I don’t know who’s at fault in this story. I hope it’s not me, but it very well might be. Hopefully you and your readers can shed some light on it.
I was married to a wonderful man earlier this month, and my maid of honor was my beloved little sister, “Nina,” age 19. I’m older by nearly eight years, and we are the only two children in our family, so it may go without saying that I’ve always been a little protective of her. Along with Nina, I had asked my three college roommates and best friends to be bridesmaids. They are all older than me by one year, putting nearly a decade between them and Nina. Of the four of us, “Carly” has always been the ringleader and mouthpiece.
Nina has always been shy, so I went out of my way to make sure she was comfortable with everything leading up to the wedding and with the older girls. I asked my bridesmaids to do the same. Throughout the process, Carly insisted I was being overprotective, and that Nina could speak up for herself. Thinking of myself at that age, and realizing that Nina and I are of a similar temperament, I agreed that this was probably the case and left them to it. The one thing I did insist on was discussing the maid of honor’s toast with Nina. It was the first wedding she’d been to, so she didn’t know this was something that was done, and I didn’t want it sprung on her. After discussing it, Nina and I agreed that all the bridesmaids would give the toast together, so that she could be a part of it but wouldn’t have to stand up by herself. The other girls thought this was a fine idea – they would have done whatever I asked in this regard.
For whatever reason, the toast was not yet written on the day of the wedding. Carly took her usual leadership role and organized something while we were at the hairdresser’s. Unfortunately, Nina was having her hair done during this time (the others were finished) and was not involved in the conversation. However, Nina had elected to go running the night before during the time Carly had set aside for them all to work on the toast. Of course, it was disorganization on the part of all four of them that led to this being done so late in the game, so I see no point in isolating one person to blame. Carly left room in the toast she crafted for whatever Nina might want to say, gave her the notes to look over, and asked her to add her ideas. Meanwhile, the rest of us went on a drug store run for caffeine, leaving Nina with a friend of hers.
When we returned, Nina was in tears and being hovered over by my parents, who immediately pulled Carly aside to dress her down for “excluding” Nina from the toast. From what I gathered, Carly had written stories of our college years for herself and the other two to tell, and for obvious reasons Nina did not have a similar story and was having trouble coming up with something to say. I asked to be left alone with Nina, who immediately calmed herself (she is an emotive person, as am I, but we both recognize it) and began to apologize for her overreaction. I was also crying at this point – it was my wedding day, and I’d been weepy for hours already, so this just pushed me over the edge – and apologizing to HER because I felt badly that she was upset. At this point, my aunt (mother’s brother’s wife) arrived, took all four bridesmaids into a separate room (leaving me completely alone in the dressing room hours before my wedding) and began to rewrite their toast “for” them, the implication being that they couldn’t be trusted to handle it. These are three women in their late 20s and Nina, who although young is very smart and capable and an editor at her college newspaper. At one point my aunt she had to step out to help my mother, and Carly apologized to Nina, discussed some toast ideas with her, and began writing them up, but then “Aunt Toastmaster” returned, disregarded this interaction, and began rewriting again.
So, what do you think? Was Nina overreacting? Was Carly excluding her? Were my parents and aunt right to get involved? Should I have done more?
The toast turned out nicely, by the way. And I bear no ill feelings toward anyone in this story. My concern is that now my family dislikes Carly (they were gossiping at the airport about how “mean” she is) and Carly and our other two friends think my family members are “crazy.” They do acknowledge that weddings make everyone crazy, and much to my relief, no one seems to blame Nina for anything…although maybe they just know better than to say so to me. 1029-10