All the ups and downs of being the first of your friends to get married
It may seem like you have it all if you have awesome friends AND a great significant other — lucky you! But what happens when that S.O. goes from being your boyfriend or girlfriend to your fiancé? Things change, and not just in your relationship. If you are the first in your squad to head down the aisle (or to the courthouse, woods, etc.), it can be especially tricky. From someone who has been there, this is what to expect when you are the first in your group of friends to get married.
Not everyone will be happy.
I don’t mean friends will be genuinely unsupportive of your getting married, but rather that they will have bittersweet feelings about it. Chances are that as a twenty or thirty-something you rely on your friends a lot. You and your friends travel together, coach each other through career transitions, and maybe even share an apartment. Your engagement could seem like it signifies the end of an era of single bliss. Maybe a friend won’t be your emergency contact anymore, but it doesn’t mean that friendship should become any less important to you or that you’ll make no time for it. Feel free to verbalize this to any sad friends, and follow through by scheduling regular hangouts.
You won’t have anyone to relate to about wedding planning craziness.
In case you haven’t heard, it ain’t easy planning a large event on a budget, as a non-professional, while simultaneously attempting to please a disparate group of people who have suddenly been thrown together as family. Your natural inclination will be to vent to your friends, who are hopefully great listeners. But don’t expect any super helpful advice, because no one else has been through this before. This is something you’re just going to have to navigate on your own.
You forge the way.
A lot of your friends will get great ideas about what they want to do from your wedding — and also what they don’t want. You’re welcome, friends! Since this is the first event like this that you are going through together, none of you know what you’re doing. Maybe those satin bridesmaids dresses looked great when everyone tried them on, but became a sweaty mess when your wedding day temperature turned out to be 102 degrees (yep, that happened). Consider this your gift to your friends: the insight of experience. You can all have a good laugh about it later.
Friends will really want to party at your wedding.
In the years ahead, people might be attending five or six weddings in the course of a summer. It can be a big drain on budgets and lead to general matrimony fatigue. But one of the great benefits of being the first to get married is that going to a friend’s wedding is still novel. People will be excited leading up to it and get down like there’s no tomorrow on the actual day. Relish this. In the years to come the receipt of many a wedding invitation will be met with groans.
You will have to figure out how to transition to married life on your own.
This is the hard part. There will be no model for how to create a new routine with your spouse while also maintaining friendships. And friends might not necessarily understand at first when you have to miss book club to go to your mother-in-law’s birthday party, or when a planned date night has to take priority over a last minute coffee invite. There may be a lot of social pressure for you to maintain the same lifestyle you previously had. This is not possible, because guess what? Marriage is a major change!
With time – and sometimes through life changes of their own – your friends will get this. And as long as you continue to be a supportive friend and make time for your besties, there is no reason you can’t enjoy the same awesome friendships you relished as when you were single. Marriage can be amazing, but you cannot expect to be fully sustained by one person. No matter what, you need your pals.
Emilie Haertsch is a Philly writer and editor who often walks down the street with her nose in a book. She once had a Newsies-themed birthday party. You can follow her on Twitter, where she often posts about Teddy Roosevelt and/or Alexander Hamilton (sometimes both at once).