Weddings can be stressful enough as it is — but what if the added stress isn’t coming from the bride and groom, but from one’s own mother? Albeit, some family members mean well, but one mother of the bride took wedding planning to the extreme. In a letter written to advice columnist Dear Prudence (a.k.a. Mallory Ortberg), a mother describes her reservations about her daughter’s best friend being maid of honour due to a physical handicap.
The letter has angered many on social media, some labeling her a “monster” while others suggest she simply wants what’s best for her daughter. But we’ll let you be the judge.
“My 27-year-old daughter and her best friend, Katie, have been best friends since they were 4. Katie practically grew up in our house and is like a daughter to me. My daughter recently got engaged to her fiancé and announced that Katie would be the maid of honour (Katie’s boyfriend is also a good friend of my future son-in-law).”
“The problem is that Katie walks with a pretty severe limp due to a birth defect (not an underlying medical issue). She has no problem wearing high heels and has already been fitted for the dress, but I still think it will look unsightly if she’s in the wedding procession limping ahead of my daughter.”
The mom brought up her reservations with her daughter and suggested that “maybe Katie could take video or hand out programs (while sitting) so she doesn’t ruin the aesthetic aspect of the wedding.”
It didn’t go over too well.
“My daughter is no longer speaking to me (we were never that close), but this is her big wedding and I want it to be perfect. All of the other bridesmaids will look gorgeous walking down the aisle with my daughter. Is it wrong to have her friend sit out?”
Instead of sympathy, the mother was hit with a cold dose of reality from the advice columnist.
“I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this letter,” Otberg replied. “I encourage you to reread it and to ask yourself that honoured question, ‘Do I sound like a villain in a Reese Witherspoon movie?'”
Ortberg notes that the mom is, presumably, sympathetic to her own situation and is invested in making sure that she comes across as “reasonable and as caring as possible,” and yet she has written a letter indicting herself at every turn.
“This girl is ‘like a daughter’ to you, and yet you want to shove her to the side of your other daughter’s wedding just because she walks with a limp. Your daughter’s wedding will be perfect with Katie as a full and honoured member of the bridal party,” Ortberg continued, noting that a limp is not a fly in the ointment — it’s a part of Katie’s life.
“It is not only wrong to have asked your daughter to consider excluding her best friend over this—it is ableist, and cruel, and it speaks to a massive failure of empathy, compassion, and grace on your part. You must and should apologize to your daughter immediately, and I encourage you to profoundly reconsider the orientation of your heart.”
The letter was also shared on Twitter by @Nicole_Cliffe (who has no relation to the letter writer) and within days the tweet had more than 14,000 likes and 5,000 retweets, with many suggesting the mother of the bride shouldn’t even attend the wedding.
— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) September 6, 2017
Can you imagine someone not realizing she's an enormous monster?
— NormaG (@PonytailPixie) September 6, 2017
The letter angers me. The mother should keep he nose out of it. The only way her wedding would be perfect is to have her friend there.
— Tonya (@tonyahms5127) September 7, 2017
It frightens me that creatures like this walk this earth.
— Joan Carol (@psychomama) September 6, 2017
Really asking yourself " do I sound like a villain?" Is good operating advice
— John Leavitt (@LeavittAlone) September 6, 2017
"(we were never that close)" there is a novel jammed between those parentheses i can feel it
— Caesar Honeybee (@maryellenmurr) September 6, 2017
I love the reply!! My brother is in a wheelchair and was in my oldest brothers wedding and when he wheeled down the aisle- it was the best!!
— FlyersAlways (@LarkinsAllison) September 6, 2017
Mom's opinion is not important when it comes to who decide's perfection. Talk about narcissistic! Bad form, mom!
— Shei B. Kroeker (@MyQuillToPaper) September 10, 2017
There is only one person who should not be allowed any part in this wedding and it is not the daughter's friend.
— Howard Kennedy (@photoclassic) September 10, 2017
i'm gonna let you know i have a mother very similar to this. she's not having a moral dilemma, she was looking for backup for her opinion.
— spark.polliwog.bruin (@spark_polliwog_) September 7, 2017
Did the mother overstep her boundaries or do you understand where she’s coming from?