Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When The Happiest Time Of Your Life Is A Friend’s Saddest

Even today, I can still remember the feeling so clearly. The day I got engaged, the first thing I wanted to do was rush out and share the great news with family, friends, and the world! The ring was glistening, the planning was about to begin, and the joy I felt was bubbling out to everyone around me.

But as we all know, the world doesn’t automatically stop turning just because we might become engaged or get married. What about your close friend who recently went through a bad breakup or lost someone? What about your relative who is in the midst of an ugly divorce or facing unemployment? Is it still OK to share your excitement? Should you hold off on asking someone to be a bridesmaid or help you choose a dress? Luckily, I didn’t face issues like these right at the outset, though I definitely know plenty of brides who have. And as with so many of life’s issues, these are extremely tough scenarios for which there are no easy answers.

When Stephen’s grandmother passed away just a couple months before our wedding and the day before my bachelorette party, I felt devestated, wanting to call the next day's plans off entirely. And even after Stephen urged us to go ahead with the party, insisting that it’s what she would have wanted, I still felt absolutely heartbroken for he and his family members, who put so much love and thought into our wedding day both before and after this tragedy.

Since every situation is different and has to be considered based upon its own unique circumstances, I believe that scenarios like these are when communication and compassion take on the utmost importance. Don’t purposely neglect sharing your news with someone, since this may only add to the person’s hurt, but be sure to handle the situation in a sensitive way.

Perhaps you can tell your friend that you’d be honored for her to be a bridesmaid, but understand if she’s unable to due to her sadness over a recent breakup. Perhaps you might offer to cover costs for a groomsman who’s lost his job, or avoid talking about the wedding when you’re out to dinner with a recently divorced cousin. Though you may not be able to change someone’s circumstances, love and respect are always valued, and will always be appreciated, no matter what the circumstances.

Have you faced a situation like any of those mentioned above? How did you decide to handle it?

(Photo Credit: Alex Neumann Photography)


  1. Thank goodness, that I didn't have to face any tragedies.

  2. This was very well said and GREAT advice

  3. No....nothing like that. That is so tragic. Although, my hubby's mom had passed away a year 1/2 before the wedding, which was really super sad come the wedding day and Mother/Son Dance.
    Another thing that happened was when I got engaged, I was sooooo excited to tell my sister. We had a "thing" where I visited her every Tuesday for the past 8 years previous to that. So....we were very close. Keeping up with each others joys, sorrows, tragedies, etc. I guess I was envisioning us planning my wedding together.....her giving me tips and ideas (she's crafty) and being there for me every step of the way. Well, it was right about that time that she had met a guy that was/is......let's just say, not good for her. Putting her down and giving her low self esteem. I hadn't met him, though. But because of this guy, she pulled herself away from the family.....she basically always had an excuse for me not to visit. I was constantly reaching out and trying to set up visits, to no avail. Bottom line is that I ended up planning the whole wedding all by myself, which sometimes got a little lonely. I missed my sister, and to this day am still reaching out to go and visit.........
    That was my one big tragedy.

  4. Great post, and it couldn't have come at a better time. My fiance's grandmother passed away on Monday, one day before my fiance's birthday and just 19 days before our wedding. We are all reeling a bit, and it's been especially hard for my future-in-laws, but everyone has assured us that the "show must go on." Very insightful post with wonderful advice as to how to deal with a delicate situation.

  5. Wonderful post. I know my ex boyfriend's sister is having a hard time with this - she doesn't know how involved I want to be with her wedding and such, but she wants me there. It might be hard, but I show up smiling and offering to help because it IS a happy occasion!

  6. I didn't have to go through anything like this, thank goodness. But I think you handled it with grace. :)

  7. great advice and great post. it is hard during times of excitement when people in your life are going through rough times. But you gave great advice on how to handle this.

  8. Such a great post, with some sound advice! I'm so glad we didn't have to deal with anything like this, but I hope we would have handled it with grace and understanding.