The Moneyist: My friend asked me to be her maid of honor, but didn’t invite me to her wedding — am I expected to buy her a gift?

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Dear Moneyist,

My friend of many years asked me to be her maid of honor when she became engaged. After months of suddenly not hearing much about her wedding plans I asked her. She informed that they are doing a beach wedding ceremony with family to cut costs, but she didn’t outright tell me that she no longer wants me as a maid of honor, nor did she even invite me to her wedding.

Also see: This D.C. lawyer is suing his former girlfriend for the return of a $100,000 engagement ring

I do not believe we fell out. We are currently out-of-state friends so we don’t see each other physically, but we communicate via text and social media. She sent me text messages of her dresses and asked advice about the fit and styles of her dress. In June, my husband and I got lunch with her and her boyfriend as we were traveling. That is when they brought up the wedding plans that didn’t involve me in a wedding party, nor did we get any invitation at all.

They did discuss cutting down the family and friend invites due to costs but they are doing an outdoor beach wedding on a permit, not at a resort. They are getting married November 26. I thought about blatantly asking, but didn’t want to pressure an invite in a stressful time. I had fully expected to purchase my own dress and travel costs although it never got discussed. Am I expected to buy her gift being that I was chopped from her wedding and not invited to even watch her vow exchange?

Curious from Las Vegas

Dear Curious,

Are you sure your invitation didn’t get lost in the mail? If not, here’s my answer:

I like the clear lack of resentment in your letter. It’s refreshing. You put your friend first, thinking of her feelings before your own need to satisfy your curiosity. I applaud you for that. That said, there is a balance between other people’s needs and your own, and advocating for yourself and allowing people space to be who they are. If you feel the friendship can continue unchanged after this, let the bridal party plans rest in peace.

But if you believe it will be damaged by the lack of transparency and consideration shown to you during this process, it’s worth raising the issue, but at a later date. It’s good practice speaking up for oneself in the moment, whether you are negotiating a salary at work or simply making sure that your relationships are clean. That way, you can safely rest your head at night knowing that nothing has gone unsaid that needed to be said.

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Often times, it’s useful to broach the subject with questions rather than statements, letting the person know how you feel rather than telling her about how you think she handled this situation. For instance, “Will you have a maid of honor? Asking for a friend!” And, “I’m disappointed, but I understand.” Then you might have felt free to say, “I’m still here if you need me for anything. I’d be happy to help.”

If she is cutting down on family and friends and creating a Triple-A guest list, it’s surprising that the maid of honor wouldn’t make that list too. If she’s just having family that makes more sense. Either way, she should have told you up front. Of course, she may have felt awkward about it too and chose to drop bread crumbs for you to follow (not crumbs from her wedding cake, though).

And so to your question: She may expect you to buy her gift. She may not. Given the circumstances, it’s more a question of what you are comfortable doing. Don’t send a gift if you feel like you have unfinished business and it serves as a coded message. Do send a gift if you forgive your friend and/or understand how she didn’t handle this perfectly and you would like to mark her day and show her how happy you are for her.

Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).

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Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills, divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

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