My question might be common, but it’s perhaps the one most upsetting me while we plan our big wedding day: Do I invite my former best friend of over fifteen years?
In short, three years ago we ended our friendship on as good of terms as one could hope upon ending over fifteen years of being BFF. But getting there was rocky. Since that final conversation, we’ve not talked or connected. Just like a cold-turkey break-up. Upon news of my engagement in December, she posted a simple “congrats” on my Facebook wall—but nothing more.
So why am I hung up still? I guess I have guilt around the whole ending of our friendship because I was the one who finally said “enough.” But going through the motions of planning a wedding and stepping into my adult life, I cannot help but think about her and our former friendship. And when I reverse it, how would I feel if I wasn’t invited to hers? I won’t lie. I’d feel hurt, but understanding too.
I just feel confused overall. She wasn’t the most supportive friend of my relationship; nor was she supportive of great positive changes I made in my life in my early twenties. But when I think about it, I keep wondering, “Will I regret not having her there? Regret not extending an invite? Would an invite just be out of obligation as to not hurt her feelings?” I’d just like clarity around what to do!
Weddings aren’t make-or-break. They don’t (often. I guess sometimes they do) change a dynamic. They usually just emphasize and highlight how things already are.
If you don’t invite her, it won’t ruin the friendship
If you do invite her, it won’t heal the friendship
Chances are, no matter which choice you make, things will stay as they are. For now, at least. Restoration and healing, or the drifting apart of ways, that stuff doesn’t usually happen suddenly and swiftly as a result of one big day. Usually, if there’s a fallout or a reuniting, the wedding is just one of several steps.
You admit that if roles were switched, you’d be hurt if you weren’t invited. But, would you be hurt by shock, or hurt because it confirmed what you already knew? In this case, a lack of wedding invitation wouldn’t be a startling revelation.
So, do you want to invite her to honor the relationship you have now? (Strained and tense though it may be.) Or, maybe to honor the place she once held in your life? If it’s either of those things, go for it. But, if you’re hoping that inviting her to your wedding will magically heal an abruptly ended past, skip it. That’s only going to end in disappointment.
Restoring a friendship takes work. It takes phone calls, coffee dates, birthday cards, sincere, “How are you doing?” sort of questions. As a result, if you can’t fit her into the wedding guest list, you’re in luck! You can still do all of that other stuff to try to rebuild a lost relationship. Or, if you can wiggle the guest list to fit her, that’s fine, too. But recognize that it’ll take all of that other stuff anyway. The wedding isn’t some fancy expensive band-aid you slap on wounded relationships.
As far as regret is concerned, what will you regret? Regret not fixing things by inviting her? As we talked about, that’s not incredibly likely. Are you afraid you’ll become close again and feel as though you missed out on sharing that special time? Well, frankly, that’s possible for anyone. The wedding, while important, happens at a very specific time in you life. And though it may seem obvious, it’s easy to forget that not everyone who becomes important and special to you will be important and special to you during that time. There are many friends who were at my wedding, who are no longer close to me. And there are many more who are close to me now, that never had the chance to be beside me during my vows. Luckily, life doesn’t end on the wedding day. There will always be special times to honor dear ones, and (hopefully) new folks joining the crowd supporting your relationship.
Team Practical, did you invite former friends to your wedding? How do you handle the foreboding of possible wedding regret?
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!