My Mistake

Have you ever made a decision about something that ultimately came back and kicked you up the butt?

I have. And it did.

It was in that post-engagement glow period, where all I wanted to do was tell everyone! make decisions! book the entire shindig! all in the space of about a week. I was so far away from friends & family while we were in England, that I was itching to share all of my big plans with anybody who was willing to listen. (And even some who weren't willing to listen, if you know what I mean.)

One of the first things I wanted to do was to choose my bridal party. Before I was even engaged, I knew that I'd be asking my bestie, Miss K, to be my Maid of Honour - it was a given. But as for other bridesmaids? I wasn't sure. Newly engaged Bees, this is where I give you some advice: don't pick your wedding party too early. It's common sense for most people, but from personal experience, I know how tempting it can be to go with the moment and get busy asking straight away.

I asked two other girlfriends to be bridesmaids for me: one, a university friend of mine, who is one of my all-time favourite people and is always there for me, even when we're thousands of miles apart. Miss E is one of those rare friends that don't come along every day; the kind where you can not see them for months, organise a catch up session & feel like not a second has passed. She's brilliant and was thoroughly excited to be a part of our wedding day.

And then there was my final bridesmaid: let's call her Miss X. I've known Miss X for the past few years, though since she lives interstate I don't see her as often as I'd have liked. She is a mutual friend of Miss K & I - so I had grand visions of us having epic planning sessions and enjoying our time doing all things wedding together.. and, well, it seemed like a good idea to ask her at the time.

There were a few warning signs that things weren't starting off well. My parents, while polite about my decision, were worried that she, being a few years younger than myself, wasn't the right choice for a bridesmaid. (I believe Miss X sealed the deal with them when she made jokes at our reception venue about being placed near the 'open bar': I could see visions going through my mother's head of drunken and belligerent bridesmaids sloshing alcohol all over the pretty carpet.) While looking at bridesmaid dresses, Miss X shot down every single one of my suggestions: no long, no fancy, no satin, no strapless & also wasn't very supportive of my colour scheme. I'm not a diva of a bride, and I don't even have a specific dress that I want my girls to wear, but I felt like all of my suggestions were being thrown back in my face. And the last straw for me? Along with Miss K, we travelled through Europe together this past October as a threesome. Arguments happened, feelings were hurt, and true colours really shined through - suffice it to say that through travelling, I learned a lot about Miss X that I hadn't known before. After our travels were over, I finally stopped and listened to all the alarm bells ringing in my head, before realising that I'd made a huge mistake: I should never have asked her to be a bridesmaid.

Guys, there is nothing harder to do than to tell someone that you're sorry, but that you don't think that their being a bridesmaid is the right decision to have made. Since I had no phone access at the time, I spent days drafting the perfect email that would explain the situation to her and when I finally sent it off, I felt awful. I knew it was the right thing for me to do, but that didn't stop me from feeling bad about doing it. Since I was still overseas at the time and with limited phone & internet access, I received her response a few days later: she was upset but she understood and hoped we could still be friends. I was relieved and thoroughly happy that she seemed to have taken things well, and on a personal level, it felt like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Unfortunately, the next week when I checked my emails once again, she had experienced a change of heart & sent me a long and hurtful email, ending with a request to 'not bother inviting her to the wedding, it would be too awkward'. I'm sad she feels this way, but I do understand the awkwardness -so I don't hold it against her: it would've been hard for any friendship to survive that whole debacle.

Here are a few tips that I learned throughout my whole snafu of an experience:
  • Like I said before, don't rush when it comes to asking your nearest & dearest to be in your wedding party. Particularly if {like yours truly} you have a VERY long engagement - there's no real need to get that sorted immediately, and you never know what might happen in twelve or eighteen months time.
  • Weigh up your pro's & con's of asking each member - what is your friendship or relationship like now? Has it gone through any weak spots? Do you see your friend still in your life in 1, 5 or 10 years time? Do they get along with your family members, your fiance?
  • Trust your gut instinct. If you have a niggling concern, listen to it. You can always involve your friends in other wedding-related activities without having them be a bridesmaid, which is a potentially safer option if things go sour later on.
  • If in doubt, fix things early. I was lucky in my situation, because no financial decisions or purchases had been made when it came to the girls. Things only get harder when money is involved - so I'm blessed that I made my decision early.
So that was my epic mistake when it comes to wedding planning so far. In a way I wish things had turned out differently, but I know now that I did the right thing and should have gone with my gut feeling all along. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I have a new third bridesmaid now: one who I was honest with sharing my story with, so that she wouldn't feel like a 'replacement' bridesmaid & who my heart tells me is a very, very good choice.

Originally posted on Weddingbee: view it here.

10 Comments • Labels: , ,  


Megan said...

I can imagine how difficult that would be! I thought of bridesmaids early on, and I ended up deciding to have my sister as the Maid of Honor and not include any bridesmaids. It was a good choice for me because I didn't want to hurt any of my friends' feelings for not picking them; I also didn't want to deal with irresponsible bridesmaids (which I knew some of my friends could be); plus, I had a huge falling out with a friend/roommate during the wedding planning process, and she was someone I would have originally picked as a bridesmaid if I had any. In the end, just having my sister in the wedding was a great choice! :)

Becky said...

Oh my gosh this is so so true! Definitely wait until you ask your bridesmaids - and it's so hard with that post engagement glow!

Anonymous said...

That does sound really hard!

I was a little shocked when you wrote about picking our their dresses. Don't they have to go with whatever you say?

Angela Noelle said...

Wow, I can't imagine how difficult that must have been for you! I was really impressed when you mentioned her first response, but it sounds like the "real deal" came out in the end :/

If any bride ever asks me for advice, the only thing I tell them is to only pick people for the wedding party that you plan to invite to your 50th wedding anniversary. Thank goodness you got it sorted before the big day, and now you can have fun planning with the right girls for you :)

heidikins said...

Dah, that just sounds sticky and messy and unpleasant. Glad it has worked out for the better though!


Non Sequitur Chica said...

My 4th bridesmaid was someone I had known since high school. I thought it would be cool to have my sister, best friend from college, best friend from law school, and then my closest girlfriend from hs. Unfortunately, it didn't end up being a good idea. I ended up keeping her as a bridesmaid, but definitely regret the decision. I should have thought about it a bit more...

Glad you were able to fix your mistake!

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

You did the right thing.

I stupidly made a recent 'friend' a bridesmaid and her husband a groomsman (I had FIVE bridesmaids...) and they spent the entire time bitching and moaning and I wished I had never even invited them to the wedding.

Now we don't speak. Cause true colours were blinding.

terra said...

Oy - so sorry you had to go through all that. There's no easy way to approach a situation like that. On a good note, I guess it's better to find out before your wedding that she's not the best sort of friend rather than after. It would suck to look back on wedding pictures and be reminded on a friendship that ended poorly.

Eris said...

Wow, I'm glad you were strong enough to tell her you didn't think that she would be a good fit anymore. I've seen bad bridesmaids cause trouble at a suprising number of weddings, you absolutely did the right thing. Good job!

Karen said...

I'm so sorry your friendship with her didn't work out. I remember you telling me about it when we met up. Shame it all turned out this way.

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