Ask AOW: Caught In The Middle

Right, readers.  We need you.  A reader has sent in a plea for help on how to manage her feuding sister and best friend in the run-up to her wedding.  I know a number of you have had the difficult  role of mediator in advance of your weddings, and that the road to harmonious weddings is often fraught with difficulty.   

No-one should have to deal with this  in advance of the happiest day of their lives.  Please help our reader out, and leave any advice you have in the comments at the end.  All advice will be gratefully received!

Dear AOW Readers,

I’m a sister. I love it. I love my funny, silly, bright, bubbly sister. I’m also a friend. I love that too. I love my smart, loyal, quirky best friend.

The problem is that they don’t love (or even remotely like) each other.

This has been a long term hate-hate relationship. I met my friend 12 years ago and there was no significant event that put her at loggerheads with my sister. It was a natural occurrence.

I’m the quieter sister. I’m also the quieter friend. My sister and my friend are very alike although neither one of them would care to admit it. They are loud and outgoing and they always think they know best! There’s adefinite clash of personalities.

My sister in particular is usually very vocal about her dislike of my friend claiming that she ‘bosses me about’ although this is a complete case of ’pot’ ‘kettle’ and ‘black.’ My friend on the other hand tries to be more subtle (but is still glaringly obvious) with her little jibes and catty comments about my sister. I have learnt to keep them apart whenever possible.

When I get married next year I would like them both to be bridesmaids.

Surprisingly, my sister has been great about this. She seems to be looking forward to the big day almost as much as I am. My friend on the other hand has made it clear she doesn’t like the idea of sharing the role with my sister.

My husband-to-be is of the opinion that I should ditch my friend and just go with my sister. I think if I do this my friend might not come to the wedding at all.

I just wish they would put it aside and get on for one day.

AOWers, do you have any advice for keeping feuding wedding guests under control? I’d love to hear some success stories!

Anon x

Categories: Ask Anna, Ant and AOW, Wedding Planning
13 interesting thoughts on this

13 Comments

  1. Becky
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Next time your friend makes it clear she’s not happy, be honest with her. Tell her more than anything you want them both to celebrate this day with her and that you need her to put her differences to one side for the build up to the wedding and the day itself. If she’s a real friend, she’ll do that. If she continues, I would question whether I would want her there. It’s really really really not her place to have a problem with the bride’s sister on her wedding day!

  2. Kate G
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Hi Anon. Stressful situation :( It’s always hard to negotiate the middle ground and in weddings views become even more polarised.

    I’m inclined to agree with your husband. Seems to me your friend is being rather selfish. It’s not about her desires – its about you – its your and your husband’s wedding day. If your sister can put aside her differences and celebrate the day with you, going along with the choices you’ve made ; then a best friend should be able to do the same.

    You are going to have to have some kind of conversation with your friend, adn the soone rthe beter to alliviate the stres it sno doubt causing. If you feel you cant ask her directly to please play nicely, go the tactical route. Tell her you’d love to have them both as bridesmaids but if she feels she cant do it jointly, offer her a different role eg doing a reading or signing the resgister or giving a speech. That way she’ll have to make the choice and live with it.

    I had a similar-ish sitaution with a bridemaid who refused to go with any of my choices (not people) but shoes, dreses, etc etc. Every alternative scenario I came up with she had an excuse for. Eventually I had to ask her if she would be more comfortable at the wedding as a guest, and she accepted. I was terribly hurt by her behaviour, and definitly should have tackled the situation earlier to alleviate the stress it caused. But, the freinship is intact – if a little changed – so a success.

    Good luck xx

    Good luck! xx

  3. Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Oh weddings. Why do you bring out the worst in people!?
    I don’t have a sister, and I’m not sure I can offer much profound advice, but I will share something with you.

    In the run up to my wedding by best friend, my head bridesmaid, went a little AWOL. Short story is that she wasn’t keen on my wedding plans and had been trying to avoid me. So I told her it was fine to just come to the wedding without being a bridesmaid (after all I wasn’t going to change my, no our, plans for her). Needless to say, she never turned up to the wedding. It was a bit of a disappointment and I’ve not heard from her since. Turns out she wasn’t that great a friend.

    I’m always of the impression that your friends should be supportive for you no matter what. If they’re not, they’re not your friends. So – if it were me, I’d be telling the friend that if she doesn’t like it, don’t do it. You don’t need bickering bridesmaids to deal with and they should learn to act like grown-ups. If she’s not supportive of you then I’d be questioning her friendship.

    I’m sorry that sounds mean, but having had the above experience perhaps I’m just picky with friends now!

  4. Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, I’m going to have to say a similar thing. If she’s basically said she won’t do it with your sister, make it very clear that that is her choice. You definitely shouldn’t push out your sister.tell her that bridesmaid duties are hardly demanding or time consuming – she won’t suddenly be spending all her free time with your sister. Maybe a hen party and a couple of hours getting ready.

    Do you have other close people to ask so it won’t be just the two of them? Maybe some buffering bridesmaids could help?

    Also definitely tackle this now. Don’t leave it hanging over you! Good luck anon.

  5. Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Your friend should be absolutely made up that you’ve asked her to be a bridesmaid, just as your sister is. If this feud is more important to your friend than you wishing her to be a big part of one of the most important and exciting days of your life, then that’s…well, words fail me!

    I think you should put them in a room together and lock the door! Seriously. With a print out of your AOW plea.

    And if the friend still feels the same, that might just be time to invest a little less in the friendship.

  6. Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I’d also be inclined to agree with your husband. Your sister seems to be taking it in her stride, putting aside her own opinions and focusing on the positive (as a bridesmaid should!) whereas your friend sounds like she’s being a bit selfish and if leaving her out would mean that she wouldn’t come at all… well that rings alarm bells for me.

    Weddings really can do funny things to people… I hope you get an amicable solution and your friend realises what’s really important. xx

  7. Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I should probably say that that I’m not married and I don’t have a sister, but…

    If I were you, I would send your friend a copy of this post. Either print it out and give it to her face to face, or email it to her.
    “I’d like you to have a look through this please, and read the comments below it. What would you do if you were me?”
    Leave it up to her – I agree with the others, who have said that if she can’t put it to one side, then frankly she’s not a decent friend. Chances are, she’ll either be mortified and apologise (in which case, problem sorted, perspective given) or she’ll go ballistic, and be really pissed off with you. If the latter – if she doesn’t apologise within a few days then I suspect that would be her true colours emerging.

  8. Posted June 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Agree with comments above that in many ways weddings do seem to bring out the worst in people. When I got married I wanted my 2 best friends to be bridesmaids. Unfortunately although they used to be close friends they’d had a falling out some years before. I just told them that both of them were important to me and I wanted them both to be involved but if they didn’t want to then it was up to them. Luckily they were both fine with it and on the day there were no problems. I would use the same tactic with your friend. If she still won’t cooperate then sadly -her loss.

    Good luck x

  9. deltafoxtrotcharlie
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Tell them both to grow the eff up??

    Srlsy though I’m inclined to agree with the comments above but also to note that your wedding is just that, yours. Not theirs. They’ll care about it and be excited about it but not as much as you and that’s normal so if your friend thinks that remaining your friend at the expense of being your bridesmaid is more important, be careful not to disparage her decision.

    Good luck and big hugs xxxx

  10. Lee-Anne
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I would take the time to sit down with your friend and be honest with her about your worries. Explain that you know her and your sister don’t get on but you are hoping that can be put aside in the run up to your wedding. If she doesn’t think she can do that then unfortunately you can’t see how it would work having her as bridesmaid. If she decides to step down try and understand and hopefully you won’t fall out. Me and my MOH had a huge falling out in the run up to my wedding and although it had been sorted by the wedding she ended up just coming as a guest which obviously wasn’t what I had planned for. If we had spoke then maybe it could of been settled much better than it was.

    At the end of the day it is your wedding and you do not need the stress of worrying about them getting along. She should be honoured that you have asked her to be a big part of your day and not make any problems for you.

  11. Anon Also
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Echo the comments here. It’s your day and bridesmaids are there to help relax and de-stress you NOT add to what is already a stressful time wedding planning!

    My best man (my best friend) decided to book his wedding 5 days before mine at the same venue as me (after I had announced our date and venue). I found out through a mutual friend at my engagement party. I have given him a few chances to explain himself but he refuses to see anything wrong with it.

    A few days ago I got his invite WITHOUT my fiance’s name on it (who he has met). Suffice to say, I have already rethought him being my best man and am seriously considering whether to skip his wedding.

  12. anon
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks everyone. Great advice as always on here. I know you’re right. I think I knew it already deep down but it helps to hear it from others. I’ll let you know how things go x

  13. Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Definitely sit down with your friend as the girls have all said above, talk to her. If she is still kicking up about it… well, her bridesmaid duties haven’t even begun yet… if she’s acting like this now then what’s she going to be like later?!

    I hope your friend comes around and you have the day you’ve always dreamed of! x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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