I don't want my wedding to get rom-com'd
April 19, 2010 2:57 PM   Subscribe

Getting married in two months. Fiancée's male best friend is officiating. I suspect he still has feelings for her. Tell me I'm crazy (or not) for irrationally worrying that he'll pull a "grand romantic gesture".

I'll keep this short-ish.

My fiancée (F) and her male best friend (MBF) have been through a lot together, including helping each other through failed relationships, as best friends often do. Some time ago (long before I met F), they decided to give dating a go. It didn't last long. F was the one to break it off, though, and MBF had pined for her long before that.

I've long suspected that MBF continues to pine for F. I've pretty much ignored it, though, because I'm not suspicious by nature, or insecure in my relationship. They often meet for dinner, since I don't much care for MBF's company. I figure, though, if there was anything at all there, she wouldn't have crushed him (and from what I've heard, he was crushed) by going back to just-friends status. Plus, she's told me that he was unbearable as a significant other.

Now our wedding is coming up. When we got engaged, F told me she wanted MBF to perform the ceremony. I was fine with it, and still am for the most part, because no matter what transpires at the wedding, I'm secure in the knowledge that I'll be married to F. (We're very secretly eloping to Vegas before the ceremony in question. Shh-- don't tell my parents.) I just can't shake the niggling, worst-case-scenario feeling that he'll end up embarrassing himself and us in front of our collected friends and families with some sort of grand selfish romantic gesture. I'm sure that this is just a manifestation of wedding anxiety, and I don't expect that it will actually happen.

Let me reiterate that I'm not worried, even irrationally, about my relationship. F does not have romantic feelings for him. My nightmare scenarios range from him not showing up to stopping the ceremony halfway through and getting down on one knee himself. The worst fallout would really just be a black cloud over the rest of the day, and possibly the end of F & MBF's friendship, which would hurt F deeply.

Does it warrant a conversation with MBF and/or F where I risk embarrassing myself or coming off as jealous and suspicious? (If I talked to MBF one-on-one, I'm sure it would get back to F. He would probably no longer want to officiate, and she would be pissed.)

Does it warrant therapy and an increased dose of anti-anxiety meds for me for asking the hivemind about such a ridiculous worst-case scenario? Should I repeat over and over to myself, "Life is not a romantic comedy movie"?

Or is it just a bad idea to have a best-friend-with-a-crush officiate one's wedding?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (40 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have her remark to him about the eloping either while or after you are in Vegas. That way he'll know it's a fait accompli and be way way way less likely to do anything. What would be the point of a grand romantic gesture after you are already married.
posted by oddman at 3:01 PM on April 19, 2010 [20 favorites]

No one can know whether or not this is going to go badly. But if you're worried, you might just want to let MBF in on the secret right before the ceremony he performs. You can frame it as "we wanted you to know since you're officiating our fake wedding," but it'll quash any fantasies he might have of running away with her if he knows the deal is already sealed.
posted by decathecting at 3:04 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Invite him along on a low-key evening excursion with your buddies. Have him get to know you and your male friends.

A few days later, have you and one of your males friends that he met, meet for coffee. Have him go over his plans for the ceremony. Your friend? He's there because he's playing some ambiguous, small role in the ceremony; you know, best man kinda stuff.

And just talk it out. No skullduggery. The goal here is to humanize yourself to this person, and vice versa, to get him to empathize with you and your friends and your family, and understand how incredibly hurtful even a joke-gone-wrong could be at this crucial moment in front of friends and family. He gets to know you, you get to know him, and we're all better for it.

And if something goes horribly awry in this process ... well, you have a sympathetic person there as a witness.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:09 PM on April 19, 2010 [10 favorites]

A few days later, have you and one of your males friends that he met

I mean, three people. You, him and one your friends that he met previously.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:10 PM on April 19, 2010

I have a dear friend who pined for me in high school and college. I never tried dating him--I just didn't feel it for him. People who see us together tell me that it's apparent he still has feelings for me.

I would NEVER ask him to perform the wedding. Not because I'm afraid he would do something drastic but because I think it would be hurtful for him. Do you think you could frame it that way to F? Does she believe that he still has feelings for her?

I think if you don't want your parents to find out you've eloped to Vegas, telling MBF could blow up in your face.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 3:12 PM on April 19, 2010 [11 favorites]

I like Cool Papa's idea. I also like the idea of getting him to help you 'keep the secret' of your elopement. He probably isn't going to do this, because it would piss off F in an unimaginable way. Worry not, and congrats!
posted by katybird at 3:14 PM on April 19, 2010

You need not worry about being embarrassed by anything MBF will do. Only he will be embarrassed.

Only an idiot would think that a grand romantic gesture would lead to a favorable outcome for him, or that it would be in any way appropriate even assuming that it did. Is MBF an idiot? Has MBF demonstrated in the past a propensity for completely inappropriate grand romantic gestures? If you can answer "no" to both these questions, I believe you can assume that MBF will act like an adult in this situation.
posted by kindall at 3:16 PM on April 19, 2010 [12 favorites]

Wow, this is a tough situation. First, I commend you for staying strong and obviously being very secure in your relationship and not trying to control your fiance by telling her not to hang out with this guy friend. Many guys lose their girlfriends or wives because they act jealous which equates to being insecure. All that being said, you're kind of in a lose lose situation. First, if you don't say anything and let this guy officiate the wedding...who knows what will happen. At the very least, it's EXTREMELY awkward for you. Second, if you do tell your fiance you would rather him not officiate then you risk looking jealous and insecure. So either way, the options aren't good. At the end of the day, I would still probably advise not saying anything to your fiance. Even though I think, and I'm sure you would agree...it's TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE for this guy to officiate your wedding. She's being inconsiderate by doing this to you. Of course she would never see it that way. So all you can do is go with the flow. Worst case scenario is that he causes a scene of some sort. I guess if you at least get married in Vegas first you're already married. But if you really love your fiance and want to marry her, don't say anything about this. You take a big risk of putting a bad taste in her mouth for the biggest day of her life. Yes...it's your big day to, but for women this is huge. You'll just have to see what happens. I think in the end it will be ok, but it really depends on the type of personality this guy friend has. I wish you lots of luck. Hope this helps.
posted by ljs30 at 3:17 PM on April 19, 2010

He'd have to be VERY unstable and selfish to pull that shit. You know him a bit-- do you really think he's capable of that?

I think you're worrying needlessly because it would take a very special type of asshole to do something like that. Like laboratory-grade asshole. But you know him and I don't, so ask yourself honestly if he's capable of it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:18 PM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]

I would bring two of your own friends into your confidence about this to the following ends: Friend #1 (the more physically imposing one) needs to be prepared to step up to MBF should he start anything and ask him politely but undeniably to step outside for a minute. Hopefully it will not come to physically escorting him out, but Friend #1 should be prepared to escalate it to that level if needs be. Friend #2 needs to be able to step in to perform the ceremony should MBF be unwilling or unable to do so. Since you will already be married, Friend #2 needs not have any special qualifications to perform the wedding, they just need to be able to speak clearly and and eloquently in front of a crowd. They may want to prepare their statements ahead of time.

Never hurts to have a backup in place.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:20 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

Oh I also agree with the comment that F is being selfish at worst and very very naive at best about having him officiate. But I got the impression that this isn't really negotiable at this point.
posted by katybird at 3:26 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Your whole question is based on guessing what this guy is going to do. You apparently don't know him very well (since you said you avoid spending time with him), and F knows him very well. Why don't you ask F if she thinks it's remotely conceivable he'd do something like this? Her guess is probably better than yours.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:28 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

It's highly likely that this man is fully aware that any Grand Gesture he made in the middle of her wedding ceremony would result in at the very least a pretty crushing public rejection, if not fairly swift removal from the area by somebody's friends, maybe his own, and a permanent ejection from her life and probably a lot of mutual friends.

Only an unstable person would do something like you're thinking, and if he's that unstable you cannot manipulate him into not doing it. Your fiancee likely couldn't manipulate him into not doing it, either. I think you have to either trust her here, or very explicitly not trust her and declare a boundary that does not include this man participating in your wedding ceremony.

Life is not a romantic comedy. People get anxious about things going wrong at their weddings, and things do, but it tends to be things on the scale of appalling vendor behavior or bad weather or somebody just having some shit luck (or volcanoes, don't forget about volcanoes). If it makes you feel better to have a plan should he do something, that's fine, as long as it stays in your head. I think mentioning your concern to him would be...horribly humiliating, for him and you and your fiancee.

Performing this role at your wedding may very well be an act of love for him, love for his friend who isn't going to be with him and he wishes her well. Let him do that with dignity if you can, or call a full stop to his participation, I wouldn't dick around somewhere in between or you could well reap more trouble and pain than he could perpetrate on his own.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:29 PM on April 19, 2010 [16 favorites]

MBF already has to know about the elopement, right? i mean, he's not signing the marriage certificate (also, as far as secret keeping, if you're keeping it after the wedding, your marriage certificate will be issued out of nevada, not out of your home state). i vote for just making that known to him (rather, for her to make it known to him as it seems like you guys don't have much communicating between you).

all the "should he" "shouldn't he" officiate stuff does not a lick of good right now, as anything done to change the situation will just be ugly. but, i do think it's pretty cruel of your fiancee to put you and him in this position.

many years ago, my ex-girlfriend wanted me to be a bridesmaid - i made an on the fly rule that i've kept ever since and it really seems like a no brainer in most cases - "don't participate in the wedding party of anyone you've fucked" which extends nicely to "don't have anyone in your wedding party who you've fucked".
posted by nadawi at 3:30 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

A question: you say you don't like his company. Is that because of his feelings for your fiancee? Or do you legitimately not like the guy?

In contrast to most people here, I would just tell you to relax. You have no reason to think he's enough of a jerk to do such a thing, nor even that he wants to (but is holding it in because he's not a jerk). In short, you're basing this solely on nothing. So just relax.

That being said, you have a right to feel comfortable on your not-actually-wedding day. Which means that if you can't shake the feeling from your head, even if you know it's stupid, he shouldn't be your officiant. But the only just way to do that is to explain to your fiancee that you don't want him, at least least telling her because he makes you uncomfortable, preferably for the specific reason here.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:31 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

In contrast to most people here, I would just tell you to relax.

I agree, don't feed your own paranoia with any meetings beforehand or anything like that. This guy would have to be seriously unstable to pull anything off. The problem with irrational paranoia is that if you feed it, it will feed back. We met with him beforehand, but did you see how nervous he looked? Maybe he'll try something before the wedding ... or at the reception ... maybe we need to watch him at the reception ... but he definitely won't try it at the wedding now. Do you see where such thinking leads?

Besides look at it this way, no pep talk or dropping that you've eloped is going to rationalize the crazy out of a crazy act. "I was going to completely embarrass myself, but now that the groom knows ... plans are off!"

This is typical what can go wrong wedding anxiety.
posted by geoff. at 3:38 PM on April 19, 2010

I have never heard of a Grand Romantic Gesture ever being tried outside of the movies. People don't do this. As a wise man once said: "No, man. Hell no, man. Shit no, man. I believe you could get your ass kicked for doing something like that."

Follow Cool Papa Bell's advice and get to know this dude. As unbearable a boyfriend as he might have been he is probably socially clued-in enough to know that you don't pull Grand Romantic Gestures at a wedding.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:45 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

You might not be insecure or jealous, but it's clear that you don't like this guy and wish he'd bugger off already. Give your fiancee some credit - this is her best friend you're talking about. Someone she loves and respects. You're being awfully uncharitable to him by fretting over all this imaginary drama.

MBF had his chance and learned in the most painful way that it was not to be. Why on earth would he want to relive that experience in front of all your family and friends?

He's already officiating at your wedding. There's no need to go out of your way to rub it in further.
posted by keep it under cover at 3:46 PM on April 19, 2010

it's TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE for this guy to officiate your wedding. She's being inconsiderate by doing this to you.

I have to agree with this. This sounds like dramatic Friends episode waiting to happen.
posted by anniecat at 3:49 PM on April 19, 2010 [6 favorites]

Also, shouldn't you guys have picked an officiant who is a mutual friend that you guys both like and respect and it would be appropriate to have marry you? It's kind of strange to have a person one of the people getting married has possibly had sex with marrying her to someone else.
posted by anniecat at 3:51 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

The only thing you have to do is make sure you have somebody recording the ceremony. That way if he does something insane you'll can post it online and be an instant YouTube celebrity.

Seriously, I think you need to just relax. I really don't think this guy is going to do something to ruin your wedding. If he did do something, you know he'll get shot down and the worst thing is that people will talk about how crazy/sad/pathetic it was and how lucky F is to have dodged the bullet with MBF, then they'll party down at your reception. And of course you wouldn't ever have to see this guy again because I don't think a girl could ever forgive a friend for ruining her wedding that way.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:54 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have to say, even by the standards of the paranoid, this sounds remarkably, exceedingly unlikely to happen. People like this just don't exist, not outside some crazy Hollywood fantasy where you're the Wrong Guy and he's the One. Being asked to officiate at a friend's wedding is a great honour and a solemn responsibility, and I imagine that even if he still has feelings for her he will swallow them. I could imagine him saying something inappropriate to her before the day (I'm imagining plausible things that could go wrong), but getting down on one knee and expecting her to say yes? Come on. That's just nuts.

I agree that you should get to know this guy. Make friends with him a bit. Then he really won't go for anything crazy - he'll like and respect you, and it'll be a great day for you all. Stop worrying.
posted by Dasein at 3:55 PM on April 19, 2010

Here's an additional complication, and one that I don't think anyone has addressed so far. The MBF is probably smart enough not to do anything obviously disruptive, like proposing himself or inserting a "if anyone should have any reason why these two should not be wed" and then providing one himself.

But he might engage in subtle passive-aggressive gestures, like going off-book to insert his own commentary into the ceremony, or mispronouncing your name, or interrupting when he "thinks" you're done with reciting your vows, or something like that.

I was hesitant to even bring up this possibility, because I think there's almost nothing you can do about it. The only solution that comes to mind is to have a backup officiator on hand at the rehearsal, and if people get the vibe that this guy is going to be trouble, you have him or her step in.

It's not a great solution, but the situation is a tough one. Good luck (and congratulations, by the way).
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 3:56 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is it too late to add in a co-officiant? Your best friend, perhaps, or a sister or grandparent? That keeps MBF from running the show, but without any confrontations needed.
posted by xo at 3:57 PM on April 19, 2010

He's her best friend; he's going to be in your life, and he cares about your fiancée. A conversation with him, maybe over dinner together, is completely within reason (forgive me if you've already tried this). Ask him about himself; maybe you'll come to like him a little more, maybe he'll come to like you a little more, maybe not, but if by chance you guys could figure out how to enjoy each others' company it would be a lovely, lovely gift to your future wife.

Regarding your worries now: why not talk to him, not to accuse him of preparing to do something stupid, but to tell him that you really love her, you're going to take super excellent care of her, and you are grateful to be certain that she loves you too. Tell him also that the wedding -- and having it be a smooth and delightful, emotionally uplifting experience for both of you and everyone there -- is extremely important to your fiancée, and that you're glad (figure out how to be glad) that he, as her best friend and someone who cares about her, will be there to help make her dream of the perfect wedding come true.
posted by amtho at 4:02 PM on April 19, 2010

I see just a little bit of myself and my situation in your question. I'm getting married next spring and my fiancee's own "MBF" is performing the ceremony. (Since we're in Pennsylvania, we're getting a "Quaker"/self-uniting marriage certificate before the ceremony.) They dated for a little while after her last LTR ended, but it didn't work out. We met some time later, after the fire died, as far as I can tell. They're still bestest friends.

I disagree with people telling you that your fiancee is being inconsiderate/selfish, etc. They were/have been friends for MUCH longer than they dated, so the mean, median, and mode of their relationship is "just really good friends". She knows him better than you do, so she's in the best position to judge what's unfair to him, and how he'll react to the whole situation. I can't imagine that she would propose him as officiant if she thought there was the slightest chance this would happen.

I fall into the "relax" category. Everything will be fine. And if it's not, people will sure make good use of the open bar. You are having an open bar, right? That's probably the best insurance against this ruining the day.
posted by supercres at 4:09 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

Your instincts are telling you something here. Whether or not the guy decides to make like a Hugh Grant movie or not, if you feel like there's something going on from MBF's side, it's a good bet, in my book, that there is. So if I were you, I'd take all the best advice in this thread. Take the guy out just the two of you, or an additional friend, as suggested, let the guy in on the elopement right before the ceremony he's officiating, and have some backup in place. Someone else prepared to step in and take over, a couple people ready to shuffle him off with a minimum of fuss and bother. And once all that's in place, just let go. If you trust your fiancee, trust her instincts too, that she wouldn't put MBF in this position if she had the slightest worry that he'd be anything but a happy contributor to your big day.

And hey, congratulations and good luck!
posted by lemniskate at 4:26 PM on April 19, 2010

Or is it just a bad idea to have a best-friend-with-a-crush officiate one's wedding?

Well, yeah, this. I mean, invite him to the wedding, if F feels you must, or have him be some sort of bridesmaid/usher-type thing. But officiate? Very odd. Seems like it's asking for trouble, one way or another. Why would he even want to?

But if this is a done deal, then I agree with oddman. Make sure MBF knows beforehand that you're already married and that this is just for show.
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:37 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think you are worrying waaaaay too much about this.

Weddings are always stressful.

You're experiencing some anxiety before the wedding.

The anxiety is affecting your ability to think straight and identify risk.

There is little risk of anything happening.

There is almost nothing you can do to *effectively* mitigate or minimize this risk.

All you can do is plan how you will react if he drops down on one knee and proposes to your future wife at the ceremony (it ain't gonna happen, but if you're really worried about it, plan ahead).

Tell one or two of your *most trusted* friends about your worries. Do not tell your future wife.

Ask these two friends to step in an handle things if this guy makes a scene. Perhaps one guy could grab the mic and propose a toast, while the other friend drags the MBF away from the scene.

But nothing is going to happen. You're getting worried about nothing. Worry about the things you can change (like seating arrangements and cutlery or whatever).
posted by KokuRyu at 4:51 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

And whatever you do, don't mention this to MBF either. This is your wife's friend. Trust your wife. Be kind and considerate to her friends. Don't ruin this day for your wife by causing a scene *over nothing* before the wedding even happens.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:52 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

There are two possibilities:

1) "MBF" is, like me, a guy who once dated a friend, and it didn't work out, and now he's back to being friends with her. He's happy and honored to play a part in your wedding, and your fiancee wouldn't have gone down this path if she - who knows him very well - was actually worried about him flipping out and doing something unthinkable. You are being incredibly paranoid, and need to chill out.

2) "MBF" is basically batshit insane. He is willing to do something that is not only massively embarrassing but also absolutely, blatantly, clearly doomed to utter failure. He is, therefore, extremely unhinged and nothing is going to stop him. If he's a guest, he can still do this. If you eject him from the wedding he'll burst in anyway. He'll disguise himself as a caterer. He'll pretend to be the photographer's assistant. You say, that's insane. I say, someone so insane that they'd turn "I have been asked to perform this wedding" into "I am trying to hijack the entire thing and get my Beloved to reject her fiance in front of everybody they both know" is pretty far beyond the craziness needed to sneak into an event where nobody will know everybody else. If your fiancee talks to him and says "I will never love you, don't show up at my wedding at all," that will just imply to him that he definitely should because she's afraid he'll force her to actually make a choice. Why? Because MBF is totally bonkers and has no grip on reality.

If it's the first, you're wasting a lot of time & energy freaking out about nothing. If it's the second, you really can't do a damn thing, because the guy is enormously mentally disturbed and you'd probably need to hire security guards to keep him away.
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:01 PM on April 19, 2010 [9 favorites]

F trusts MBF enough to want him to officiate at her wedding.

You should trust F enough to let it happen.
posted by ook at 5:08 PM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]

2nding Tomorrowful. (Surprise!) It's like a plane crash-- it's not going to happen, and if it does, there's nothing you can do to stop it.
posted by supercres at 5:14 PM on April 19, 2010

That shit only happens in the movies. (And I'm a worrier! If I'm saying "don't worry", it means something.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:28 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

you might just want to let MBF in on the secret right before the ceremony he performs. You can frame it as "we wanted you to know since you're officiating our fake wedding," but it'll quash any fantasies he might have of running away with her if he knows the deal is already sealed.

You MUST tell your officiant (MBF or whomever) about your marriage status prior to the wedding. (Probably not legally must, but when we did this our notary was very clear with us that we needed to tell our officiant before our "real" wedding because having two marriage certificates could be problematic down the road).

Once you do that, I suspect your worries will evaporate.
posted by anastasiav at 5:38 PM on April 19, 2010

Also, shouldn't you guys have picked an officiant who is a mutual friend that you guys both like and respect

This. I think it's possible this anxiety is growing not out of some instinct about what's really going to happen, but out of some "who is this guy anyway?" feeling. Is this someone whose spiritual, emotional, and psychological depth makes him the person you want to think of when you think of the moment you forged a permanent bond to your (soon to be) wife? Do you want to remember his words of guidance and wisdom? I actually quite like the co-officiant idea, not as a backup plan, but as a way to create a certain kind of balance. (However IANMarried so maybe I'm overemphasizing the role of the officiant.)
posted by salvia at 6:22 PM on April 19, 2010

Are your feelings about MBF are going to magically disappear once you and F are legally married? MBF is probably not thinking about pulling any weird scenarios, but it seems like your concerns about him will continue and maybe even get worse.

Talk to her about this right now. If I were F and you talked to MBF before you came to me with your concerns, I'd be pretty hurt.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 6:56 PM on April 19, 2010

There are two possibilities here.

First of all, yes, it might be a very bad idea for this fellow to be officiating. And I'm sort of alarmed that your fiancee thought this would be okay; does she realize that he had a crush on her for a long time? Does she simply insist that it's all over? Is she not thinking about the possibilities? It isn't unfair or selfish of you to bring this up with her, and frankly I think that's the only thing you can do at this point - weddings are big, obnoxious deals, and you really want to be on the same page going into it. Seriously - talk with her, tell her this concerns you, most of all because he nursed a crush on her for so long. This is rational stuff, and you're just sharing your feelings, so don't feel as though it's not right to say it to her.

No matter what happens, however, I think it's incumbent upon you to be this guy's closest friend in the whole world. Tell him you'd like to get to know him better - the impending wedding is a great excuse - and take every possible opportunity to hang out with him one on one, without your fiancee present. Go to movies with him, take him out for drinks, whatever. This is the best solution to this situation. You run the risk, as things are now, of appearing as the jealous rival; and that's the last thing you want to be. When you think about it, getting as close to him as possible is a strategy that can't lose; if, in the worst-case scenario, he's planning a crazy stunt, you buddying up to him will be the last thing he expects, and will likely be the reality check that stops him in his tracks. (It's a lot tougher to steal your ex-girlfriend back from a guy when that guy suddenly turns out to be really cool.) In the best-case scenario, if he's not planning anything untoward and is just being a cool dude, you're getting to know your fiancee's best friend - and that can't be bad, right?
posted by koeselitz at 7:40 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

[few comments removed - this sort of needs to stick to the question, thanks]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:48 PM on April 20, 2010

Or is it just a bad idea to have a best-friend-with-a-crush officiate one's wedding?

in a word, YES.
posted by Carol@ILPoisonCenter at 4:41 PM on April 20, 2010

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