weddings

'My best friend got married to a man who hated me. He kicked me out of the bridal party.'

Alison* and I became best friends in high school. She was the friend that, as a teenager, you couldn’t picture a future without.

For so long, I was a shy, nerdy girl who struggled to make friends, but once I met her in art class, I opened up. I blossomed into the confident girl I was hiding underneath my quiet demeanour.

As high school progressed, we became inseparable. We happily skipped out on big school dances to hang out at my house and watch episodes of SVU that we had seen 10 times before.

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We’d sleep over each other’s houses to the point where my mother asked why she wasn’t around, and her mother did the same.

I didn’t have anyone like her in my life before, and I have met no one like her since.

I miss her. A lot. We text from time to time; we even did a Zoom call at the beginning of the quarantine. About five minutes into our call, her husband came into the screen holding their newborn and waved at me.

I waved back with a smile and then remembered why our friendship fell apart.

After high school, I moved away to university, and she stayed behind to do real estate. We didn’t see each other often, but we did our best to stay in touch as best friends promise to do.

When I graduated, I moved back home, and it was she that planned my party with all of our friends. It felt like everything was back to before.

On one Friday night at our favourite bar, she introduced me to the new guy she was dating. It was someone she’d met at work, a really funny guy she knew I’d like. I was excited to meet him, and sure enough, we hit it off.

For a moment, I thought I would be jealous to share her just as I’d moved back home, but there were no feelings of animosity. She looked genuinely happy, and it made me very happy.

He was someone who came from a very religious family, which she did not. But they meshed perfectly.

They celebrated a one year anniversary together, then it was two, then three. Sure, Alison and I were spending less and less time together, but that happens when you’re in a relationship. I thought nothing of it.

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Months later, I heard from mutual friends that they were engaged and it shocked me that I didn’t hear it from her. I figured she was busy. I began planning for the wedding conversations that would take place, and I couldn’t wait. We had talked for years about each other’s weddings one day.

The dress shopping, the Bachelorette party, and the big day.

Then she told me I wouldn’t be her maid of honour.

I remember the phone call vividly; I stayed on the line in complete silence, trying to understand. She didn’t have any sisters or girl cousins. I waited before I finally asked, “So, who’s going to be your maid of honor?”

She knew how hurt I was. She apologised 10 times before continuing. “Marcus really wants his younger sister to be my MOH. She’s been really helpful in the wedding planning, and I thought it would be a nice way to include her.”

I sat there  – confused and frustrated. “So, I’m going to be a bridesmaid?”

Silence.

“Please don’t be upset. This is so hard for me. But Marcus talked to me, and he really would prefer if you weren’t in the wedding party at all.”

My jaw dropped. Even as I type this, I can’t believe this actually happened. It was a bad dream. A nightmare. An alternate universe where my normally confident, independent best friend didn’t have a voice in her own wedding.

“What are you talking about? Marcus and I get along great. I’m so confused.”

Silence again.

“He wants our wedding party to be our family and church friends. You’re an atheist, and he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to have you standing in the church, next to the priest with us.”

I couldn’t find the words. Because I wasn’t of the same faith (or any faith) as her new husband, I was being asked not to stand up next to my best friend on her big day? I couldn’t believe what she was saying.

“Alison, you’re not even that religious. And this is your day too, why don’t you get a say in this? Is this a joke? This feels like a mean, unfunny joke. Can I come over?”

Silence.

“I really want to start our marriage off right. This doesn’t mean you’re not going to be there with us. You’re not uninvited or anything like that.”

“Oh — because uninviting me is where you draw the line? Asking me not to be your MOH because I’m not religious like your fiancé is crazy to me. And why are you letting Marcus make these decisions? Why are you going along with this?”

Silence, but this time, I could sense the anger in her voice.

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“Because I love him, and I agree with him. And I am religious… well, now I am. While I respect your personal decisions surrounding your faith, I’d like to do this right.”

And with that, we hung up.

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We didn’t have any communication for weeks until the wedding invitation arrived in my mailbox. Most of our mutual friends were just as shocked as I was to find out I would not be her MOH or even be in the wedding party. But none of them were as close as we were, and they weren’t in the wedding party either.

When I opened the invitation, I smiled. She looked beautiful in her photos, a goddess of a woman in a beautiful maroon gown. And I looked at her husband-to-be, the reason behind her smile. And for that, as heartbroken as I was, I checked the box that I would not be attending my best friend’s wedding.

I knew he’d probably be thrilled to hear I would not be there on their big day.

I had no idea what she thought about my decision. And I’d never know because she never reached out.

Years later, I remember the pain I felt seeing her wedding photos on social media. I remember the embarrassment when I received texts that day asking where I was and if Alison and I were in a fight.

Truthfully, I took a camping trip with my boyfriend that weekend to get away from everyone because I couldn’t truly process the loss of my best friend. The loss of our friendship. The loss of her laughter in my life. It was and still is, the worst breakup I’ve ever endured.

But I knew I did the right thing. I couldn’t sit in the church and watch her marry a man who hated me so much because of my religious beliefs that he would ask her to exclude me from such an important day.

And I couldn’t watch him marry the woman who once was my soulmate, but I couldn’t recognize anymore.

They are still married, with two little ones running around in their home. I know very little about her now, as she doesn’t know much about my life either.

But sometimes these unthinkable things happen in life, such shocking and deep losses that you don’t know how to keep living without them. But you do, because you know that you are still loved and needed and important in the world, even if the person who used to be your everything doesn’t see it anymore.

Feature Image: Getty.

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The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. Names and other identifying features have been changed. The feature image used is a stock photo.

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