Q: We are getting married in two months! Our plan was: small, casual, good food, close friends/family, thoughtful, no BS. While we are still (mostly) getting what we want, our guest list has ballooned due to the usual reasons, mostly family politics. We now have a guest list of eighty up from our original thirty. We’ve made peace with this and are happy about how things are going… except for a long (intentionally) lost college friend of mine.
Sarah and I were very close; we went through some hellish breakups and hard knocks together. We alibied each other’s questionable dating and partying choices. Despite all the ill-advised things we did together, I probably wouldn’t have survived my early twenties without her. With that said, we did not have a very healthy friendship. By the time I was getting ready to move away after school, we were rarely speaking. My irritation with her revolved around her selfishness and endless need to prove she is more (fill-in-the-blank) then I am. Maybe, she too has a list of grievances, and our parting was mutual (but I suspect she just didn’t notice my absence). We basically faded into an occasional text, “We should hang! Miss you!” to the occasional social media ping. We truly have not spoken voice to voice since 2011. She has come to the city I live in multiple times and not told me she was here.
Back in our heyday, Sarah introduced me to Beth. Their friendship has also waned over the years, but they still occasionally see each other and keep in touch. Over the years though, Beth and I have become close. We moved to the same city straight out of college and have stayed in close contact ever since. So much so that Beth is singing at our wedding ceremony.
My MIL posted something wedding related on social media (Ugh. God bless her). Sarah texted me immediately asking what was up, if it was a small family affair, or should she save the date. I thought well, I can’t lie and say it is a small family affair, eventually she will find out that it was biggish, and Beth was there… and really, why not invite her? Our guest list is already way beyond what we pictured, so much time has passed, it will be good to see her! Weddings are meant to be reunions! So I told her we were really trying to keeping it small, but she was welcome to come if she wanted to (actual invites went out weeks ago). She said she would plan on it, and asked if she could bring Beth (she is unaware Beth is already invited and in the wedding). This made my blood boil. I realize this is irrational, Beth is coming. I want her there. But who does that?! And why does it make me so mad? Am I crazy?
Immediately, I regretted extending the invite. Not only because of this weird quasi inviting herself and a party buddy situation, but we were friends at the absolute worst time in my life. I’m not that person anymore, and I really don’t want to reminisce about that time in my life on my wedding day. What do I do? I am so irrationally upset about this. I feel like she is the straw that is going to break our wedding. We have bent on so many things for our family, but I do not want this event to be the Sarah Show. We’ve rented a house for a small group of close friends and us to hangout the whole weekend. There’s no bridal party, it is all going to be casual. Now with Beth and Sarah being reunited at the wedding, Sarah will automatically be included in all of these activities, she’ll end up staying with us, etc. As petty and paranoid as it sounds, I am afraid she is going to steal our weekend and make it all about her. I would be happy to go to dinner with her the next time she’s in town, but I don’t want to spend my entire wedding weekend with her. Am I being crazy? Do I just need to get over myself? How can I limit her effect on our weekend and my sanity?
A: Dear Anonymous,
You know you’re stuck with her. You invited her. Text message or not, you can’t undo it.
But I promise it won’t be that bad.
I know, as soon as the words left your thumbs, she started being the same old Sarah you always knew. Right away, she made your generous offer all about herself, she took your inch and tried to tack on a mile. An otherwise minor misstep reminded you exactly why you don’t talk any more. But maybe that brief exchange wasn’t the foretelling of doom you imagine. Maybe (just maybe!) you’re jumping ahead of yourself here by assuming that she’ll manage to make your whole wedding day about herself (unlikely) or force her way into all your intimate get-togethers (more likely, but we’ll get to that).
For starters, it’s been actual years since you guys were close. You’re not even the same person any more! So, hey, maybe she isn’t, either. Maybe, instead of rudely tacking on a party bud, she was fondly remembering “the old crew” and thought you and Beth may like to see one another again. It’s still not great, I’ll admit (you told her it was a small wedding, dude), but there’s a chance she’s not being altogether terrible.
Now that you’ve made the mistake of inviting her to the wedding, just be sure not to do it again. No invites to the house you rented, to the bachelorette, to whatever else. Being included in the wedding doesn’t mean she automatically gets a pass into all of the cozier affairs, too. Don’t be guilted or prodded into this. She might pout or beg. But keep reminding yourself—she wasn’t invited to anything at all, and now she’s coming to the wedding. You’re already going out of your way to include her. You’re already extending the olive branch. So stop there and don’t overextend it.
Also, consider maybe mentioning all this to Beth. It depends on your dynamic, of course, but this isn’t about being cliquish. Beth is in the wedding, she’s included in all of the fun events around the wedding, but Sarah isn’t, and you don’t want her to feel left out or have her feelings hurt by being excluded. That’s pretty straightforward stuff. Let Beth know all of that, and ask her to be cool. It should be easy to avoid mentioning these fun times to Sarah.
You are sort of making this a bigger deal than it is, but I completely understand. Compromise fatigue! Wedding stress! Trust me, we’ve all been there. So take a deep breath. One more guest (even a really self-absorbed guest, even in an intimate wedding) is not going to make a huge impact on your wedding day. You won’t be thinking about the old days, and I would bet a lot of money that this won’t be the Sarah Show. Your wedding is about so much more, and one extra guest won’t change it (if you don’t let her).
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