I have one cousin that’s the same age as me. I thought we were close. So close, I toyed with asking her to be my maid-of-honour. I quickly found out the feeling wasn’t mutual when – after I rescheduled my wedding once to make room for hers – she re-rescheduled it to 48hrs after mine. In a different country.
Lisa* and I grew up on different continents. She was born in Germany while I, Canada. Our fathers were the youngest brothers of four and while they had an odd relationship, there’s no need for Lisa and I to carry that baton onward.
My earliest memory of Lisa was when we were 4 or 5 years old. She came to visit us over Easter – and let me be the first to say, my mother killed at Christian holidays, despite us not being religious. It was all Easter egg hunts, dads dressed up as rabbits and plush bunnies waiting for us on easter morning by our beds. Although it was fun, she and I did not click. How is it possible for toddlers not to click, you ask? I have flashbacks of her making me cry. And her not sharing toys with me. Just generally being very selfish. One time I wanted to use the swing on our swing-set (she was on roller skates) and she pulled me off to use it herself. The next thing I knew, I got a hard plastic Fisher Price orange wheeled skate to my face. Thirty years later, I can still feel it.
We got past that phase quickly. Into our teens and early twenties we travelled on numerous occasions and even did respective internships together in Munich. We had both been in our first relationships and dumped circa 2009 and we were there for each other. Eating carb-y dinners at her favourite Italian on Fridays. Lychee martinis at Ed Moses, a cool cocktail lounge my coworkers would frequent on Saturdays. Vegan brunches in my building in Maxvorstadt on Sundays. My one memory of Germany is how hard the language barrier was on me. I was genuinely grateful to have her in my life throughout this time.
In the years that followed, I wouldn’t say we’d drifted, but we definitely didn’t see as much of each other. She bounced between Munich and Frankfurt for med school followed by her residency and I was everywhere but. New York City, India, Toronto and finally London ever since. I chalked her silence up to her lack of social media presence. While I was responsive within minutes, she didn’t even have a Facebook account. Forget every new-fangled platform that’s emerged yearly since we lived in the same city!
Enough about social media. My point is I figured our relationship was one where you didn’t need to see the other person for years to feel connected. I didn’t realize it at the time but 8 years would lapse before we would see each other again. I was in Frankfurt for a conference. She was kind enough to pick me up from my hotel and take me to dinner with her (newish) boyfriend. I think they’d already been together for two or three years by then, but I’d never heard of him until that evening. No complaints! It was lovely to see them both.
In the months that followed, I started seeing Theo*. Incidentally, Theo is also from the same German city she is so we made it a point to see her and her boyfriend whenever we were in town. I was so pleased that I had a cultural connection to Theo, having a German arm of my family.
We soon got engaged and my mother excitedly mass emailed our extended family. That email was somehow hijacked by Lisa’s Save the Date for her Greek wedding – her date was exactly two weeks prior to ours; she wasn’t happy about it. I touched on the fact in a previous blog post that we’d decided to move our 10 October 2020 wedding to 6 June 2020 for precisely that reason – to avoid a clash. I wasn’t thrilled about losing our 10.10.20 date, but I kept my dissatisfaction to myself. The only thing I decided on was not asking her to be my maid of honour. The honour went to my friend Laura*, who had planned the bachelorette anyway. And bonus, this way we’d be getting married earlier. In a better month to boot!
Of course, COVID had other plans. We postponed early on because we knew June would be too soon to host an internationally-attended event. She pressed on with hers. Around early June I reached out to see if she was sticking to her original date because we had another wedding to attend the week prior in Greece and we were confirming flights. She delightfully confirmed they were thinking positively and that the date was “very much still on”.
By July 2020, we did our small civil ceremony in Germany not far from where she lives. I wasn’t planning on inviting her, mainly because it wasn’t that big of deal and I knew she wouldn’t come (if she did it would have been begrudgingly). Theo’s parents, Theo and my parents both told me to extend an invitation. It’s okay if she and her parents don’t come – it was the though that matters.
Of course, she declined stating she had to work. She also added in her message they would be moving their wedding date to 2021. To two days after ours. No “how do you feel about this?”, no “so heads up, this is what we want to do and this is why”. Just: here are our new dates. I’m not going to attend your civil ceremony, nor will I congratulate you, but you’re going to share your wedding week with us. YAY.
So wait, wait. What exactly is the game plan here? We’re supposed to leave the south of France where our wedding is, get on a plane to Paris, change planes in Athens, get on a ferry and attend your wedding a few hours later in Corfu?
While this plan suits many of our mutual relatives that are flying in from abroad, I cannot believe she went ahead and made this decision without speaking to me first. OF COURSE I would have been fine with it, but this is very VERY big deal. Not only had we booked our flight to stupid Corfu for when her original wedding date, but we’re now also supposed to share our wedding week with her? Without our blessing? Oh, hell no.
RSVPs from our cousins flooded in on her new Save the Date announcement. I bitched about it to a mutual cousin who’s also had a few odd experiences with Lisa’s behaviour in the past. She told me to chill and that it would be okay. Everyone will be at both weddings and I shouldn’t stress about this.
Then I spoke to my brother who’d already declined her invitation. He pointed out that she was very rude to him when he suggested he may arrive a day late. She snapped back and told him to fly direct to Corfu from Toronto. He decided to decline the invitation based on that interaction: “She’s making this all about her. And everyone else lets her get away with it.”
I’ve said this countless times. I’m not THAT bride. I just didn’t care that much when I found out our initial dates were so close together. She did. Then when I empathized with her and moved my date she without consent proceeded to rear-end my date in the same week.
It’s not the date I care about. As if I need more than two days to recover from hair, make-up, friends, family and general merriment. I could easily make the trip. But after all this frankly, I just don’t want to. I’ve let her behaviour slide in the past, but on this occasion she doesn’t deserve us going out of our way for her. It’s our wedding too after all.