Readers Respond to ‘When Weddings Ruin Friendships’

Celebrating the beginning of one relationship might just mark the end of another. Maggie Parker’s article, “When Weddings Ruin Friendships,” discussed how some friendships are lost in the wake of a wedding. The article inspired an influx of comments from readers who shared their own tales of tension and ties severed before, during or after a wedding. Below are some of our readers’ responses, edited for grammar, style and space.

You’re Invited, But Not Your Husband

A friend of mine announced to me that she was going to have a wedding in two weeks, and about 150 miles away from where I lived and wanted me to be a bridesmaid. She also told me that my husband wasn’t invited (she never liked him) and the reception was very small, so after I was in the ceremony I could leave because there wouldn’t be room for me at the reception. Luckily, I had a vacation planned the same time as her wedding so I had an excuse as to why I couldn’t come, and she has never really spoken to me since. I still can’t get over that I wasn’t invited to the reception. So, I was supposed to drive there, pay for a hotel, be in the wedding and then go spend the rest of the evening alone in my room? How weird.

SLA, Boston

No Rabbi, No Problem

I married at age 35 in a small, homemade, do-it-ourselves party for 50. It could not have been more simple. The morning of the wedding, my mother says to me, “You are lucky your father and I are here.” Stunned, I asked what she meant and she responded, “What Jewish girl doesn't get married by a rabbi and doesn't have a caterer for her wedding?”

“This one, Mom. Oy vey.”

Joanne, Dougan, Mass.

Adults Only, Please

My future in-laws gave us an ultimatum that if we did not invite my husband’s three-year-old nephew, they would not attend the wedding. We did not want children at the wedding, but they basically blackmailed us. Said three-year-old came to the wedding and proceeded to pull the four-foot crystal wall hangings off the wall. He was the only child there.

My in-laws lived 1,500 miles away, and I did not have to deal with them much. I often told my husband we would probably be divorced if they lived close by.

Juli, New England

Invitation Remorse

I didn’t invite a friend and her husband to our wedding, for no real reason. I am sorry to this day. I should have been more generous. I ruined a lovely friendship.

Dorothy, Evanston, Ill.

B-List Bridesmaid

I was one of seven bridesmaids in my brother-in-law’s wedding and was told to arrive at the venue dressed for pictures before the wedding at 2 p.m. When I arrived at the venue, the bride and four of the other bridesmaids were there already taking pictures and appeared to have been at it for quite a while. The bride had basically separated us into an A and B list of bridesmaids, taking most of the formal wedding party shots, with just the A list of bridesmaids who were told to arrive earlier than us. The B-list bridesmaids were allowed to be in a few token wedding party shots, but it was crystal clear that we had been separated into categories, despite the fact that we all shelled out thousands of dollars for dresses and were asked to be bridesmaids. There were many slights, including the B-list bridesmaids not making the cut for the bachelorette party either, which we found out about while watching the A list get their pictures taken with the bride. It was expensive, time-consuming and confusing as to why we were even in the wedding party in the first place and ultimately hurtful.

Lee V., Tampa Bay, Fla.

A Mother Scorned

Unfortunately, there is almost no way to get married without upsetting someone, whether that person is inner circle, outer circle or so far off the radar that it never occurred to you to invite them in the first place. My husband and I also wanted to have a small wedding, excluding extended family that we rarely or never see and friends with whom we had lost touch. It quickly became clear that the emotional trauma that would be wrought on my parents by not inviting the entire family would be too great. My parents paid, but they gave us a payment up front and allowed us to use the money as we pleased. We ended up with a smallish wedding of about 125 people, and I will say that it was truly the happiest day of my life. However, before the wedding, we vetoed the proposed 10-person friend list presented to my husband by his mother, 10 people whom we had never met. Such was her anger that she declined to attend the wedding, and has not spoken to my husband or me since.

KAM, New York

Ditched After Bridesmaid Duties End

I have been in 15 weddings, and I am single. I actually find that the married friend is more likely to alienate single friends after getting married because you are not a couple. I cannot tell you how many people just disappeared once I’ve served as their bridesmaid or maid of honor. You are no longer one of them.

Props to my current best friend. She is the opposite. She included me in everything in her destination wedding. We see each other often. She refers to me as auntie to her son; and we never are but a phone call away.

Sometimes you find a friend for life, and they just become family. I support her and her husband 100 percent and they do me. And that is what friendship is.

Sam, Falls Church, Va.

Be the Support You’ll Need

For me, I didn't fully appreciate the depth of feeling and significance attached to the rituals until I had my own wedding. I didn't lose any friends who got married before me, but I wish I could go back and give more support to them than I did.

Erica, Pennsylvania

A Big Bash, No Exclusions

I completely disagree with the conclusion of this piece. Small weddings by definition require exclusion. Exclusion leads to hurt feelings. My fiancé and I thought about having a small wedding for approximately 60 seconds before we realized that my dearest aunts are not in the immediate family circle, and if we made an exception, what about my less-dear-but-still-cool uncles? Could we really invite our friends and not our cousins, with whom we grew up? Would my boss hold a grudge at work if she didn't make the cut?

At the end of the day we invited everyone we could possibly afford, threw a big bash and had a great time with the many important people in our lives. It was worth the sacrifice.

Diana Napolillo, Brooklyn

Have the Small Wedding

I second Dr. Meyers' solution: have a small wedding. It can be done, don't give into the pressure. Big weddings are as overrated as big houses. There were 50 people at my wedding and except for my relatives who have died, I still see everyone else who attended on a regular basis. I have never regretted having a small wedding, but I do sometimes regret the house that's too big for us.

Karole, Michigan

Wedding Payment Request, Declined

My husband’s daughter, who had never treated us well, wanted us to pay half of her wedding expenses. She had a very good job. My husband had put her through a private college, where she graduated with a degree. She had no sense of being grateful for anything she received from us. I had long before decided that we wouldn’t pay for her wedding. That was almost three years ago and she hasn’t spoken to us, saying that she would never forgive us.

Brigid, Hinsdale, Ill.

No Invite, No Offense Taken

We told people that we simply could not afford to invite everybody. We’d just graduated college, with student debt, and paid for the wedding ourselves, because our parents were poor. It was a small 25-person wedding at the beach, with the reception at a local restaurant. It was either that, or, sure, come one come all but we'll pack you in our rented apartment and eat hot dogs. Nobody was offended.

Nefertiti, Boston

An Understanding Friend

It’s too bad that some people consider not being invited to the wedding the end of their friendship. These days, a lot of folks choose to have smaller weddings, for a number of reasons from expense to they just want to keep it personal.

A good friend of mine had a very small wedding, and was so apologetic when she told me and that it was just going to be immediate family, as she surely thought I would be disappointed. She was so relieved when I told her I thought that was great and hope she would have a wonderful day, and not to think a minute about that I would be concerned about not being invited. We are still great friends today.

PJ, Minneapolis

Don’t Ask Me to Be a Bridesmaid

Years ago I told my three best friends (including my sister) that I would gladly proofread their resumes, help them move across the country, pet-sit, paint their living rooms, and all manner of other things, but I would never ever be their bridesmaid, so please don’t ever ask.

We’re all still friends, we’re all still single, and I have helped two of them move across the country.


Uninvited Wedding Guests

When my stepmother's daughter got married, my stepmother called me to invite my family, including my two daughters, then 8 and 10, to the wedding, which was a few months away. She asked to speak to my daughters and told them they would be coming to a wonderful wedding, and that I would be taking them to buy pretty dresses for it. A few weeks later, she called to say they had decided they didn't want such a big wedding after all, and were reducing the size, so my family didn’t make the cut: we were uninvited. My brother's family, however, would still be coming.

At least I hadn't bought the dresses yet.


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