Advice

Carolyn Hax: Girlfriend stole my wedding venue

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I did some research and found my perfect wedding venue: not expensive, halfway between his family and mine, lodging on site, in the woods … I got all excited about it and told a girlfriend of mine. She has been engaged for over a year, and they have been saving for the ceremony.

Well, she BOOKED MY VENUE! I know we will be invited, but I do not want to go. I don’t want to be friends with her, and am torn about whether I even want to use the same place. I just feel like it will lose some of its magic for me.

So I guess my questions are: Do you think I can be happy using the same venue she stole out from under me? Am I required to go to the wedding even if I’m absolutely livid about what she did?

Brat Stole My Venue!

My oldest sister had her reception in my parents’ backyard. My next-oldest sister: parents’ backyard. My (first) reception: parents’ backyard. My next-next oldest sister: guess where! No wedding was less magical for the fact of the others.

Now, I get this isn’t directly analogous, since it’s family, and naming generations of kids Charles, Charles Jr., Chip, Chuckles and Chaz is a matter of inclusion, whereas telling your friend you’ve always wanted to name a girl Charlie, and her then naming her girl Charlie first, is a crime against self-expression.

But there is overlap worth considering: Uniqueness of human experience is a fiction we tell ourselves. Maybe in combination the elements of your life amount to something one-of-a-kind, but you can be pretty sure each of the elements has been owned, done, claimed, crowed about before. So you can drive yourself bonkers trying to forge experiences at least unique to your Facebook feed, or you can decide your experience has value in its value to you.

If you love this venue, then book this venue. Your wedding will be different because it’s yours. (Chip, Chuckles and Chaz will differ because all that matching madras for Cousin Photos will scar them into defiantly original forms of adult acting out.)

Re: Venue Jealousy: Kinda shocked you didn’t tell her to get over herself. Because, Really?

Anonymous

Thought I did, in my way.

But I also sympathize to a degree, where apparently few did. To use another analogy (sorry), imagine saying you loved a dress and then your friend, without saying boo to you, bought herself the same one. OK, it’s an H&M dress, whatever, and anyone upset about it would get an eye-roll and a get-over-yourself. But with a dress carefully picked out with an occasion in mind, I think most people would look at the friend and say, “Really? You had to go out and buy the exact same dress I was excited about and spent hours picking out, without saying something to me first?”

The answer ultimately is to get over oneself, because it’s just a thing, but a little sympathy would be in order, as well as recognition that someone pouncing on your venue/name/dress is a legitimately off-putting move.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.

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