• Other Friendship Advice

Friends and weddings

Published: November 20, 2013 | Last Updated: January 10, 2024 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
Credit: Wikimedia Commons - Nils Fretwurst Fretwurst

Credit: Wikimedia Commons – Nils Fretwurst Fretwurst

A young woman is concerned she won’t have enough friends at her wedding.

When I received this letter about friends and weddings, I immediately turned to my friend and colleague, wedding expert Sharon Naylor, for her sage advice.

QUESTION

Hi,

I have a question concerning friends and weddings. I know this sounds a bit crazy since I’m not even engaged yet but I’m already constantly worrying about not having enough friends to invite when my wedding day comes.

I’m in a serious relationship and my boyfriend has a large circle of very close friends. I do have a very small group of close friends, just enough for a bridal party—but I’m embarrassed that I won’t have anyone else to invite and my family and my boyfriend’s family and friends will judge me.

I’ve had lots of friends over the years of my life but those friendships have always fizzled out or ended for one reason or another and right now I only have about four or five close friends.

I feel like such a failure at making and keeping good friends, and I’m always so worried about people judging me or pitying me for it. I especially don’t want that to happen on my wedding day when I’m supposed to be having the best day ever. Do you have any advice on ways that I can remedy this?

Signed,

Carla

ANSWER

Hi Carla,

This is actually a very good worry to have right now, since it’s full of opportunities to make some positive changes in both your world and in your mindset before you get into your marriage.

Since you’re experiencing anxiety about not having a larger circle of friends to ‘make a good showing’ at your wedding, and avoid judgment or pity…you’ve just revealed to yourself something very healthy to work on to enhance your life AND your marriage.

You want to have a full life to help create a healthy marriage, and a strong social circle helps you to be a self-sufficient person and not put tons of pressure on your spouse to be your entire world. So take this pre-engagement worry and thank it for pointing out a problem that you can work on right now for your greater good.

Now’s the time to use Facebook to re-connect with old friends and better connect with current acquaintances. Facebook is a great vehicle for re-building bonds at a slow and healthy pace, leading to ‘Hey, let’s get together sometime soon – I’d love to catch up!’

This might be outside your comfort level, but it’s always good to push yourself a little, experience a bit of anxiety, face down your fears of rejection, and with some effort, you’ll start to reconnect with old friends and build friendships with newer people you know. Since you’re not engaged yet, you have lots of time to do this, and to join groups like your neighborhood book club and charitable groups to make new connections.

It’s also wise to enlist your boyfriend’s help with your connection-making goal. “I know this is going to sound silly, but I’m feeling like I’d like to build some more friendships.” He might be very relieved to hear your strength of self-awareness and admire your bravery in setting a goal that he knows challenges your comfort level. So perhaps the two of you can plan more couples’ get-togethers with his friends, so that you can befriend his buddies’ wives, fiancees and girlfriends.

Since you have some insecurities about what people think (like most of us do!), this plan will require you to be brave, and one advantage you can give yourself is to create a smaller, less overwhelming plan. Don’t overdo your efforts to make friends, or try too hard and too often with old friends, since that can be frustrating for you and, honestly, a bit scary to them. (Some people approached by old friends too aggressively think, “What does she want to sell me?” or “Wow, ease up!”)

So pick two methods like commenting more on old friends’ Facebook posts and suggesting easy get-togethers like for coffee or even breakfast (I find that one works great with old friends who have kids and are very busy!) and allow yourself a big block of time to build up some acquaintance relationships that you can help grow at a natural pace.

If for some reason you’d rather not try to rekindle old friendships, then journal out some thoughts to help you reframe the scenario you might face at your wedding, where you’d have far fewer friends in attendance than your groom does. One reality that can comfort you is that many weddings right now have a vast imbalance of ‘his side’ and ‘her side’ guests, usually owing to distance or to the size of families, not just friend circles.

Everyone has their own pre-set circles, which may include a long-time circle of high school or college friends, and in my own 30 years of experience with weddings, I’ve never heard of guests whispering about the bride because she only has four or five friends in attendance. Guests are far more focused on how lovely the bride looks in her dress, how nice the venue is, how great the food is, how great the music is. No one’s taking a headcount at the door to see who belongs to whom.

And you can avoid any sense of your smaller circle of friends being a source of pity for you by arranging for seating at your ceremony and reception to be all-inclusive, not split up into His Side or Her Side. They’re all YOUR guests, so blend them together!

And if there’s anyone rude enough to say, perhaps drunkenly, that you don’t have a lot of friends at the wedding, you can just smile and say, “It’s quality, not quantity – I’m lucky that my friends are so wonderful, and that they’re so good to my husband!”

What others think is never as important as what you think, so if you’d like to build a bigger circle of friends, now’s the time. If, outside of worries about what people will think at your wedding, you’re perfectly happy with the quality of your friendships, then know that you can design your wedding to eliminate any sign that you only have a handful of guests in attendance. (If your groom wants to have 10 groomsmen, you might invite his sisters or his female friends into your bridesmaid lineup to even up the numbers — this is a big trend; it happens all the time!)

No one’s going to pity a radiant bride on her wedding day who’s so well-loved by her groom, her family, her closest friends, and the wedding experts buzzing around her to make sure she’s happy at every moment. No matter which path you choose – make new friends, keep the old – you can release your worries and thank them for delivering a pre-engagement gift to you: maybe there’s a part of you that really does want more fulfilling friendships, or maybe you’re standing on the precipice of a valuable lesson: all that matters is that the people you invite into your life are top-quality, and excellent to you.

Signed, Sharon Naylor*


Sharon Naylor is the author of The Bridesmaid’s Handbook and over 35 additional wedding books. 

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Category: OTHER ADVICE

Comments (2)

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  1. Marisa says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong or unusual about having four or five close friends. You do not need to branch out and “create” friendships to fill a wedding hall. I’m baffled by Irene’s response. You mentioned that your own family might chide you. I think the source of your insecurity lies here. Anyone making issue over this is immature, competitive and insensitive.

  2. Patricia says:

    Carla,
    Be grateful that you have the four or five close friends – keep them very very close as it is very difficult to make new ‘close’ friends.
    As stated in the response “quality over quantity” is so true. I think it is better to have a small group of friends who you know will be there for you at anytime, anywhere when needed.
    I also agree to get close to some of your boyfriends female friends, after all these are the people who are in your boyfriends lives currently and probably will be in the future – so you might as well get a jump start and get to know them and include them in your lives.
    However, one piece of advice that I can offer you – be careful not to overlook your own four close friends while you are reaching out to make new close friends, if you do that you may find that you’ve lost the four great friends that you already have – it wouldn’t be worth it.
    Patricia

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