Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Take wedding dis on the chin, then give it 10 years
Last kid picked for dodgeball: I used to roll my eyes at the bridesmaid drama questions — until my friends started getting married! A girlfriend asked everyone in our close group to be a bridesmaid . . . everyone, that is, but me. Apparently, I got bumped for the groom's big sister. I'm trying to be supportive and take the "It's your wedding, it should be how you want it to be" attitude . . . but feeling more than a little left out and a lot like she doesn't feel as close to me as I do to her. Am I being unreasonable? Any tips for dealing with it gracefully?
Carolyn: I know, intellectually, that trying to project how funny this will be in 10 years will offer no consolation. However, it's just this kind of horrid, thoughtless behavior that softens us up and teaches us not to entrust our happiness to others lightly. In the short term, as you have identified already, it also teaches us who our friends are, and who we can trust. This here bride, not really your friend.
To this hurtful message, though, I think I can safely add a buffer: Just because she's thoughtless enough to do this to you now, and just because you're apparently eighth on her list of seven friends, that doesn't mean this friendship is over.
Why? Something else that always seems to come out 10 years later (as you're regaling your current friends with the tale of the Great Wedding Party Dissing of 2008) is that everyone else can tell a story like this, too — from the other side. If anyone claims to have made it to middle adulthood without being able to cite a moment when s/he, wittingly or not, treated someone cruelly, then that person is either delusional or a saint.
So do as you're doing, square up and take it. It's for your own dignity, but that alone could improve your standing with the bride, if that's what you want. And if you're not sure where she stands with you now, then be civil and open-minded, and let time take care of the rest.
Charlotte, N.C.: Has someone else taken over your keyboard?
I've always agreed with you about wedding silliness. Now, you're telling someone who is hurt that she isn't a bridesmaid that the bride is not her friend? That a bride mercifully drawing a line is cause for that level of hurt?
Maybe the bride doesn't feel as close to her as the others, maybe including the sister was reaching out to her new family, maybe she didn't even realize this person cared, especially if she's on record that these things get out of control. I fully expected your response to be along the lines of, "Instead of adding more drama, offer to help out some other way, and have a great time."
Carolyn: She was the one excluded friend among an established group of friends — imagine the whole book group but one. That's cruel — and for what?
That's not "mercifully drawing a line," that's failing to recognize that it's better to be one bridesmaid closer to absurdity than to isolate someone who happens to exceed an arbitrary limit. That is wedding silliness by definition: when the planning serves the cause of the wedding itself, and not the humanity of those involved.