this is a much bigger issue than whether or not she’s going to be in my wedding, it still adds a lot of stress to the planning process not knowing if you even have a maid of honor or what your family dynamics are going to be like on that day. By the way, her answer was yes.)

I wish we could just yell at each other, lay everything out on the table, and figure out how to start piecing our relationship and family back together. But she’s not yelling or fighting for this relationship. She’s not saying anything. And I feel like I don’t have any more energy to give until she can make some kind of effort toward us. She’s my sister, she’s supposed to be my maid of honor, and I don’t even know if she’s going to show up. Right now I’m so hurt and angry with the way she has been treating people that I don’t even know if I want her in the wedding anymore. But I also don’t want to drive the wedge deeper or sever whatever ties may be left from her standpoint.

I’ve told her that we need to talk through these things and that she needs to see our parents before the wedding, because there is no way I need a bunch of drama on our wedding day. There’s only room for love and positive energy surrounding us that day! And I know if she doesn’t show up, my parents are going to be devastated, my mom’s going to be crying all day (not tears of joy), and there’s going to be a huge cloud hanging over everything. Plus, if I have to deal with looks of pity from everyone who knows what’s going on or hear people ask all night where my sister is, I am definitely going to have a meltdown. I’m already super emotional about this issue, and tears surface every time someone brings the subject up. I can only imagine what a mess I’ll be on our already emotionally charged wedding day.

So I need some advice. Do I give her more time and hope she comes around? Do I give her a deadline to get her dress and her act together or she’s not in the wedding? Do I continue to invest my time and energy into a relationship where I’m literally getting nothing positive in return? How do I help my parents deal with it if she doesn’t show up on our wedding day? Already, every time I see them, they ask if I’ve talked to her, and all I can say is “No, because she’s not willing to make any kind of effort,” and then I feel bad, as if I’m hurting them all over again. I know there’s not an easy answer here, but any advice or suggestions you have would be appreciated!

—Anonymous

A: Dear Anonymous,

Well, you’re not hurting your parents. Your sister is. I get that it hurts you to see them hurt, but make sure you’re not mistakenly taking the blame here.

When a person is dropping the ball on their loved ones, it’s usually because they’re going through their own rough time. This is especially true when it’s uncharacteristic (which is what it sounds like here). This stuff with your sister sounds worse than garden-variety selfishness. When you first noticed these changes in her, you originally chalked it all up to “being in her early twenties and figuring herself out,” but a lot of garbagey things happen to women in their early twenties. Not to alarm you, but maybe it’s time to consider if she’s been through something traumatic, is on some kind of substance, is hanging around with a toxic partner, or is struggling with her mental and emotional health.

At the very least, considering other issues that might be at play could take the sting out of this, and redirect your frustration into compassion (if you can muster it). Instead of going to her in anger, try calling her to say, “Hey, this isn’t like you; is something going on that you need to talk about? Is there some way I can help you?” Maybe you’ve already tried that route. Maybe it’ll get you right back to square one. But there’s a chance it’ll break that cycle of distance, anger, more distance, more anger. I know for sure there have been times when I’ve been a jerk, and having someone point out, “This isn’t like you,” made me feel heard and understood.

Otherwise, it’s time to start recalibrating your expectations. It’s a difficult tension to master, but the ideal is to be strong in your boundaries, while also soft to the possibility of her coming back around. That may look like no longer reaching out, but staying open to responding when she (hopefully, finally) reaches for you. Boundaries that protect you but don’t block the person out completely are best, if you can figure out a way to do that.

One way may be to set that deadline you mentioned. Reach out to her, see if you can find out if something is going on, and if you get nowhere, set a deadline for her to get her dress and get in touch. You do have a wedding to plan, after all. If that deadline passes and your sister just isn’t in the wedding, make sure your mom knows in advance and can prepare herself for the possibility that she may not arrive at all. You can’t prevent anyone from feeling terribly on your wedding day, but you can brace yourself and your mom.

It might help to know that even the best weddings have crappy low points. Admittedly, your sister skipping and making your mom cry isn’t the same as a melting cake or the band mispronouncing your name. But many other awesome ladies before you have endured very hard times at weddings. I hope you, too, can find some joy and love in the rest of the day.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTIONPLEASE DON’T BE SHY! IF YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO 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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  • Lisa

    Oh, LW, my heart breaks for you. I have two sisters that I count as my best friends as well, and I can’t imagine the situation you’re in. Liz’s advice is really good; my first thought was also that something had happened either in the sister’s personal life or between her and a member of the family. I hope that she’ll allow you into her life enough to find out the cause of the estrangement so that you can at least repair your own relationship.

    • Keri

      Agreed. When you look at a person’s pattern of behavior and are so mystified by it that the only conclusion you can draw it “There’s no reason for it!” that usually means, there’s definitely a reason for it. Best of luck with this, whatever the cause ends up being.

      • scw

        “When you look at a person’s pattern of behavior and are so mystified by it that the only conclusion you can draw it ‘There’s no reason for it’!’ that usually means, there’s definitely a reason for it.”

        well put.

  • Mrrpaderp

    The tone of LW’s letter has a lot of frustration about the fact that sister isn’t doing what she’s “supposed” to be doing. If that’s how LW and her family have been approaching sister, then it’s not that shocking that sister isn’t receptive. Scolding an adult about the fact that they’re not living up to your expectations for them doesn’t exactly give them the warm and fuzzies.

    Clearly something is going on with sister – maybe a family member assaulted her, maybe she has a controlling SO, maybe she’s struggling with her sexuality/gender/religious/cultural/etc. identity and she doesn’t know how to talk to her family about that; it could be a million things. Getting her to open up means creating a safe space for her to do it. Liz’s advice is aimed at doing that.

    In the meantime, Liz is right, LW has to adjust her expectations. But just because you’re not as close with your sister as you were 5 years ago doesn’t mean you won’t be that close again 5 years from now. All longterm relationships have an ebb and flow. Learn to accept where you are today but keep an open heart to where you hope to be in the future. Also, if you really need to get in touch with someone, don’t rely on text. CALL her! See her in person if you can. Don’t leave anything important up to texting or email.

  • Eenie

    Liz’s advice is spot on. If you have other people in the bridal party, give them a heads up now if you need them to step up in any way. Even if it is just getting people to shut the eff up about your missing sister on your wedding day.

  • AmandaBee

    This is so rough – I know how rough having someone not show up for you when you’ve asked them to can be, although in my case it is completely characteristic of them. I can’t imagine how hurt you must be, and it’s important to acknowledge that you’re not to blame here for anything.

    I also appreciate that Liz mentioned the possibility of something larger going on here. Sudden changes like this, especially when someone goes from seemingly really enjoying their family and being really connected/engaged to not at all, usually signal a much larger problem. It could be a specific event, like an abusive partner or an addiction causing her to become isolated from her family. Or if could be something like depression/anxiety making it difficult to be in those large family gatherings. Either way, she may not even realize herself what’s going on. Because it sounds like you’re close, regardless of what happens with the wedding, I would try to reach out every now and then to offer support. I know that’s incredibly hard, and that you’re hurt, but it may be the lifeline your sister needs if something is going on.

    In the meantime, decide what you can put up with. Liz’s advice is spot on if you need to know ahead of time how things will go – give her a deadline, and let her make that decision. But if you can, present that to her gently (“I’d really love for you to be in the wedding but it seems like you might not be into it. Can you let me know by X date?”) rather than heaping on guilt (which, if it’s a personal or mental health issue, will make things worse). And, if you’re okay with it, let her know that she CAN back out of the MOH position and still go to the wedding. Depending on what’s going on with her, maybe the idea of being a MOH is just too much right now.

    As someone with funky family dynamics, I will add there is also some value in just making space for people knowing full well that they might not show. I have a sister who likely won’t show up at my wedding. I’ve told her that I will save a spot for her just in case. She’s not someone I would rely on in my wedding party, but I plan to RSVP and pay for her just in case she decides to come along last minute. I’d rather do that than have to tell her that she can’t come. That may not work for everyone, but it’s one way I’ve learned to manage my less dependable family members.

  • Violet

    So much to unpack here. As usual, Liz beautifully summarizes the major points.
    LW, if you were my friend asking me what to do, I’d make a plea for some flexibility. In your expectations, your hopes, your fears, and your ideas of how people in your life will handle themselves. I know you’re frustrated with your sister, but she doesn’t “need” to do anything, not really. You’ve already tried laying down the law with her, and it didn’t help. At this point, try to be more flexible in your expectations of her. You asked if she’s coming, she’s coming. That’s the new expectation. You say that there can’t be drama at your wedding, but most weddings have at least some level of drama. Really, truly. You say there won’t be room for any emotions outside of joy, but try to be flexible here, too. You may feel nostalgic, or wistful, or anxious on your wedding day. All of those feelings can show up to weddings, even when they didn’t get an invite. You also have a very clear, very narrow idea of what will happen if she doesn’t show. Yes, your mom may be devastated about that. But she will also be so excited you are getting married. We have words like “bittersweet” to show how you can feel multiple things at the same time.
    Be as gentle and flexible as you can. With your sister (who I think is pretty clearly going through something right now), and also with yourself and your thoughts.

    • Lisa

      These are such good points. I just wanted to add that Sheryl Paul’s The Conscious Bride discusses all of the feelings that we can have through the wedding planning process as well as on the wedding day, so if anyone is interested in delving deeper into the idea that not everything has to be happy!! all of the time, it might be a good starting point.

  • cupcakemuffin

    I want to comment on a couple of pieces here. First, your wedding day not being 100% joyful/having sad elements. A close family member (not a parent/sibling, but someone we were both close to) passed away a few days before our wedding, which was of course really sad in and of itself, and also meant that some other family members (that person’s immediate family) were not able to come. Obviously this is something neither of us would have wanted/planned for our wedding, but you can’t control these things. Our wedding day was still beautiful and full of joy and we celebrated/remembered this person both formally during the ceremony and informally throughout the day. I realize this is a different situation than a death, but I just want to reassure you that even having something very tragic happen does not mean that your wedding with be ruined. It may look different than what you envisioned, but you do have time to plan for contingencies and prepare yourself emotionally.

    Second, people going through shit in their 20s (well, really anytime in life!). A lot of how you describe your sister’s behavior sounds like a good friend I had who was involved in an abusive relationship…the little lies, becoming isolated from her support system, acting in ways that seem to make no sense from the outside. Obviously it is impossible to diagnose anything over the Internet, especially since everything we know about your sister’s behavior is coming to us second hand. But I would definitely keep your mind and heart open that there could be more here than meets the eye. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone whose personality/actions completely shifted on a dime like this and there was literally no explanation (even if it took time for me to find out what that was).

    • Sosuli

      Thank you for this. I’m not the LW but our wedding is in just over a week and it looks like FH’s grandmother may pass before then. I needed this reminder that the wedding can still be beautiful.

  • Cellistec

    When I read this, my first though was literally, “Wait, did I write this years ago and send it in and forget about it?” LW, you’re not alone: my sister did the same thing. I didn’t assign her any tasks; she did show up for the wedding, but she hid in the bathroom instead of giving her maid of honor speech. So it was a mixed bag. I wish I had some pithy advice, but really it turned out to be a waiting game. She laid low for about a year, and is only now starting to come to family gatherings again.

    On a practical note (because it IS APW, after all), my husband’s brother didn’t ghost during our wedding planning, but he did completely shirk all his best man duties, to the point that we didn’t know if certain important things were going to get done in time. After much discussion and angst, our solution was to ask my husband’s best friend to be “co-best man” for our wedding. It hurt my brother-in-law’s feelings to be “demoted,” but at least the friend was willing to step up and carry out the tasks we needed done. So there was kind of a “ceremonial” best man (the brother) and a “working” best man (the friend). Maybe this is an option?

  • s

    First thought that popped into my head was depression, honestly. It’s so, so hard to muster up the energy – so you just don’t. But now you’ve disappointed your sister, who’s texting you, and you need to apologize, but talking out it is going to take more emotional presence than you’ve had in weeks, so you just … don’t say anything, because that’s easier.
    Whatever the issue, LW might want to see a therapist to help her deal with some of this anger and frustration before it triggers her into doing something that really will end any chance at a relationship

  • EM

    Just a quick note to say that no matter what happens, you could still have a fantastic wedding day. I didn’t know until about 10 minutes before our ceremony whether or not my mother would be in attendance (short version… she showed up, it was weird) but still at the end of the night my new husband and I turned to each other driving away and marveled: “it was all perfect.”

    The good and bad can get all entangled but I hope, for you, the joy will overcome.

    • BSM

      Same with us and my mom. She tried to sabotage the day that morning by sending me nasty texts and threatening to keep my younger brother from coming but they both ended up showing up, which was whatever (her) and great (him). When I tried to include her in family photos, she asked with a disgusted look, “do we really have to do this?” To which I gleefully replied, “Nope! Enjoy the party!” And I was being 100% sincere.

      It was still one of the happiest days of my life, and I’m smiling right now just thinking about it.

  • Daisy6564

    I will echo what others have said that the sister’s behavior is sending up some major red flags. At this point I would count her out of anything involving responsibility and just reach out to see if she is okay. I think that the LW at a busy time in her own life might not have the bandwidth to do too much reach out and work on this relationship until the wedding is over. I do think that something bigger may be going on than pure selfishness. I also sympathize with the LW, it is hard not to get mad/upset in this situation. It is okay to feel mad at her.

    As far as this: “Do I give her a deadline to get her dress and her act together or she’s not in the wedding?” Nope, my answer would be to plan on her coming but not helping with anything or being emotionally involved in any way up to the date. If she shows she is in the wedding, no matter what she is wearing.

    It will be fine, folks are there to see you. You are there to get married. Sister is not the focus of the day. For now let her be involved in the way she can be and once your special time is over invest some time into figuring out what is wrong with her and how you can help. Part of this conversation can definitely be how hurt you have been by her behavior but I think this starting place is confirming her safety.

  • guest

    I had this happen with a very close friend. Of course that carries no where near the emotional punch of a sister, but here is how I handled it. I stopped calling and only included her on group e-mails to all the bridesmaids. I knew there was a chance she would not show up to the wedding or would not have a bridesmaid dress etc etc. I decided it wouldn’t matter because the important part was being married. If she showed up with no dress, we’d send someone out to buy an outfit in a similar color that day. If she didn’t show up at all, well I had a plan of asking someone to step into her spot. But she showed up and was perfect and everything seemed totally normal. Now 10 months later we have not spoken since the wedding. I can’t handle the repeated rejection of reaching out and being ignored and she doesn’t contact me. I guess that is just life. . .

  • Eh

    Come up with a plan B and try not to let her behaviour cloud your wedding day. My BIL was supposed to be our Best Man (we only had a Best Man and a MOH). A few months before our wedding he started dropping the ball and complaining about what we were asking of him (which was minimal – plan bachelor party, buy suit, show up for wedding). My inlaws blamed my husband for all of the problems but there were larger issues (my BIL was upset how my husband’s family, especially extended family, treated my SIL, and how they didn’t support their marriage). We decided to try to keep our plans open so if my BIL and his family decided to come they would still feel welcome. People didn’t really talk about my BIL/SIL, or at least not that I heard. My MIL was very worried about impressions so she went to my BIL’s house the morning of our wedding and begged him to come (she was in tears). He came to our ceremony (without his family) but was not our Best Man and he did not go to the reception. Our plan B for that was my husband’s cousin was the second witness and my sister who was MOH did not stand up with us. We also adjusted the seating plan at the reception so we had a sweetheart table. Two months after our wedding they told us they regretted not coming to our wedding.

  • Deify Plums

    LW, I am so, so sorry you’re dealing with this.

    I think that, to other people’s points, you should make space for her to be there, or not. Which also means creating two scenarios for your day, so that even if she isn’t there, you have a mental image / expectation for that. So, you could have someone else on team bride be ready to stand by you / hold your flowers / whatever you need. If you were planning on having MOH/BM speak at the reception, maybe ask a different friend to speak so that the speech is handled, and she can’t disappoint you.

    And if she decides not to show up, she isn’t there. I continually reminded myself that the people who should be there were the ones who were there. And there may be some sadness in your mom’s tears, but I bet she also has tears of joy.

    This sucks. I definitely had to come to terms with my own sister bailing on much of what she had committed to as my MOH, and it has certainly affected my perception of our relationship. Your wedding is going to be awesome, because, at the end of the day, you’re married! And that is amazing.

  • Johanna

    sending you many internet hugs!! my younger sister has acted in very similar ways in the months leading up to my wedding and she is also my maid of honor. She is not responding to texts and not involved at all (to the point that I only know for sure that she is flying up to my wedding because I see her making plans to hang out with other friends in my area for that week on Facebook).

    For me it has been helpful to allow myself to be a little sad that she is choosing to act this way and not be a part of my wedding process in the ways I always pictured she would. It’s understandable even in this happy time to be a little sad and frustrated about your sister’s choices and your changed relationship.

    The second thing thats helped is recognizing all the other people in my life who have surrounded me with their love and help during this time. Friends who know about the situation with my sister have volunteered to help out and stepped up to plan my bridal shower, get excited with me over wedding projects, etc. It’s been a silver lining and made me appreciate some friends a whole lot more. If other family members or friends can fill parts of that role in some way for you it might help ease the sting of what your sister isn’t (and may not be able to) do for you at this time.

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  • Ann

    I know I am projecting my own experience with toxic family dynamics onto this but my first reaction when the writer said “we have a large extended family and our get togethers are so much fun” my gut reaction was ” Yeah Right!” I’ve never known a single family that is fun 100% of the time. And even if that is the writer’s experience in may not have been/be her sisters. Siblings have different experiences within their families even with the best of circumstances. My fiances family really imposes the whole big happy family idea and I wonder what planet they think they are on. We have set firm boundaries with both our families but they can still be emotional vampires a lot of the time. I don’t hear alot in this piece about any concern for the sister, just concern about the parents, the other family members and the writer her self. I would look to a friend who has really been a sister this past year if the writer has one. When is comes down to it biological family doesn’t actually owe each other anything.

    • Ann

      P.S. Rent Rachel Getting Married with Anne Hathaway it may give you hope that your wedding will still go well dispite drama.

    • Nell

      Yes YES yes. Lots of perfectly sane people don’t enjoy large family gatherings. The family in question doesn’t even need to be toxic, necessarily. If you’re an introvert, if you disagree with your family on politics or religion, if you have financial woes or work/school obligations that make travel difficult — it can all add up to really not enjoying family time.

  • raccooncity

    General advice for this kind of situation: nip the thing where you are the person your parents go to for updates on your sibling in the bud NOW. My spouse has a sibling who is largely estranged from his family and his parents ask him every time they speak about whether he’s talked to her or not. It’s often one of the first things they ask about and they make him feel guilty about not having contacted her, which is not his problem. He contacts her a normal amount and she rarely picks up or contacts him in response. He’s recently just ignored these questions altogether.

    It is not your job to maintain their relationship, nor will you ever succeed at it. Just don’t engage in it.

    • gingersnap

      This is the story of my life, and it’s awful. (Add in the part where I send sibling birthday and Christmas gifts every year, and sibling couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge my PhD graduation)

  • Alicia Landi

    When my brother pulled a similar disappearing act, it was because he was addicted to drugs. He essentially ‘ran away’ from home for 3 years, got married, had a kid, joined a fundamentalist church, and got clean before he ‘came back’. It devastated my parents, so I understand the LW’s feelings here. It will, unfortunately, impact the wedding. But it can get better. It took a long time but figuring out what’s really going on is essential here.

  • Morgan D

    Deep breath. So… As someone who has intentionally pulled away from family (for personal safety reasons), I read this and immediately thought, “There is some kind of trauma here.” It could be anything – relationship issues, addiction, financial crisis, health stuff, even latent family stuff (we all experience family differently, and your sister’s experience/memory might not match yours) – but, whatever it is, your sister is hurting and struggling. Maybe she’s getting sucked deeper and deeper into something harmful. Or maybe she’s realized something from her past was harmful and she’s wrestling with how to emotionally survive and thrive beyond the incident or longer history. It’s impossible to know, without sincere inquiry into her experience.

    On that note, maybe it’s none of the above. Maybe you and your sister have different relational styles and interests. Maybe she’s getting more immersed in other parts of her life she finds either more fulfilling, or fulfilling in new ways that are appealing to her at the moment. Who knows.

    In any case – maybe before the wedding isn’t the time to do this, or maybe it is, only you can say – but I feel like what’s missing from the LW’s post and some of the responses is an openness to checking in with the sister – with absolutely no agenda. First, about what’s going on from her perspective and, second, about what she needs from you and the family.

    Maybe she needs support (encouragement, a gentle nudge here and there, etc); maybe she needs space. But – whenever you’re able, in a way that’s also respectful of your own needs – I think you and the family need to step out of a “how is this impacting the wedding/how could my sister be better to us” mindset and then step into a headspace about “being a friend to my sister who is struggling, even if I don’t like it or understand.”

    In the meantime, tell her you love her and accept her and her situation – whatever it is. Tell her you would like her to be in the wedding – even if just as a presence – but that the limited communication does mean you need to delegate the role and responsibilities elsewhere. Then, step back and make space to meet her where/as she is. Maybe she’ll break down and you’ll repair. Maybe she’ll say being a presence is all she can handle. Maybe she’ll say she can’t handle even being a presence. Maybe she’s hurting enough that she won’t know how to respond, or be able to follow through fully on whatever her response is.

    In any case, I think you have two jobs: 1) to make space for your sister and her experience/needs and 2) to do some internal work/self care, so that you can be sensitive/present to your entire wedding experience as it unfolds (hopefully including as much joy and gratitude as possible).

  • Cole Elizabeth

    Why wait till it get worst and broken?I was wondering before now why people talk more about him, before I tested and he proved his powers. Am offering praises to Doc Osaze, though I haven’t met him face to face, but his spiritual powers penetrated deep inside me. One thing I like most about him is he is “a man of one word”, he did accurate reading and cast the spell at the appropriate time, and I also got the result at the said time. Doc stated clearly that he is only interested in my happiness, after seeing my sleepless night.I promised to share my experience to people if he finally bring back my husband, which he did, I could have written badly about him if my wife didn’t comeback as promised or if the spell had negative effects on me or my family. My wife and I are now making plans so Dr. Osaze can come visit and bless our family. Am so honoured to share his email which I recommend to people who want their lover back, email: (spirituallove@hotmail. com)

  • Miss Madeline

    This letter was gut-wrenching. I hope everyone is okay, and that Sister gets help if she needs it.

    I had a somewhat similar situation with my then-best friend leading up to my wedding. He was my oldest friend, and he’d always been a bit of a flake. He had plenty of notice, but chose to wait till the day before the wedding to let me know he officially would not be attending, in spite of being in the wedding party. We haven’t spoken since. So I think setting a deadline is a really good plan. Hopefully it will give enough time to work through any heartache before the day of.

  • Nell

    I know I’m several days late on this – but I feel a need to comment. This line stuck out to me from the LW’s original post:

    “There’s only room for love and positive energy surrounding us that day!”

    I think the LW might need to think about whether she’s giving her sister room to be herself in the run-up to the wedding. It’s hard to be a positive helper on team wedding when you feel that your own needs have to be brushed aside for the bride. The sister is responding to 1 of every 3 messages — how many of those messages are wedding-related? How many are “hey, saw a funny picture of a squirrel, thought you’d like it.” or “Hey, how are you doing today?”

    Secondly, there’s no way the LW can control the energy of other people at her wedding. I guarantee you, someone will come to your wedding and have a sad feeling that cannot be melted away by cake and dancing. All she can do, all anyone can do, is decide to put forth positive energy herself, and model the kind of generosity and love she wants from others.

  • Anonymous

    Please have some compassion for your sister. I’ve been there, as the “MIA” person for my best friend’s wedding planning, she had asked me to be her MOH. I was going through terrible depression and anxiety and it took everything I had to just survive my day to day life. The bride and one of the other bridesmaids (also a longtime friend) really did not get it and were really hard on me. The bride sent me literally a 2 page list of all my “duties” as MOH and I absolutely crumbled because it made me so anxious and I felt terrible that I was letting down my best friend, but under the shame of the depression I didn’t even know how to face her to apologize. The other bridesmaid left me shaming/berating voicemail messages trying to get me to “get my shit together.” I even missed the bachelorette party. I know it was hard on the bride, but it was also one of the worst years of my life. By the time her wedding came around, I was getting treatment for my depression and anxiety, and I mustered up the courage to be there on the big day. To the bride’s credit, she was gracious and made it clear that she was glad I was there. It’s taken years to repair our relationship and make up for her disappointment in me, but also my disappointment for how hard she was on me when I was already miserable and hating myself.

    I know that your wedding is important to you. It sounds like your relationship with your sister is equally important. Please consider that just as you need her to be there for you, she probably needs you to be there for her, with compassion and love. Please consider that if you can find a compassionate and loving way to relate to her during this time, it may affect your relationship for years to come.