While planning my totally drama-free wedding, I'm having drama with my maid of honor and at this point I'm not sure whether I should even have a maid of honor. Advice, please!
posted by anonymous to human relations (88 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Maid of honor: best friend for the last 16 years. We've been like sisters and are in most of each other's family photos from growing up. Though she did not officially have a bridal party when she got married, I was for all intents and purposes her MoH - helped with planning and logistics, planned the bachelorette party, gave a speech/toast, etc. She also happens to be a lesbian.
Fiance: wonderful guy, raised in a Western country that is not mine (or my MoH's). Attended my MoH's wedding with me, but some months later voiced the opinion that for religious and cultural reasons he did not support the use of the word "marriage" to describe same-sex unions, though he does not believe same sex unions/whatever should be illegal. (aka, he does not believe states like NC should be wasting their time banning same-sex marriage when it's obviously inevitable and there are much bigger fish to fry. Overall, not really a position I condone, but it's not like he's a Westboro Baptist Church asshole)
Lead-up to current situation: the opinion voicing happened prior to my engagement. It turned into a multi-day argument between her and him, and between me and him, as I feel very strongly about gay rights in the US. None of us backed down. The two have them have not spoken since the argument, and he and I have continued to have discussions (not arguments) on the topic as we try to better understand each other's beliefs. Neither of us has changed our minds.
Current situation: When I got engaged I asked if she wanted to be my maid of honor -- we had both assumed for ages that that would be the situation -- but said I would understand if she now didn't feel comfortable with it in light of her situation with him. She said she would support me as her friend and happily stand up for me at the wedding. However, in the months since, she's made a few snide comments to me (which to me seem out of the blue) where she'll say things like "Oh, I'm sure he's in favor of [unrelated political issue], if he doesn't even think I should be allowed to get married". Whenever I talk about the wedding itself, she's all excited, but as soon as I talk about my fiance or our plans, she won't engage in the conversation and we just end up changing the subject. When the topic of an actual purchase of a dress for her came up yesterday, I finally asked her if she was sure she was comfortable with being MoH, since it was pretty clear she didn't like him and I didn't want her to feel obligated to stand up for me if she didn't support my marrying him.
She continues to insist that she wants me to be happy and will support whatever I want to do, but when I asked if she could stop with the hurtful potshots at my fiance, or let me be excited and talk about him instead of just the party we happen to be having, she just said it was "complicated" and that she felt so disrespected by him for his opinion about same-sex marriage that she couldn't support him and couldn't overlook that disrespect just to pretend to be happy to let me gush over him. I implied that perhaps that meant she shouldn't be the maid of honor, and she told me that if the situation were reversed she was sure I'd still want to be supportive of her (true) and to think about how I'd feel if she asked me to step down.
Of course, the main difference is that my coping mechanism for situations in like this is to look past any issues for the time being, keep my mouth shut, and pretend nothing is wrong, whereas hers is obviously to voice her unhappiness and, well, make snide remarks. (This has been the dynamic since we met as teenagers, for whatever it's worth)
At this point I see two options. One, to suck it up, not say anything to my fiance (I have not yet), accept her offer of support, and hold out hope that by the time the wedding rolls around -- in about a year -- they'll come to some terms with each other. In the meantime I feel awkward, uncomfortable, and upset that I can't even talk about the person I'm marrying with the person I want to have a significant role in the wedding. Two, to tell her I've made a decision not to have a maid of honor -- I have no other bridesmaids, and my fiance only planned to have his best friend be his best man -- but that I'd still love for her to be at the wedding with her wife as my guests. In all honesty though, I suspect that if I went with option 2 the friendship would pretty much be over and I'd have two fewer guests at the wedding.
But in addition to feeling that I'm being made to choose, I have to choose on two levels: between two people and between two sides of a delicate issue on which I have strong opinions. On one hand, if I knew my fiance's best man thought poorly of me and didn't like me, I'd be offended that that's who he chose to stand up with him at the wedding. I feel like the best man and maid of honor need to support the couple, not just one half of it. On the other hand, I agree with her on the gay rights issue, and I understand because of her painful history with her family's negative reaction to it that she is extremely sensitive about it and is just totally done trying to form relationships with people who don't support her. So while part of me thinks it's obvious that it's our wedding, I need to be looking out for my fiance, the other part is not okay with the idea of ignoring her real and (imo) justified offense at his opinions and telling her to take a hike. I'm also sensitive to the position she's in, agreeing to be in our wedding when he's an expressed an opinion that she shouldn't have been able to have one of her own.
So help me out here, MetaFilter. What do I do?
Just a few quick bits more to avoid having to update through the mods:
-- Yes, the wedding is a year away, but yes, we're doing things like buying dresses now. Part of that is due to the availability of the dress she wants -- it is nearly sold out and it's a low-volume indie design -- and the other part is that I'm moving a good distance away and thus trying to get most of the wedding-related logistics with my mother and best friend done before I do so. So "just avoid the dress and moh issue for another six months" isn't a good answer.
-- I haven't talked to my fiance about this yet because I still have a small hope that something wil change and they'll be able to get along, and I don't want to poison that potential by letting him know about how she's acting right now. At the end of the day I know I'll talk to him before I do anything if I do decide I don't want a maid of honor, but as far as deciding right now, I'm more comfortable keeping him out of it.
-- But as far as "how he might feel about it", when he was best man for his best friend, he actually tried to talk him out of marrying the girl just before the wedding, but still happily did the best man thing when his friend was determined to go ahead with it. So there is precedent for him understanding why you might still stand up for someone at a wedding despite not being a fan of their intended.