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5 DAYS until my wedding and my bridesmaid backed out!

My wedding is in just 5 days and one of my bridesmaids just backed out completely.  She didn't even have the common courtesy to tell me herself, she had her parents call me and tell me she is too 'fragile' to perform her duties. 

Apparently she's been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, something I was completely unaware of b/c she lives in another state and everytime I talked to her she seemed perfectly fine and was super excited about my upcoming wedding.  Her parents told me that she's been struggling with this for months and they have been "working with her" to make sure that she could come.

Am I selfish for thinking she should've stepped down months ago so I could find a replacement?  That way, as a guest it wouldn't have been such a big deal if she didn't show.  I am sooo hurt and upset now... on the week of my wedding!!  This is just so hard to deal with.  I know the wedding is about me and my fiance and I need to just push forward and forget about this, but it's sooooo hard.  Any advice?

Re: 5 DAYS until my wedding and my bridesmaid backed out!

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    [QUOTE]Are you kidding me?!  You people are ridiculous!  Had I accepted being in someone's bridal party and knew months in advance that I was 'fragile' or had some sort of condition, I would've spoke up and stepped down.  I may not have told her exactly why I needed to step down if I didn't want her to know of my condition, but I would NEVER hurt a friend like this the week of her wedding!  ...and excuse me for thinking that a friend I've known almost my entire life would trust me with that info.
    Posted by vwbeetlefsu[/QUOTE]
    You need to take a step back, relax and come back to this issue tomorrow.  You're getting worked up over it.

    Would she trust you with the info?  Maybe.  Does that mean she was ready to tell you?  No. 

    I doubt it's easy to tell your friends that you've been diagnosed with a potentially life changing illness that you will struggle with for years to come while still dealing with the diagnosis yourself.  Even people who are generally very open sometimes clam up when there is a major issue.  She may have been hoping she'd be able to deal with it privately, or be afraid of how her friends will think about her after learning about her illness.
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    edited April 2010
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_5-days-until-wedding-bridesmaid-backed-out?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:37Discussion:f89d8ad8-b4dd-46c8-8be2-e54908c40dedPost:8e8cb7e0-00b0-4fe6-b102-9a1c82a40e8b">Re: 5 DAYS until my wedding and my bridesmaid backed out!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Are you kidding me?!  You people are ridiculous!  Had I accepted being in someone's bridal party and knew months in advance that I was 'fragile' or had some sort of condition, I would've spoke up and stepped down.  I may not have told her exactly why I needed to step down if I didn't want her to know of my condition, but I would NEVER hurt a friend like this the week of her wedding!  ...and excuse me for thinking that a friend I've known almost my entire life would trust me with that info.
    Posted by vwbeetlefsu[/QUOTE]

    Now you are the one sounding selfish. Nobody NEEDS to tell you their medical information and it sounds like you truly have no idea what someone struggling with an often-times debilitating mental illness can go through. My cousin came thisclose to suicide this past year & had to withdraw from college on a medical leave due to BPD.  My aunt had a very hard time telling other members of our own family what the situation was.

    Grow up and get over yourself - if you truly are worried about your friend then stop putting this in the context of your wedding and how she should have stepped down earlier, etc. WHY? So you could replace her with someone more up for throwing you parties? The purpose of a wedding party is honoring your close friends who stand by you on the day you marry. Not to have an entourage of even sides or people who will do things for you. If a close friend must step down, then you conitnue to honor her as your friend by not replacing her.

    What you don't seem to get is that she's not intentionally trying to hurt you. Yes, the timing sucks a week before your wedding...but have some compassion here.
    The Bump ate my signature. DD - Apr 2011 DS - expected June 2013
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_5-days-until-wedding-bridesmaid-backed-out?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:37Discussion:f89d8ad8-b4dd-46c8-8be2-e54908c40dedPost:8e8cb7e0-00b0-4fe6-b102-9a1c82a40e8b">Re: 5 DAYS until my wedding and my bridesmaid backed out!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Are you kidding me?!  You people are ridiculous!  Had I accepted being in someone's bridal party and knew months in advance that I was 'fragile' or had some sort of condition, I would've spoke up and stepped down.  I may not have told her exactly why I needed to step down if I didn't want her to know of my condition, but I would NEVER hurt a friend like this the week of her wedding!  ...and excuse me for thinking that a friend I've known almost my entire life would trust me with that info.
    Posted by vwbeetlefsu[/QUOTE]

    One of my best friends had a serious addiction when we were in college.  She didn't tell me until after she was seeking help for it, because she was embarrassed.  Was I hurt?  NO.  I was glad she finally felt comfortable telling me.  You have <strong>no</strong> right to tell <strong>anyone</strong> how they should and should not deal with their own mental issues. 

    And quite honestly, if you were my "friend", and I was reading these messages, this would completely validate my decision to not tell you in advance.  Since you seem SOOOOO sympathetic.  Way to put your pretty princess day first.  I don't blame her in the slightest.
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    Good grief.  With bipolar disorder YOU DO NOT KNOW MONTHS IN ADVANCE.  I don't know how to say that more clearly than I and others have already said it.

    And I don't care how good of a friend you are, people get uncomfortable talking about things.

    I met a girl in 7th grade, and we became lab partners the very first day of school.  We ended up incredibly good friends, for many, many years.  In fact, that was 1981 and I am still friends with her, almost 30 years later.  I hung out at her house regularly, she hung out at mine.  We signed up to take summer college courses together while we were in high school.  She never, ever missed one of my parties.  We rode bikes together (I still have the scar on my elbow from the time we misjudged and collided and I went flying onto some gravel), played together, worked together.  I nearly got thrown out of a high school English class because I defended her to the teacher!

    Her father was abusive to her mother, and less extremely to her and her brothers.

    Know when I found that out?  When we were sitting in a Barnes & Noble having a coffee in 1993, while I was in law school & she was in grad school, right after she found out that I started my law school's Battered Women's Project.  It took 12 years of very close friendship, adulthood, and me being "in the field" before she felt comfortable telling me.
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    Maybe I just don't know the rules about this but if a bridesmaid accepts your offer to be in a wedding but then backs out or steps down (for whatever issue) why is it rude to replace them?  If it were me, I'd expect to be replaced, not because I'm dispensible but because I would figure that the bride would need that spot to be filled and that, even though my issue is serious, it is still an inconvenience.  

    I think in this particular situation the person who stepped down as well as the person who would be asked to replace the BM who couldn't make it would both understand that it is a delicate, unconventional situation and that certain things would need to take place that aren't usually the norm.  

    Also, vwbeetlefsuI do believe that you do care about your friend and her issue.  If it were me I'd make sure that your friend knew I was still there for her no matter what.  Considering that it's five days until the wedding, you're stressed and your concern for her probably isn't as evident as I assume and hope it is outside of this board.  I'm assuming you just needed to vent and I hope that you've been able to do that.  I can't imagine what I'd do in your shoes.  Anyway, I do hope that things work out for the best.  Best of luck to you and your friend.
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    xoxobxoxob member
    First Comment
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_5-days-until-wedding-bridesmaid-backed-out?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:37Discussion:f89d8ad8-b4dd-46c8-8be2-e54908c40dedPost:9d01b5c0-5565-4977-a755-2a276ff06a67">Re: 5 DAYS until my wedding and my bridesmaid backed out!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Maybe I just don't know the rules about this but if a bridesmaid accepts your offer to be in a wedding but then backs out or steps down (for whatever issue) <strong>why is it rude to replace them?</strong> If it were me, I'd expect to be replaced, not because I'm dispensible but because I would figure that the bride would need that spot to be filled and that Posted by jessicarabbit501[/QUOTE]

    It's rude because whoever you ask to replace the missing BM knows that she isn't your first choice. How would feel if you were asked to be a second string BM?

    It's also unfair to the person who has to back out. It makes it look like the bride thinks that her friend is replaceable. Bridesmaids are not accessories.

    You don't need even sides, you don't need to have all your spots filled, you just need the people who are closest to you.
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    Your bridesmaids are your closest friends, they're not there to meet a certain number of WP members.  Replacing a BM can tell her that her friendship is easily replaceable, and to the replacement it's clear that she's only second choice and there to keep the even sides.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_5-days-until-wedding-bridesmaid-backed-out?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:37Discussion:f89d8ad8-b4dd-46c8-8be2-e54908c40dedPost:9d01b5c0-5565-4977-a755-2a276ff06a67">Re: 5 DAYS until my wedding and my bridesmaid backed out!</a>:
    [QUOTE]If it were me, I'd expect to be replaced, not because I'm dispensible but because I would figure that the bride would need that spot to be filled and that, even though my issue is serious, it is still an inconvenience.
    Posted by jessicarabbit501[/QUOTE]
    Step back & think about it for a second.  Why would that spot <strong>need</strong> to be filled.  I'm asking seriously here... aside from "even sides," which are not "needed," can you think of one good reason?
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    The key word is "replaced".  You replace a broken plate or a totalled car.  You don't replace a friend.
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    There is no reason a spot "needs to be filled" if someone steps down.  Lurk on this board a bit, read the "New Here?" stickies up top...you will see that there's a lot of misperception that wedding parties need to be symmetrical. That's not the case and it's becoming more and more common to see uneven WPs that consist of the bride and groom's closest friends and family members regardless of whether she has 3 on her side and he has 5 on his or any combination thereof. A B&G also don't even NEED to have a wedding party and many couples choose to forgo having attendants altogether. You can do it however you want. But this notion of needing to replace someone if they step down is just plain not good etiquette and feelings do get hurt when that happens. And for nothing.
    The Bump ate my signature. DD - Apr 2011 DS - expected June 2013
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    PLEASE let this be MUD, or else I think my faith in humanity has just been irrevocably shaken.

    OP, genuine question: do you know other people with serious mental disorders? Or specifically with bi-polar disorder? The whole point is that your brain does not work normally. She may have been feeling great about your wedding until just now. She may have been apprehensive about it this whole time but wanted to be there for you and thought she could will herself into feeling ok. But unfortunately, she can't, and it's not a question of not wanting to. In general yes, she should have told you directly, but if her parents had to tell you it's probably because she literally cannot do it herself because she has an illness that prevents her from doing so.

    You need to separate your disappointment that your good friend can't come to your wedding (and some minor annoyance that you're paying for one extra bouquet and one extra meal) from the real issue, which is that your friend is sick. This real issue has nothing to do with your wedding, and by making it about your wedding you come across as both selfish and immature, with no real understanding of mental illness or idea of how to support a friend through a serious health problem. Send her bouquet to her house with a note saying that she's still your BM no matter what.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_5-days-until-wedding-bridesmaid-backed-out?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:37Discussion:f89d8ad8-b4dd-46c8-8be2-e54908c40dedPost:f53f5578-eba3-4153-8b54-a2ec3b31c82a">Re: 5 DAYS until my wedding and my bridesmaid backed out!</a>:
    [QUOTE]You need to separate your disappointment that your good friend can't come to your wedding (and some minor annoyance that you're paying for one extra bouquet and one extra meal) from the real issue, which is that your friend is sick. 
    Posted by emilyinchile[/QUOTE]
    You know, with 5 days to go, if OP contacted the florist and the caterer and said, "One of my bridesmaids has fallen very ill and can't be there.  Could you possibly cancel one bouquet/meal from my order?" they might be willing to work with her.  You know neither the flowers have been arranged nor the food cooked yet.  And my final numbers were due just about a week before the wedding, and I know my venue would have worked with us if we needed something like that last minute.  They were cool that way.
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    xoxobxoxob member
    First Comment
    I think it would be an exceptional and wonderful gesture of frienship (because you say you care), if you take Emily's advice and send her the bouquet.

    I know if my dad ends up not being able to leave his house the day of my wedding, I would bring him his boutineer, his program, and probably still save his seats at the ceremony and reception because I know he wanted to be there, he tried to be there but was physically unable. Which is exactly what your BM is going through.

    And, she can't tell you months in advance, TBH, I won't know about my dad until the morning of my wedding. It's not fair and it makes me tear up just thinking about the possibility (even right now) of him not being there but it's not his fault, it's a disease and you need to be a little more compassionate.
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    I think OP ran away. 

    The situation sucks.  But it's life and life has it's unexpected twists and turns.  I hope the BM gets the treatment she needs, and has someone less self centered there to help her deal with this.
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    There's a lot of responses here and I haven't read through all of them but I have read yours.  I understand that you are upset that this is happening the week of your wedding and idealy it should be a fun and stress-free time.  I also understand that you're hurt that your friend of many, many years didn't confide in you about what's been going on in her life.  Have you considered that she didn't want to put anymore stress on you earlier on?  Maybe she was hoping that she would be able to deal with this and tell you after the wedding.  I have a family member who has been diagnosed with BPD and it takes a while to get the meds right.  The meds on their own can cause you to have mood swings and become unpredictable.  It's a trial and error with all patients.  You shouldn't be angry with her.  She's not meaning to "do this to you".  This is not something she can help.  Be her friend.
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    It's absolutely ok to be upset she can't make it.  To be upset AT her for the reason why she can't make it?  Not ok.   

    If you're emotional and upset, I hope you got it off your chest here.  It's much better to get it out here than take it out on your friend.  I've dealt with emotional issues, and while they were not anywhere near the severity of BPD, there were good days and bad days.  The person with the disorder does not decide which days are which, and neither can any bystander.  You can't decide for her that your wedding is important enough that she should be "ok". 

    Yes, it's disappointing.  But please realize you need to be there for her as your friend, not as your BM.  This is a major thing, she's not just blowing you off.  Good luck. 
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    As someone who was diagnosed with BPD at 18, the first year is terrible, and even now, 7 years later, it's certainly not easy. I happen to be allergic to all of the medications except for 1, which can make me sleep 16 hours a day. 

    So, points being: 
    1. if you have any questions about it, feel free to ask me.
    2. We haven't even told half of my extended family, nor FIs family (and we probably won't). You never know how someone is going to react. Please do not feel offended that she didn't tell you.
    3. And most importantly: this is INCREDIBLY difficult for her. She is probably just now realizing that her brain does not function normally, and that she can't control it. It is unbelievably frustrating to realize that you can't control how you feel, sometimes what you think, or yourself in general. 

    Please be sympathetic to her. At this point, it may even be life or death for her. Not that your wedding is trivial, but she does have more important things going on. If I were the bm and going through this, being sent the bouquet, or still listed in the program, or still being considered the bm would mean the world to me. What she needs right now is to have support from her friends. And I can almost guarantee that she feels like crap because she's missing your wedding.
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    PPs have summed up everything I would have said.

    OP, I highly recommend that you talk to someone skilled in treating those with BPD.  Your thoughts on it are so out of whack that I think you need a trained professional to explain why this isn't something that your friend could see coming as if she was getting a cold.

    Does it stink that she won't be there?  Absolutely.

    BUT

    1) It's not cool to replace BMs ever.  In this scenario, your BM is ill.  That's a slap in the face to her AND the replacement.

    2) You'll still be married and you need to chill out.  Be a friend to her and see how she's doing. 

    My guess is that you're really stressed since your wedding is in 5 days so it's hard to see beyond that day when you're so close.  I know that's how I felt at that time.  For the days leading up to the wedding I could hardly eat!

    BUT, you need to relax about this and focus on the big picture.

    And I totally dig the idea of sending your BM her bouquet.  Let her know that you love her.

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    Also, just to put this in perspective, Chile had an 8.8 earthquake a week before my wedding. At 5 days before, I was calling my venue to see if it still existed, trying to find information on when the airport would open to see if I would have ANY BMs and thanking god that at least my then-FI's parents were still alive since they'd be on vacation in a town that no longer exists due to a tsunami.

    Is your friend being sick and your BM dropping out a stressful addition to your life? Yes. But honestly, it's not exactly the worst thing I've ever heard of or experienced, so breath and stop using "it's 5 days before my wedding!!!" as an excuse to put yourself before a sick friend.
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    I only skimmed through a lot of the last posts, so I'm sorry if I just repeat what everyone said.  I understand that it really stinks that you have lost a bridemaid, but I wouldn't blame her.  From the way you describe it, it seems like she really wanted to go and was even working on her BPD in order to go.  To me, that seems like a really good friend.  I've known people with BPD and it's not like it's a tiny thing.  It's pretty major.  It's also hard for me to say that she should have told you about her BPD.  She might have been embarrassed to talk about it, or just wanted to work on it with just her parents and her doctor.  I'm sure (or I guess as sure as I could be without knowing her), that she didn't mean it as an insult or wasn't telling you because you aren't a good friend.  So please, accept her decline, send her some flowers like someone previously said (sorry, i can't find the post anymore to see who it was, but I like the idea) and maybe even a get well card.  


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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_5-days-until-wedding-bridesmaid-backed-out?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:37Discussion:f89d8ad8-b4dd-46c8-8be2-e54908c40dedPost:f53f5578-eba3-4153-8b54-a2ec3b31c82a">Re: 5 DAYS until my wedding and my bridesmaid backed out!</a>:
    [QUOTE]You need to separate your disappointment that your good friend can't come to your wedding (and some minor annoyance that you're paying for one extra bouquet and one extra meal) from the real issue, which is that your friend is sick.
    Posted by emilyinchile[/QUOTE]

    I agree with his 100%.  It's disappointing that your good friend will not be able to stand up in your wedding, but her illness is the bigger issue here.  Your wedding will happen whether she's there or not.  It's totally understandable to be disappointed that she can't come, but this is something that your friend has absolutely no control over.  Calling her selfish or being upset with her is uncalled for.  I know that it's easy to get caught up worrying about everything for your wedding, but you need to do your best to think about the big picture here.  
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    My MOH may not be able to attend my wedding in 11 days.  Her husband just lost his job, and their landlord is on life support, so if the house goes to her kids, they might decide to kick out the whole family and sell the place.  She's trying, and I've made every offer to help get her to the wedding, but it might not happen.

    I'm heartbroken over it.  But I've tried to make it clear that I want HER there, not as a place holder and someone who knows how to bustle my train, but as my best friend.

    Be a friend first, and The Bride second.  Always, always, always.  Especially in your situation.
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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
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