The Road To The Altar: If Someone Invites You To Their Wedding, Do You Have To Invite Them To Yours?

November 12, 2015  |  

I know it sounds like a petty question, but hear me out.

A girlfriend from high school is getting married early next March, and she’s invited me to her wedding and reception, which are both in California. And while I appreciate her thinking of me for an invitation, I can’t say that I want to go.

If you’ve been following this column at all, you already know that I’m planning a wedding for next fall. So spending money to travel to be at someone else’s wedding is not really something I can afford right now. A sista is trying to save. Still, knowing that she talked to me a lot about her wedding and plans for it way before I got engaged makes me feel like I should show my face. I don’t want to hurt her feelings or get an earful by not showing up. She’s sensitive like that. The girl would literally have fits if you were late to game nights at her home for goodness sake.

But the reality is, even if I go to her wedding, I’m not so sure that I would invite her to my own. I’m feeling this way for two important reasons:

For one, my family is large. My fiancé’s family is just as large (again, if you’ve been following this column, you probably know we’re both Nigerian). With the addition of my good friends and people’s kids (I don’t have the heart to make it adults only, especially since I have nieces and nephews I would love to see there), I don’t really have space for homegirl and her future husband out of the 130 guests I’m beckoning. And inviting her over an aunt or cousin I’ve known longer, even if I’m not that close with them, seems disrespectful to the fam.

And then, there’s the reality of the fact that we’re just not as close as we used to be. While she talked with me about her wedding plans, she only discussed them with me when I asked for an update. And to keep it completely 100, she wasn’t even the one who told me when she got engaged. I heard the news through a mutual friend. No calls, no messages, no nothing.

We were close in school because we had a few of the same classes and worked at the same retail store during summer and winter breaks, but over the last few years, she’s changed as a person. I mean, we all change, but her personality is what has morphed the most. She can be a little cold at times and somewhat disrespectful too. God forbid you decide to try a new hairstyle or wear a loud print around her, she’ll ask you when you’re getting your hair done and why you thought your ensemble was a good idea. With all that negative energy to deal with during our occasional outings when I’m back home in Chicago, I’ve just grown weary of her company. Our friendship often feels forced, and honestly, I feel like she’s only inviting me to her wedding because she has some extra seats to fill and wants a gift. And if I invited her to my own, I would only be doing so because she extended a wedding invitation to me and I would feel it necessary to reciprocate.

So you can kind of see where I’m coming from. If she were a close friend who reached out and invited me to her wedding, I would definitely make a way. I would scrounge up my pennies or put some airline tickets on a credit card so I could be there to support my beloved confrere. But the distance that has grown between us over the years leaves me feeling like we’re doing everything out of obligation, and my broke behind can’t afford the phoniness.


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