Welcome to Ask Anka, a weekly column in which sex therapist Anka Radakovich dives into your most intimate issues with advice and tips to help you live your best sex and relationships life. Have a question for Anka? Drop us a DM (no fear, we'll keep it anonymous) on Instagram @Brides.
How do you handle friendships that fall apart during wedding planning?
Ask any wedding planner and they will undoubtedly have a story about a bride and her friends ending up in tears during or before the big day. One wedding planner told me that, once, an hour before the ceremony, the bride and her maid of honor got into a fight which escalated into them ripping out each other’s hair extensions. (They had to be pulled apart by the hair guy.)
Emotions run high during every phase of the wedding planning process, but there are some frequent reasons why friendships are tested. Feelings can get hurt on both sides, and how you resolve it will determine whether or not you remain friends forever. Here are three of the most frequent reasons that cause drama and how to deal with them.
The Invite, and the “Non-Invite”
Since weddings are so expensive, most couples have to decide who to cut from the guest list. Many couples spend thousands on the wedding only to notice that half the people in attendance are “plus ones” who they might never see again. Do you really have to let your friend bring that guy she just met last week on Tinder and slept with twice? How about your friend who wants to bring her “friend with benefits”? Do they get to come? Don’t feel bad if you say no.
But it's less cut-and-dry when considering your besties. It's typically considered good etiquette to give your bridal party a plus one. Remember, your bridesmaids and maid of honor are doing you a favor by participating (and spending money) to be in your wedding, so it's nice to repay them by making sure they enjoy their time at the wedding. But, of course, if you really can't afford to add another person to the guest list, then try explaining the situation to your friend—if they are really so gung on having a date at your nuptials they may consider paying for the guest's spot out of their own pocket. Or if they realize they are being selfish and making your big day about themselves, they'll let it go. And if they don't, you might want to consider if that friend really has your best interest at heart.
Say No to the Dress
Another reason friends may fight pre-wedding is due to a difference in tastes when it comes to wedding attire (aka they think the bridesmaids' dresses are ugly and don't want to pay for it). Forcing your friends to wear something they feel embarrassed to wear is not being a thoughtful friend. A simple fix is asking what could be done to help them feel more comfortable in it (for example, changing a neckline). It also means you have to let go of being a perfectionist bride who insists on every detailing being to your liking. For instance. if you demand that all your friends dye their shoes the same color and one doesn't have time to do it, let it go. As long as your friend made a good faith effort to please you, that's enough. Your wedding is supposed to be fun and doesn’t have to be perfect. Life-long friendships should not end over shoes or a dress.
Bridesmaid, Maid of Honor, or Guest?
Drama often happens when someone thinks they are your ride or die but someone else gets chosen to be the maid of honor. Or someone thinks they were going to be asked to be a bridesmaid but is only invited as a guest. If your friend brings it up and is hurt, you have to soothe the hurt. Here’s where you have to tell them you love them, always. And that you’re not “ranking” your friends, but it’s just that you haven’t kept in touch for 15 years, and your maid of honor is your next door neighbor or someone you see more often—or whatever the truthful reason is. If they are your friend, they shouldn’t be mad at you and just happy to be a part of the celebrations. See it as an opportunity to re-connect with them.
Even if it was only half your fault and you want to maintain the friendship, you might have to apologize and take some of the responsibility. Something like “I’m really sorry that we got into a fight over my wedding, and I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. But I want you to know that I want you at my wedding and in my life.” A small but thoughtful gift and a sincere card should do the trick. After all, emotions are running high during this time in your life and it's likely you may have damaged a friendship unknowingly. Hopefully, they will come around, and you can both cry at your wedding.
Anka Radakovich is a couple’s counselor, certified sexologist, and sex therapist. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.