Weddings are easily one of the more fraught areas of our social calendars as adults. There are so many moving parts for all parties involved from planning to RSVPs to logistics (and don’t get me started on the multi-day chaotic affairs of modern bachelorette parties) that the whole affair can become super high-stakes and dramatic in an instant. Add in the way that save-the-dates for weddings always seem to fall on, like, the same three chaotic busy weekends each spring and summer, it can all feel like a lot.
No one knows this better than a recent AITA querent who found herself cast as a major Bridezilla by both her brother and Reddit when she wrote-in to get a vibe check on her reaction to her brother’s fiancée’s decision to attend a different family wedding on the same day as her own.
“I’m getting married in June. Everyone has saved the date since October. I December my SIL (my brother’s fiancée) found out that her best friend/cousin is getting married on the same day that I do. Since then she’s been in a dilemma on which wedding she’ll attend or whether she’ll make them both work somehow,” the poster writes. “I’ve told my brother that I’ll be hurt if they choose to attend the best friend’s wedding since my wedding was announced first and I’m immediate family after all right now even to her. Her best friend is also her cousin, so she’s family [too] but sister in laws in my opinion are more immediate than cousins.”
Yet, when RSVPs came back the poster found that her brother was going to be attending her wedding but his fiancée would be attending her cousin/close friend’s event — a common sense, compromise kind of split that anyone used to making plans as part of a family can understand having to make from time-to-time. Yet, the news upset her enough that she called her brother to ask for an explanation and once again emphasized that she thought in-laws were considered a more immediate kind of family that somehow trumped best friends and cousins.
“This rubbed me the wrong way because it seems like her priorities are not straight and she doesn’t realize the significance of immediate family and in laws vs cousins/best friends,” the poster finished. “I told my brother I’ll call her to express my disappointment but he said I should not get involved and that I can’t force her to attend my wedding and that I’m allowed to feel sad but not to be mad or else I’m an AH.”
Obviously there are quite a few things to unpack here. For one, it’s the weird Me, Me, Me selfishness and solipsism that pops off in people on or around weddings that can make a person abandon their last shred of pragmatism. You know, the part of them that can be an adult and say “I understand that I am loved and you’ll be represented at our special day (via my brother) and that the same can also be said for your other family member” while also remembering that you can feel disappointed or sad about something without making that disappointment, sadness or anger another person’s problem without a good reason. (If it sounds like the kind of emotional feeling-naming that you’d be explaining to a child when they throw a tantrum born of a lack of empathy or understanding, that’s because it is.)
And then there’s the weird assumption that cousins/close friends are somehow lower on some mysterious unwritten familial pecking order than the sister of your fiancée. Every family is different and the closeness, traditions and obligations are so incredibly diverse. You likely know numerous families where cousins are raised alongside one another as close as any set of siblings! But, beyond that, it just doesn’t serve anyone to have this kind of ranking of value to loved ones rule how you and your family navigate social and family obligations — and it serves no one to trot out this ranking to try and strong-arm someone into attending a party that’s all about you. (Like, think about how weird and uncomfortable that is!) That’s a pretty easy way to end up with way more hurt feelings and way more drama than anyone could possibly want attached to their wedding day, especially if, like this bride, you’re being given a fairly reasonable compromise from these people you value anyway.
“It’s her best friend. Would you be cool with your best friend skipping out on your wedding for an in-law? No, no, you wouldn’t. And I know you wouldn’t, because you’re pitching a fit over the mere idea you might possibly not be at the top of anyone else’s priorities,” one commenter wrote. “Graciously accept your brother’s perfectly reasonable compromise and drop it before anyone else decides they’d rather not attend an event that it’s rapidly becoming clear is being organized by a bridezilla.”
Most of the folks in the thread agreed with that sentiment, overwhelmingly encouraging OP that revising her response and getting her feelings under control would be the move for salvaging both her wedding experience and whatever longterm relationship she can hope to have with her future SIL.
“YTA you’re allowed to feel hurt that she picked someone else’s wedding over yours, but you also need to be empathetic to her wishes and appreciate the very reasonable compromise they’ve come up with. She’ll still be your SIL and this was likely a very difficult decision for her. Please don’t hold this against her,” one commenter said, with the additional wisdom that “…you hardly talk to or visit with any one person at your wedding. You’ll be too busy.”
While wedding culture can be utterly exhausting and bring out some of the worst in people, it never hurts to have some perspective and empathy throughout the process. The whole event is supposed to be a celebration of love by uniting families and communities to rally around a couple, after all! So doing what you can to not lose sight of that is a good way to never step into bridezilla territory and hurt someone you love in the process.
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