Dear Wendy: “My Maid Of Honor Is Blowing Off My Bachelorette Party”

I grew up and went to school on the east coast but now live in California. I recently got engaged and was thrilled to ask my best friend from college, who now lives in Maryland, to be my maid of honor. Because all my bridesmaids are scattered across the U.S. and the majority of my bridesmaids are on the east coast, I decided to have my bachelorette party in NYC (where one of my bridesmaids lives) over Labor Day weekend so that they wouldn’t be burdened to fly out to California. My sister from California and I booked our tickets back in June. Recently, my MOH emailed me to tell me that she doesn’t think she can make it because she’s breastfeeding her newborn and doesn’t think it would be a good idea to stay overnight in NYC. While I understand her situation, it really bothered me that she is just coming to me now. I don’t think that I could — nor do I want— to plan my own bachelorette party and I really don’t want to burden the other girls with that. Her backing out of the party = no party because no one else has planned anything. I tried to talk to her about how I was feeling and I got the impression that she thought this was beneath her because she was a “new mom” with “more important things” to worry about. I’m really saddened by the entire thing and wonder if I should still keep her as a maid of honor. What do you think? — Sad Bride

Trust me, Manhattan needs a group of shrieking women in tiaras running around sucking on penis straws like Haiti needs another earthquake, anyway.

I think this sounds like an episode of “Bridezilla” with you coming across as really childish and self-centered. This is your best friend you’re talking about. You presumably chose her to be your MOH because you share a long-term, close friendship — one that has hopefully been mutually supportive — and now you’re thinking about “demoting” her — or perhaps even excluding her from the wedding party entirely — because can’t she make it to your out-of-state bachelorette party? I know, I know. She should have given you more notice. She shouldn’t have agreed to go if she wasn’t sure she could make it. You were counting on her to plan the party. But, did she know that? Usually, when MOHs are in a different state than the bride, it’s assumed someone else will plan the party … or that there won’t be a bachelorette party at all. Yes, it’s true — some brides don’t have bachelorette parties. Or, they have very modest ones where they accept that not all of their friends will be in attendance. Why? Because out-of-town guests are already spending a crap load to travel to, you know, your wedding. When you factor in the expense of being a bridesmaid, the price escalates even higher.

We’re in a recession. You’ve planned a bachelorette party during a holiday weekend, in NYC, one of the most expensive cities in the world, and you’re upset because someone who has a new baby — the physical, emotional and financial demands of which you don’t seem to appreciate — can’t plan you a big weekend party? You’re hurt because your friend is giving you the impression she has “more important things to worry about”? Well, guess what? She does! Like, taking care of her newborn. And I guess I don’t understand why the party is suddenly a “no-go” because she won’t be coming to/planning it. Why can’t you plan some of it yourself? Or, ask your bridesmaid who actually lives in New York to help out? Why can’t you just make dinner reservations at a cute place and enjoy an evening out in the Big Apple with your sister and close friends and see where the night takes you? Why does it have to be some huge production?

Trust me, Manhattan needs a group of shrieking women in tiaras running around sucking on penis straws like Haiti needs another earthquake, anyway.

Look, I get that it can be hard to accept when friends move into different stages of life and aren’t as emotionally available for you as they might have been in college. You’re getting married! It’s an exciting time for you and you’re disappointed your best friend isn’t showing the level of support you’d hoped for. But she’s a new mom! Have you stopped to think for a minute how stressful that might be? How little sleep she’s getting? How much she might wish all her friends would drop everything — yes, even planning their weddings and bachelorette parties — to pick up the phone (remember when people used to actually talk on the phone?!) and ask how she’s doing, how new motherhood is going, whether she needs anything?

These are all situations we have to navigate as we grow up. As our lives change, our priorities shift. Friendships take a backseat to things like marriage and parenthood. But if you love your friends, you cut them slack. You realize they’re trying to figure out this whole adulthood thing like everyone else. And while most of us are the center of our own worlds — at least until we have kids — we aren’t the center of other people’s worlds. Their lives don’t stop just because we got engaged/married/pregnant/dumped/promoted/sick. They still have the same demands they always have had — probably more — and are trying to spread their attention across an increasingly hectic and crowded life. We have to be more gentle with each other. We have to be more understanding of people’s limitations. And we have to learn to bend and be flexible because people don’t always do what’s most convenient for us. If we don’t, I’m afraid none of us will be left with any friends.

So, use this as an opportunity to be a better person. Instead of thinking about how your friend is letting you down, turn the tables and think of how you can reach out to her and show her support. Pick up the phone. Have a heart-to-heart. Tell her how grateful you are to have her be a part of your wedding day even though it means flying all the way to California with a new baby (or leaving the baby at home with a sitter). Tell her you’ll miss having her at your bachelorette party, but you look forward to sharing the excitement of your wedding weekend/day with her, and hope, in the midst of your busy schedules, you can find more time to connect with each other on the phone before then. In the end, friendship is so much more than throwing parties and “being there” for the big things; it’s being there for the little things. It’s being there when the excitement of a new birth or a wedding has worn off and you just want someone to call you up and say, “Hey, how are you? How are you really?”

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