Now not only am I torn between these two important people in my life, but also my family is putting immense pressure on me to cancel on my friend’s wedding in favor of my cousin’s. They argue that since my cousin is family, I should prioritize her special day over my friend’s. My aunts and grandparents are echoing the sentiment that I should cancel on my friend’s wedding. They believe that not doing so would result in strained relationships within the family. It’s important to note that I was never informed of the date until six months after I committed to my friend’s wedding.
On one hand, I genuinely want to be a part of my favorite cousin’s wedding. The thought of not being there for her on such an important day is heart-wrenching. However, it’s equally important to acknowledge that my close friend asked me to be a part of her special day six months in advance, showing her trust and confidence in our friendship. I don’t want to let her down either.
Wendy, I fear that whichever choice I make, I will be faced with disappointment, resentment, or even the possibility of damaged relationships. I value your perspective and wisdom. Can you offer any advice on how to navigate this challenging situation? I want to find a solution that honors both my cousin and my friend, without sacrificing my own happiness or jeopardizing important connections in my life. — Simply G
This one is simple: You go to your friend’s wedding. Why? Because you committed to it six months before you even knew that your cousin’s wedding would be the same day. If it was so important to your cousin that you be in her wedding, she could have cleared the date with you before committing to it. That’s usually the first thing people do in the wedding planning process – they pick a date and run it by the most important people to make sure there isn’t a conflict. If you weren’t among the most important to be consulted about the date, your cousin – and the rest of the family – has to accept that you made a prior commitment. It would be rude, hurtful, and damaging to your friendship to back out of your friend’s wedding after committing to be in it six months before.
Your cousin and extended family will be disappointed, but they’ll get over it. If they don’t, that’s on them, not you. I’m not sure there’s a guaranteed way to avoid hurt feelings here, but one thing you could do is send your cousin a small gift congratulating her on her engagement and a thoughtful, hand-written note expressing your genuine regret in missing her special day and a hope that you might be included in other wedding-related events. Write the note in your own words, but here’s a sample script to get you started:
“Cousin, I’m thrilled for you that you’ve found the person you want to spend your life with, and I want to wish you congratulations again on your engagement. As you know, six months before your engagement, I agreed to be in my close friend’s wedding, which I’ve now learned will be the same day as your wedding. I wish I could be in two places at once, but I can’t, and I know it would not be a reflection of the values I was raised with to back out of a commitment, especially one I’ve made to someone important to me whom I hope to have in my life for a long time.
I hope you understand, and if you don’t right now, I hope I can earn your understanding in time. It will be a loss for me to miss your wedding, but I look forward to celebrating the happy occasion in the months to come through any related events I might be lucky enough to be included in.”
In the coming months, if your family continues to pressure and guilt you, you may need to enforce some boundaries with them, like refusing to engage in topics of conversation that make you uncomfortable and maybe limiting time with family. It’s also important to remember that hurt feelings happen and they aren’t the end of the world. People can move on from disagreements. What’s most important is that you feel you’ve acted with integrity, and I think the path I’ve laid out above is your best chance to arrive there. Good luck.