I was asked to be in the bridal party of a childhood friend a few months ago. Her wedding is in June.
I live in California and she lives in NY, where I am originally from, and where the wedding will be.
Her bridal party is small- just four of us. We haven't been very close the past few years for many reasons, but we did essentially grow up together. I see her maybe twice a year, but we rarely talk in between. I have already purchased the dress.
The reason I moved to California two years ago is because I am a (struggling) actress. I haven't gotten a lot of breaks. At all. Two weeks ago, I auditioned for a professional theater production, and was cast as a pretty big role. Unfortunately, after going over the performance schedule, I realized that the final performance of the month long run of the show is the day of her wedding....and I don't have an understudy. Meaning if I couldn't do a performance during the run, they'd just have to cancel it for that night...and it's the LAST show.
Even if I somehow managed to fly out after the Friday night show on a red eye and get in the morning of her wedding, I still feel as though she'd be disappointed that I could not partake in any kind of rehearsal dinner or parties.
This is the first chance I've had in a long time, and it's a paying job with great exposure. Most of all, my morale needs this. However, the bride has never been understanding of my life situation and what this would mean to me. For example, when we were in high school I had to bail out of a vacation because I couldn't miss rehearsal for a play I was the lead in, and she didn't speak to me for 6 months.
FURTHERMORE, I have no problem mailing her the dress to give to someone else to replace me, and wouldn't expect anything back for it, but I honestly don't think she has anyone else to ask in my place....she doesn't have many female friends.
Most of my other friends would understand, but I am terrified that if I back out I will be starting an enormous and emotional drama, possibly end our friendship, and certainly look like a terrible person to the other parties.
Any advice? I am desperate...my anxiety is at an all time high.