DEAR TKB: “My best friend doesn’t support my relationship with my fiancé…”

Happy Monday my dahlinks!  Dear TKB column comin’ atcha today… here we go LET’S DO THIS!!!

Dear TKB,

With four months to go, I need help deciding if my long time love and I should elope or go on with our fall wedding. And I apologize that this is a bit of a long one…. I should start by saying, I have always wanted to elope as I’m not comfortable being the center of attention – and I find eloping very romantic. My fiance has always wanted some sort of wedding – partly for him, partly for the sake of our families. When we got engaged, we knew that we needed to have a large-ish wedding (invited 230), mostly because we both have very large families. We embraced that, though it wasn’t how we saw our wedding, and began planning.

We started out with an uneven bridal party of 7 on his side, and 4 on mine (plus flower girl and ring bearer). Unfortunately one of my fiance’s best friends can no longer be in the wedding because of circumstances beyond his control. My side has lost one as well – but for an entirely different reason. My best friend of almost 20 years is no longer in our wedding. My family is amazed we have been friends for this long, given her past behavior, and the fact that she doesn’t seem to support the almost decade long relationship I’ve had with my fiance. So, we expected she’d cause a few bumps, but nothing major. Then we hit a bump that turned out to be something much bigger… I thought it was just a money issue, but when I finally got her to let me help pay for her dress (2 months after the deadline, and after she had lied 5 times about ordering it), and thanked her for being in our wedding because it meant a lot to me, she simply said ‘welcome’. No ‘thank you,’ nothing. Oh, by the way, that whole conversation was through text, since she refused to call me. And when I got out my credit card to buy her the dress, I couldn’t do it. I knew that even if I bought it, I’d be there on my wedding day wondering if she was going to show up.

But. She was one of my best and oldest friends. Her daughter was our flower girl (she had repeatedly told me we needed to wait to get married until her daughter was old enough to walk in our wedding). She was there when I found my wedding dress. And, the uneven bridal party thing suddenly bothered me a ton when the numbers became 3 and 6. However, I had the full support and encouragement of my family when I decided she was no longer in the wedding. That decision also means it’s end of our almost 20 year friendship, which is extremely hard to wrap my head around. But I know it was the right thing to do (for so many more reasons than I can say here). But it hurts like hell. So, the current situation is that our bridal party is down to 3 and 6. I know we could do lots of cute things with sides this uneven; it just bothers me. I feel like it makes me look like I have no friends (no, not really interested in asking other friends to step in), and it’s hard to not notice where my friend was supposed to stand. Or where her daughter was supposed to walk down the aisle in her little flower headdress. And it’s hard to think of putting on the dress she helped me pick out. It’s hard to think that this friendship is ending, and part of it is because of my wedding. I feel like the focus is no longer on the love my fiance and I have for each other, and now more than ever I want to elope.

I feel like it’s so much more romantic, so much more about us and celebrating our history and relationship… and I’ve always known exactly where it would be. My fiance is willing to do whatever, though he still leans towards having a big wedding. Friends and family say we should go on with the wedding and to not let her ruin the day, etc. I totally get where they’re coming from, but it’s not that easy for me and the big wedding has never been the most comfortable thing for me. It’s not that it would ‘ruin’ it – I’m still marrying my best friend – but I know I will notice her absence and always think about how our friendship ended during this time. The money we will lose if we decide to cancel the wedding soon isn’t huge. As for how our families feel, they would be more upset about not being at our elopement than us not having a large wedding. It’s clear I want to elope, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings – especially my fiance. Do I need to suck it up for my fiance (and our families, but mostly him) and do the big wedding thing, or do I do what I really want to do and elope? Any advice would be much appreciated!

Sincerely,

Lost and confused

Dear Lost and Confused (will call you L&C),

Weddings are both beautiful and wonderful.  Two people in love choosing to formally join their lives together and having that mutual commitment witnessed and celebrated by their loving families and friends.  A day of smiles, kisses, hugs, laughter and dancing into the night.  All surrounded by exquisite flowers and sumptuous gourmet food.  Not to mention the months of problem-free planning leading up to the event.  There is a total absence of any worries, conflicts or disappointments.  There is nothing but joyous, joy filled, joy.

Oh, that it would always be this way, my dear L&C.  But before we leave the above fantasy, lets re-read it.  Because, if the above were possible, I would freely and generously donate to the entity that could deliver it to everyone I know or will ever know.  Slowly floating back down to reality let me state some observations;

Each of us cannot always deliver a happy result that we may want for ourselves, even when we are the only person involved in trying to do it.

Now consider adding to that, the number of people involved in your wedding, whose behavior, (over which you have no control), you are depending on to make your day wonderful.  See where I’m going?

Therefore, may I suggest that you rethink your desires and self-imposed obligations?

If you truly want to elope because of the romance of the idea and that special location, then elope.

If it is to avoid the discomfort of your former best friend, then first allow yourself some time to mourn the loss of that friend, (which is completely normal), then let it go and continue to plan your big wedding.  Keep your priorities in their proper order; you and your fiancé first, family second, friends third.

If you can honestly say that your choice of eloping is not to avoid the absence of your fiancé’s best friend or having to notice what your “best friend” does or doesn’t do, then elope.

Do it, and include if possible, your immediate family members.  Wear your wedding dress or what ever else you want and take lots of wonderful photos to be able to look back on the day you both swore your love to each other.

Then, only if it pleases you, plan a big party a short time after, (a week or a month maybe), celebrating you and your husband.  You are now the happily married hosts. All you have to do is say; “Welcome.  We’re so glad you came.”

Best of luck :)

Ok friendlies, I’m turning it over to you guys now in the hopes that you might be willing and able to offer Lost and Confused [L&C] any of your suggestions/thoughts/reactions.  Thanks on L&C’s behalf!

xoxo!  - Alison

Vanessa Joy Photography is a member of Vendor Love.  Explore more of her work here, in our guide.

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15 comments

  1. Charissa on June 11, 2012

    I completely agree with the mourning part. You have to let that go and release it before being able to move on and be happy. Otherwise if you elope for the wrong reason, or still continue with the big wedding, the memory of your wedding day will be tainted with the best friend drama, whether it be ‘we eloped’ ( because I was running away from the best friend disaster) or ‘we had a big wedding’ ( and the best friend’s presence wasnt there)

    Reply
  2. The Bridal Detective on June 11, 2012

    I can totally relate!! My fiance is Armenian and I’m just an all-American mutt ;-) but we did get a lot of grief over our relationship that almost destroyed us which is why we’ve been engaged for 5 years! We’re having a wedding for two since I can’t invite my family and not his but how can you get married in front of people who judge you on culture and ultimately don’t want to see you have a happily ever after? Weddings are hard but all that matters is the day after your wedding and everyday after that! I say that she should do what’s best for her and not pick a wedding based upon feeling “odd” about not having a large bridal party. I’m sure she’s a fabulous girl and she deserves an insanely fabulous day!! :-)

    - Angelica

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  3. Amy on June 11, 2012

    Oh, I want to hug you. I lost my best friend over my wedding as well. My finace was married in the catholic church 15 years ago and got a divorce. She refuses to even come to our wedding unless we go through the annullment process to say his marriage wasn’t legit. It broke my heart. I also wanted to elope! We are kind of doing both on the same day. We are taking boats to the place my hunny proposed and having a small ceremony with our bridal party and close family. Right afterward we are having a large reception. I cannot wait! Maybe consider a similar thing to balance out your desires and your fiance’s wishes. Best of luck in love and in wedding planning.

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  4. Ashley on June 11, 2012

    Do what makes you happy. This is your relationship. If eloping is ultimately what you want, no regrets, then do it. I did and it was perfect.

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  5. Ariana on June 11, 2012

    I agree with Alison, do what you want to do but don’t do it because of her. Even if you elope it’s not going to erase the feelings of losing your friend. You’ll feel that pain no matter what. So only elope if it’s truly what you want to do.

    Also, you did NOT lose her because of your wedding. You lost her because that friendship was no longer something you should have in your life. Your wedding was just the big life event it took to finally break away.

    I hope everything works out. Have a happy wedding!

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  6. First of all, I am so sorry that you are torn over what should be a very happy occasion.

    However, she was not your “best” friend. She may be your oldest friend, but if she is acting like that she is definitely not your “best friend”.

    I know how devastating it can be when you lose a girlfriend that you have shared many things with over the years. Often it is sheer jealousy. I have had it happen. I was friends with someone for more than 30 years and as long as we were equal in happiness and unhappiness everything was just fine. We shared our miseries: men, affairs, money problems, child problems, etc. But at some point when I had a few things that she didn’t have, she gradually dropped me as a friend. I was very upset and still cannot understand why it happened. I finally concluded that it was her problem and not mine. If she had stuck around for a few more years she could have seen that I would probably be jealousy of her.

    That is my story, but as far as you are concerned, forget her!!!! You are happy with your finance and you will continue to be happy and she sounds like she will continue to be miserable.

    If you don’t want a big wedding you don’t need to have a big wedding, but if your finance wants to, please consider his feelings about it. It isn’t often that the male wants the big wedding. Now that you have it planned, I think you should continue, or perhaps, scale it back a bit.

    The main thing is, “don’t let that bitch dictate your plans!!!!” She isn’t that important and she wasn’t really a friend. A friend is someone who can rejoice in your happiness.

    Talk it over with your finance and agree on what makes the 2 of you happy. Friends and family are very important for a wedding. They confirm the union and agree to help it. Make sure that both of you will be happy with the decision. An elopement sounds like an escape. Come to an agreement and forget about her. Don’t let her ruin your wedding. Believe me she isn’t that important. And she only has the power to make you unhappy if you give it to her.

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  7. Sara on June 12, 2012

    The spiteful part of me wants to tell you to throw the biggest, most awesome wedding ever, and invite all your mutual friends to throw it in her face. Probably why I don’t have my own advice column :)

    I think everyone considers eloping at some point during their engagement, for whatever reason. As a recent bride, I can tell you that everyone says “this is your day,” but it’s really not. You’re definitely the main highlight, but it’s also about all those people in your life who love you and have been there for you in all situations. It’s about your parents and grandparents, who have always wondered what you’d look like walking down the aisle. It’s about your dad getting to walk his little girl down the aisle on the proudest day of his life. It’s about your friends, who have been there during every step of your relationship, finally getting to celebrate the happiest moment between you two. It’s a magical, wonderful day, and definitely not something to compromise because of one bad person. You will (God willing) never have another wedding day, so make sure that you BOTH are completely happy with whatever decision you make.
    Good luck, and congratulations on marrying what sounds like a completely wonderful man.

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  8. Sarah on June 14, 2012

    I am so sorry to hear what you are going through at a time that is so important to you. I completely understand your situation I too once had an amazing friend who I had known from childhood until adulthood and unfortunately our friendship broke down after years of trying to stay friends because of the time i’ve known her and not the value she had in my life. What you really need to do is be completely and utterly selfish and do what you want to do. I know the thought of this friend who you clearly hold more dearly then she does has bothered and taken over the whole wedding, but without sounding too harsh this is what you are doing to your own wedding. Have you ever heard of the expression “no point in crying over spilt milk” well if using every inch of energy you have in your body you can apply that saying to your friendship then maybe you can do what I do. which is remember the good times and great memories we shared and appreciated the the fact that once I had the time of my life with this girl, and though it may be over now doesn’t mean that I cant learn to share more great memories with new friends. People will come and go but you really have to learn to grasp on the good times you had with those who come rather then focussing on the misery of them going. But some will come and stay and those who do have been able to fill the void of those who have gone. Learn to be selfish about the people you have in your life. Your happiness should always come first and i say this because if you cannot learn to be happy within yourself then how can you be happy with anyone. If you cannot love yourself, how can you learn to love anyone. This friend had her time in your life and though your not necessarily closing the door on your friendship doesn’t mean you need to guard her entry. She will do what pleases her and if her friendship could teach you anything it would be to learn to please yourself first.

    So go get married to your bestfriend and do it the way that makes you feel good and happy. Take out what family think or how much money you have spent and really think about what it is that you want because you will remember this day for the rest of your life and I don’t know you but I would hate for you to marry and look back saying if I could go back I would have done it this way. Follow your heart and your gut from a selfish point of view you will be surprised at how right we can be when we learn to listen to what we want.

    Good luck and I hope to see pictures on this site however you do it.

    Reply
  9. Alexis on June 18, 2012

    absolutely, get married, have the most beautiful day of your life. Anyone who “doesn’t” advocate for you and your fiance is not a true friend. Her jealously and disrespect of your needs, just cost her a great relationship with you. Her loss. You’ve got to protect the sanctity and happiness of your wonderful relationship…so say goodbye to miss “angry” and “unsupportive”, and hello to those who LOVE and RESPECT you, your fiance, and your awesome relationship. Best of luck, and may you have the happiest and best day on your wedding day!

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  10. Liz on June 22, 2012

    Congrats on your wedding! And yes, I completely agree with this advice.

    My fiance and I are also doing a private ceremony, followed by a big party for everyone–mainly because of certain people that cause drama. In my case it is certain family members; in your case, it’s your “friend.”

    Either way, we were first inspired by the show The Office–where Jim and Pam get married on a boat on Niagara falls before their wedding ceremony because they knew that otherwise the rest of the office staff would screw up their “real” wedding. As soon as I saw that show, I thought “Yes! That’s what we need to do!”

    What I’m trying to say is: it’s your special day. Don’t let any drama queen, attention-needing guests take that away from you.

    Congrats!

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  11. Estefy on June 22, 2012

    A girl I know from a program I was in recently has decided to skip the big wedding and just elope! It’s funny because more people are showing up to the elopement than were going to the wedding here in SoCal. I don’t know where you would like to have your elopement, but like Allison said, if your immediate family can be there I think it’s a fair compromise for you and your husband. You don’t need the bad energy others may or may not bring to your happy day. I’m sorry you lost someone you thought to be a friend, clearly it’s hard for you, but let’s just focus on how awesome the wedding day and marriage will be. Out with the old, in with the new!!! <3

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  12. Lisa on August 1, 2012

    This was my submission…. thank you all SO SO SO much for your kind words!!!! I felt like such a bridezilla, and I truly appreciate all the encouragement you’ve all given me. It’s clearly taken me quite a while to respond here because for awhile, we were still pretty torn on what to do. My feelings over losing my friend (who I have not heard from once) were so intertwined with my confusion over eloping, and like many of you suggested, I needed to mourn that loss before moving on. I had a really hard time letting go of that friendship, knowing that this time was really the end – I miss our history, but I know without a doubt it was the right decision.
    Afterwards, it was clear that my desire to elope is because I’m just not comfortable with being the center of attention! I still have mixed feelings on having a huge wedding (we found there was really no appropriate way to scale it back – though we did come up with a killer processional to work with our super uneven bridal party!), but I can’t wait to be surrounded by our family and friends on our wedding day – after all, I’m marrying my best friend and we’ll have every other year to celebrate just the two of us. :)
    Thank you all so much for your lovely comments!!!

    Reply
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