Dear Carolyn: I’m getting married in seven months, and my best friend just told me she is pregnant with her second child and can’t come to the wedding because it is during her no-fly window.
By way of background, she moved overseas 12 years ago. I went above and beyond to help her plan her wedding because it ended up being a last-minute, do-it-yourself backyard wedding. I was happy to be there for her, and I felt as if her wedding made us even closer. I also did it without expecting her to do the same for me.
Also, I’m an older bride (mid-30s) and I go back and forth feeling as if I’m too old for all the pomp and circumstance in the big white dress with a gaggle of girlfriends around me. I can recognize the important thing is the marriage, and I’ve settled on splitting the difference by having a lower-key wedding and my best friend as the only member of my wedding party.
I don’t know how to get over the hurt I feel. First, I won’t have my best friend there for me, and it makes me feel quite lonely. Second, while I know the world doesn’t revolve around me, I’m hurt that she didn’t delay trying for this baby for a little bit longer so she could make it to the wedding.
Third, this is amplifying my original feelings – that I feel ridiculous wearing a big white dress when my friends are focused on their families.
I want to throw in the towel and just get married at a courthouse because I’m no longer excited about the wedding. Help!
– Missing My BFF
A: Fourth, please make this the last time you ever say out loud that she should have postponed her baby. I’ll assume that your disappointment left you temporarily deranged, because the alternative is too depressing.
And I’ll assume that this bout of bridezillus horrificus has run its course, meaning that by now, you’ve reminded yourself that women in their mid-30s – or of any age, really – who want children don’t “delay trying,” except for reasons of personal, relationship or financial health. Even when they love their bride-to-be best friends to bits.
I’m assuming that, too, because I don’t want your overreaction to swamp your valid points. I don’t think it’s properly understood, or even particularly cared about, how it feels to be the last of your friends to hit a big life milestone.
It’s like a marathon: The front-runners have a cheering crowd three or four rows deep, enjoying the novelty and excitement. Then the hours pass and the crowd goes home to its other priorities, except for the loved ones of the people still trickling across the line.
And now you’re in your big white dress without the one person you counted on to cheer you across. It’s not a calamity, but it’s lonely, yes.
If I were advising your group of friends, I’d remind them that this still is momentous for you and that caring about you means opening up to your joy.
Advising you is more complicated. Yes, you’ve set your date, but ask anyone who has pulled the plug at the altar: You are not wedded to your wedding. You can flex your maturity and rethink your whole plan with your partner. What do you want, whom do you want, and why?
Then: Can you satisfy these … next weekend at the courthouse? Four months from now, best friend in attendance? On the planned date but with updated expectations and a killer cocktail dress?
I suspect that even those feted front-runners would advise you: Make it yours. Make it feel better than this.