I also have a half-sister who just got engaged right before Christmas. She is ten years older than I, and growing up, I lived in Baltimore and she lived in Philly. We are not super close, but I do feel a sisterly bond with her, and she has never missed a birthday or holiday. I might see her about two or three times a year.
My sister called me Saturday to let me know that she picked a venue and date for her wedding – the same date as my college friend’s. I told her this, and my sister said she remembered I had a wedding coming up but didn’t know the exact date, and that she should have checked with me. She told me that she didn’t want to make me choose, but that she was going to ask me to be the maid-of-honor and it would be weird not to have me there. I told her that I could not miss her wedding, and if she and my friend had gotten engaged at the same time, of course I would go to my sister’s over my friend’s. But my friend has been planning this for over a year – I have even ordered the dress! During the conversation it sounded like my sister didn’t EXPECT me to choose her, but that she wanted me to and thought that I would.
I am at a loss as to what to do. My first reaction was that I cannot miss my sister’s wedding, but my next thought was that I am heartbroken to miss my friend’s. I also do not want to let her down. My mother’s first thought — not my sister’s mother — was that I cannot cancel on my friend because I have committed myself to her. But I think I would seriously regret missing my sister’s wedding. Same goes for my friend. Help! — Bridesmaid X Times Two
My first reaction is different than yours was. My first reaction is that it was kinda shitty of your sister not to run the date past you as well as the rest of your immediate family and the other important people she and her fiancé want in/at the wedding. It was especially crappy considering that she KNEW you had another wedding you were committed to attending around the same time. I get that wedding planning is stressful and there are a ton of things to think about and it’s easy to forget things sometimes, but that’s why you make a to-do list and top of that list should be: Check potential dates with important family members and friends.
Unfortunately for you, your sister failed this part of Weddings 101. So you have a few options. Your first one, and the one I’d do as soon as possible if I were you, is talk to your sister and ask if this date is set in stone or if there might be some wiggle room. Explain how torn you feel — you’ve been committed to your good friend’s wedding for a while now; you’re a bridesmaid — and the couple’s matchmaker!; your dress has been bought. Not only would it be in totally bad form to back out now, you don’t WANT to back out. You want to be there to celebrate your friends’ wedding. But you want to be at your sister’s wedding to celebrate her, too, and the only possible way you could do both is if your sister changes the date, which may be doable since she only decided on this date a few days ago.
There could be plenty of reasons your sister decided on that particular date though, and there’s a good chance she didn’t ask whether you were available specifically because she didn’t want to give you a chance to say “no” and suggest she choose a different time. If that’s the case — and, again, it could very well be — then you’re kind of screwed. If she’s set on that date for a number of reasons, she probably isn’t going change her mind now just so her kid sister doesn’t have to make a Sophie’s Choice. And that puts you in the unfortunate position of doing just that, doesn’t it?
So… what do you do? Attend the wedding of your friend, whom you’ve already committed to, and miss your sister’s wedding, or cancel on your friend who’s counting on you so you can see your sister get married? The choice, for better or worse, is yours, and only you can decide which decision you can live with more easily. It may help to imagine the wedding photos and whose pictures you would be sadder to be missing from in, say, ten years’ time.
Personally, if it were mI, I’d go to the wedding I was already committed to and decide that, if it was so important to my sister that she have me at her wedding, she could have run the date past me before setting it in stone. That’s a pretty simplistic way of looking at it, I realize, and the nature of your relationships with both of these women will affect your decision. But to be committed to someone for so many months and then back out seems more hurtful than declining an invite on a date that’s already booked … even if it’s an invite to your own sister’s wedding you have to decline.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.