Wedding Etiquette … Or How to NOT Screw Over Your Friends

Unsurprisingly to my regular readers, I have some very strong opinions when it comes to weddings. And not a single one of them indicates that a bride (or a groom for that matter) should be a “Bridezilla.”

Yes, this is a special day for both the bride and groom.  HOWEVER, it’s just another day for everyone but the bride and groom, and they need to acknowledge and stay aware of that fact if they want to have any friends (or friendly family for that matter) after the wedding.

With the advent of “exotic location” weddings, there is an expectation that your family and friends are willing to put their lives on hold while they fly off to some location for your wedding (paying for 1 or more airline seats – more if there are children involved), a hotel room for the entire length of stay (because if you’re off at a special location, staying only 1 day is pretty much a waste of money), and small other issues like food AND the wedding present.

And these kinds of weddings aren’t being created for just some so-called exotic place.  Sometimes the wedding coincides with another event.  And the wedding guests are expected to not only pay for their hotel stay, but also for whatever event the “happy couple” has decided to grace with their wedding.  This includes Renaissance fairs, conventions, sports events, concerts and any other place or time when the guests are still supposed to put out money that they may or may not be able to afford.

Because, if people are your good friends, you will probably be aware of their financial situation – at least in the abstract.

And this is where the “-zilla” part comes in.

If you’ve been planning for this event for quite a while (defined as anything from 6 months to multiple years), you will also probably have found ways to ensure friends can be there, even if they are broke.

Now, friendships can be an emotional rollercoaster.  Anyone who has friends knows that sometimes even the best of friends can have opinions that are counter to (and sometimes diametrically opposite) to your own. Sometimes it can even be an opinion about your personality, disabilities or other issues.

For example, for myself, I have had chronic depression all of my life. And for about the last decade, I’ve had an anxiety disorder (even if I suppressed it until early 2014).  Additionally, my cognitive ability sucks, probably because of what I’ve been through (confirmation or denial will come after I have had the more intensive neuropsych testing later this summer).

And sometimes, the depression or anxiety can mean that I’m far more insecure than any of my friends are capable of supporting (because, let’s face it, we’re all human and can’t always give time and energy to friends – because we’ve realistically had to give it to ourselves).  My insecurity doesn’t make it any more real for anyone but myself.

My mental illness doesn’t excuse any unrealistic expectation I may have from my friends.  And, given just how deep I have sometimes fallen into depression, sometimes they’ve had to either walk away, or point out to me that I was expecting far more energy from them than they were capable of giving.

Same thing for any mental illness, really.  And some mental illnesses, particularly those which have rage as a component, mean that the friends (of the person who is mentally ill) must assess a risk factor involved because of the rage.  These friends need to ensure they can be friends but still be able to be safe while with the mentally ill person.

Is it possibly emotionally hurtful to know that your friends may have to spend some time figuring out if they have the ability to be safe with you? Of course, it is!  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t absolutely right to need to assess that risk.

And I’m not just talking about physical risk – because let’s face it, some people aren’t comfortable walking around the world without some form of weapon on their person.  But there is also potential for emotional and mental risk.  Someone who has a rage-involved mental illness (note, not just rage alone), can be also extremely emotionally and mentally abusive if they choose not to be accountable for treatment of others during an episode of their particular illness.

Sadly, if you choose to get butt-hurt about the fact that someone needs to do a risk assessment before they interact with you, even though you know for a fact that you are not always in control of your disease, you will end up lonely and alone.

Why?  Because your supposed control over your illness does make you a danger to yourself and others, even if perhaps you’ve gained physical control – but have not as of yet developed some form of warning signal for your friends and family that you are losing the battle to be “in control” of the mental or emotional side.

Physical danger is – unfortunately – the least of someone’s worries about dealing with someone like that.  The physical danger at least has warning signs, and can be escaped relatively easily.  It’s the insidiousness of the mental and emotional danger that is far more long-lasting in it’s danger to others.

You have to understand your friends are responsible for their own physical, mental and emotional safety.  And, if you’ve required them to purchase special items (again, regardless of their ability to do so) as a bride and groom, you have a responsibility to those friends to not go off into a snit because of some opinion difference.  Because if you do, you have now effectively stolen from those friends.  You’ve required them to purchase something they cannot afford AND cannot return for full purchase price.

 

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Categories: Relationships | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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