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Dear Carolyn: My best friend, “Amy,” and I have known each other since high school and we’re both 32 and engaged. Amy’s wedding was supposed to be next spring and mine will be about a year from now.
Until recently, they had no firm plans. Every time I asked about their arrangements so I could request vacation time, she got snippy with me, so I let it go. We met up for coffee and I asked if everything was okay because I was worried she was getting cold feet and wanted her to know it was okay to back out if that’s what she wanted.
Instead, she told me she’s worried all her ideas for the wedding are stupid and tacky and mine will be way better. I said there’s no use comparing things and she should just do what makes her happy. Then she came right out and asked me to plan the wedding for her! I told her I don’t have the time.
A few days ago she posted that she said had “finally” booked the venue — the same venue we’re using. When I asked about it, she said she is delaying her wedding until after mine because mine will be way better so she’s just going to copy all my ideas. I don’t want my wedding “copied.” When I told her that she started crying and said this is her only chance at a nice wedding.
Should I give in and let her? Even though the idea doesn’t thrill me, it’s better than losing a friend. My fiance really hates the idea too but said he’s leaving it up to me.
Copied: Venue shmenue. Amy has lost the plot.
And you’ve kind of lost the plot of her losing the plot:
First, you can’t stop her from copying your entire wedding except to disinvite her, and that would be the one course of action more bananas than what she’s doing, so that’s out, I hope.
Second, to spend another minute worrying about the copied wedding tacitly affirms that one’s wedding decor/theme/scheme/dream really matters. The community of people celebrating with you counts. Treating your guests hospitably counts. Fun counts. The vows count. The marriage that follows them counts. The rest? Pfft. Frills. Seriously.
Third, for a soon-to-be-married 32-year-old to be so severely knotted about this is not okay. I am worried about her. I am worried that you are not as worried about her as I am. Yes, gotcha, the copying thing is an odd intrusion on something deceptively personal, and you are 100 percent on the better-this-than-losing-a-friend idea — but that is all still distant-secondary to a friend who’s moved into the banana aisle. Over toasts and centerpieces. What’s really going on?
So here’s my advice: 1. Find the problem behind the problem. 2. Make the check-in coffees a regular thing. If apt, ask if she’d consider professional help with this pressure she puts on herself. 3. Hold these lines: Wedding trappings don’t matter. She’s not tacky. Or if she is, tacky is neither a felony nor fatal. She is perfect as she is. “Hey — stop being so mean to my best friend.”
4. Recognize there is an easy way to both cooperate and detach. Invite Amy to “copy” your wedding through its vendors only. You’ve already worked to choose them; hand Amy the contact info. Assure her she can trust them to do her version tastefully. Take any duplications as flattery. Your guests won’t care.
Congrats and deep breaths to you both.