DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m getting married soon and I’ve never felt more abandoned. My fiance (who I am eternally lucky to have, and has been my rock through all of this) and I have talked extensively about our views on weddings, and we agree that we want to make it fun for everyone. We don’t want it to be a burden for anyone, and we disagree with the general tradition of asking our friends and family to expend time and money just because we’re happy and getting married.
When I asked my chosen ladies to be bridesmaids, I did so with the caveat of “Really, only if you want to. It would mean a lot to have you there, but I understand not everyone enjoys being a bridesmaid; if you feel like it would be a burden, I understand.” Three of the five I asked politely declined, including my sister, whom I had asked to be my maid of honor.
Last weekend was my bachelorette party, and -- in keeping with our belief that it shouldn’t be a burden -- I planned and paid for the whole thing. And one person came. We couldn’t even play some of the bachelorette games because they were for three-plus players.
It was one of the sadder weekends on record for me. I understand that we’re all just living our lives and sometimes things come up, but I cannot shake this feeling of being completely abandoned and uncared-for. I feel a little angry, but mostly hurt (especially by my sister), and any advice you can give me on getting past it would be much appreciated.
GENTLE READER: Is it possible that you made all this sound so unappealing that your friends and family had no choice but to decline? Or that they thought you were asking for form’s sake, but hoping they would not take you up on these apologetic invitations?
Miss Manners appreciates your motives, but can understand how they could be misinterpreted.
Rather than apologize for what you seem to have billed as a waste of time and money, you could have focused your attention on ways to avoid wasting their time or money. (It seems you did so for the bachelorette party, but it might have been too late.)
Now Miss Manners urges you to ignore your feelings of resentment and perhaps even approach your sister and friends again, telling them that while they need not have an official title in the wedding, you will feel honored just to have them there. This may put them back in the festive spirit and make them more inclined to participate, knowing that it is voluntary.