I kicked my best friend out of my wedding and I refuse to feel bad about it

Guest post by elliesmash
Philadelphia Tattooed Bride Photographer

I have been besties with my bestie since our first day of college. We weathered awful roommates, harsh professors, and bad relationships together. We danced together at the weddings of mutual friends, lamented explosive breakups over bottles of vodka, and supported one another through some pretty rough times. She was one of the first people I asked to be a bridesmaid, and I couldn’t imagine getting married without her there.

However, as time has gone on, and the wedding has drawn closer and closer, several really harsh truths have come to light about my friendship with my leading lady. Namely, that it’s changed.

While I used to accept my best friend’s harsh criticisms and extreme negativity, I slowly awoke to this gnawing sense that I no longer enjoyed our conversations. No matter what the topic of conversation — the weather, school, the election, mutual friends — it all devolved into a hate-fueled, depressing monologue. I started avoiding her, and then — when I was unable to avoid her and we spent time together — I found myself making any excuse I could to escape her company.

I hated myself for it. This was my best friend, and good friends are always there for each other. Right?

At first, I tried to be positive for her, and offer suggestions on how to change her situation. She got enthusiastic about every solution, agreeing that she needed to do something, only to never follow through. So I found that I was unable to keep up a positive attitude for long — I was emotionally drained and exhausted after every coffee date. I tried to minimize contact with her, but I wanted her to be in the wedding. Again, this is a fairly important day, and I wanted her to be there.

After a while, though, I knew I couldn’t really continue this way and feel good about it. Even then, I was extremely conflicted. The last thing I want to do is be a self-centered, self-important princess about my wedding, and kicking someone out of the wedding party feels like the height of selfishness. “Firing” a bridesmaid feels like the stuff that “bridezillas” are made of.

Plus, asking my friend not to be in the wedding also meant possibly losing her forever. And despite her negativity, my best friend still means a lot to me. I don’t want to toss her aside when she is obviously so unhappy, but I can’t relax and enjoy this wonderful, happy time in my own life when every conversation with her leaves me feeling guilty and drained.

Finally, I sat down and I wrote my friend a letter.

I reminded her of all the wonderful times we had shared in college, and told her I would always be grateful for those times. I told her that recently, talking to her and being there for her had been very hard, because I felt like we had fallen into this pattern of me always reassuring her that she is pretty and of value, and not being able to express my own anxieties and feelings without the focus of the conversation being turned back around onto herself.

I told her that I loved her dearly, and I wanted so badly for her to feel better about herself, but that I felt like by continuing in this pattern that I was enabling her.

I reminded her that as the wedding got closer, the stress and expenses would increase, and I felt like releasing her from her duties would be the best thing for both of us.

I told her she would be listed with the bridesmaids in the program as an honorary bridesmaid. That she was of course invited to the bachelorette party, and to the pre-wedding festivities. But that this way she wouldn’t have to worry about buying a dress, or showing up early to the ceremony, or being in photos.

I told her that I love her and I think that she is entirely capable of fixing her situation. That maybe speaking to a therapist might be a good solution for her.

I told her that she means the world to me, and that I hope that no matter what, we’ll always be best friends, and that even if our friendship is never what it once was, that it can someday be really good again.

Her reaction was like a face full of angry bees, and then she went silent. I haven’t heard from her in weeks.

It was hard, and I am sad. But in the end, kicking my best friend out of the wedding was the best thing to do for myself and the others in the wedding party. In fact, telling my best friend the truth about how marginalized and used I felt was good for me anyway, regardless of all this wedding drama.

Things change, people change, and gently letting go of a relationship that isn’t very good for you can allow space in your life for other people to come in and be wonderful. My bestie will always have a space in my heart and in my life, but my wedding will go on, whether she’s attending, or not. And while I might feel like I am a terrible friend at the moment, I know I’m just a human being, doing the best I can, and not martyring myself for the detriment of everyone.

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Comments on I kicked my best friend out of my wedding and I refuse to feel bad about it

  1. you did the right thing! I had to do this with my sister during my first wedding for the exact same reasons. As I prepare for my second (LAST!) wedding, we have somewhat mended things, but it’s so “on her terms”, that I am extraordinarily hesitant to ask her to be in it this time. She seems to be doing better, but I feel that negativity bubbling just under the surface, and I’m not sure I can do the stress of waiting to see if wedding day is the day she brings it out. … At the same time, I don’t want to damage the “sort-of” surface OK friendship we have going in because it’s actually nice to tak to her! Wishing you all the best, and I think you made a mature and heartfelt move. Good luck!!

  2. This happened to me too. My best friend from my first day of college was the one friend that I lost in the whole wedding process.

    She had gone through a divorce after many years of being in a poly relationship with her husband and several women along the way. I supported her as she supported me in my relationship with a married man. When she was going through the divorce, she was already in a relationship and seemed ok with everything. She was not, but not once did she tell me this. However, she expected me to know this automatically because that is what a best friend should do. She then sold her house and made a ton of money from the sale (she told the amount and it was HUGE).

    Then a month later telling me she could not afford to come to the wedding with her partner and kids. I made suggestions, asked her to just come, and each one was shot down. I realized she just did not want to come to MY wedding. She wrote me the scathing email.

    We have communicated a couple of times, but essentially the relationship is over. It was a relief because our relationship was very similar to the author’s relationship. I was always listening to her and she rarely to me.

    I miss the relationship we had in our 20’s which no longer exists so I really don’t miss the relationship we had in the last couple of years. It was hard but I also felt relieved to not have her at the wedding. It is sad. She will always be my friend in some way, just not in the way that I had always imagined.

  3. Sadly, I can totally relate. I too, miss my BFF very dearly and at times, I’ve wondered if I’ve done the right thing, but after hearing your story- I know it was done in love and for the best interest of my PIECE OF MIND! Thanks so much for sharing your story, it has truly touched my heart.

  4. thank you thank you thank you! This is verbatim as to what I’ve done/ what’s happened to me and I keep finding myself so distraught but yet radio silence from her end after texting me that she was done. It was very much the same with her negativity/lack of support and despite feeling guilty, I wouldn’t want to change my decision. I’m happy to know I’m not alone.

  5. The one question I have is..Did you ever actually talk to her about how you felt? I mean, no, you’re not obligated in any way to keep people in your life for any reason, but if you just one day sent her a letter without any other direct communication about how you felt, then I could see why she might be miffed.

    • So much what @Dee said. If you went straight from what you describe as enabling her to sending/giving her this letter you basically dropped the floor out from under her. It’s fine to let toxic relationships go but a longtime friend deserves more than an abrupt about-face. The fact that you are writing about this means you are hung up on it. Did you ever have a face-to-face with her about any of these issues?

      • sometimes multiple face to face doesn’t help. they don’t “hear” it. don’t know what you are talking about, don’t think that’s true, i didn’t do anything wrong here you did by not agreeing with me\taking my side. when you try to let them know their behavior is bothering you. difference between me and the op, i don’t feel bad about finally saying enough is enough, and moving on with my life, and neither should the op. there are people in world who just aren’t happy unless everyone else around them is miserable. that is not your fault and you don’t have to deal with it, they do. i say good job op for standing up.

        • I was kicked out of a wedding years ago for what I later found out was a complete misunderstanding. And had that person come to me and talked to me before just kicking me out of her wedding (and asking me to still pay for the bridesmaid dress!) we could have fixed the misunderstanding. But because she didn’t do that she didn’t just lose a bridesmaid, she lost a friend too.

          There are too sides and I really hope you actually spelled it out for your “bestie” instead of just writing her off.

          Obviously it’s up to you and if you felt that you didn’t want the friendship anymore then that’s fine. And I feel that way too about the bride that kicked me out of her wedding I dodged a bullet not having to take time off work or spend a bunch of money for someone who couldn’t even be up front with me.

          However I just can’t understand how someone can end what is supposedly a close friendship without talking it out with the other person first.

  6. I don’t think you were wrong to end the friendship. But I think it was a mistake to tell her she could do all the wedding activities except the wedding & the photos (unless I am misunderstanding & you meant she could still be guest); I mean, that part was a little odd. I’m sure it made her think “well geez, you want me to splash out gifts on you but not be in the wedding ? nuh uh…” Maybe a simpler approach would’ve been to quietly drop her after the wedding & chalk it up to “Oh sorry, Sally, my life is just so busy with work / moving right now.”

    • Perhaps this was one of the things upsetting her bridesmaid, and she had mentioned reassuring her that she was pretty etc.

    • I’m in the same situation right now after having read this article 4 months ago and writing a long, honest letter to my MOH. We had several talks about her negative behavior and the letter came after she threw a massive tantrum in the bridal shop at my first dress fitting (backstory: she’s only been married a year, I was her MOH, her marriage is already not working out; she says weddings are her “trigger”?. Plus she has no filter so most things she says come out snide, judgemental, and extremely negative anyway which makes fun things… Not fun at all).
      She got a bit better/more involved the weeks that followed but then reverted to her negative, belittling, tantrum-throwing attitude (my breaking point was at my bridal shower with her disrespecting my family, and my “new” one).
      My fiancé pointed out after the bridal shop incident, “if she does that at a dress shop what is she gonna do at the wedding?”… It was a terrifying thought.
      In a nutshell, some times that decision can’t come post-wedding when you think that person will create an uncomfortable, disastrous environment for you and your partner, and everyone else involved who actually IS happy to be there/involved.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I know how hard it must have been and how hard it must be still. I had a similar experience. My former friend and I had always planned to be in each other’s weddings. In fact, she is the only close friend I have had over the last 15 years, other than my fiance. Shortly before I started making wedding plans, things started to get shaky with her. She became a self-pitting, emotionally abusive, hate monger with a massive sense of entitlement. She would be emotionally cruel to me and then say it was because of the trauma she suffered when I was abused by my ex-husband six years ago. (Abuse that left me disabled and with PTSD. I get that she was affected by what happened to me, but I am certain I suffered more.) I tried talking to her about what she was doing. She would turn it into a case of me not empathising with what she had gone through. I began to feel sick everytime I thought of talking with her. I ended our friendship about two months after I started planning my wedding. Since then, my fiance and I decided not to have any sort of wedding party. I admit that there are times that I wish she could be here with me; however, I cannot share happiness with someone who cannot be happy.

  8. Friendships change over time, and sometimes the direction that change takes SUCKS. Having to deal with this while in the middle of wedding planning probably sucks even more. I’ve been on both sides of this sort of situation (both as the “dumper” and the “dumpee”), and I still think you did the right thing. It’s not selfish to take care of you, even if it might feel like it.

  9. Wow. Just wow. In my mid-20’s I was very depressed, and became very negative. On one trip to visit my BFF (we’d know each other since high school) she and her husband talked about kicking me out because I was so negative. I’m glad she didn’t. That would have been the end of our friendship.

    Instead she listened to me, supported me. Gently told me she thought I needed some help. I was able to tell her how I was struggling and what help I was getting. I’m now in my early 40’s and will forever be grateful that she didn’t just kick me out. Instead she showed me love and compassion, and we are still close friends, even though we live on opposite coasts.

    • I totally agree that depression isn’t bad friend behavior and in and of itself nothing to end a friendship over. I know I have needed a lot when I’ve been depressed and I’ve been very lucky to have got that and at the beginning of reading this piece my guilt over that (despite the fact that support was freely given) was definitely triggered.

      However, I have also experienced people whose pain is so immense that they, sadly, became bullies and moving through it, I feel the piece is talking about this second kind of behavior. It’s really really horrible to have to end a friendship with someone you know needs help, but which you can’t give, because they are too dangerous.

      However, it sounds like a beautiful friendship you have, if your friend was able to be honest and you were able to hear her, even in your pain, it’s connections like that that make life great!

  10. I can relate. This past summer I was asked to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s destination wedding. I’m one of her longest friends although we haven’t really been that close. I was delighted to accept, not thinking first about the financials obligations this would put on me.

    It was until after I accepted that I thought about the cost of the dress, accessories, gifts then the actual trip to get there (plus our family) and realising she still had the same expectations of me as a bridesmaid whether the wedding was in town or not! It was an oversight on my part and when I tried to talk to her about it, it felt like she was questioning every financial decision I had made which obviously was none of her business.

    Now quite a few months later, we’re talking again and I’ve been invited to all the pre-wedding events but it’s a slow process. I don’t know if we’ll ever get through this but I know now if I’m ever asked by someone again, to think first about if I can afford it, not just get emotionally excited and blurt out a YESS!!!

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