Wedding Bliss and Blues > The Wedding Party

Not picking dear friend as witness - should I explain? (Witnesses: see post 3)

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I have an American friend I'll call "Viola", whom I have known for more than 10 years. We "met" online through a common interest and slowly went from talking about said common interest to discussing everything and anything. She helped me and supported me when I went through a very difficult time years ago and I hope I managed to do the same more recently: I consider her one of my dearest and closest friend even though we have yet to meet in person - we do want to, but travelling across the Atlantic is expensive for either of us and life just generally got in the way until this year.

Viola and her DH are coming to visit me in spring - my wedding is in September and while they are invited, we still don't know whether they will be able to come. 

I would have loved to ask her to be my witness, but I feel this would put too much pressure on her: again, travelling is expensive and she might not be able to take time off from work. Besides, I know her: if I did ask her and she couldn't make it, she'd feel terrible about "Letting me down", even though I'd understand.

So, I have asked my best friend and my godmother's son as my witnesses. What do I do now? Should I mention it in an e-mail if the subject of wedding preparations comes up? Should I wait until Viola is here? Should I broach the subject or wait and see if she does?

Just be matter of fact about it. I think you're probably worrying about nothing.

shhh its me:
   In America the witnesses can be anyone at the ceremony except the officiant.   Often its the best-man and Maid of honor and takes about 2 minutes but to my knowledge no one makes a deal big or small out of it. I would be surprised if you mentioned it to me at all besides my own wedding I have no clue who witnessed any wedding I've been to.

I don't think you need to tell her unless witnesses are someone celebrated or in some other large way marked out.  if its a matter of only 4 people (the 2 witnesses and HC) go to the registers office; I would just mention/explain the general course of events " 4 people go to the registers office , then these people go to this...  etc ." if she comes.  There is no reason to say "I pick BF to be my witness because ,she is my best friend and I didn't want to pressure you to come." etc. 

I forgot to clarify: our witnesses are pretty much like the Best Man and Maid of Honour, with the difference that they also sign the marriage license.
By signing that, they testify that the marriage cerimony was real and valid: you need them whether you get married in church or at the city hall. I don't know if any witnesses were ever called in to actually testify before a court in case the marriage has to be annulled or is contested in some way, but I think it might happen...

In my experience, even in America, the best man and maid of honor *do* sign the marriage license; they almost always *are* the official witnesses; it's one of the roles they play. The times where any other person signs the license is most often when there aren't a best man/maid of honor. (Sure someone might change that, they totally can, but it would be unusual.)
I don't know why this friend from another continent would expect to -be- the witness, or a bridesmaid, or any other role remotely similar; sure, you're close now, but I'd think she'd assume that the people you've known longer, and who live close to you, would fulfill that role.

I wouldn't even bring it up. I think it's a total nonissue.

And I *really* wouldn't ever say, "I thought about asking you to do this honor but decided not to." That's kind of a slap in the face. "I almost got you a gift but didn't" kind of thing.


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