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Friend's wedding is becoming too stressful


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Old 11th January 2018, 4:28 PM   #1
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Friend's wedding is becoming too stressful

A very good friend of mine is getting married this month. I'm excited for them both as his fiancee is a really nice and sweet person who everyone gets on with, and they seem very happy together. They asked me to be a witness and of course I agreed.

When they started planning their wedding they told us that they wanted to have a weekend event, aka fun activities and stay overnight in a hotel or similar, with all of their close friends. This sounded fun at first but I felt it was getting a bit dangerous when my friend started pulling out spreadsheets and scheduling all of the guests' personal time and activities down to the minute. It also required each guest to put down about 100 deposit to participate. Even for a wedding day you need to have flexibility with that many guests (I think by this point they ended up with 20 'weekend' guests) but he seemed pretty insistent on the fact that every hour was filled with some kind of costly group activity.

The venue is for two nights, kind of like a fancy adult dormitory with shared sleeping quarters and self-catering facilities, plus a games room and space for entertainment. It looks lovely so I was feeling excited about it, and we were told to arrive on Friday evening for icebreakers and drinks whilst the ceremony with all of the other 'day' guests was to be on Saturday afternoon. During the daytime on Saturday they had planned for us all to go to a laser tag place in the city at about 9am, then go for lunch at 12 and by 2pm, be back at the dorms to get ready for the wedding ceremony at 5pm. So that allows about 3 hours for 20 people to split bathroom time, shower, get hair and make up done, hang out etc, while the bride and groom depart to get ready. Seems reasonable.

Now is a good time to bring up the fact that earlier this year, I broke my relatively new phone and have had to use my old used one as a replacement. Because of Christmas and everything else I haven't been able to justify forking out for another new phone, so I've been battling with this old piece of junk that only lasts half the day on a full charge, constantly switches itself off at random, and then refuses to turn back on even if there's plenty left in the battery. To add to this, just before and over Christmas I had been fairly stressed and busy in my personal life, with work and running around seeing family and other friends, plus I stayed away from home for a few days before having to come back to work. For some reason my friend kept trying to get hold of me, one day I had several notifications and missed calls and messages with things like 'I need to discuss wedding call me asap'. He missed called me on Christmas day and then tried to call me again the day after Boxing day, then started sending urgent messages to everyone in our group chat. I asked him what he needed over message and he told me he needed my address for the witness registration - I was a bit annoyed that I'd been panicking over something he left to the last minute, but at least it was sorted.

Then a couple of days ago it started again. Missed called me on Sunday night, messaged me during client meetings on Monday, even Facebook messaged me just saying 'can you let me know when you're free to talk asap' - I was thinking why on earth is everything suddenly asap and landing in my lap, so I messaged him on my lunch asking if everything was OK and he insisted on calling me to talk after I got home from work.

He explained that he had made some 'errors' in the timings of the wedding day and that because I'm one of the witnesses, I need to be present before the ceremony so basically straight after lunch I'm to go with them to the registry office. Because the venue of the ceremony itself is way out in the sticks and they don't expect we'll be done until around half 3, and since it will take a while just to drive he's saying I'll need to get showered and ready at his flat within about half an hour while he goes to pick up the bride from the salon. I would have just decided to get ready in the morning instead, but because we're leaving so early for laser tag and are then going to be running around getting sweaty that doesn't seem smart. I want to be able to join in and have fun and not worry about messing up my hair and makeup and walk around feeling smelly and gross at the ceremony while everyone else is all nice and fresh.

I am a diagnosed body dysmorphic and big events like this make me crazy anxious as it is, having to get dressed up fancy, meet new people and be ready for photos and such. I asked him if there was any way we could squeeze more time out because I'm really not comfortable being put under that much pressure to get ready so quickly, I know I'm not going to have time to sort myself out and plus I wanted to hang out with all our friends in the dorms, and he basically said we'd have to leave during lunch or just skip it altogether. That isn't exactly fair on the rest of the guests, some of whom are relying on my friend's car for transport from the city to the venue, and it means we pretty much won't get to eat all day until the evening meal.

I have been running the scenario round and round in my head since then and I am seriously just dreading the whole weekend now. I've not been feeling super great in general at the moment because of work stress and financial issues and the expenses for this whole thing just seem to keep adding up and up - I haven't even bought them a wedding gift yet because I don't know if I can even afford to pay my water bill this month after all the travel and food expenses I need to factor in.

On top of it all I feel really guilty about how much I'm stressing out - they should be the ones with the legit worries not me! I just want to be able to enjoy this special day but I'm honestly kind of dreading it right now.

Last edited by Mooncloud; 11th January 2018 at 4:45 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 11th January 2018, 4:50 PM   #2
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Sorry to not have advice for you Mooncloud, but the weekend sounds like the stuff of nightmares to me. Good luck.
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Old 11th January 2018, 5:14 PM   #3
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It all sounds somewhat inconsiderate to me. Re: the money, I think that all activities planned during the wedding by the bride and groom should be paid for by them. Guests can pay for their travel expenses but shouldn't be paying to participate in activities that are chosen by the couple. The timing is terrible, too.

What if you skipped laser tag in the morning, got ready while everyone else was out and then headed out with them to the office all dressed up? Not ideal but sounds like the least anxiety-inducing way to survive this.
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Old 11th January 2018, 5:44 PM   #4
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Sorry to not have advice for you Mooncloud, but the weekend sounds like the stuff of nightmares to me. Good luck.
Thanks for taking the time to read my rant though, it was nice just to get if off my chest
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Old 11th January 2018, 5:55 PM   #5
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It all sounds somewhat inconsiderate to me. Re: the money, I think that all activities planned during the wedding by the bride and groom should be paid for by them. Guests can pay for their travel expenses but shouldn't be paying to participate in activities that are chosen by the couple. The timing is terrible, too.

What if you skipped laser tag in the morning, got ready while everyone else was out and then headed out with them to the office all dressed up? Not ideal but sounds like the least anxiety-inducing way to survive this.
I've been feeling guilty about thinking the exact same thing - I don't know if I'm justified in feeling like they're being inconsiderate, but I do.

And I also desperately want to agree about the money situation - quite frankly it's been sucking me dry and it's not even my damn wedding. I'm slightly annoyed that they picked the end of January, right before payday, when everyone is skint after Christmas and they still expect us to foot our own travel and food expenses on top of the deposit? It's over 200 miles away from where I live and I don't drive, so it's just too much!

I know they will be really upset and possibly hold it against me if I missed laser tag (they would see it as selfish considering they planned it for us all to have fun?) plus part of the deposit I paid is for laser tag and I don't think I'll get it back if I pull out now. Everything is all too far apart to break off from the group at random and they'll want to keep me around so they can get to the registry office on time too.

Ugh it's gonna be a nightmare I know.
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Old 11th January 2018, 6:21 PM   #6
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Tell your friend that you can't afford all the extras. You're still thrilled to be a witness & will do your duty. Go to the ice breaker. Skip all the Saturday BS. Get dressed on your own time. Meet them at the registry office as is legally required & then go to the wedding. You can go to his apartment or you can pick up the bride at the salon while he dresses since you will already be dressed.

Although immature people will pout if you don't go to every scheduled thing, a good friend will be happy you are there for the important stuff.
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Old 11th January 2018, 9:04 PM   #7
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I would suggest to her that she is overbooking the weekend and that she needs to leave plenty of free time for the guests to recharge. I don't understand why anyone does that. It's so silly. No one wants their time planned like they're in summer camp.
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Old 12th January 2018, 3:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mooncloud View Post
I've been feeling guilty about thinking the exact same thing - I don't know if I'm justified in feeling like they're being inconsiderate, but I do.

And I also desperately want to agree about the money situation - quite frankly it's been sucking me dry and it's not even my damn wedding. I'm slightly annoyed that they picked the end of January, right before payday, when everyone is skint after Christmas and they still expect us to foot our own travel and food expenses on top of the deposit? It's over 200 miles away from where I live and I don't drive, so it's just too much!

I know they will be really upset and possibly hold it against me if I missed laser tag (they would see it as selfish considering they planned it for us all to have fun?) plus part of the deposit I paid is for laser tag and I don't think I'll get it back if I pull out now. Everything is all too far apart to break off from the group at random and they'll want to keep me around so they can get to the registry office on time too.

Ugh it's gonna be a nightmare I know.
No, I agree with d0nnivan, you're already being a good friend by traveling there at your own expense despite being broke, being a witness, and attending the ceremony. The laser tag etc should be optional.

And it just boggles my mind sideways that anyone would require their guests to pay a deposit to attend, WTF???

If they throw a fuss with you about you not attending laser tag, I'd ditch the entire thing.
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Old 12th January 2018, 1:59 PM   #9
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No, I agree with d0nnivan, you're already being a good friend by traveling there at your own expense despite being broke, being a witness, and attending the ceremony. The laser tag etc should be optional.

And it just boggles my mind sideways that anyone would require their guests to pay a deposit to attend, WTF???

If they throw a fuss with you about you not attending laser tag, I'd ditch the entire thing.
I'm surprised so many people find this unusual, considering I've only ever been to simple family weddings I don't know if it's the norm to expect payment for a wedding event that the couple have planned. I do see why it's crazy though. I think they just got too over-excited about doing everything at once and didn't consider the possible fallout for the guests.

It wouldn't bother me so much if the ceremony and venue were near the city so it would be easy for transport, but they've picked somewhere 30 miles out into the country with no train stations close enough to walk or get a cheap cab, and we're having to shuttle back and forth for half these activities on a tight schedule. I don't know what they were thinking.

I'm actually considering skipping the laser tag at this point but I'm going to have to tell him soon. I'll suck it up for the sake of my future sanity.
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Old 12th January 2018, 3:23 PM   #10
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I feel like I should add on because when I was venting to my unrelated friend about this yesterday, she reminded me that back when they first began wedding arrangements the groom asked if I would do the illustrations for their digital invites (I studied art back in college and have done it as a hobby for several years).

It was never actually mentioned but the assumption was I was doing it as a favour (I was honestly happy to do it) but he didn't bring it up or give me any concrete timeframe for when it needed to be done by until weeks later. One Saturday he called me while I was away at a friend's house for the weekend and told me the invites were being sent out the next day so could I get the drawings done and emailed to him Saturday night. I had none of my own equipment with me and had to use some pencils and paper my friend had lying around and spend half the weekend rushing it out and not look like utter crap, and after I finally sent it off he said he wanted to see it in colour so he could decide between the two. I didn't have my laptop with me so there was nothing I could do until I got home on Sunday night, but I stayed up late working to redo the drawing to my own standard and colour it properly so I could send it to him Monday evening.

After that whole ordeal was over, he then asked me if I would help with the decoration of their cake - I was less enthusiatic about this as I am not experienced in cake design whatsoever and he insisted I only needed to sketch out a few ideas to show to the cake maker. He only gave me very vague details to work with and whenever I asked him to specify, he would just say 'you're the artist you decide'. He didn't even know what style of cake they were getting so I had no frame of reference, and after he started chasing it up I decided it was stressing me out too much to be justifiable for something I'm only doing as a favour in my spare time so I backed out and felt awful for it.

My 3rd party friend was aware of all of this going on and one day after I made a comment about the cake design, she asked if I was getting reimbursed for any of this. I told her no and she pretty much said she suspected they were using me so they wouldn't have to pay a professional to do it, otherwise why would he be so insistent when I clearly told him I wasn't comfortable doing a cake design.

She said that she expected them to offer some small fee for my work or at least take a discount off my share of the expenses for the weekend, but I wasn't offered anything in return other than the honour of being their witness I suppose? (I hope they would have asked me anyway and I would've still been honoured) but, the reality is I was using my spare time out of work to help them out and not really feeling like they had much consideration of my time on top of everything else I've explained in my original post.

This whole ordeal has put me in two minds about my friend because it's not the first time he's shown he can have a manipulative side.

Last edited by Mooncloud; 12th January 2018 at 3:26 PM..
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Old 12th January 2018, 3:34 PM   #11
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I feel like I should add on because when I was venting to my unrelated friend about this yesterday, she reminded me that back when they first began wedding arrangements the groom asked if I would do the illustrations for their digital invites (I studied art back in college and have done it as a hobby for several years).

It was never actually mentioned but the assumption was I was doing it as a favour (I was honestly happy to do it) but he didn't bring it up or give me any concrete timeframe for when it needed to be done by until weeks later. One Saturday he called me while I was away at a friend's house for the weekend and told me the invites were being sent out the next day so could I get the drawings done and emailed to him Saturday night. I had none of my own equipment with me and had to use some pencils and paper my friend had lying around and spend half the weekend rushing it out and not look like utter crap, and after I finally sent it off he said he wanted to see it in colour so he could decide between the two. I didn't have my laptop with me so there was nothing I could do until I got home on Sunday night, but I stayed up late working to redo the drawing to my own standard and colour it properly so I could send it to him Monday evening.

After that whole ordeal was over, he then asked me if I would help with the decoration of their cake - I was less enthusiatic about this as I am not experienced in cake design whatsoever and he insisted I only needed to sketch out a few ideas to show to the cake maker. He only gave me very vague details to work with and whenever I asked him to specify, he would just say 'you're the artist you decide'. He didn't even know what style of cake they were getting so I had no frame of reference, and after he started chasing it up I decided it was stressing me out too much to be justifiable for something I'm only doing for free in my spare time so I backed out and felt awful for it.

My 3rd party friend was aware of all of this going on and one day after I made a comment about the cake design, she asked if I was getting reimbursed for any of this. I told her no and she pretty much said she suspected they were using me so they wouldn't have to pay a professional to do it, otherwise why would he be so insistent when I clearly told him I wasn't comfortable doing a cake design.

She said that she expected them to offer some small fee for my work or at least take a discount off my share of the expenses for the weekend, but I wasn't offered anything in return other than the honour of being their witness I suppose? (I hope they would have asked me anyway and I would've still been honoured) but, the reality is I was using my spare time out of work to help them out and not really feeling like they had much consideration of my time on top of everything else I've explained in my original post.

This whole ordeal has put me in two minds about my friend because it's not the first time he's shown he can have a manipulative side.
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Old 12th January 2018, 3:35 PM   #12
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Yes, unfortunately your friend sounds very much like a taker and a user. He asked you to do the invites, cake, AND witnessing??? Ugh. I suppose it would be weird for him to offer payment directly, but the LEAST he could do would be to cover your expenses that weekend. And all those demands and tight deadlines??? Frankly I'm appalled that anyone would do that to a "friend".

I'm really concerned that you accepted all of this too. IMO with the card designs you should have said that 1 day is too little time and that he can do it himself or pay a professional if he needs it on such short notice. Ditto with the expensive weekend that you need to pay a DEPOSIT to attend... simply can't afford it.

You are bending backwards for someone who is taking all of this for granted.
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Old 12th January 2018, 3:54 PM   #13
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Yes, unfortunately your friend sounds very much like a taker and a user. He asked you to do the invites, cake, AND witnessing??? Ugh. I suppose it would be weird for him to offer payment directly, but the LEAST he could do would be to cover your expenses that weekend. And all those demands and tight deadlines??? Frankly I'm appalled that anyone would do that to a "friend".

I'm really concerned that you accepted all of this too. IMO with the card designs you should have said that 1 day is too little time and that he can do it himself or pay a professional if he needs it on such short notice. Ditto with the expensive weekend that you need to pay a DEPOSIT to attend... simply can't afford it.

You are bending backwards for someone who is taking all of this for granted.
You're right, I am. I hate it but I don't want to disappoint them. But I think I'm going to try to get out of whatever I can to allow myself the time to not freak out and actually still enjoy myself.
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Old 12th January 2018, 4:10 PM   #14
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I would suggest to her that she is overbooking the weekend and that she needs to leave plenty of free time for the guests to recharge. I don't understand why anyone does that. It's so silly. No one wants their time planned like they're in summer camp.
Absolutely agree, I don't think any guest has had a say in this themselves so far it's just all been decided for us. I mean sure laser tag is fun and normally I'd be super up for it, but making people get up stupidly early to do it the morning before a wedding when you still plan to have a restaurant lunch with 20+ people and then force them to rush to get showered and ready for the ceremony, who in their right mind wouldn't think that wasn't stressful?

I wouldn't be surprised if several people end up being as tired and grumpy as I anticipate I will be by the time we're popping the champagne.
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Old 13th January 2018, 5:25 PM   #15
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During the daytime on Saturday they had planned for us all to go to a laser tag place in the city at about 9am, then go for lunch at 12 and by 2pm, be back at the dorms to get ready for the wedding ceremony at 5pm. So that allows about 3 hours for 20 people to split bathroom time, shower, get hair and make up done, hang out etc, while the bride and groom depart to get ready. Seems reasonable.
No, it does not seem reasonable, at all. This is the worst idea and I'm annoyed even reading about it. This schedule is not going to work. They are not going to get 20 (possibly hungover) guests to be ready on time to go do a physical activity early(ish) in the morning. Everything is going to take much longer than they think it will, especially considering all the driving it sounds like everyone will have to do. And 20 people sharing bathrooms trying to get ready for a wedding sounds like it will be a nightmare. How many bathrooms are there, anyway?

You sounded kind of excited about doing the laser tag, and joining in on the group activities. It's not fair of the couple to ask you to not participate in the fun things when the rest of their guests are.

Is there a reason you have to go to the registry office literally hours before the ceremony? Can this not be done at any point before the wedding day? Based on my own experience, the witness is a person who was present for the actual ceremony and they quickly sign a document or two stating so. This happens after the ceremony takes place. Is it different where you're from?

But here's what I suggest. Tell them that it seems like things might get hectic that day and that it would be easier to get this paperwork done with someone else acting as a witness. Tell them that you were honored to be asked but you're excited to join in on the activities with everyone else and that you'd prefer more time to rest and get ready before the wedding.

You have already gone above and beyond for your friend by doing illustrations and attempting cake design. You've already paid for the activities. You go and have fun, just like the rest of their guests.
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