Dear Annie: I am getting married next year. One of the most stressful things for me is picking the attendants. I have my best man and two groomsmen. My fiancee, “Sara,” suggested I add another friend, which I was happy to do.
Then, a good friend found out and was a little upset that I didn’t choose him, as well. He tried to joke about not being in the wedding, but I knew he was a little hurt, so I asked him to be a groomsman. He has been the most excited about everything since then. So Sara and I now have four attendants each.
The problem is, I have one additional friend, “Mark,” who I know will be upset if he is the only one of my close friends left out of the wedding party. I’d like to include Mark, but Sara doesn’t have many friends and would have trouble finding a matching partner as an attendant.
How should I go about this? I feel weird even talking about my wedding with Mark because he isn’t included.
-- West Coast Dilemma
Dear Dilemma: First of all, while it’s nice for attendants to “match up,” it is not a requirement. One groomsman can escort two bridesmaids. Attendants also can walk separately, or two groomsmen (or bridesmaids) can walk together. Discuss this with Sara, in case she has someone else she’d like to ask.
Another option is to include Mark by giving him a different honor: He could be an usher, directing guests to their seats and handing out programs if you have them. You also could ask him to read something during the ceremony or help in other ways. He would be treated the same as a groomsman and included in all planned events.
Dear Annie: I cried when I read the letter from “Hurt and Alone,” whose husband goes out drinking with his cheating friends and leaves her at home.
I, too, have been hurt and alone for years. My husband’s alcohol intake, work schedule and need to be the social center of attention have taken priority in our marriage for 20 years. My husband is the kind of guy who treats everyone to everything, so people think he’s the greatest. He’s not a raging, belligerent or violent alcoholic. He’s a successful functioning alcoholic who is an expert at excuses and turning the tables.
Tell “Hurt and Alone” that she is not the only one who has spent many a night waiting for her husband to come home. I was once a self-assured, confident woman, but I’ve lost myself coping with endless lies and loneliness while trying to raise three children.
-- Lonely in California
Dear Annie: My husband and I occasionally socialize with another couple our age. The problem is, at restaurants, the husband is condescending to the wait staff, repeatedly asks for substitutions and always sends some of his food back with a complaint. In addition, he is a stingy tipper.
His wife says nothing when these things happen. But we are embarrassed by his behavior. We don’t want to humiliate them or cause a scene by being critical. What do you suggest?
-- A Friend of Waiters
Dear Friend: You can tell a lot about a person’s character by the way he treats the wait staff at a restaurant. If you insist on socializing with this boorish man, we suggest you avoid places where he will cause embarrassment and ill will. Go to a movie or a play, and stop briefly for a drink after. Meet for coffee. Invite them to your home if you prefer to share a meal. We think his wife will know why you no longer eat out with them, and she will inform her husband. How they choose to deal with that is up to them.
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