Last month, I talked about how your family can stress you out during wedding planning. This month it’s time to turn our attention to your friends. Can they stress you out? Unfortunately, yes. Much like with your family, issues can seem to arise from nowhere. Read on for some of these problems, as well as strategies to deal with them.
Your friends are thrilled for you, or at least they say they are. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to tell! Just like with your family, they may have some unresolved feelings. For friends, it may be that they’re feeling left behind. The fact is, marriage usually does change friendships, and they might not be coping well with that fact. It could also be that they wish they were in your shoes. There are so many issues around getting married in our society. It has become more common to wait until later to get married, but the perceived weight of other people’s expectations can still be rough.
Are you ready to have a heart-to-heart with your friend? Talking this through is the only way to get past this, but you’ll have to decide whether or not you think they’re ready to talk. If you do decide to go ahead, make sure you don’t blame your friend. “When you do ________, I feel ____________” statements are good. Then give them the space to respond.
They’re taking over
Occasionally, you may have a different problem – your friend is suddenly displaying really strong opinions about your choices, and usually not positively. Assuming this is not frequently the case, your friend definitely has some unresolved issues here! You may try just asking them what’s really going on. It’s definitely not because the blue you chose is too bright… With this situation, though, you may or may not get an answer, and you may be left concluding your friend hasn’t quite figured out what the issue is on their end themselves. As far as their behavior goes, though, there is a solution. Listen to their opinion, and say, “yes, that’s definitely something we’ll consider.” And then change the subject. Ultimately, this day belongs to you and your partner alone.
It’s the money, honey
You know how hard it is to manage your budget when planning a wedding. Unfortunately, all of that stress can make you blind to what you’re asking of your friends. Being in a wedding party is expensive! There’s the dress or tux, accessories, shoes, the wedding shower (or showers), the bach party, transportation and lodging if they aren’t local… It’s a lot. And if you aren’t sensitive to that, it will feel like even more of a burden.
How do you handle the situation? Even if you’ve outlined the expenses ahead of time, your friend may not have really thought about whether the expenses would be a burden in their haste to be supportive. They also could have had something else crop up financially, and the strain is wearing on them. Try having a heart-to-heart conversation, and ask if the expenses or responsibilities of being in the wedding party are becoming difficult. Then listen. In some cases, the fact that you care may be all they need. In others, they may need to step out of one or more events to make it work. Rarely, they may decide that it’s more than they can handle and they need to step down. This is never fun, but it’s far better to lose someone as a wedding attendant than as a friend. If this does end up happening to you, don’t worry about the sides “being uneven”. They don’t have to be even, and no one will care. Promise.
It’s your fiance(e)
If this is the case, your friends may just be MIA. It could be for any of the reasons listed above – but it could also be your other half. Have your friends ever voiced concern about your relationship? They may not care for your intended for many different reasons. Some of those, such as personality clashes, may or may not be a problem. Unfortunately, though, sometimes they’ve noticed things you haven’t. How does your honey treat you? How well do you get along in general? Do you ever feel ignored, or talked down to? These are valid reasons for their concern, and they’re worried because they love you. If so, instead of dealing with those feelings, both alone and by talking to you, they’re just avoiding the issue – and you – entirely.
If this is the case, you HAVE to have a heart-to-heart with your friend and find out what is going on. Is there really is an issue in your relationship? If there is, getting married will probably make it worse, not better. You deserve to be loved, appreciated, and valued, just as you are. As above, once you ask what’s going on, just listen. It could be hard to hear. But your friends loved you before the two of you got together, and if they speak up now, it’s because they love you enough to tell you the truth as they see it. If that’s what ends up happening, take a long, deep look at your relationship. Do they have a point? I’m sorry to say it, but getting married isn’t always the best next step. Especially in this case.
You can’t stop talking about the wedding
Okay, on a much lighter note… Are you able to let go of the wedding planning and be the friend you’ve always been to your besties? If not, they may have reason to be less than happy. You know how easy it is for wedding planning to take over seemingly EVERYthing in your life. If that’s the case with you, you can bet your friends have noticed. Fortunately, this one is easy to solve. You will probably need to ‘fess up to being a little obsessed with your wedding planning and offer an apology. It might be time to suggest an outing with your squad and commit to it being wedding-talk-free. Remember, you’re wonderful and multifaceted, and you have many other things to talk about!
I realize that was a lot. Like at any other time in your life, if and when your friends start acting funny, it’s usually something a heart-to-heart can fix. Or at least it’s something you can hear and ignore. If they point out problems they see in your relationship, be sure to pay attention. If that’s the case, I DON’T want to see you until things have improved. You deserve a GOOD marriage. And I hope you’re on that road now!