Carolyn Hax: Of brides and bridesmaids

Carolyn Hax
Columnist June 2, 2012

Adapted from a recent online discussion .

Dear Carolyn:

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

I am getting married soon. Today my sister (one of two bridesmaids) called to ask what time the wedding is. When I told her, she responded with, “Oh, I told someone else I would do something really important that day — but, of course, I’ll be there since it’s your wedding and that’s important and whatnot, but I may leave early.”

Well the ceremony starts at 5 p.m. and she wants to leave at 6. Come to find out the “really important” thing she has that day is one of her friend’s dance recital.

Is it completely out of line and bridezilla of me to tell her she can do what she wants but, unfortunately, I’ll have to make someone who can actually be there for me a bridesmaid instead of her?


Trying not to be awful

“Awful” is bagging out on your sister’s wedding after an hour. Wow.

“Awful,” but somewhat less so, is saying, “You can do what you want but, unfortunately, I’ll have to make someone who can actually be there for me a bridesmaid instead of you.”

Non-awful is to say, “I’m incredibly hurt that you want to leave my wedding for a friend’s dance recital.” It’s not about your sister’s ceremonial title, so don’t approach it as if it is; this is about her not caring about your joy enough to stick around for it.

If your sister responds dismissively to your feelings (again) when you call her on the insult, then you can say, “If that’s really the way you feel, then I’d rather you just didn’t come.”

Dear Carolyn:

Sis doesn’t want to be in the wedding. Nicely release her and say she’d be more relaxed if she came as a guest and didn’t have to worry about being in the wedding party.

Anonymous

There’s that, too, thanks — though it almost seems too kind.

Dear Carolyn:

I was a bridesmaid last year to a demanding friend. The wedding and the preparations for the wedding zapped my enthusiasm for the friendship, and it dramatically waned once the glowing bride returned from her honeymoon.

Her mother is putting together a book of memories of the wedding in time for the first anniversary. My feelings toward the bride are lukewarm, and I just don’t feel like responding with a flowering, “I remember how beautiful she was, and how the breeze was blowing off the ocean!” Should I just suck it up for what I hope is one last request on this woman’s behalf?

I Just Don’t Want To

I think it’s fine, even appropriate, for you not to contribute. You’re not her friend anymore, the wedding is what exposed your friend as someone you don’t actually like, and so there’d be no integrity in getting fake-misty just to get the Mom of Bride off your back.

If you feel obligated for some unforeseeable reason, though, you can tell a truth, if not the truth: “I saw my friend get exactly the wedding she wanted,” or something to that effect.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com. Subscribe at www.facebook.com/carolynhax.

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