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You Asked: She Downgraded My Role in Her Wedding!

Dear Sugar,

I'm a gay male who's had a female best friend for 12 years. We've been through everything together: the good, the bad, we've seen each other through it all. This year my bestie got engaged and I'm so excited for her but the only thing is, for as long as I've known her, she has relayed to me that she wanted to get married on a beach and that I'd be standing next to her at the alter as "man of honor," if you will. Now she's decided to get married at a Catholic church, and I've been offered a role as an usher. I'm deeply offended that I've been given such a minimal role in her wedding, and that she didn't fight tradition to have me on her side in the wedding party.

My questions are: Am I justified in feeling hurt? Is there a delicate way to decline the usher position? And, is there something I can do in lieu of being an usher that would still honor our long-term friendship?
— Usher of (Dis)honor

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear Usher of (Dis)honor,

I am so sorry to hear that your role has been downgraded on her special day. Since she's strayed so far from her life-long dream, something tells me that her fiancé is pressuring her into what he's always envisioned his wedding to be. I don't know anything about your relationship with him, but even if it's strained, you absolutely have every right to be upset that you're no longer going to be standing up for your best friend. Having hurt feelings is a totally natural reaction and even though she might not change her mind, I suggest talking to her about her sudden change of heart as there could be something going on that you are unaware of.

Sure, being an usher isn't as glamourous as being her best man, but are you sure you really want to decline being in her wedding altogether? Perhaps you can ask if you can be an usher and read a poem, or make a speech at the reception. Ask her if you can play a more personal role in addition to the role she's already assigned to you. Her wedding day is a huge day for her, but it's his big day, too. She needs to honor his needs and perhaps compromise a little, which may result in you having to be flexible and understanding of what they want as a couple. The only way to get to the bottom of this is to be open with your friend. If you're as close as you say you are, she'll appreciate your honesty. I hope you can find a way to get through this and enjoy whatever part you play on her wedding day.


Join The Conversation
luciamore luciamore 9 years
About your best friend and the wedding: Yes, by all means talk to her but also thank her for including you in her big day. As someone who recently married, I have to tell you I had NO CLUE as to all the dynamics, pressure, politics and just plain complications that come with planning a wedding. You have no idea what kind of "stuff" went down. Your friend needs you to be gracious, protective, supportive and understanding. We had to have our wedding in a foreign country just so my mother would not plan everything, even then, I was under obligation to find roles for everyone, especially family members that had expectations. So, please approach your friend making sure that she knows that you are happy to assist in whatever capacity that she needs you! She did, after all, include you, did give you a place at the table, wanted you to be a part of you see? Weddings are crazy. People act strangley. Go and enjoy the honor she HAS given you and smile in all the photos. It is a joyous occasion. Being an usher is great fun and nothing to sneeze at. Also, remember that your friend is probably exhausted as well as emotional. So, go easy on her. If you still feel slighted, remember who the wedding is about, and she wants you up there where she can see you, looking gorgeous and blessing her by participating on her big day....
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Well said, Neecalle. I agree 100%!
N-e-e-c-a-l-l-e N-e-e-c-a-l-l-e 9 years
Am I the only one who is offended by the last two posters comments? I hardly think the possibility of this man being "flammin" or "flamboyantly gay" is the issue in question. Nor is it appropriate to say something like "just like a gay man" way to resort to mindless stereotypes about homosexuals, Im pretty sure those kind of comments arn't tolerated when it comes to things like race, religion or why is it okay to do it in this instance??....oh wait,....its not okay. Sorry to be a hater but this is a pet peeve of mine! As for the question at hand. Hell yeah you should feel put off that you were "down graded", and even more so that you weren't offered an explanation as to why it happened. If she's your best friend Im sure she has a reasonable explanation and that she will understand your point of view, so I say talk to her about it.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Just like a gay man to make it all about him. The girl probably had to make consessions in her plans, compromises, its what happens when planning a wedding. Her promise to you was probably genuine, but the reality of it isnt so easy to fulfill. Get over it, dont give her a hard time, tell her your going to always be by her side no matter what.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
all churches are different. My family church (catholic) does not approve of gays and lesbians. i mean, they don't turn you away at Mass, but as far as weddings; you better appear questionably gay, and you definately can't be a bull-dagger. my cousin Pr*s*lla couldn't be in my other cousin's wedding because the priest didn't approve (she has a close shaven head; a "fade", and she wears relaxed fit Levi's and Timberland boots). not all churches are the same. so you never know.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
let's be honest for one second; you're gay, you may possibly be flamboyantly gay. (which is fine with me). but she's having a wedding. regardless of the location, this is a day with the entire family there. not everybody has an 80 year old aunt who is "cool" with the gay thing. even if you're not flammin', you are a guy standing on the girl's side, naturally people would wonder if you're gay. so that may cause issues. maybe you friend's parent(s) or her fiance's parents are paying for the church rental, or flowers or something else and THEY aren't into the gays or apprehensive about how the rest of the family might feel. there are so many reasons why this is happening to you. and YOU are the gay one. this isn't her issue to fight. she just wants to get married to her prince, and you should be glad to still be invited. if you have been BFFs for 12 years, then bring up how bummed you are about not being in the wedding, do a little fishing. she's gonna tell ya something. and being the usher isn't that bad, because you get to see all the guests and take a peep at th gifts that were brought. look at it like backstage access to a fashion show.
mirawilliams mirawilliams 9 years
She may have bowed to family pressure. It's amazing how a wedding brings out the aggressive and passive-aggressive in everyone.
phatE phatE 9 years
the person getting married wanted him as a bridesmaid, not a groomsman. if she was wanting him as a groomsman, that would be way different in my opinion.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 9 years
i agree with bfly1133
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 9 years
I'm pretty sure this is going to go against the popular answers, but as far as tradition goes, the groom picks the male people in hte party and the bride picks the females in the wedding party. The fact that she changed her mind about her wedding shouldn't hurt you, IMO. i always speculate about getting married on a beach, but its never been somethign SUPER important to me, so if my fiancee wanted to get married in a church i would shrug and have a traditional wedding. you haven't said how you feel...its very possible that she doesn't know what it means to you. as a female, i often speculate about what my wedding will be like but i hvae nothing set in stone. if you want to be involved, asked if you can give a speech at the reception or something. be happy for your friend! this day is about her!!!!
You've every right to be hurt. I'm gonna go against the grain here. I don't buy the family over friend issue, especially if you've been friends for 12 years. You choose your friends, not your family, and often times, family are just blood-related strangers. You should talk to your friend about it and ask what made her change her mind. Who is taking your place? Will she still expect you to be throwing the Bridal Shower and Batchelorette Party?
Carri Carri 9 years
I'm sorry you're hurt by this and I totally understand. But, please look at this from her shoes. I know by experience that EVERYONE in her life has expectations right now. Everyone has a "thing" that they expect her to do or not do, and it's so hard to make everyone happy. Heck, my aunt told me that I "better not" have a money dance and my MIL was telling me how I should do the seating arrangement. Again, I know it hurts but there is no way she can make everyone happy. This is HER day with HER new husband and even though you're hurt, I think you should remember that this is her day. Talk it out with her if you think it will make you feel better, but I can't stress enough- She can't make everyone happy on her day.
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
There are a couple of things I want to point out. First, every church is different. Many churches could care less about who is in your wedding party. However, there are some with very strict rules. My friend's parents had to give some financial incentive to her church to allow our non-Catholic friend to be the MOA at her wedding. Next, this gentleman wasn't really downgraded. He wasn't asked to play a role he thought he was going to be asked to do. Third, the bride has a right to change her mind. Maybe she decided to have a family member next to her. Maybe she wants something more traditional after years of not wanting it. Who knows, but it's her decision, allow with her future husband, to make. And lastly, being asked to play any role in a person's wedding is an honor. Being an usher isn't less important that being a reader or a bridesmaid. They are just different positions of importance. In fact, I didn't ask one friend to be a bridesmaid because I knew she would make an unbelievable personal attendant. I understand being hurt and frustrated. I really do. But there are times in our life where we have to suck it up and do what makes other people happy. This is one of those times.
jmeyer jmeyer 9 years
This is a tough one. If I were in your shoes, I would be hurt. But you have to consider that it is her big day. While you no doubt want to be her "man of honor" to help her celebrate, she gets to decide. If I were you, I would graciously accept the usher position - and then come up with a fabulous toast to give the couple at the reception. Make it so great that she'll be crying and laughing, and totally remembering why she loves you so much. I think that you should also probably talk to her. Just let her know that as her best friend, you are concerned that she's made a lot of changes in her life since this finance rolled around. Try not to put her on edge or she'll get defensive, but just let her know that she deserves the wedding of her dreams - whether they be in a Catholic church or on a beach.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
Aww- I would feel hurt too. Talk to her though- if she is your bestie, then then will surely (hopefully) understand and come up with a solve!
cubadog cubadog 9 years
Yes, you are justified in feeling hurt but don't bow out of the wedding without speaking to your friend. Just let her know that you were surprised when she asked you to be an usher you had expected to have a larger role in her big day.
kitkatherine kitkatherine 9 years
yeah, my friend was an usher at his sister's wedding, but he read a poem also. he was close with his sister too. i'm sorry that that happened to you, that's a strange situation. i'm sure she didn't mean it though, people so often do things without realizing what else happens without them noticing. mention you'd love to have a little bigger role, like perhaps you two pick a poem together that fits her marriage, or you can come with her to do like hair or help pick out the wedding dress and be good behind the scenes - that's more of an honor to me.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
I'd be hurt too. I think anyone would - you were looking forward to this as much as she was! But therein lies the problem: you shouldn't be looking forward to it as much as she is. You have to realize this is her wedding to her husband, not a special event for the two of you. You need to respect whatever she ultimately decides to do, but by all means, TALK to her about it! For all you know she could have gotten the impression you'd rather be an usher for some reason. Unlikely, but the bottom line is that you won't know why until you ask her. Just keep in mind this isn't about accommodating you, it's about doing what her and her husband want to do for them. (However, a good friend would be concerned about accommodating you as well. That's just not for you to decide.) She may not even realize how important it was to you to be standing by her!
Calimie Calimie 9 years
It's sad that she did that but I agree with everyone else before me, she probably had to bow down to some strong pressure there and it wouldn't help her at all if you were missing in her wedding. I don't think that the Chuch said anything to her. At least in Spain, such positions are usually held by close family members so you wouldn't fit there, no matter how good friends you are. That said, it would be better for everyone if you go the truth.
1QTPIE 1QTPIE 9 years
I agree with pop up there..... Just talk to your best friend. She'll understand you. Another thing...... I get all this about it being his wedding also, but it's her court on her side. Does she get to call who will be his best man or has he put his foot down to who he wants behind him. More then likely it'll be someone very close to him. Correct? Who is in your place? If it's her family that is understanding and it should be family. Now if it isn't blood related then your are closer as family. The whole thing with "family issues" and not wanting to stir things up is just out there. If she feels his family can't come to except that you being who you are is her BEST FRIEND then will they welcome you at family get togethers at her house. No you have every right to be hurt. This is a big thing for her and for sure you want to take part in it. You've taken part in everything with her. For her to shut you out over "family issues" or "church issues, (which I doubt)" no not acceptable. Talk to her and get straight to the point.
sass317 sass317 9 years
I totally understand why you are hurt. When i was getting married we had someone back out, so my fiance and I had a long talk about who we would ask to replace them- it was between his best friends wife (who was also a very close friend, as well as representing her husband bc he would be overseas at the time of the wedding) or my fiance's cousin. We picked the friend, then my fiance talked to his cousin and told her our reasoning (and didnt phrase it as delicately as I would have done) and she was very upset that we picked the friend over her. I was SO glad she spoke up. We ended up asking them both to be in the wedding and to make the sides even I got to ask my closest guy friend to stand on the other side. It was a win-win. I dont think it would be out of line for you to ask why all of a sudden the plan has changed, bc you were surprised when you were only asked to be an usher- just chose your words carefully, so you dont sound accusatory or like you are blaming her or the fiance or anyone else.
mortar31 mortar31 9 years
My sister got married in a Catholic church, and the priest actually recommended she have one of her male friends stand as a "bridesmaid" in lieu of having a smaller role such as reading a poem. I'd talk to your friend. You've been friends 12 years (probably longer than she's been with her future husband!) so I'm sure she'll understand.
jenintx jenintx 9 years
you are totally justified in being hurt. the exact same thing happened to me at my bff's wedding b/c her now-hubby doesn't like me (i got to be the guest book girl). we never talked about it and now it's like a huge elephant in the room. our relationship has definitely changed-not b/c of that, per se, but b/c his opinion of me apparently affected hers. so if you don't want your relationship with your best friend to end up like mine did, i would suggest you talk to her. just try not to be too emotional about it (even though it does hurt) b/c i could see this as being something that could make her get defensive and then things could get out of hand.
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 9 years
You should definitely talk to her!! And yes you are completely justified in your feelings.
phatE phatE 9 years
no you're good :) planning a wedding = high blood pressure.
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