I've just received a Maid of Honor invite from my lifelong best friend. The thing is, she's already married: she and her husband have decided that for their fifth wedding anniversary next spring, they're going to be holding a vow renewal. And it's not just a little backyard ceremony in our hometown so that everyone has an excuse to see their parents for a long weekend; it's a destination wedding on the opposite coast with bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, elaborate formal ceremony—the entire show. I was ecstatic to be the MoH at her actual wedding (which was a similarly dramatic event), but this is going to require a significant amount of time and money I don't just have lying around. And, let's be honest, it strikes me as being really tacky, like she's just trying to get another day of being the center of attention that doesn't belong to her. I want to tell her this is really weird. Is that okay?
But I'd avoid labeling her (obviously ill-conceived and narcissistic) plan as “weird” if you want to remain friends.
If your friend is throwing herself an elaborate vow renewal ceremony, she surely has seen enough episodes of The Real Housewives to know 1) how they work 2) that there is no surer sign of marital discord than a vow renewal (with the possible exception of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Lisa Vanderpump’s Sexy Unique Recommitment to this marriage).
How they work is that you host the ceremony in the town where you live. Your friends (and enemies — FAYE!) who live in town swing by, wish you a happy anniversary, and nosh on the free hors d’oeuvres you have provided while you surprise them by summoning a priest who has been hiding behind a curtain the whole evening. In rare instances, you may choose to host your vow renewal in an inconvenient tropical location, in which case, as punishment, Bravo producers will pay to fly 4 to 6 women you hate out to Antigua along with you.
There is no rehearsal dinner, because you already had a rehearsal dinner — at your first wedding. In a way, the whole first wedding was sort of a rehearsal for this less important one. There is no maid of honor (except maybe your sullen teen daughter). And a bachelorette party? For who? There is no bachelorette here. "Married woman party" is not part of the vernacular for a reason.
Perhaps the strangest (yet simultaneously least surprising) detail is that your friend and her husband are planning this elaborate bacchanal to commemorate their fifth wedding anniversary. Congratulations on being married for as long as Gossip Girl was on the air, guys. What are they planning to do at dinner, reminisce about five years ago?
“Look how young we are in these pictures! Remember how into Girl Talk we all were in 2009...Gladiator sandals had been around for a while but not super long...It's crazy how we all thought the Celtics were starting a new dynasty!”
Incidentally, the theme of five year anniversary gifts is wood, so go ahead and buy your bestie a big cross. Given her penchant for spectacle, she might want to nail herself to it when you let rip some Real Talk about her absurd second wedding scheme.
You are obviously under no obligation to attend, let alone accept a major role in your friend’s destination second wedding. Give her the reasons you’ve just given here: you can’t spare the vacation time; it's out of your budget.
If the second wedding (I would recommend never referring to it as a “ceremony" or "vow renewal,” in your friend’s presence —let it sound as ridiculous as it is) is still in the very early planning stages, you might be able to talk her down off the church spire. Consider mentioning that, since you and your friends are not a colony of retired millionaires, it might be difficult to convince everyone to fly to the opposite coast for a rerun of a wedding they’ve already seen. Don’t tell her that her plan is STUPID AND WEIRD (though it is); tell her it’s unrealistic.
If this woman absolutely must honor herself with an elaborate anniversary party (“The best thing about being married to my husband is ALL MY COLLEGE FRIENDS!”), maybe she can take the thousands of dollars she was going to spend on Wedding 2: Trumpet of Doom and put them toward an open bar at a fancy local restaurant. Given the choice between spending a night nursing rum and cokes a few miles from home or flying out to Santa Barbara for a rehearsal dinner (“The reservation is under RENEW-lyweds!”), most people will choose the option that doesn’t involve baggage.
It's possible your friend will be unmoved by your call for reason. Maybe she will say that you, her best friend, should, of all people, want to spend this time with her.
"I just want you to be there. This is the second-biggest day of my life. Well, maybe third if you count my seventh or ninth junior proms."
Don’t be afraid to stand strong. You were a maid of honor once and you obviously did a damn fine job, since you’ve been asked to reprise your role. Tell her that unfortunately, you just won’t be able to get away for this second wedding, but that you’ll be happy to show up for her sixth one (assuming it's to a different person).
Last Saturday, my friend texted me asking if my waffle maker could come to her brunch the next day. I was not invited to the brunch. I replied that I was going to be making waffles myself the next day, even though I had no plans to. Is that okay?
First of all, a small kitchen appliance isn’t something you borrow. It’s something you purchase. You borrow someone’s van if you’re moving. You don’t ask if you can use their coffee pot for the weekend.
A brand new waffle iron from Target costs about $25; if you’re willing to lower your expectations to waffle sticks, you can get it below $20. This isn’t a huge financial imposition, and you’ve got to spend money to make money. Also: waffles.
It was obvious even before your friend started asking you to loan her small items from your home that she was too socially inept to execute this brunch properly. Waiting until the day before to start tracking down items she knew she would need? Risky. Planning to serve waffles—one of breakfast’s most inefficient children—to a group? Get a lox platter, honey! You’re lucky you weren’t invited to this party. Her “English muffins” are probably stale hamburger buns. Her "breakfast crepes"? Folded-over tortillas.
Which brings us to the second point. You weren’t invited to the brunch, so only a lunatic would ask you to contribute to it.
“Can you pick up some flowers from the bodega and then get the FUCK out because my friends are coming over?”
Even if it was a gathering to which you would not expect an invitation (say, if you’re a man and your friend is hosting a bachelorette brunch the morning before her second wedding), it is in poor taste to ask you to start helping out because it only emphasizes your exclusion. In this instance, it’s also unnecessary: you know what’s like a waffle, yet requires no special equipment to make? A pancake. This brunch is truly amateur hour.
Also, the type of person who will ask to borrow your shit while openly snubbing you from a gathering is also the type of person who is not going to properly clean your waffle iron before returning it.
So you weren’t planning on making waffles when you responded to your friend’s text. As her behavior shows, the irrepressible need to suddenly have a waffle iron on hand can strike at any moment. You didn’t know for sure that you weren’t going to wake up Sunday morning starving for those perfect golden grids, the syrup pooling in each individual square like nectar in Elysium. You don’t know your life.
And you don't owe her a waffle iron.