If you’re thinking of inviting a friend with cancer to your wedding, this viral Reddit post may serve as a cautionary tale of what not to do. The post describes how the author, a woman recovering from cancer, believes her friend kicked her out of her wedding party because she refused to wear a wig.
Last week, a Reddit user Bridesmaidwoes123 posted in the r/bridezillas subreddit that one of her “very good friends” got engaged a year and a half ago and immediately asked her to be a bridesmaid. Bridesmaidwoes123 said yes, but later got some bad news and had to undergo radiation and chemotherapy. Her hair fell out, and though it is starting to grow back now, it’s still very short. Throughout her treatments time, the bride (a nurse) was “very supportive,” according to Bridesmaidwoes123.
However, a few weeks ago, the bride told Bridesmaidwoes123 she wanted to take her out to celebrate her remission and end of treatment and also give her a special surprise. They met up at a spa for massages and pampering; then, the bride took her to a hair salon that specializes in wigs.
“I am a little taken aback by this because [the bride] knows that a lot of the work I have been [doing] involves psychological treatment in cancer patients and avoiding the shame associated with hair loss for instance,” Bridesmaidwoes123 wrote on Reddit.
After the wig appointment (which made the bridesmaid “quite upset”), the bride offered to have the bridesmaid pick a wig out but she “politely declined.”
A few days later, the bride called and told her she couldn’t be in the bridal party any longer because the minister said there were too many people in the bridal party. Completely shocked, Bridesmaidwoes123 said she started asking other bridesmaids what they thought.
“I call around and it although some of the other bridesmaids are reluctant to tell me anything hint at the fact that [the bride] was worried about how the pictures are going to look with someone with a bald head,” she wrote.
The bride didn’t return her call, so Bridesmaidwoes123 turned to Reddit for advice. You can read the full post below:
She later followed up and explained that she could tell the bride wanted her to like the wig.
Redditors were shocked and angry that someone would treat a friend with cancer that way and said she shouldn’t feel guilty for skipping the wedding. Some also pointed out that hair loss after cancer is a very sensitive and personal experience, and the bride shouldn’t have blindsided her with wig shopping.
“How to deal with hair loss after chemo is a very personal decision. I just went bald, I had a wig but it was scratchy and hot and I didn’t feel comfortable in it,” Reddit user thedogsfoot wrote. “A true friend wouldn’t force you to change your appearance, especially with something as emotive as chemo hair loss.”
In a private message to The Mighty, Bridesmaidwoes123 said she wanted to remain civil and didn’t want to shame her friend, even if she was acting selfishly. She decided not to go to the wedding, though her friend told her the incident wasn’t about her hair.
“At any rate going didn’t sit well me,” she said.
No matter what physical changes you endure because of cancer, no one should ever make you feel like you need to look a certain way. Choosing how to cope with losing hair is, as the commenter above noted, a very personal decision with no right or wrong answers — you might prefer to go au naturale, wear a scarf, hat, wig or even a henna tattoo — anything that makes you feel comfortable.
We asked our Mighty community to share photos of themselves or loved ones who attended a wedding during or after their cancer treatment to demonstrate what’s important at weddings is who’s there — not what they’re wearing. The joy and memories these photos represent are so much more important than any clothes or hairstyles worn on that day, wig or not.
“I was maid of honor at my best friend Ashlyn’s wedding!” — Melody P.
“This is my beautiful husband Dyllan and myself on our wedding day September 27, 2017. He had metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma and had received six rounds of high intensity chemo and a femoral resection and fibial reconstruction six weeks prior to our wedding. Nothing stopped him from smiling this day but unfortunately six months later he passed away.” — Laura H.
“Day wedding — got my wig two days before just in time! Pic in front of the bride and groom’s car, [a] Rolls Royce, for the day.” — Kara D.
“My husband was one year in remission from B-cell non-Hodgkins osteo-lymphoma when we got married last May. He lost his hair through chemo and it’s never grown back the same so he keeps it almost shaved now but I think he was the most handsome groom ever.” — Haeleigh W.
“My wedding day — had already done two rounds of chemo, had my bilateral mastectomy and just had a liver ablation done two months before.” — Tara H.
“Gavin was a guest [at] the wedding of a friend… 12 years old with leukemia.” — Frankie D.
“This was my son’s wedding on June 8. I was recovering from a massive liver bleed on May 23, followed up with a diagnosis of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer on my liver on May 26. It was so hard, but I put on a smile, danced when I could and enjoyed every moment.” — Laurie R.
“I wasn’t the one battling cancer, but my dad was. He was going through treatments during my wedding. Three days before my day, he had an allergic reaction to an experimental drug and was sick the entire day, but you’d never know it they way he held himself up to walk me down the aisle and dance with me. He’s not here anymore, but these memories will last forever.” — Sara C.
For more insight on what it’s like losing your hair due to illness, check out these Mighty stories:
- I Won’t Cover My Hair Loss to Make You Feel Better
- 10 Reasons I Found the Good in Losing My Hair During Chemo
- What I’ve Learned About Growth After Losing My Hair and So Much More