There's nothing like a wedding drama to upset people. As one of our own former Prudies, Emily Yoffe, used to write frequently, a bit of low-key drama is actually good for a wedding itself – it gives guests something to remember, as long as it's not too serious. But we all know that a lot of the drama takes place before the big day ever comes. And on Friday, a fired bridesmaid managed to dramatically increase the drama ratio of the upcoming wedding with a single tweet.
Requesting a bridesmaid to resign is such a potential a tense situation that makes refusing an engagement look like a breeze, as seen in the screenshot above of the tweet, a woman named Alex perceived her chances and the e-mail she wrote to the present bridesmaid, Courtney a spectacular etiquette and one of the most passively aggressive documents of our time.
Why is this email publicly available to us to analyze? Because Courtney scans it and tweets it at JetBlue and asks the airline to refund their ticket. (The airline responded and seemed receptive!) Now let's try to see who in this modern farce is in a situation where everyone is somehow terrible:
• There are virtually no circumstances in which it is okay to ask a bridesmaid to resign from her "duties". Unless your bridesmaid has run away with her fiancé. You may think that you are looking for the sanctity of your big day, but in reality it is incredibly rude and will spoil the opportunity for both the bride and the bridesmaid.
• The above is especially true when the bridesmaid has already bought her outfit and booked her flight.
• Any "duties" required of a bridesmaid beyond the specified outfit (/ overalls) to be present and comfortable during the ceremony, and participation in photos should be strictly optional.
• If you ask a bridesmaid to resign, you should not do so by e-mail. It's a situation that requires the skill – and lack of paper trail – of a phone call. If you are worried that you lack this skill, refer to point # 1.
• Brides should choose bridesmaids carefully from the start. I only think here, but was there any friction in Alex and Courtney's friendship, regardless of the bridesmaid? Did Alex secretly think that Courtney would not be up to the job? Or maybe Alex downplayed the role of how much a bridesmaid would be in her wedding because she wanted to look like a cool bride? It seems like these are two friends with completely different expectations of what it means to be in a wedding, and that would probably have to be honestly discussed before any jumpsuits were bought.
• Remember, should the bridesmaid overalls be the first red flag for Courtney?
• Imagine what the first draft of this e-mail was.
• Frankly, this email could be a lot worse. But that's part of what makes it so tragic: It's so hard to be nice while doing something that's definitely not nice. The phrase "I must ask you to give up your duties as a bridesmaid" is in itself clear proof that this feeling should never be committed to the type. Also, consider what's behind it: "[T] is one of the hardest things I've ever had to ask anyone."
• Many assurances that the bride is not crazy and does not feel disappointed make it clear that the bride is crazy and feels disappointed.
• Just the catastrophe of the subject line "Hey Court!": Devastating.
• If the bride needs to ask a bridesmaid to resign, she should live with a bridesmaid, even if this creates a mismatch in the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. They already wear overalls, so tradition has disappeared from the window.
• Who is actually the bridesmaid in the Courtney-size Waiting Room?
• Courtney should have just sucked in and visited, bridesmaid or not. It is very likely that Alex will be back to normal after the wedding.
• If the bride insists on being present to the bitter end, why would the wedding take place on a Sunday night? This is an uncomfortable time to hold a party – people have work the next day. (If it's the Sunday of a holiday weekend, the bride should acknowledge that she is already asking people to dedicate one of her few holiday weekends to her celebration.)
• Courtney should not have tweeted that. The wedding, I suppose, has not happened yet. Was your friendship really worth being set on fire for a refund (and a viral tweet)?
• Courtney should not have JetBlue; @ -ing an airline is thirsty and another thing that almost never should be done. Did she even call first?
• If JetBlue is responding to Twitter's problems with passengers, should that really be their priority?
• OK, it's kinda shit that Courtney got this email on her birthday, but who really cares about birthdays?
Honestly, Alex and Courtney both need a little perspective. Maybe Courtney was a really shitty bridesmaid, the one who used to hang out in Google Hangouts and never open the planning table. If that was the case, why did not Alex tackle the problem earlier instead of cooking it for what was probably months? She could have pronounced Courtney by posing it as a real question: "Would you feel less stressed out if you did not have all those obligations as bridesmaid over you?" – assuming Alex accepted every answer she got.
But the real reason why Alex and Courtney's expectations diverge so much here? Weddings turn people into monsters, whether it's the bride trying to make a highly-produced pageant that society tells her is an intimate reflection of her value as a woman or guests paying exorbitant sums for the privilege of watching An event sometimes turns her friends into light and centerpiece-obsessed fools. Both Courtney and Alex are fully in their right to preach insanity temporarily – the most guilty party here is the wedding-industry complex.
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