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Author Topic: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of  (Read 13262 times)

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Miss Cathy

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How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« on: January 29, 2015, 04:05:17 PM »
My friend Anna and her partner Ben used to spend a lot of time with Ben's old friend Charlie: until Charlie started dating and then got engaged to Desdemona. Desdemona is very clingy and controlling and also tells stories about herself that just aren't true. In the beginning Anna and Ben thought it was just bad luck that Desdemona's large inheritance was taking so long to come through, or that her film offer was being delayed or that her university degree timetable was so convoluted. They've come to realise that most of what she says is made up. They really don't think this marriage is a good idea at all, but know that really that's none of their business.

When they got engaged, Charlie asked Ben to be the best man. During the same conversation, Desdemona said "I don't have any other female friends to ask, women don't like me. Anna, will you please be my bridesmaid?"

Anna felt put on the spot and also felt sorry for the friendless Desdemona, so she said yes. Oh, how she wishes she hadn't! The wedding isn't until November, but Anna said yes two months ago and feels she's left it far too long to back out. She feels even more caught, because the original date that the couple were just talking about was changed because Anna couldn't make that date.

Now Desdemona is texting and trying to make a date for bridal shopping etc etc. Anna would rather not spend ANY time with Desdemona, let alone months and months of wedding planning. She also feels torn about the idea of publicly standing up as a member of the wedding party when she really disapproves of the match and feels it will end in disaster. Ben is happy to be best man for his friend, as he's supporting his friend, but worries about what he can say in his wedding speech!

Anna is worried about Desdemona's reaction if she backs out, and also doesn't want to lose contact with Charlie. Any suggestions of a way to ease out without antagonising Desdemona? She now also has her future sister-in-law as a bridesmaid, if that makes a difference.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 07:25:26 PM by Miss Cathy »

wheeitsme

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2015, 04:39:39 PM »
Oh, Golly.  Yes, I agree that Anna should probably back out.  Perhaps:
"How lovely - You can now ask your future SIL to be your MOH!  I didn't really feel comfortable being the MOH for someone I haven't known for years, but I wanted to be supportive..." (and at the time Anna did...)
And "This will allow me to give DH the support to provide so much more for Charlie!"


...because I'm a bit of a cynic and think Anna might end up paying for more of the Brides expenses than generally expected.

Lynn2000

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2015, 04:48:52 PM »
Yeah, that is sticky. Maybe Anna could say, "I'm so glad your SIL is going to stand up with you, because I've just learned that work will be very busy over the next few months, and I don't think I'll have time to devote to wedding planning. I would rather just step down and be a guest, as I won't be able to support you very well."

I think it's going to be difficult to navigate in the future, though, if she doesn't like Desdemona but still wants to have a relationship with Charlie. Unless by "relationship" she just means that Charlie and Ben go off and do guy things together, and Anna is cool with that. Because any time Anna is included Desdemona probably will be, too.

Anna could also try taking charge of the situation by setting boundaries with Desdemona regarding the wedding planning. Like, "I can only do one Saturday of dress shopping," "I can only spend $X," "I can do this but not that," etc.. Obviously that's a lot more work and Anna would have to keep on the ball. But she might find that Desdemona could be managed politely, which would help with their future interactions.
~Lynn2000

Miss Cathy

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2015, 04:56:15 PM »
Quite possibly Wheeitsme! Desdemona doesn't work and everything is paid for by Charlie - because everything will be evened out when this big inheritance arrives  ??? The usual thing for this area is that the bride and bridesmaids would go shopping at a bridal fashion store, which is just like a dress shop where you wander in and browse. Desdemona wants to go to a bridal place where you make an appointment and have a dedicated salesperson attending to you. Which is by way of saying, her plans are already a bit grander than is the norm.

Lynne2000, I think Anna would be ok about not seeing Charlie provided he and Ben can still be friends. The strange thing is, Desdemona insists on coming to boys only events. So at a game night, specifically for the guys who always meet, Desdemona came anyway, even though she was the only woman there. She didn't play, she just sat and watched. When there was a boys trip away, Charlie wasn't allowed to go.

Thankyou for the advice, I'll be passing these ideas on to Anna.

Kaypeep

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 05:09:12 PM »
If I were Anna I'd call Desdemona and say "Des, I am afraid I have to pull out of being in your wedding party.  I am afraid I answered impulsively on that day you asked me and now that I've had time to really think on what the role entails, I realize that I'm not up to the position. I'm very sorry for any inconvenience, but I hope that by telling you now there is still plenty of time to replace me.  Of course, Ben will still stand up with Charlie, and we'll be there with bells on for the big day."

katycoo

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015, 05:13:25 PM »
Here's what I'd do:

Desdemona knows that you and she aren't close.  So I see no need for you to pander to her - I'd just be honest about what you are and aren't prepared to do.

I think that taking the role of BM volunteered Anna to dress shop, and throw a hen's party.  So I'd do those.  I'd be pleasant but also say that you can only dedicate 1 day or weekend to it. Also, if anna is the only BM she might be able to shop alone at your conveneicne and send her pictures.
If she tries to get Anna involved beyond that, Anna can decline.

I think that refusing to stand for a friend (Charlie) because you believe the marriage is doomed to fail is a kind of crappy thing to do, as a friend.  Charlie has made this decision, and as his friend you should support him, not bring him down. 

But from what you've said, Desdemonda is not rude or nasty, just a likley fibber.  Which is reason enough to not make her a friend, but I'd be doing it for Charlie.

Maude

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2015, 03:56:43 AM »
Anna's "disapproval of the match" has no bearing whatsoever
on whether the HC get married.
Anna needs to stop being so "judgy" and get on with the business of being a bridesmaid.

Venus193

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2015, 06:07:33 AM »
Yeah, that is sticky. Maybe Anna could say, "I'm so glad your SIL is going to stand up with you, because I've just learned that work will be very busy over the next few months, and I don't think I'll have time to devote to wedding planning. I would rather just step down and be a guest, as I won't be able to support you very well."

I think it's going to be difficult to navigate in the future, though, if she doesn't like Desdemona but still wants to have a relationship with Charlie. Unless by "relationship" she just means that Charlie and Ben go off and do guy things together, and Anna is cool with that. Because any time Anna is included Desdemona probably will be, too.

Anna could also try taking charge of the situation by setting boundaries with Desdemona regarding the wedding planning. Like, "I can only do one Saturday of dress shopping," "I can only spend $X," "I can do this but not that," etc.. Obviously that's a lot more work and Anna would have to keep on the ball. But she might find that Desdemona could be managed politely, which would help with their future interactions.

This.

I have never been a bridesmaid but know that I couldn't be one if I disapproved of the match.





Margo

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2015, 07:54:40 AM »
If I were Anna I'd call Desdemona and say "Des, I am afraid I have to pull out of being in your wedding party.  I am afraid I answered impulsively on that day you asked me and now that I've had time to really think on what the role entails, I realize that I'm not up to the position. I'm very sorry for any inconvenience, but I hope that by telling you now there is still plenty of time to replace me.  Of course, Ben will still stand up with Charlie, and we'll be there with bells on for the big day."

I think this is a good suggestion. The wedding is not until November, and it sounds as though nothing has been bought as yet.  i thin kit would be better for Anna to withdraw now, than to carry on against her will.

I'd suggest that she tells Ben she cannot act as BM and then tells Desdemona when all 4 of them are together, which will ensure that Charlie and Ben know exactly how and when she told Desdemona. If she has a habit of making stuff up, I would not want to tell Desdemona in private for fear that it might then be passed on in a totally different form to Charlie and Ben.

VorFemme

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2015, 08:35:43 AM »
I agree - tell Desdemona in front of Charlie & Ben - the more witnesses the better, because someone who lives in a fantasy world is not going to be restricted to the real one if she decides to get dramatic about her bridesmaid dropping out of the wedding, even ten months before the wedding.

Don't make up anything happening - just be "too busy to do justice to what Desdemona would like in the way of bridesmaid support" - somehow my rather foggy crystal ball cleared up and has shown one scene clearly.  It is a giant lizard in a white dress & veil rampaging through the city...oh, wait, I put it down on top of my copy of Bridezilla...

But that doesn't mean that she can't end up going into drama llama territory over needing more from her bridesmaid than Anna is prepared to give, under the circumstances....
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?

gellchom

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2015, 11:19:14 AM »
My advice might be different if Charlie and Ben weren't close.  But they are.  And so I think Anna needs to be very careful not to make things uncomfortable for the future.

First of all, I wouldn't back out on the grounds of disapproving of the match.  I think that's sort of a way to tell herself she is dropping out for some objective reason that isn't about her own comfort level with Desdemona and what she wants from her.  I mean, the disapproval is only based on her personality -- it's not that Anna knows that Desdemona is already married to someone else, or has told her that she plans to cheat on Charlie or murder or divorce him for his money in a year, or she plans to send a child he had away, or something like that.  That would be different.  But as it is just about her personality, then that's a very vague area -- it could extend all the way to refusing to support any marriage but one to the one person in the world you think is the very best match for your friend.  And how would she put it?  "I can't be a bridesmaid because Desdemona is just too disgusting for anyone to marry/because I know better than Charlie does who is the right woman for him."  That would be seriously insulting and put a wedge between Anna and Charlie forever, and Ben would suffer for it.  And if it's so serious that you can't be a bridesmaid, how can you be a cheerful guest anyway? 

So, if she is going to back out or scale down, I think she has to own her real reasons for doing it, in her own mind.

I suggest not backing out entirely, but scaling her involvement way, way down.  I agree with another poster that the first thing to do is to tell Desdemona that she thinks that the future sister-in-law should be the MOH, and Anna will be a bridesmaid.  She can insist that she would feel awkward being MOH when a SIL is a bridesmaid.   She can say, "No, no, I insist," as much as necessary; refuse to understand any remarks to the effect of "honest, we aren't close, family doesn't have to come first, etc." -- she doesn't have to prove her point, just make it and move on to the next part. And you never know; Desdemona may even prefer it that way.  (That happened to me many years ago; I was surprised and touched that our nanny asked me to be MOH at her wedding, but she was from Australia and none of her friends or cousins could come to the US for the wedding, so of course I agreed.  When the wedding weekend came -- surprise! -- her very best friend came.  No one asked, but I immediately dug up a coordinating dress and volunteered to demote myself to bridesmaid.  The bride and her friend were very grateful, and although I didn't tell them, I was relieved, too!  Win-win-win.)

Now it's easy to scale back.  It used to be that being a bridesmaid involved very little anyway -- just attending a rehearsal, wearing what you were told to wear (and not complaining about it  :)), showing up a bit early for the wedding, posing for some photos, and standing up during the ceremony.  No requirements about shopping, bachelorettes, or anything else.  Basically a glorified wedding guest.  Even a MOH often didn't do more than that. 

That much I think Anna should do, because of Charlie and Ben's friendship.  Yes, she will probably feel awkward at the wedding.  But that's just a few hours; she can do it for Ben.  It will be a whole lot more awkward, and for a lot longer, if she pulls out entirely.  It will probably cause some hurt feelings and maybe drama.  Certainly embarrassment among the friends.  And it will be awkward anyway if she pulls out entirely given that Ben will still be in the wedding party. 

Really, when you think about it, in this scenario there isn't a huge difference between being there as the Ben's wife and being there as a bridesmaid, given that Ben is the best man.  Given how little a difference it will make, I think Anna owes it to the rest of the people involved to do it so as to avoid drama and hurt feelings.

She can say a modified version of Kaypeep's "pulling out entirely" script:

"Des, please switch SIL and me in the wedding; she really should be MOH.  I'm honored, but I'm not comfortable being MOH with a close family member just a bridesmaid.  I know it will mean a lot to her. I'm still very happy to be a bridesmaid, but I need you to understand that unfortunately I really can't spend a lot of time or money on it between now and the wedding.  I can go on one shopping trip and I will do my best to attend any bachelorette party or shower that someone gives you, but I'm afraid that I'm just not in a position to be able to do more than that or to host or plan any events.  If you need to rely on all your attendants for more than that and want to replace me with someone else who is able to do more, I will totally understand, and I will happily attend as an enthusiastic guest.  Of course, Ben will still stand up with Charlie, and we'll be there with bells on for the big day."

And who knows -- maybe Anna will get lucky and Desdemona will say that it's better that Anna just be a guest.  But if she doesn't, and keeps Anna as a bridesmaid, then it is even clearer that Anna made the right decision by not pulling out entirely.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 01:42:21 PM by gellchom »

lowspark

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2015, 11:47:02 AM »
I really have to agree with gellchom here. I think it would be a mistake to back out now. I find it to be rude for a couple of reasons. Other than having a personality that Anna doesn't like, Desdemona hasn't really done anything wrong. She even agreed to tailor her wedding date to ensure Anna would be there. I think it would be a pretty big slap in Desdemona's face if Anna were to back out now, and by proxy, in Charlie's face as well, barring some kind of unavoidable reason.

I don't think it's bad to let Desdemona know she wants to scale back or to demote herself to bridesmaid with D's future SIL stepping up to MOH, but I think it's really too late to back out entirely now, especially considering that Ben will still be best man.

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gellchom

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2015, 12:12:04 PM »
Yeah, I forgot about that they moved the date for Anna.  Another very big reason not to back out now without a major reason.

So is the fact that she has let this sit for two months.  If her dislike for Desdemona were so intense that she can't be a bridesmaid, how did she not know that two months ago?  I get it that she felt put on the spot, but that's not the same thing as having been forced.  It might have been awkward to decline, but if that's what she wanted to do, she needed to do it, awkward or not.  She had to choose between being uncomfortable then (declining) or now (participating), and although I acknowledge that's no fun, she did have a choice, and she made it.  Nothing has really changed since to justify reneging on her commitment.

As the OP says,
Quote
Anna said yes two months ago and feels she's left it far too long to back out. She feels even more caught, because the original date that the couple were just talking about was changed because Anna couldn't make that date.

Anna has it right, IMO.  There would have to be a much better reason to back out entirely at this point.

But there isn't.  She just doesn't want to do it, because she just doesn't like Desdemona, and I really do understand (I'd hate it, too!), but that's not a good enough reason. 

It would have been a good enough reason to say no when originally asked, but she didn't.  Having felt put on the spot isn't a good enough excuse for that; she could've called within a day or two and withdrawn.

Anna knows what the right thing to do is -- for Ben and Charlie's sakes, even if she doesn't care at all about Desdemona's feelings.  But I do think that scaling back to bridesmaid from MOH and setting reasonable limits on what she is willing to do is fine.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 01:45:50 PM by gellchom »

Harriet Jones

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2015, 12:23:05 PM »
I'm not sure there's a good way for her to back out that isn't going to negatively affect Ben and Charlie's relationship.

If Anna is going to stay on as MOH, she definitely needs to clarify what tasks she's willing to perform. If she's only going to buy a dress and stand up at the ceremony, she needs to tell Desdemona, so she's not expecting a shower or bachelorette party, etc.

SamiHami

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Re: How to bow out of a wedding you disapprove of
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2015, 12:34:01 PM »
Anna's "disapproval of the match" has no bearing whatsoever
on whether the HC get married.
Anna needs to stop being so "judgy" and get on with the business of being a bridesmaid.

Of course her disapproval hs nothing to do with whether or not they get married. That isn't her dilemma. And of course she's "judgy." Everyone is. We judge every single day who we want to spend our time with, what we think of people, etc. It's unavoidable and it's not a bad thing. It's just part of being human.

If, in her judgement, this marriage is a bad idea she should step down as BM. But I agree with PP's who say not to tell the HC of her disapproval. A polite social lie would be the way to go.

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