Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I’m Her Bridesmaid, But I Want to Skip Her Wedding”

This Saturday is my oldest friend’s wedding. We have been best friends on and off for the past decade and seem to go through the same cycle over and over again: we will be the best of friends and then she’ll stand me up when we have plans. When this happens, I am very confused and disappointed and will call and ask her to explain herself. Most frequently, she will respond by simply denying that we had plans at all and call me crazy. After not talking for about a month or so, I will get an apology email from her explaining that she had decided she didn’t feel like doing the activity we had planned and therefore just didn’t show up. Because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings or make me mad, she chose to just not call and pretend I had made a mistake by thinking we had a set plan. She seems sincerely apologetic for her actions, and promises to change. Then I forgive her (as long as she promises to actually change this time) and begin to trust her again.

Our friendship grows and then the cycle starts over and she hurts me again. This has happened so many times now I just can’t take it anymore and really want out of the relationship. Most recently when it happened, I told her I didn’t know if I could forgive her again. She promised me a proper response (as well as actual changes) as soon as she had the chance. In the meantime, because I am so important to her, would I still be her bridesmaid? I said yes, and commented that because she is Mormon, and I won’t be allowed in the church to be paired with a groomsmen and walk down the aisle (I’m not Mormon), it wouldn’t really matter if things didn’t work out and I couldn’t do it.

Now it is the week of the wedding. She has still not responded to my email or actually apologized for her abuse over the years. As well, I have almost no information about the wedding or my duties. Last Saturday was the bridal shower and it was a really terrible for me. She acted like nothing had ever happened while I experienced a two-hour anxiety attack. I was so physically and emotionally uncomfortable I could barely talk or force a smile. She called me Tuesday night of this week and left me a message informing me that my boyfriend and I are expected to come to the reception site and help set up on Friday afternoon and attend at a mock-rehearsal dinner that evening, and that she would get Saturday’s details to me in the near future.

My boyfriend lives eight hours away, and I actually had to cancel a flight to visit him and purchase one for him to come here for the wedding. In my excitement to see him, I made plans for Friday afternoon (when he arrives) and evening, as well as Saturday morning (I have only been informed that the reception is at 6pm). The thought of spending more time with this person who has hurt me so much brings tears to my eyes. Moreover, I know that above all this is her special day, and I need to suck it up and act happy if only for the pictures or while she’s talking to me. But I just don’t know how I will do it. I have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and because of that I can’t always control my nerves. It’s not whether or not I should suck it up for her big day, it’s if I can.

I’ve already told her that I have previous plans for Friday, but that I would try to work things out and she said I didn’t need to come. Will going to the dinner make me more comfortable in preparation for Saturday? Should I only subject myself to this experience once and just go on Saturday? Or should I just say to her: “We didn’t know whether or not this would work out. It’s not. I hope you have a wonderful marriage and I wish you every happiness, but I can’t be there.”? — Anxious Bridesmaid

You know, if you honestly feel in your heart that the friendship is over and you don’t know how on earth you’ll make it through her wedding, then by all means, bail on her at the last minute on her wedding day. Rest assured that if/when you do that, the friendship will be over, but maybe that’s what’s best anyway since it doesn’t seem like either of you is terribly invested or feels like there’s much to lose anyhow. If you feel like a jerk pulling this, then for the love of God, do whatever it is you do to manage your anxiety — medication, meditation, visualization, deep breathing, whatever — suck it up and get through the day (skip the rehearsal dinner, though, since she already told you you didn’t need to be there), and bail on the friendship afterward if that’s what you want to do.

In the future, don’t agree to be in someone’s wedding whom you have such mixed feelings for.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

90 comments… add one
  • avatar

    justpeachy October 19, 2011, 3:07 pm

    Friendships are just like romantic relationships. Would you let a guy do this to you? I hope not. Since it sounds like you are having a tough time with the anxiety and poor playing of breaking up with her, participate as minimally as possible in the wedding and afterward, just let her go. Sounds like she’s not making an effort, so just let her ghost out of your life.

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    silver_dragon_girl October 19, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Ok, I honestly had a hard time following this letter, so I’m just going to give some very plain advice and you can take it how you will:

    Go to the reception because you’re her friend and you said you would. If you can’t go to the church anyway, I’m not sure how you’re really a bridesmaid, but show up at the reception in your dress, smile, eat, talk for a couple hours, and then leave as early as possible.

    More than that, stop DREADING this wedding. I guarantee you, it won’t be nearly as bad as you’ve got yourself all worked up to expect. Just do it.

    Maybe take a few weeks or a month off really talking to your friend afterward. She’ll be busy adjusting to married life anyway, so it will be a good opportunity for a breather. Let her come to you. At that point, you can decide whether life is better with or without her in your life.

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    • avatar

      redessa October 19, 2011, 4:37 pm

      I’m a Mormon so maybe I can explain that part of it. If a “non-member” is not allowed to the ceremony then it is not a church wedding, but a Temple marriage. You have to be a baptised member of the church AND have passed interviews with your local clergy to be given what’s called a recommend in order to enter the Temple. The ceremony is usually very small. It’s also very religious in nature and there is none of the pomp and circumstance that surrounds a traditional wedding, ie: no one is walking down any isle – there’s is no isle for that matter. Just a small room with chairs for those who are able to attend and a nice padded alter that the couple kneels at. I’ve been married so long I don’t remember if the officiant stood or if he knelt with us, but you get the general idea.

      Anyway, ceremonial clothing is worn for this as well. Some brides will wear their wedding dress but it’s mostly covered with the ceremonial gar so some will just wear a simple white dress and change into her wedding dress for pictures and the reception. This is where bridesmaids come in. There will likely be pictures outside the Temple just after the ceremony (no cameras are allowed inside) and there will be a normal reception to follow (minus the alcohol). At the reception, the couple and wedding party will usually stand in a receiving line where their guests (pretty much everyone they know – the vast majority having not been at wedding ceremony) will greet them as they arrive and offer their congratulations at that time. At some point there will be the typical cutting of the cake and bouquet toss and all that.

      So pretty much the bridesmaids are there for the pictures and reception. Even if she were at the ceremony, she would have no role other than to sit with the rest of the guests (probably mostly just family) and watch.

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      • avatar

        honeybeenicki October 19, 2011, 4:57 pm

        Thank you for explaining that. I think it helps to have the perspective of someone within the faith to really be able to understand it.

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        Renee October 19, 2011, 5:01 pm

        I learn something new everyday. Thanks for the explaination.

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        Jubietta October 19, 2011, 11:10 pm

        Thank you for demistifying this ritual for us, and for doing it with such respect for the faith and for us readers. DW commentors rock and you’re the jamming lead guitar!

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  • avatar

    artsygirl October 19, 2011, 3:16 pm

    LW – DO NOT BOW OUT OF THE WEDDING. YOU agreed to be in the wedding. Seriously even though she is a crappy friend and you plan to end the friendship, don’t skip her wedding. That is shitty behavior on your part and you would be acting no better than she does. I would call her and tell her that you are unable to go to the set up and the rehearsal dinner because you already made plans with your boyfriend and she had only said you needed to be there for the 6 o’clock rehearsal (though I have never been in a wedding that didn’t have a rehearsal dinner so I am confused as to why you didn’t account for one). I would make an emergency appointment with your dr. to see if you can get any medication for Saturday and plan to leave early in the reception. Since it is a Mormon wedding there is not likely to be any alcohol so the reception will probably end earlier than other weddings. Do not stoop to her level and cause her public humiliation and stress.

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    • avatar

      artsygirl October 19, 2011, 3:20 pm

      PS. I am also confused by your phrasing of ” and I won’t be allowed in the church to be paired with a groomsmen and walk down the aisle”. Does that mean you are not allowed in the church period or that you just are not allowed to walk down the aisle with a groomsman?

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      • avatar

        Christy October 19, 2011, 3:24 pm

        She wouldn’t be allowed in the church, period.

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      • avatar

        Greebo October 19, 2011, 3:27 pm

        Really? I’m not trying to be ignorant here, but I don’t understand. Only Mormons attend Mormon services, or she could attend but not actually be a bridesmaid? If she can’t even attend, I totally do not understand how she’s a “bridesmaid” at all.

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      • avatar

        Shadowflash1522 October 19, 2011, 3:29 pm

        sorry Greebo, didn’t see your post before I hit submit!

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      • avatar

        Greebo October 19, 2011, 3:31 pm

        I’m glad I’m not the only confused person!

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      • avatar

        Sarah October 19, 2011, 3:33 pm

        From what I remember my Mormon friends telling me in college, the only people allowed in the temple are the bride (if she’s like, pure enough or something, I don’t know) and her parents and then the grooms parents I think. Everybody else has to stay outside.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 19, 2011, 3:35 pm

        I went to a Mormon funeral and I’m not Mormon. Why should a wedding be different?

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 19, 2011, 3:37 pm

        I posted this before I saw the information below. Oops.

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      • avatar

        redessa October 19, 2011, 4:38 pm

        Anyone can go into the church. It’s a Temple wedding that the LW is talking about.

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      • avatar

        savannah October 19, 2011, 3:41 pm

        It’s like a clash of traditions. Some Mormon brides want both a traditional temple wedding and all the trappings of a traditional american wedding as well. I was a bridesmaid to a mormon wedding where we waited outside the temple while the actual ceremony took place. At the reception we walked with groomsmen into the room and we wore the same dresses so the pictures look like any other wedding.

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      • avatar

        Greebo October 19, 2011, 3:43 pm

        Thanks Savannah! I posted before I saw your reply.

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      • avatar

        Shadowflash1522 October 19, 2011, 3:28 pm

        Then how can she be a bridesmaid?

        I’m Catholic (sort of), we don’t have this kind of crazy shit…damn Mormons! (amiright)

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        honeybeenicki October 19, 2011, 3:34 pm

        And thats saying somethin’, since us Catholics are full of crazy 🙂

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        SpyGlassez October 20, 2011, 12:27 am

        Considering I will have to receive a special dispensation from our bishop to marry my unbaptized fiance, I would definitely agree that we Catholics have our own special kind of crazy. 😀

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        Hana October 19, 2011, 3:34 pm

        For mormon weddings, if you are not a Mormon you are not allowed I. The church/ to witness the ceremony. You are able, depending on the people, to go to the reception afterwards. I’m not Mormon but I have a lot of Mormon friends.

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      • avatar

        Greebo October 19, 2011, 3:36 pm

        Thanks. I guess I’m still unclear how LW can be a bridesmaid then.

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        Sam October 19, 2011, 3:36 pm

        The actual ceremony takes place in the Mormon temple, which only bishop-approved people are allowed to attend. She’ll be a bridesmaid in the sense that she’s helping plan and will participate in all the other ceremonies/events that do not take place in the temple.

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        amber October 19, 2011, 3:33 pm

        this is what i learned from google and the knot:

        The Temple Ceremony
        Only faithful members of the Church are allowed to attend. All your guests must have a temple recommend issued by their bishop to enter the temple, which means your ceremony will likely be smaller than it would be in a non-temple wedding (usually it’s just family and close friends). The temple president or a temple sealer (a clergy member with authority to officiate a wedding) will oversee. You need at least two witnesses.

        A Non-Temple Wedding
        A non-temple wedding is open to anyone — whether you’re a Church of Latter-day Saints member or not. You don’t need a temple recommend, and a local bishop at any Mormon church can officiate your wedding. If you take this route or have a civil ceremony, you may be able to have a Temple Wedding later (after you’ve begun following Mormon precepts) to seal the marriage for eternity.

        i guess this means if you have the the temple version the rest of your non-mormon guests show up at the rehearsal? it’s very interesting i had no idea that the mormon ceremony was for mormons only.

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      • avatar

        Greebo October 19, 2011, 3:35 pm

        Interesting. I wonder if there are two ceremonies planned.

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        redessa October 19, 2011, 4:50 pm

        Nope. The Temple wedding fulfills all legal requirements for a marriage and it’s considered sacriligious to go and have a civil ceremony afterwords. The difference being that in a Temple mariage, the officiant has the an office of the preisthood which allows him to marry you for “time and all eternity” (a bishop performing a church wedding does not have this authority) whereas in a civil ceremony (any wedding outside the Temple) you pledge “till death do us part.” It’s considered an insult to your Temple vows to go and promise something less than what you’ve already promised.

        As for having the civil ceremony first, if you do that (in the US anyway, it’s different in countries where a Temple wedding is not legally recognized) you have to then wait a year before you can go to the Temple. The idea there is the a Temple wedding is what most LDS (Mormon) couple aspire to so if you do anything “less” then there must be some reason you weren’t able to go to the Temple (the assumption will be that you’ve been having sex before marriage which a big no-no). So you have to wait your year to do any necessary repentance before you can go get your Temple wedding.

        We kind of had this issue when I got married because my mother’s side of the family are not Mormon and I guess some of them were hurt that they couldn’t be at my actual wedding. But the put it aside and all came to my reception and we had a great time! (even my grandfather with alzheimers kept introducing everyone to each other – repeatedly. 🙂 )

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      • avatar

        Shadowflash1522 October 19, 2011, 3:40 pm

        Why do I get the feeling we’re going to get another “Oops I forgot” when the LW get left standing at the door to the church?

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      • avatar

        ChemE October 19, 2011, 4:11 pm

        I was a bridesmaid at my sister-in-laws wedding. We wore dresses and everything but weren’t allowed to see the actual ceremony because it was in the Manti temple. He only people allowed in were Mormons with temple recommends, given by their bishop. So not even her dad could watch.
        Basically we were there for pictures, support and help setting up for the reception. We still had fun, my husband and I made a vacation out of it. And if you’ve never been to Utah, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful area.

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    • avatar

      camille905 October 19, 2011, 4:57 pm

      There’s a post further up by a commenter that is Mormom and explains it all.

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  • avatar

    Greebo October 19, 2011, 3:18 pm

    In general, people don’t issue blanket apologies for “all” their lousy past behavior. She probably thinks that her prior “regrets”—however insincere or mixed up—resolved those individual incidents. Also, for some strange reason, you kept “forgiving her” so she has no reason to change. (Note, however, the ” ” marks. That’s because you never really forgave her, did you? You said it’s ok, but it wasn’t)

    I don’t think you should skip her wedding. You’ve already put in the time and money. You made a promise to her, and you called her your friend. If you know when and where you’re expected, you should live up to your commitment and—catch this—BE THE PERSON you say you want her to be. If this is your last act of “friendship”, then so be it. But I think there’s a dynamic here other than her standing you up and being disrespectful. I think maybe your part has been a lot of passive-aggression, scorekeeping and maybe some neediness or judgment.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow October 19, 2011, 4:11 pm

      This:
      “(Note, however, the ” ” marks. That’s because you never really forgave her, did you? You said it’s ok, but it wasn’t)”

      and this:
      “But I think there’s a dynamic here other than her standing you up and being disrespectful. I think maybe your part has been a lot of passive-aggression, scorekeeping and maybe some neediness or judgment.”

      I was having similar thoughts about the LW…. something just seems “off” about her letter.

      I think that since the bride is the LW’s “oldest friend” and their friendship spans a decade with lots of good times mixed with the bad, AND being a bridesmaid doesn’t seem to entail much since LW apparently wasn’t involved with any of the planning and she’s not in the ceremony – then she should just go! LW – Dress up, take your boyfriend, think of it as a date. Have a xanax and a glass of wine first if you have to, but GO. I think you’ll regret NOT going more than you’ll regret going.

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      • avatar

        LennyBee October 19, 2011, 5:09 pm

        I agree. All through this letter I got the feeling the LW was a little passive-aggressive. I mean, really, it distresses you that bad to have a friend you know to be flaky flake on you? And it’s distressed you for 10 years and you haven’t figured out a strategy to deal with it? You’re still surprised and hurt and demanding explanations and written apologies? If you have a flaky friend and you actually want to keep her, you figure out strategies that don’t leave you enjoying your fancy dinner alone: you make plans that aren’t far in advance, and if you do make a plan in advance, you call the day before and two hours before to remind her and check that the plan is still on. You don’t wait to see if she’s going to flake then freak out.

        Go to her wedding because not going will probably just increase your anxiety (guilt, waiting for an angry phone call demanding an explanation, having to make an explanation, etc). And afterwards, fade out – you don’t seem too invested in making this friendship work on its own terms. You can’t change other people and their strange personality quirks.

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      • avatar

        Greebo October 19, 2011, 8:03 pm

        LennyBee–“You can’t change other people and their strange personality quirks.”

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      • avatar

        Greebo October 19, 2011, 8:05 pm

        Sorry. I hit submit by mistake. Was going to say:

        There’s a lot of wisdom and joy in that sentence. I find myself much, much happier when I accept my friends as they are, enjoying them for what they do offer and what we share, rather than wishing for something they can’t give me.

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    • avatar

      mf October 20, 2011, 11:35 am

      “If you know when and where you’re expected, you should live up to your commitment and—catch this—BE THE PERSON you say you want her to be. If this is your last act of “friendship”, then so be it.”

      Yes! Thank you! Just because your friend is flake doesn’t mean you have to be one too. There’s something to be said for keeping your word. It’s hard to be the bigger person, but you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ve done the right thing.

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  • avatar

    Sarah October 19, 2011, 3:20 pm

    *Don’t tell the LW to not show up at the wedding and then claim not to know about it, don’t tell the LW to not show up at the wedding and then claim not to know about it, don’t tell the LW to not show up at the wedding and then claim not to know about it,*

    I say don’t show up to the wedding and then claim not to know about it!! HA HA!!!……aw f*ckdammit.

    Seriously though, she isn’t interested in fixing things with you, but why is that a surprise. If its going to make you miserable, bow out. But if you want a chance to fix it with her, stay in and bear it like Wendy said.

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    • avatar

      Carolynasaurus October 19, 2011, 4:10 pm

      Or you could show up at the wedding, go through all the motions, and leave her a card with the message, “I was going to buy you a present, but I thought I might not enjoy buying it, so I didn’t.” And then ghost away…

      (amirite)

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      • avatar

        oppositeofzen October 20, 2011, 8:28 am

        I’d say forget the card. If she asks say something about it mention how you thought about buying one, but it wouldn’t be fun, so you didn’t.

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    • avatar

      Morgan October 19, 2011, 4:44 pm

      Childish? Yes. Passive Agressive? Yes. The perfect response? Abso-fuckin-lutely.

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      Trixy Minx October 19, 2011, 4:49 pm

      Do it!!

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  • avatar

    amber October 19, 2011, 3:21 pm

    who gets details of their wedding to their bridesmaids the week of the wedding? are you IN the wedding or just going to eat after? i am very confused. if you’re not in the wedding why would you attend the rehearsal? i say call her and tell her you’re sorry you can’t make the rehearsal but you’ll be there saturday and then move on. like justpeachy said above i hope you don’t let your bf treat you the way this friend does. at some point you need to learn to stick up for yourself.

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    • avatar

      amber October 19, 2011, 3:28 pm

      i see that you’ve already done the telling her you can’t make friday night thing now. so, go to the wedding or reception whatever you’re allowed at and then go home. and go to a therapist and deal with your anxiety. and like i said before learn to stick up for yourself! you probably should have moa’d a few excuses ago….

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  • avatar

    savannah October 19, 2011, 3:21 pm

    Go to her wedding if only for this 1 reason: whatever she’s done to you in the past will pail in comparison when she tells stories later about ‘the best friend I used to have until she dumped me the day of my wedding’. Go to the wedding and then bow out of her life gracefully and you will be doing yourself a favor and deal with less residual issues later.

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didn't October 19, 2011, 3:22 pm

    How desperate are you for friends that you would let this continue for so long?

    But it would be exceptionally shitty to bail on the wedding.

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  • avatar

    Shadowflash1522 October 19, 2011, 3:23 pm

    No, the dinner will not make you feel more comfortable about Saturday. If anything, it will most likely be a preview of the horrors to come.

    Yes, if you are going to go at all, go only for the wedding on Saturday (or the parts you are allowed to be at), skip the reception, and MOA from the entire friendship.

    Yes, yes, YES to the last option!!! You’re being totally up-front and honest, she already knew it wasn’t working, and if your description is at all accurate then best wishes are more than she deserves. If you plan on really MOA-ing from this friendship and severing all contact anyway, then do it as gracefully as possible but know that the severance is permanent. Who cares what she thinks if you’re never going to talk to her again? I like your proposed response, I think it’s very classy given the circumstances.

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    • avatar

      Shadowflash1522 October 19, 2011, 3:26 pm

      And go have a nice weekend with your boyfriend instead 🙂

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    • katie

      katie October 19, 2011, 9:54 pm

      this is exactly what i think- if you really dont want to be friends with her anymore, if its really THAT bad, then just cut ties…

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  • avatar

    MissDre October 19, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I’ll agree with the others. Go to the wedding and try to leave early if you can.

    I have also suffered from severe anxiety in the past, so I know how you are feeling. I’ve pulled the disappearing act on people because of the anxiety and guess what, I always felt just as anxious by staying home because then I’d be dealing with the guilt of not showing and worrying frantically about whether or not people were going to hate me for it.

    See if you can get a small prescription of either clonazepam or trazodone from your doctor to help you deal for the evening. If you have a legitimate anxiety disorder your doctor will likely say yes.

    Be the better person. Don’t back out. Do your duty, and then allow yourself to fade out from the friendship.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar October 19, 2011, 3:29 pm

    It seems this woman stopped being your friend some time ago. I didn’t see anything in the letter remotely positive about her. If you are done with the friendship – then tell her you can’t make her wedding. You seem hurt that she didn’t email you the promised apology but what is the benefit of a “paper apology” apologising for her years of abuse? What would that even accomplish? Were you hoping to frame it as proof positive she sucks as a friend? Someone either acts like a friend or they don’t. If she doesn’t – and hasn’t for some time – why put yourself through additional anxiety and costs over someone you don’t like anymore?
    Bear in mind that Wendy is right though – this will be the end of the friendship. If this is some girl drama nonsense that you all play out with each other periodically for kicks then it will end here. So decide.

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  • Budj

    Budj October 19, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Don’t go – wait a month and a half – and then send an e-mail apologizing because you didn’t think they were set plans. Then tell her to fuck off.

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  • avatar

    jane October 19, 2011, 3:35 pm

    Do NOT bail on her wedding. You made a commitment, and her inexcusable past behavior is no red light for you to act like a jerk. And yes, I understand that she would blow you off in the past, but blowing her off on her wedding a week before? That’s really messed up. If you wanted to bail, you should have done it months ago.

    I say suck it up and go to the wedding, congratulate her, and leave early as others have suggested. And MOA from the friendship AFTER the wedding.

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    • avatar

      Flake October 19, 2011, 3:58 pm

      I’m sorry, but if the thought of going to this wedding brings her to tears, plus her history with this “best” friend, gives her every reason to bail.

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        Sarah October 19, 2011, 6:23 pm

        The thought of doing many things brings me to tears (hell, going to work some days), but sometimes you have to suck it up. Grown up time.

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        Kristen October 20, 2011, 11:45 am

        Totally agree. Plus, I think she’d really be doing herself a favor by going. She still looks like a good friend and doesn’t add to the passive-aggressive drama that’s been going on for years. It’s only a few hours on one day. It’s worth it to stick it out.

        I don’t really understand why the LW referred to her friend’s behavior as “abuse,” though. She seems to have taken someone’s flaky personality and turned it into something so gigantic and horrible that it’s impossible for her to get over. She really needs to see a therapist and work on her own dependency and anxiety issues. And if MOAing from this friendship (AFTER the wedding) is what it takes to help her get to a better place in her life, then go for it.

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  • avatar

    cookiesandcream October 19, 2011, 3:35 pm

    LW, your friend’s behavior seems very strange. As for her attitude towards your friendship, I’d cut her a teeny tiny bit of slack since she’s probably been super busy planning a wedding and hasn’t had the chance to think hard about your friendship (I’m only talking about her recent behavior–not her behavior before wedding planning). For all you know, she could be waiting until she gets back from the honeymoon to do some really serious soul searching about how she’s been treating you as a friend.

    As for the wedding, I think it’s a little strange how she’s emailing you last minute with your bridesmaids duties. If she’s a really disorganized person, then I’d understand, but if she isn’t, then I’d assume that she wasn’t very serious about having you as a bridesmaid. If she’s emailing you last minute, then I’d bail on being a bridesmaid and not feel bad. After all, how can she expect you to be a bridesmaid if you don’t know what’s going on? Just one warning, don’t bail on her as some sort of petty revenge. It’ll explode in your face and there’s no way you’ll be able to look like the good guy.

    However, if you still want to be a bridesmaid, then I wouldn’t go to the dinner on Friday if you’re so unsure that you’re going to make it. If she said that you didn’t need to come, then take her at face value and spend time with your boyfriend. You can also prepare emotionally for Saturday as well. If you’re not sure how you’re going to be able to handle yourself, give the bride some heads up. Tell her that you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and might have trouble and you might need to excuse yourself. That way, if you get a panic/anxiety attack, you can step outside for a bit or even leave if things get bad.

    As for your friendship, I’d wait until after the wedding fever has died down to approach her. Just tell her or write her about how you’ve been feeling about the friendship and figure out whether you want to give her one last chance.

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    • avatar

      Shadowflash1522 October 19, 2011, 3:46 pm

      Honestly, it’s sounding more and more to me like “bestie” is setting LW up to fail again. Especially with the unusual Mormon wedding practices, it seems odd that she would ask the LW to be in the bridal party when she’s not allowed at the ceremony. That seems like a critical detail, not plans to be forwarded on Thursday for a Saturday wedding. Call me paranoid, but I have a baaaddd feeling about this.

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      • avatar

        cookiesandcream October 19, 2011, 6:41 pm

        Yeah I know; I thought that was really strange behavior from the bride as well. If the LW decided to pull out of the wedding, I get the feeling that the bride wouldn’t be all that upset about it.

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    Flake October 19, 2011, 3:47 pm

    I think you should not go to the wedding simply because it doesn’t seem like you want to. You are just one person and I seriously doubt that your absence will even be noticed. What will be noticed for sure is your anxiety and general miserable-ness… So say exactly what you wrote in your letter, maybe, if you have it already, give her the wedding gift, and enjoy the time with your boyfriend.

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      MissDre October 19, 2011, 4:00 pm

      If she were just a wedding guest, I would agree with you. But she’s a bridesmaid. Her absence WILL be noticed. Her name is likely in programs and she is likely paired with a groomsman for the walk-in at the reception, etc.

      I think she should go, stay for the dinner and the speeches and whatnot, and then peace out.

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  • avatar

    HBomb October 19, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I really like this short and sweet answer!

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  • Tracey

    Tracey October 19, 2011, 4:18 pm

    As much as it may hurt, you should take the high road and go to the wedding. Why? Because you gave your word, because you don’t want to open yourself up to any drama from her (no doubt she will go all out if you fail to stand up for her) and because it’s the right thing to do – even for a friend who has not done the right thing towards you. Take part in the ceremony, pose for the pictures, and then, after the toast and the first dance at the reception, quietly and gracefully go home. After you’ve done this, you no longer have any obligations to her.

    Also after this, comes the really hard part: At a proper time – not right after the wedding, but after the honeymoon or about a month after the ceremony – you’ll have to tell her that this friendship is over, and why. She needs to hear from you how her behavior toward you has made you feel devalued as a friend and a person. She needs to know that she’s betrayed your trust one time too many. She needs to hear that you can no longer tolerate being treated like this. She also needs to hear you say this without animosity, anger, or drama. Just the facts, repeat this mantra as you talk to her, just the facts – what behavior has bothered you, and how that behavior made you feel.

    She’s going to apologize again. Accept it. She’s going to say she’ll behave better toward you. Tell her you’ve been there with her before, and that it’s no longer what you want. Then say goodbye and move on – without drama.

    It’s going to hurt. You’re going to get anxious and upset. Do your best to prepare for and get through it, because once you do, you’ll never have to deal with this drama again. The good news from all of this is that you’ve learned what to avoid in friends in the future and how to treat your friends going forward.

    Good luck to you.

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  • avatar

    Calliopedork October 19, 2011, 5:41 pm

    Since you cant actually be in the ceremony and havent been involved in any planning, dont go. If you really dont care to keep her as a friend wish her the best and tell her the situation is negatively affecting your condition.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass October 19, 2011, 5:49 pm

    Wow. This LW seems like drama. Sure, her friend seemed like a flake but really didn’t pull any bridezilla crap and you want to bail on her the week before her wedding? I don’t blame her for not putting your apology first before her last minute stuff, its clear that you don’t have much respect for her as well. Glad you aren’t my friend.

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    • avatar

      oldie October 19, 2011, 6:34 pm

      I think you are being awfully harsh to LW. Going to the reception seems to be causing her a lot of anxiety and stress. I don’t think she is saying she won’t go in order to spite her former friend, but rather because she honestly doesn’t think she can handle it. Yes, she seems to have wound herself up to an extreme extent over the latest perceived slight. LW should consider that her friend may have stood her up in the past for very much the same reason that she feels she must skip the reception now. Both women seem to suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder and to lapse into embarrassment/anger, rather than communicate openly on the issues. These shared issues may have been what drew them together originally. They need to show a little compassion for each other.

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      • avatar

        Jan October 19, 2011, 8:47 pm

        I’m totally with lemongrass. It’s dramatic and somewhat self-absorbed of someone to start crap like this a week before a friend’s wedding. Of course she hasn’t emailed you. She is getting married in a few days, and writing a thoughtful apology takes more time than she has this week. And frankly, standing someone up hardly counts as abuse. LW’s friend is an immature flake, but LW is being unnecessarily dramatic.

        LW, it seems to me like the real issue here is your anxiety disorder–if something this minor is causing so much anxiety, you need to seek treatment. If you’re not in therapy already, I’d really suggest it. A few of my friends have anxiety disorders or suffer from occasional panic attacks; therapy and/or medication have made it so much easier for them to cope with life’s little surprises. Really, your crappy friend’s wedding shouldn’t make you such a nervous wreck–what if something legitimately stressful happens to you one day?

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        Shadowflash1522 October 20, 2011, 8:46 am

        Standing up someone doesn’t count as abuse, but gaslighting her about it later does. “We had plans? No we didn’t, you’re crazy!” Having this kind of mind game happen over and over is what tips LW’s friend over the line from flake into mean girl.

        And she’s not starting it now, she’s reacting to her friend’s lack of consideration in co-opting her for Friday and Saturday morning when she already had plans, which she found out about immediately pre-letter.

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        Jan October 20, 2011, 11:53 pm

        I stand my ground: LW’s friend is a total dick, but LW has some issues that need to be professionally addressed. Nothing that she expressed in her letter should ever move a person to tears, FFS.

        Come on. Did LW really think that she’d have time on the day of the wedding for other plans? Has she never heard of a rehearsal dinner? That’s a common enough tradition that she should have known to plan for it.

        On the other hand, if she doesn’t know about what/when/where the rehearsal dinner is just a few days before the wedding, we can probably assume that LW isn’t a bridesmaid anymore.

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        Jan October 20, 2011, 11:53 pm

        I stand my ground: LW’s friend is a total dick, but LW has some issues that need to be professionally addressed. Nothing that she expressed in her letter should ever move a person to tears, FFS.

        Come on. Did LW really think that she’d have time on the day of the wedding for other plans? Has she never heard of a rehearsal dinner? That’s a common enough tradition that she should have known to plan for it.

        On the other hand, if she doesn’t know about what/when/where the rehearsal dinner is just a few days before the wedding, we can probably assume that LW isn’t a bridesmaid anymore.

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        Jan October 19, 2011, 8:47 pm

        I’m totally with lemongrass. It’s dramatic and somewhat self-absorbed of someone to start crap like this a week before a friend’s wedding. Of course she hasn’t emailed you. She is getting married in a few days, and writing a thoughtful apology takes more time than she has this week. And frankly, standing someone up hardly counts as abuse. LW’s friend is an immature flake, but LW is being unnecessarily dramatic.

        LW, it seems to me like the real issue here is your anxiety disorder–if something this minor is causing so much anxiety, you need to seek treatment. If you’re not in therapy already, I’d really suggest it. A few of my friends have anxiety disorders or suffer from occasional panic attacks; therapy and/or medication have made it so much easier for them to cope with life’s little surprises. Really, your crappy friend’s wedding shouldn’t make you such a nervous wreck–what if something legitimately stressful happens to you one day?

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 20, 2011, 10:49 am

        I agree that the anxiety seems to be a bigger issue here than the friend’s behavior. And avoiding everything that makes you anxious is going to make it worse, not better.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark October 20, 2011, 6:40 pm

        Oh, please. If she can’t handle going to a simple wedding check into the psyche ward already. Sure, the bride sound like a real head case — but, somehow, the LW miraculously makes herself seem even more crazy… Talk about two friends who deserve one another….

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      • avatar

        Jan October 20, 2011, 11:55 pm

        THANK YOU. Everyone is calling out the bride for being a terrible friend, but few people have caught on to the fact that LW is clearly nuts.

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  • avatar

    cookiesandcream October 19, 2011, 6:34 pm

    Am I the only one who thought of The Book of Mormon while reading this letter?

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones October 19, 2011, 7:14 pm

    Your soon to be ex-friend sounds a bit narcissistic. They never can see they have a problem. Best to take the high road, try and enjoy the party and afterwards, let the chips fall where they may…

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  • avatar

    MsBorgia October 19, 2011, 7:40 pm

    I don’t understand all these letters that basically say, “I have this friend who treats me like shit but I agreed to be in her wedding.”

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    • avatar

      Shadowflash1522 October 20, 2011, 8:48 am

      I think this happens because weddings are socially sacrosanct. It’s like all those Facebook friends you have because you didn’t want to snub them by denying their friend request, only you have to answer to good friends and/or family for your refusal.

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  • avatar

    cdubs October 19, 2011, 9:47 pm

    If you’re a bridesmaid, why would you make plans for Friday evening with your boyfriend? I think that’s kind of shitty of you to tell her you can’t make the rehearsal dinner or whatever Friday night because you have plans with your bf. It’s a wedding, you generally leave the Friday night before and all of Saturday open for wedding activities…

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    • avatar

      oppositeofzen October 20, 2011, 8:36 am

      I’d go out on a limb and say this may be the first wedding she’s been in and may not have known. And since the LW said she hadn’t heard anything, maybe she didn’t think about going since she won’t be in the temple or anything like that.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay October 19, 2011, 9:54 pm

    The bride sounds like a terrible friend. Considering how little involvement it sounds like bridesmaids have in Mormon weddings, I think that not going is fine, as long as you realize that the friendship is probably over. However, if this were the sort of wedding where being a bridesmaid is crucial to the ceremony itself, I hope that you would have decide to turn it down when it was offered, and not at the last minute. It sounds like the LW has a problem standing up for herself, so I hope this is a lesson that not standing up for yourself initially can lead to a worse situation, for all parties, later on.

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  • katie

    katie October 19, 2011, 10:00 pm

    wow- there is so much wrong with the two of these women… honestly, i dont mean to be mean, but no matter what you choose its going to be a bad decision. you will either be the terrible bridesmaid that bailed a week before and hung out with her boyfriend instead, or you will be the terrible bridesmaid that skipped out on every event she could, did the very bare minimum duties, left the ceremony early, and maybe had a panic attack and ruined the wedding…

    shitty situation, im really sorry…

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  • avatar

    Christina October 19, 2011, 11:54 pm

    Lw, I don’t understand why you were so stressed out at the shower. The fact that your friend acted like nothing was the problem while you spun out is an indication that she may feel that you two have processed the problem for the short term. She has also promised to make changes in the future to be a better friend. Take a little focus off of this terrible wrong you feel is blocking your ability to enjoy your life. All of the wrongs you are listing make it sound like you want out of the wedding day and want to feel justified in flaking out on your friend on her most important day. Flaking out is bad if she does it or if you do it. Don’t do it. Enjoy the time with your boyfriend , make the time for your friend so that she has a nice wedding day and in the future don’t make any plans with her alone. Make plans with groups of people and invite her to come along if she can. You can also call her the night before or morning of and ask if your shared plans are still on and if not you’re going to make other plans. I’ve done this with one friend and it changed the whole dynamic. Now she calls to be sure I’ve still made time for the plans too.
    Whatever you decide, please give us all an update next week!

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  • mandalee

    mandalee October 20, 2011, 8:29 am

    I had two, not one maid of honors bail on me right after they ruined my bridal shower/bachelorette party mere weeks before the wedding. My situation was a little backwards in that they were the ones with the terrible behavior and after I said something about how they were hurting my feelings, they bailed. Our friendships officially ended that day. I wasted so much on their gifts, programs, hotels, etc- it was a mess.

    Unless you absolutely loathe this girl, which from your letter, it seems like you might, I wouldn’t drop out of her wedding. Her wedding is this week! You had months to evaluate this friendship, and you chose to stay friends with her and stay in her wedding. Dropping out at the last minute would be extremely selfish.

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  • avatar

    Cheekyfraggle October 20, 2011, 10:36 am

    I’ve been trying to phrase my reply for quite some time, but it’s gotten a bit wordy as my perspective is muddled; I’m getting married tomorrow AND I have generalized anxiety disorder. So I feel I relate to both the bride AND the anxious LW in this scenario.

    But I want to focus on the LW’s mention of her anxiety disorder, as her wording worries me a bit. LW, you said, “I have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and because of that I can’t always control my nerves. It’s not whether or not I should suck it up for her big day, it’s if I can.”

    As someone who has generalized anxiety, I am telling you, you CAN do ANYTHING you want and will yourself to do. It won’t be EASY, it might even be so mind-numbingly terrifying at first that you feel the fear is actually going to kill you. But it won’t, and it can’t. Especially if you confront the anxiety-inducing problem head-on, with the help of a therapist who can teach you specific anxiety-controlling techniques.

    The worst thing you can do, as a person with an anxiety disorder, is to just accept it as an incurable illness. If you do that, it becomes a crutch, and you will become a victim held hostage by your own anxious emotions. You do not have terminal cancer, you have a predisposition to high levels of stress chemicals which flood your brain at inopportune moments and make you FEEL like you can’t make it through. With the help of a good therapist, you can learn to make it through the fear and even conquer it.

    If you haven’t already, find yourself a good counselor/therapist that specializes in anxiety disorders. As I have learned through my psych training and own experiences, anxiety is one of the most treatable psychological disorders. It pretty much boils down to, “feel the fear, then do it anyway”. Avoiding that which causes anxiety only gives it power; learn to face the fear, keep facing it, and it will eventually lessen and potentially go away completely. A good therapist can help you through this process, and anxiety medications such as xanax can be a helpful (but TEMPORARY) tool as well. But I would caution you to be careful with medications like xanax, as they are meant to bring temporary relief; they are not a cure. Cognitive behavioral therapy, and possibly a longer term medication such as an SSRI, are the best treatments for anxiety disorders. And since friendships seem to be a concern for you, I would also recommend finding an anxiety-related support group in your area.

    As to the initial question of what to do with the friendship; if she has been a crap friend for years, I’d say it’s time to woman-up and cut your losses. Respect yourself enough to recognize you deserve friendships that are an equal balance of give-and-take. Maybe without realizing it, you have allowed your anxiety to keep you crippled and tied to an unhealthy relationship. Fight the fear, let her go, and work on finding yourself a support system of healthy and mutually beneficial friendships. To me, it seems that whether or not you flake on her wedding is irrelevant; if you are done with this friendship and looking to find healthier relationships, it probably doesn’t matter much either way what you choose to do. If she cares as little as you have made it seem, then it probably won’t phase her much either. The real issue here is to do whatever you need to in order to take control of your life and your anxiety disorder, so that it doesn’t end up controlling you.

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  • avatar

    stilgar666 October 20, 2011, 12:47 pm

    The wedding planning has been terrible, she is terrible, and you are dealing with anxiety…

    Yet, you committed to this, and are the better person.

    Go to the wedding, have fun with your boyfriend, never talk to her again.

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  • avatar

    cdubs October 20, 2011, 12:48 pm

    I do agree this is a different situation, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh. I just got flashes of those people that make plans with their significant other when they should be doing something with their friends (like going to a rehearsal, birthday party, previously-made plans, etc). I know it’s not the same thing, but that’s where my brain was headed.

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    • avatar

      cdubs October 21, 2011, 12:14 am

      Ok this was supposed to be a reply to the reply to my earlier comment above. What happened..haha. Oh well.

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  • avatar

    misslisa October 20, 2011, 3:20 pm

    My comment here is more for the readers than the LW: 25 years ago, my then-husband was the “best man” for his Mormon brother’s Temple marriage. I put best man in quotes because brother also had a second best man w/a temple recommend in the temple during the ceremony. Basically, my and my husband’s role was to stand outside the temple in the sweltering heat during their wedding, ha! The bride had converted, and her family/friends, all Catholics and Jews, were outraged and steamed that they couldn’t witness the wedding and had to stand outside in the heat. The entire day was a sideshow because nobody had prepared the non-Mormons who’d traveled from Dallas, NYC, Philly, Baltimore, etc. for what the day held. Finally, at the reception, her folks brought in booze and got hammered in front of all the Mormons.

    So my rambling point is: Clear communication will the day! Oh, and if you get an invite to a Mormon wedding, assume you’re not invited to the actual wedding, ha!

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  • avatar

    TheLibrarian October 20, 2011, 8:18 pm

    I wonder if the bride is *really* as awful as the LW makes her seem. Statements like “Last Saturday was the bridal shower and it was a really terrible for me. She acted like nothing had ever happened while I experienced a two-hour anxiety attack. I was so physically and emotionally uncomfortable I could barely talk or force a smile. ” make her seem prone to over-dramatization. If this is how she reacts, I’d be likely to just stand her up rather than cancel too.

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