Post # 1
I’m 30 days out on my wedding and I think I may have just revoked my friend’s involvement as Maid of Honor.
She just graduated from law school and is studying for the bar, this July. The wedding falls in the middle of her study period which she reminds me of on every occasion she gets. We haven’t spoken in months (final year of law school, who would have thought? jk) and so when I asked her when she’d be flying into town, I got this:
"due to hard core studying, I have to study at least 9-12 hours per day. some friends have suggested that I not attend, but I’ll be there. I can’t be there on Friday (yes, that’s the rehearsal) and I won’t be there on Sunday (the day after) … sorry!"
I recognize that my wedding is not the center of everyone’s universe (hardly mine, to be honest) but I feel really hurt by her non-involvement and honestly do not want to be standing by someone who 1). has played no part in helping me prepare for the wedding, 2). was more or less my default pick for MOH because I just don’t have that many close girlfriends (my closest friend is officiating; the other is a guy and refused to be a Man of Honor) and 3). will have the BAR on her mind the entire time and will likely remind me how she Could be studying, but is at my wedding instead. Am I being paranoid or is that guilt?
The wedding is small (60 guests) so there’s no need for a huge party .. Fiance has his brother and best friend accompanying him; if I ‘x’ my friend, I’ll be down to my sister and .. I don’t know what to do. I’m torn between letting my friend attend as a .guest … or have her stand beside me as a quasi-MOH for the sake of symmetry.
Here are my q’s:
- Suggestions on how to approach this?
- How do I bring this up to her ("you’re making me feel guilty every chance you get, you haven’t helped at all, and you aren’t going to help. i would like you there, but i don’t need the guilt. thanks"). I need some help in diplomacy.
- Would it be awkward for me to ask someone else this late in the game?
Post # 3
I feel your pain. I only have about 60 or so guests and almost thought about having my mom serve as mother of the bride since I don’t have that many girl friends. I really don’t want to choose the gal I work with, because she’s picky and hates everything I pick out.
I also considered a friend I used to work with, but she just moved two hours away in hopes of finding a job since she got laid off.
Can your brother’s girlfriend or wife serve as your maid of honor? I wonder if I really want to also have my MOH really serve as one on the day of the wedding.
Post # 4
Has she already bought her dress? If so, go along with it but slowly drift after the wedding because she sounds a litle absorbed.
Heck, when I studied for my boards, I also had to help plan my sisters’ wedding with her and was a very very involved MOH and gave her 2 showers. And a bachelorette party.
I am not cutting your friend much slack, but lay it on the line and maybe give her an out. I think that will prevent hard feelings.
Tell her (call her up) "I know you’re really busy and just want to follow up. So you will 100 percent BE THERE the day of the wedding and will you arrive early to catch up on things since you won’t be attending the rehersal? I am counting on you to be able to do that, but if this is just too busy a time, let’s just not worry about it and you don’t have to attend."
Post # 5
I was thinking about telling my MOH the same thing. She is pretty unreliable. Never gets to my place when I ask her to and just seems too wrapped up in her own life to really care what is going on with mine.
I would jump over hills to be there if she got married and make a 4 hour trip in total back and forth to help her with anything. I’m as upset as you are and wonder what the best thing to do is.
Post # 6
I travelled 5000 miles (one way) for my best friend’s wedding right after starting a new job, (having told my boss at my interview I would be away that weekend)….got crap from my boss, it was end-of-month and start of budget season (the 2 big nightmares in my profession), a holiday weekend (additional nightmare)…but it was for my BFF….it sucked at work as I got flack from my boss before I left and after I got back….BUT it was THE BEST WEDDING I have ever been too, it cost me wayyyy too much money, and I spent more time travelling then I did actually being there, but…it…was….worth…it…all….I would never forgive myself (even though I know she would have understood) if I hadn’t been there for her.
I think that she is making an effort to be there for you (just as I did) but working around her crazy schedule and life right now, I would just be thrilled to spend an hour with my BFF as she lives 3000 miles away, so enjoy your time together and be thankful that she can be there for your wedding.
Post # 7
Hm…sounds like she thinks the world revolves around her. I’m also studying for the July bar and while your MOH is right – 9-12 hours a day is around the normal amount of time people do dedicate, if she was going to practically blame your wedding for impeding on her study time she should have either declined to be your MOH or made it clear to you from the onset that she would be available strictly for the ceremony and not a minute more. But I guess that’s a moot point now. Is there anybody else that can stand on her behalf? If not, I say it’s better to have your sister stand alone and relieve MOH of her duties. In the end, you may not get the even wedding party you wanted and she may feel horrible and apologetic after the bar but that’s better than you worrying about it on a day that should be stress-free and wonderful for you. Fire would be coming out of my ears if my MOH acted this way. Yes, studying for the bar does tend to bring out the worst in people. (I’ve gotten upset at people for even calling me sometimes…unreasonable, I know. But the stress is pretty unrelatable unless you’re experiencing it for yourself.) But that’s no excuse. My advice is to grit your teeth, be the bigger person, and give HER the opportunity to back out (instead of firing her as MOH). Contact her and let her know that you understand that she’s under a lot of time constraints and while you would love for her to continue to be your MOH or even just a guest, you will completely understand if, due to the circumstances, she would feel more comfortable just dedicating the time to her bar studies. Then the ball’s in her court to either suck it up, print out an outline or two to take with her to your wedding rehearsal or otherwise be a sucky friend and back out or not show up.
Post # 8
Let me just add that if she was just a flaky MOH I would never suggest that you need to be so understanding. But being somewhat in her shoes (studying for the CA bar) I just want to shed some light on the fact that this bar exam is the only thing that will make the 3+ years of law school + 6 disgusting figures of debt remotely worthwhile. But in any context, her behavior is inexcusable. Good luck and hope everything works out seamlessly in the end!
Post # 9
you know, just to play devil’s advocate (and to give your friend the benefit of the doubt), it’s entirely possible that she really really regrets not being about to be there for you before and after the wedding, but if she is the focused, task-oriented type, then on your wedding day, she will be 100% there for you. Perhaps she is scheduling her each hour of her life so closely that she simply wants to do all the studying she can outside of your wedding so that she can be completely focused on you for your wedding day. Personally, I’m studying for a national licensing exam right now that’s analogous to the bar as far as prep and stress effort goes, but i’ve had a lot of unfortunate family stuff going on. i can’t give them excess time, but when i choose to be at an event to support someone, i am there 100%. i don’t pull out flashcards, review booklets, or even talk about the exam. i just focus on what’s at hand, and when i get home I focus on my exam.
Post # 10
I’m kindof with mrsbear on this, though I do think you should address the guilt trip you feel that she’s laying on you. But recognize that it could be a communciation issue. Just to share my experience, I was a a BM two weekends in a row, both weddings cross country from each other and thousands of miles from me. I also had to arrange the final collaboration meeting for my PhD project, go on my final research trip within the same month…and needed desperately to get about 1 year’s of work done in like 3 months so I could get my final approval to defend and graduate. I knew that these things were in the works (though not the timing of final trip and meeting) the year before when I agreed to be a BM for both…and there was no way I would miss those events for my friends. But as the time approached it was waaaaay more stressful when it actually happened. FWIW I didn’t say anything to either of the brides about how hard it was. Luckily one of them got in touch with me to say that she did no expect me to fly out (cross country) to her b-ette party/shower…which was really helpful b/c I had been agonizing over whether I could change my research trip (to S.America so flying back for the w/e is not feasible) or tell her I couldn’t make it.
This is all my way of saying that it could be that she feels terrible for how busy she is, and this is her way of letting you know why she’s not more involved. I do think it’s fair to let her know that the tone of how she’s expressing it feels like a guilt trip. But it sounds like you knew she wouldn’t be that involved when you asked her. I agree that you should avoid negative energy on the day of yor wedding…but it’s not clear to me that’s what’s going on here. Just consider whether having her not stand up is worth possibily losing this friendship before you decide what to do. You don’t want to regret your decision.
Post # 11
I can understand her standpoint, when I studied for my boards, I completely blocked out everything; It is time consuming and involves every minute of your day leading up to it, perhaps you can tell her you will completely understand if she decides to step down or even attend; her mind is clearly not there; it gives her a way out; if she wants to stay then you’ll have to accept what she gives you; she has to study
may be better to have just your sis even if it’s asymmetric than have someone with other priorities, by your side and your harping bad feelings on your wedding day, in addition if she fails her bar exam, she may have many regrets
Post # 12
My co-MOH is a huge flake. I am chalking it up to her being 36 (I’m 29) and bitter that she hasn’t had a boyfriend since 2002. However, that’s no excuse for her not caring about anything wedding related and being a major sourpuss when she comes dress shopping with me. My other bridesmaids and mom have commented on how awkward she makes them all feel. The only reason I asked her to be my co-MOH is because she literally has no other friends in NYC and she would have been deeply hurt if I didn’t ask her.
My point is this: I’m not going to de-MOH her. (She’s actually a co-MOH with my other friend who has been amazing the whole time.)
So my advice to you is to leave your MOH in place. As sucky as she’s being, it will just get ugly if you de-MOH her.
I think that the problems that de-MOHing will cause are way bigger than any existing problem.
Hope that helps 🙂
Post # 13
I’m also studying for the Bar right now and, while I can understand her stress, I think it’s unwarranted for her to guilt-trip you like that — since she already knows this is a commitment, surely she can plan to make up for it by studing extra on other days in July. If she’s kind of a stress case, though, telling her that would probably just make things worse.
I think you could approach her in a way that makes it sound like you’re concerned about her well-being — say something like "it seems like you are really stressed out about the Bar exam — I really appreciate you taking time off from studying for my wedding, and is there any way we can arrange things to take the stress off you for the wedding day" and then offer her some choices: maybe she could come for the rehearsal, but you’d give her an "out" on some of the other weekend activities so she could get some studying done during the weekend (like, maybe she could come to the rehearsal but leave the dinner early, and on the morning of she could bring her books while you’re getting ready, or something). Then you could conclude by saying that, if she is feeling really stressed out by the MOH obligations, you’re fine with her dropping out because it’s such a small wedding, and you wouldn’t be upset with her.
That would give her a way to gracefully bow out without feeling like a jerk, and hopefully if she decided to stay in she’d appreciate you being willing to work with her study needs.
Post # 14
I sympathize with her in that I’m studying for a medical licensing exam right now, which is similar to the bar, and I can attest that these things panic you and make you crazy in a way you weren’t capable of before. However, with two months left to go, I don’t think there’s any reason she couldn’t structure her studying to allow her to attend at least the rehearsal (which can’t be more than a few hours…she can easily study in the hotel after). I have three weeks total to study for my exams and I’ve made time for a birthday party, bridal shower, and bachelorette party. I normally study 14-16 hours a day, so I did a few 16-18 hour days. It can be done, but maybe she’s still in panic mode and not able to step back and see that you can rearrange your study schedule like that.
Then again, I find the "some friends have suggested that I not attend" kind of weird. Almost like "here’s proof that this is an enormous sacrifice on my part."
Okay, so what can you do. I don’t think you can pick someone else to join your bridal party at this point because it will be obvious they were second choice. My personal inclination is to keep her for the sake of symmetry, and for the sake of hopefully salvaging the friendship later on. You’d be totally justified in demoting her, though. In either case, you definitely need to tell her how you feel. In fact, maybe the best thing to do is to broach the subject and see how she reacts to decide whether you want her as your MOH.
I would do an e-mail saying "I realize that studying for the bar is an enormous undertaking, so I haven’t asked you to do much of the typical MOH stuff, but I’m really upset that you haven’t arranged your studying to allow you to do the few absolutely essential things, like attending the rehearsal."
Good luck…this is a really tough situation to be in.
Post # 15
Yeah, I just realized that I assumed your wedding was in July (which is when studying for the Bar is supposed to get crazy stressful). I just looked back at your original post, and if your wedding is in June, then your MOH is really making too big a deal out of her need to study. The advice I’ve been given is not to go crazy with studying for the bar in June, because you’ll just be burnt out by July.
Unfortunately, if she is really stressing about it, then nothing you say will make a difference — I think you really do have to just give her the option of either being accommodating to her study needs on the wedding weekend, or bowing out of the wedding party (which may be a relief to her, if she knows you won’t be mad).
Post # 16
has it occurred to you that maybe you should call her to show support while she studies for the bar instead of not talking to her for months?
the reason she said "some friends say i suggest i not attend" is to try to get you to understand the degree of stress involved in studying for the bar, which you have not shown.
the bar is pass-fail. the reason studying is so stressful is every minute wasted could have been spent learning that one point that makes the difference. sure she could probably take a few hours off for the rehearsal and be safe. once she gets her scores back she may realize she could have studied half of what she did. but if she fails by a point, do you want it to be your fault that she has to wait six months and go through it all again?