Post # 1
So, my sister just called me and told me that she can’t be my maid of honor, as she’s been having panic attacks about the thought of having people watch her walk down the aisle and staring at her up front during the ceremony. She doesn’t like being the center of attention.
She told me she still wants to support me, she still wants to be involved with the planning, and going to the bachelorette, and get her hair and makeup done, etc. but she doesn’t want to be my Maid/Matron of Honor.
TBH, I am feeling hurt. I know her history, I know her anxieties, but I thought she would be okay. When I asked her, she was really excited and happy to be Maid/Matron of Honor, so it sucks that she’s now dropping out. I told her it was fine, that I understood. I’m not mad, I just feel disappointed that she won’t be there standing by my side.
But now, I don’t know what to do. I have 2 other friends I was going to ask to be bridesmaids (I haven’t done it yet as we have had a long engagement and I was waiting until we get closer to the year mark), but I don’t know if I could choose between them for my Maid/Matron of Honor.
What would you do in this situation? I feel a bit lost right now and need some advice.
Post # 2
That’s a bummer. She probably was genuinely excited when you asked but anxiety can get in the way of doing things you really want to sometimes.
I would stick to having just bridesmaids and let your sister know that she’s always welcome to change her mind if she wants.
Post # 3
Is there any way she can keep her title of maid of honor but not have to walk down the aisle or stand right next to you? Maybe just sit in the front row?
Post # 4
That sucks bee, but try not to dwell on it. Stick with the two BMs and let your sister sit with the guests. If you wanted to keep her involved but in a more private way, you could ask her be your witness when you sign your marriage certificate.
Also — I’m not loving the undertone of “I still want you to pay for my hair and makeup, but no I’m not standing by you”.
Post # 5
You’re the bride so you can define what your Maid/Matron of Honor is and does.
Maybe yours does those things she is able to and doesn’t do the walking down the aisle thing she’s anxious about. No biggie, if she loves you and you love her, you’ve got a great Maid/Matron of Honor. Life is too short to lose out on someone who loves you because they can’t fit into a mold someone else made.
Post # 6
I guess I don’t understand why she can’t be maid of honour? I had three bridesmaids but only one was physically at the wedding due to factors beyond their control. My other bridesmaids skyped in and where still there to support me and be my friend up until and beyond the wedding.
There are many options for still having her as your maid of honour, like sitting in the first row instead of standing or walking down the aisle.
Post # 7
I agree with some other people- ask her if she’d like to Just sit in the front row or something! I think there are easy workarounds for this! You can also just do a sweetheart table so she’s not the centre of attention there either.
Post # 8
Agree with PPs! Keep her as Maid/Matron of Honor and have her sit with guests. She can wear a unique but coordinating dress. If she changes her mind last minute, then she can also walk down the aisle. If she can do all the Maid/Matron of Honor duties other than walking down the aisle, that works!
Post # 9
therobinsparkles : Well, she doesn’t want to do the other maid of honor duties either. I’ve had multiple conversations with her in the past, and I’ve made a lot of accommodations for her already. Shes terrified of public speaking, so i saud she didnt need to do a speech. She didnt feel comfirtable planning any parties as she doesnt know what shes doing, and I said that was fine, she didnt have to. She wasn’t thrilled about wearing a specific dress, but said she would do it for me.
I feel like I’ve been very accommodating with her and considerate of her anxieties, and I thought that she would after all that he able to walk for 10 seconds and then stand to the side of the room and be an emotional support for me on one of the most important days of my life. So I’m disappointed she feels like she can’t even do that for me.
Post # 10
My sister and I had a situation like this. I have pretty severe anxiety about being the center of attention like this. Having to walk down the aise as her Maid/Matron of Honor was panic attack inducing just to think about. I told her that I was devestated I couldn’t be that person for her. She came up with the solution that I would still be her Maid/Matron of Honor, but would sit with our parents in my bridesmaid dress instead of walking down the aisle, and would sign the license during the ceremony. I sat at the head table during reception, and other than skipping the dreaded walk down the aisle I was still involved in every other way.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, it’s your wedding, but your sister is more important than what tradition dictates the Maid/Matron of Honor should do. You can make up the rules as you go and find a way to make it work!
Editing to add that anxiety can be absolutely paralyzing. I mean, I almost cried while attempting to walk down the aisle at my own wedding, and not in the good way. I wouldn’t be able to physically do this for someone else, because I wouldn’t be willing to risk a panic attack and ruining her day. It’s not just a matter of “pulling myself together” to support my sister. I mean it can be literally paralyzing for us. I’m sure she’s more devastated than you are, but just know that if she actually had any control over this she woukd be there for you in a heartbeat!
Post # 11
megkate87 : that sucks I’m sorry. 🙁 Only you know the relationship dynamics and how bad her anxiety is. It sounds like you think it’s a reasonable request (as do I, but I also don’t get anxious about these things). Is there another reason you think she may be doing this? It’s hard to chime in without full context.
Post # 12
scatthecat : To be honest I’m not even sure of the full context myself.
Really, I think I just need to talk to her about it again.
Post # 13
I’d just stick with the bms. I also have debilitating anxiety. I’m not living a typical life right now because of it. So I do understand what your sister is feeling. And everyone’s anxiety is different and manifests in different ways. I can barely leave the house alone, I have agoraphobia, but I could walk down an aisle as a bm. Maid/Matron of Honor would be too much for me to handle though for sure, if anyone were to ask I’d turn it down for multiple reasons. But then there’s people who can leave their house just fine but couldn’t do something like walking the aisle and standing in front of people. No two people with anxieties are ever exactly alike but are alike in terms of physical and mental panic. I’d venture to guess she feels horrible that she can’t do it for you and it was probably hard for her to be honest about it. As for being an honorary Maid/Matron of Honor and sitting, for me personally I’d feel more anxious about that as people would be wondering why I’m not walking and standing and speaking at the reception and I feel like it’d put even more attention on me. But like I said before, we’re all different and maybe she would be okay with that. And it’s okay for you to be disappointed. As long as it’s the same kind of disappointment that you’d have if she’d broken her knee and couldn’t walk or some other physical reason. I noticed you said you’re disappointed that “she feels like she can’t even do that for me.” It makes it kinda sound like you think she’s exaggerating or that it’s not real that she can’t do it. If she can’t do it, she can’t do it. I was able to walk as a regular bm in my sister’s wedding but I was basically in a panic the entire weekend from my anxiety. She lives about 3 hours away and we stayed in a house my mom rented for the weekend. What should’ve been a joyous occasion was not for me because of my extreme anxiety about being around so many people I didn’t know and having these forced interactions for a day and a night. That may sound dumb to most people but it was really horrible for me and then of course that makes me feel horrible that I felt like that and it’s like a vicious cycle. That went on long but just wanted to express how mental illnesses are every bit as limiting as physical ones.
Post # 14
Maybe I’m being insensitive, but I don’t like that she still wants hair, makeup, a say in planning, etc., but can’t walk down the aisle for you. If she has that much of an issue with standing in front of family and friends, I really think she needs beta blockers. I know many people who benefit from even a small dose and there are even non-addictive prescriptions, one of which my fiancé uses on occasion. Does her anxiety hinder her work and daily life?
I don’t like being at parties, being around strangers, or being in front of people, let alone giving speeches. I even write out what I’m going to say when I have to make phone calls. But I walked down the aisle alone and first in line for my friend’s wedding when a groomsman dropped out because that’s what I had to do. I don’t back out of things I’ve already agreed to do.
Post # 15
As a person who suffers with anxiety and has best friends who do too, I would adapt the role to suit them. The most important thing to me wouldn’t be her making a speech and walking up the aisle and standing at the front; the most important thing would be that she felt comfortable and safe. The ‘traditional’ stuff is pretty meaningless to me. People are more important. I would be hurt if I got replaced because my anxiety was holding me back from doing something. I would also be upset if I felt like I was only being maid of honour as a second choice. Either adapt the role so your sister can do it happily, or don’t have a maid of honour at all is my view on this x