Love

I Was Kicked Out of My Best Friend's Bridal Party

Three women open up about being asked to resign as bridesmaids.

By Hannah Smothers

In late July, the Internet was gifted with an e-mail written from a bride-to-be to a (now-former) bridesmaid, Courtney Duffy. The bride wrote she no longer wanted Duffy to be in her bridal party and assured Duffy she held nothing against her and that they would still be friends.

Duffy shared the e-mail on Twitter in the hopes that Jet Blue would refund the flights she'd bought for the wedding she no longer planned to attend, and her now-deleted tweet quickly went viral.

As it turns out, what happened to Duffy is far from an isolated experience. In the midst of all the mayhem of wedding planning, brides still manage to find time to kick their best friends out of bridal parties left and right. Here, three women who fell victim to a brutal bridesmaid-dumping open up about their nightmarish experiences.

My friend Liza* and I grew up together from day one—our parents were best friends before they had us. I got married really young, in 1999, when I was 18 and Liza was 19. She was my maid of honor, and two years later, when she got engaged, she asked me to be hers. It was always assumed, and I, of course, said yes.

Around the same time, I realized I'd gotten married way too young, and the relationship wasn't working. A couple of months after Liza had asked me to be her maid of honor, around the summer of 2001, I announced I was getting divorced. We had gone dress shopping but didn't have bridesmaids gowns yet.

IT FELT LIKE I LOST MY BEST FRIEND.

Within a couple of weeks of me telling her about the divorce, Liza called and said I was "no longer welcome in her wedding party," because I didn't believe in the sacrament of marriage. I was shocked and in disbelief. It felt like I got punched in the gut. It was like, do I even know you? She's not an especially religious person, so the fact she used a phrase like, "the sacrament of marriage," was disorienting.

It felt like I'd lost my best friend. I mean, whether or not you want a divorce, it's always a hard process. And not only did I not have her support through this big life transition, I also got booted from her wedding. She replaced me with this party-girl friend she had temporarily. That hurt, too. It felt like I was getting replaced with someone who wasn't even important to her.

I didn't attend the ceremony, which was the following year, although a lot of my family did, because Liza was really close with them. She and I spent the next five or six years estranged, which was hard, because our parents live next door to each other. I'd see her car, she'd see mine, but we didn't speak to or of each other.

A few years ago, I found out she was pregnant and reached out via e-mail. I just wanted to break the ice—like, "Hey, I heard you're pregnant, congrats!" She responded a few months later and was cordial, but we didn't really talk about her wedding. We live about 20 minutes apart and makes plans to see each other maybe once a year. — Caroline*, 37.

Maddie* and I met when I was in college as random roommates. We became close and did everything together. After we graduated, we moved to different states but texted regularly.

A year after graduation, she told me she was engaged. I was, of course, super excited for her and was honored when she asked me to be a bridesmaid. My husband wasn't sure about my going to her bachelorette party in Central America—at the time, Zika scares were rampant—but I told him she's my best friend. And I'd told her a long time ago that if she ever got married, I'd be there for her no matter what.

I was interning at the time and when I realized I didn't have the money for an international plane ticket, Maddie offered to buy it for me and said I could pay her back when I could.

SHE HAS ALWAYS TOLD ME NOT TO GET PREGNANT UNTIL AFTER HER WEDDING.

A few months later, around the time my husband and I got married and about two months before the bachelorette party, I went to the hospital with a really bad panic attack from work-related stress. That's when I found out I was two months pregnant. It was shocking at first; I was worried about my mental health and financial situation. But I quickly became happy. I was 25 at the time, my husband was 31, and we were ready to start a family.

I called Maddie the next day to tell her about my anxiety issues and was relieved when she said she suffered from it, too. It made me feel less alone. But I held off telling her I was pregnant because I was nervous she would get mad at me. At the time, she told me she hoped I wouldn't get pregnant until after her wedding, because she said it's the only day of her life she'd be getting married, and I could get pregnant after.

I gave myself a few days to calm down before building up the courage to call Maddie and tell her about the pregnancy. The first thing she said was, "Was it planned?" I said no, but it was a great surprise. Then she said, "How will you fit into your bridesmaid dress?" I said we could get it altered. Then she asked, "What about the bachelorette party? How can you have fun if you can't drink?"

I thought maybe she was just stressed about the wedding. I told her, "As long as I'm there, that's what counts." She replied: "Congrats, I guess."

THEN SHE SAID, "HOW WILL YOU FIT INTO YOUR BRIDESMAID DRESS?"

I went to my doctor for a check-up a few days later. She asked if I was planning on taking any trips out of the country, and when I said yes, she highly recommended I skip it due to the threat of Zika.

I knew then I had to tell Maddie and cancel my trip. The doctor wrote me a letter advising against travel, and I took a picture as proof. Still, I waited two days to tell Maddie—I knew she'd be upset because it was her bachelorette party, and she had paid for my ticket.

I apologized and told her, "I wish I could go but I don't want to put my baby at risk." She wrote back, "How convenient." I didn't reply. She then sent me a long text, saying that not only would I not be a bridesmaid anymore, but that I shouldn't come to the wedding at all.

All I could say was, "OK." It felt like a chunk of my heart was ripped out, and my throat felt dry. I cried in the restroom at work.

I APOLOGIZED AND TOLD HER, "I WISH I COULD GO BUT I DON'T WANT TO PUT MY BABY AT RISK." SHE WROTE BACK, "HOW CONVENIENT."

I had a miscarriage less than two months later, when I was almost four months pregnant. I went to see a therapist to deal with I was going through and told her everything: about my stress at work, the miscarriage, and losing a close friend. She suggested I take a break, and my husband surprised me with a trip to Florida to get some sun and relax.

A month after my miscarriage, and a week before the trip to Florida, Maddie e-mailed me. It was the first I'd heard from her since she asked me not to be her bridesmaid. She said that if I didn't pay her for the flight she'd bought me, she'd take me to court. The ticket was about $300, but I didn't have the money—I'd just started a new job and hadn't gotten my first paycheck yet, and that wouldn't happen until after I got back from Florida with my husband.

I decided to tell Maddie everything—about my anxiety and depression, the miscarriage, and the money I was spending on the therapist. I thought she'd have sympathy for me, that we'd reconcile, and that she'd be there for me.

SHE ACCUSED ME OF LYING ABOUT MY PREGNANCY TO GET OUT OF THE BACHELORETTE PARTY.

It was the complete opposite. She sent me a long e-mail back, saying she basically didn't care how I felt. She accused me of lying about my pregnancy to get out of the bachelorette party. She said I cared more about going to Florida than I ever did about her bachelorette party and that I was a bad friend.

I realized fighting with her wasn't going to lead anywhere. I sent her an e-mail saying I understood she was going through a stressful time and wasn't acting like herself. I said I'd pay her when I got my next paycheck, and that after that, I didn't want to talk to her again.

I lost my mental stability for a while. I still don't know why she acted this way. All I know is she never was a real friend and I'm glad she's out of my life for good. Or blocked from all my social media, at least. —Stephanie*, 25.

Caroline, Emily and I all started working together around the same time at a small company about two years ago, and we became close very quickly.

In August 2017, Caroline asked Emily and me to be bridesmaids at her wedding the following year. We were thrilled! We bought our dresses in January and were getting ready to book flights and hotels in Florida later in 2018, when suddenly I was laid off from my job.

I didn't really want to talk to anyone when it happened, but when I didn't show up to work on Monday, I expected my two best friends to reach out. Instead, I heard nothing. I texted them in our group chat about two days later to let them know I was doing OK and that I'd get through this in time, just in case they felt weird reaching out to me. That text also was met with silence.

I CALLED THE BRIDAL STORE AND THE DRESS WAS FINAL SALE.

I reached out to Caroline directly—I was pretty upset and asked if her silence meant I should return the bridesmaid dress I'd bought two weeks earlier. Several days later, she texted back and said, "I just needed the last week to wrap my head around the situation and feel it would be best for us just to part ways. I'm sorry that it's come to this, but I do need to do what I think is best for me." Emily also reached out to sever ties.

I called the bridal store, and the dress was final sale. I sent Caroline a Venmo request for the cost, and she paid me for it. I sent a gift for her shower to be polite and in case she wanted an opportunity to re-open the door. I got a notice the gift was returned.

I still don't know why things played out the way they did—that text was all I heard from Caroline. I think she felt it would be too awkward to have me in her wedding, and too awkward to be friends after cutting those ties. I haven't heard from her since she paid me back for bridesmaid dress.—Taylor*, 25

*Name has been changed.