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A Toasty Battle Over A Toast

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


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Toni November 11, 2010, 8:22 pm

    Good Lord. What a tempest in a teapot. My opinion is also that your sister needs to grow up, and your parents need to let her. Everything else sounds like everyone was enjoying the drama.

  • karma November 13, 2010, 10:15 am

    Ah..your entire family’s attempts to shelter your little sister have created a pain-in-butt instead of a young lady. Bluntly, your little Nina needs to handle her emotions better, “emotive” or not.

    Yes, your sister overreacted, and your friends won’t forget the way you and your family ran to her rescue, blaming them by your reactions. You’ll be lucky if any of them agree to do anything else with or near your family.

  • Maryann November 16, 2010, 2:52 am

    My opinion, since you asked for those of the readers, is the same as that of others.

    This was a load of drama over next to nothing. Had I been involved in any of this I’d have rolled my eyes until they were chafed. And tell your family to lay off your friend. An end to all the silliness and emotion of one tiny element of your wedding is long overdue.

    (By the way, do you ever wonder why some men think women are overly-emotional hormone machines? Maybe episodes like this have something to do with it.)

  • Enna November 16, 2010, 12:33 pm

    Weddings are very emotional and in this day over stressed events so it is easy for people to get upset and snap at each other. Nina needs to be encouraged to grow up a bit however her tears might have been about another matter but the toast-speech just pushed her over the edge. If I ever find myself in the OP’s position or the Mother of the OP’s position I’d sit them all down and try to find a nice middle point.

  • madame-mim November 18, 2010, 7:18 pm

    Ironically, it sounds to me like the toast would have been crafted the night before the wedding if bridesmaids had shown less concern for Nina’s feelings , in which case the overbearing auntie wouldn’t have felt the need to intervene. The worst that happened here is that people were trying to demonstrate respect and consideration for one another and please the bride on her wedding day.

    19 is old enough to have learned: If you’ve made a commitment, honor it. If you can’t honor a commitment you’ve made, acknowledge so. It may have been difficult for Nina to speak up in front of a crowd of wedding guests, but couldn’t she have discussed it with her sister when it became apparent that this toast was important to her? It appears that the OP gave her plenty of time to get used to the idea, and that the two are close. What if, instead of shirking this responsibility — which obviously made her uncomfortable — until it reached melt-down status on the wedding day, little sister had voiced her discomfort and brainstormed a solution with OP?

  • Judy November 20, 2010, 11:59 am

    Firstly, OP, I’m really glad that your wedding day and your marriage sound so wonderful. You sound like a very nice person. However, I really feel I do have to say this. I’m sorry.

    There are many issues in this story but the thing that’s standing out most for me here is that this girl chose to go for a run instead of writing a speech for her sister’s wedding that was happening the next day! It doesn’t matter what anybody else’s excuses were up to that point for not getting together. Things were down to the wire and she decided that a JOG was more important than you. And you’re defending her? I understand that both writing and reciting a speech can be stressful and downright terrifying for many people, but she’d already agreed to do it because she’s supposed to love you, and make this day about YOU. In shirking her duties and then throwing a ridiculous tantrum when other people tried to step in and please you while still sparing her feelings, she fully succeeded in making at least part of your wedding day all about her. By coddling her you and your family are keeping her from a healthy dose of reality that she desperately needs. Your friends reacted to this circus with far more class than many people would.

    And it was really none of your Aunt’s business. I’d rather have a lame speech that came from my bridesmaids’ hearts than a great speech written by somebody else that they were just reading off a paper. How totally insulting to your bridesmaids for her to take over and imply that they couldn’t do it. If your Aunt wanted a professional-level speech made she should have done a separate one herself and let your bridesmaids sink or swim. You chose them for a reason: because they’re very special women in your life with whom you’ve shared your most important moments… not for their speech-writing capabilities. By allowing your aunt to take over, you robbed the other guests of the chance to see what these girls are like and why they mean so much to you.

  • Elizabeth Ashford January 19, 2011, 9:15 am

    The OP committed a faux pas. Toasts are speeches in her honor, and it was a breach of etiquette to ask someone to give one. Traditionally the bridesmaids do….but she should wait until they offer.

  • Ami April 7, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Nina is 19…how many of us can honestly say we had full capacity of ourselves at 19? I’m willing to bet that Nina was really scared. And for all the ill will people are throwing about Nina taking a jog during the time set to make a draft–avoidance is a common tactic for those afraid of failure, so I doubt it was anything along the lines of a lack of care so much as fear.

    I would be hesitant to blame either Nina or Carly in this case. Nina was being a 19-year-old, probably scared silly at such a huge and important responsibility of which she had no experience. Could she have handled it better? Maybe. But the older of us have to remember, she’s still very much a child at that age. Carly did the best she could with what she had, and when she realized Nina was hurt, she tried to make amends.

    Your aunt, on the other hand, is older and should have known better, especially if those involved in the speech were coming to terms and resolving the issue on their own. It seems like Nina was attempting to make an adult decision (after a brief panic) to make things right, and Carly seemed more than willing to help. By denying Nina the chance to grow in this way, and the chance for she and your friend to make amends, your aunt was very much in the wrong. It wasn’t her speech, it wasn’t her wedding, and she wasn’t involved. She had no right to act in the way that she did.

    Hopefully time will pass and your family will calm down. If not, it is their loss, really. Your sister and your friend seem like good people, just trying to do their best. I think that’s commendable.