Sarah Weir
August 05, 2015 9:07 am

Dear Sarah,

After six wonderful years together, my better half and I have decided that it’s about time we said, “I Do!” While this should all be so much fun—planning a wedding, gathering a wedding party, shopping for our registry—I’ve run into a major stress point: my maid of honor.

I don’t have a biological sister to be my leading lady, but I do have a “god sister” (let’s call her “Kate.”) Ever since childhood, our families have been super close, and she’s just always been there. After my man popped the question, she seemed to immediately assume the position of maid of honor, and while I never said otherwise, I still never technically asked her.

Over the last year, we have run into some trouble with our relationship. We’ve had several fights that she’s never truly forgiven me for, no matter how many times I’ve apologized. She’s shut me out, we’ve stopped spending time together, and we don’t talk anymore—even though I’ve been reaching out to her and trying to still be like a sister.

My wedding date in the spring and feels like its getting closer and closer, so I made the decision to ask my best friend to be my maid of honor, and my “sis” to be a bridesmaid. Overall, this feels right to me—my bestie and I get along better and our personalities are more compatible. But it leaves me with the awkward situation of telling Kate that she’s not going to be my maid of honor.

What should I do?! Part of me feels as though I don’t owe her an explanation since we never communicate anymore, however, since our families are so close, I think I need to have a talk in order to avoid making our relationship even worse!


—Befuddled-Bride-to-Be in Maryland

Dear Befuddled,

Your instincts are correct: you don’t have to have “Kate” be your maid of honor, but you do have to speak with her about it. Weddings are no time to be bogged down by unresolved emotional issues. Given the myriad of possible day-of-the-wedding dramas (drunk relatives, wedding party canoodling, etc.), this is one potential kerfuffle you need to shut down, ASAP. You want to be free to have a blast on your big day—and also enjoy the months of planning and celebration.

Go buy some lovely stationary, today if possible. Write Kate an honest but tactful letter ending with a request to get together and speak in person. The surface agenda is smoothing things over so you don’t have to feel anxious, but isn’t what lies beneath the desire to reconnect with someone who has been so important to you for forever? You may never be as close as you once were, but this is an opportunity to make a significant and meaningful effort to put whatever went down between the two of you in the rear view mirror.

That’s the spirit with which I suggest you frame your note. Put aside your pride and ego, shelve your need to dispel your unease because of the “big event,” and truly write from the heart about how much you miss her and feel sad about the rupture in the relationship. Let her know that, as your surrogate sister, you would love to have her be a part of the festivities over the coming months and be in the wedding party. Rather than think about what you don’t want (someone who is mad at you and could tarnish the day), think about what you do want (the support and company of a person with whom you have been extremely close).

Then comes the awkward part: letting her officially know that your best friend is going to be maid of honor. Yeah, I guess it would have been better if you had made that clear way back when, but that’s history. Frankly, since Kate hasn’t spoken to you months, it seems extraordinary to me that she would still even assume she would be filling that role. And that’s what you can say—very, very gently. Add that you really hope she will be one of your bridesmaids and more. Is she a great party planner? Flower arranger? Fashion genius? How else can you get her involved in a way that makes her feel important (which she is) and special (ditto)? Seek advice from your respective families if you think they can give you some insight into why she’s clinging to this grudge.

I truly hope she responds in as genuine and kind a way as I know you will reach out to her. If not, find some peace in knowing that you did what you could.

Love, Sarah

Have an issue that could use a mom’s-eye-view? Our advice column features a real live mother of three who is ready to discuss any of your burning questions judgment—and baggage—free. Email with the subject line “Dear Mom.” Please include your first name or nickname and where you are from. Questions may be edited for clarity and length.

(Image via Universal Pictures)