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Getting married makes you realize a number of different things. Those most important being along the lines of “Hey, I’m so ready for marriage,” “I’m so in love,” “The future is looking good,” etc. You should be excited to become a member of this institution, which is something I am definitely on board with and annoyingly ecstatic about. Hooray for me!

However, the planning process of the ceremony and reception sheds light on a bunch of different things that you may have hidden far back in the recesses of your brain. The one thing that’s been aggressively brought to the forefront is the concept of “good friends.” I took my time curating a guest list partially because I needed to get estimates on costs per guest, and partially because I was so conflicted on who deserved to be invited. I’d add names to the list only to cross them off a few days later, but continue to second guess my choices even to this day – even after invitations have been sent. After college, friendships change. I understand this as an inevitable truth because it makes perfect sense to me. My life in college was incredibly different than my life as an independent working individual in society. My responsibilities were far less, my financial life was less stressful and demanding, proximity to friends wasn’t a problem and my free time was spent differently. With all these reasons and more, it makes sense that relationships have changed and will continue to change. But knowing this doesn’t necessarily make it easier.

Some friendships ended naturally. The phrase “fizzled out” seems most accurate because there was no discussion as to whether or not we’d attempt to maintain a friendship – we just gradually lost touch. However, I’ve had to make a number of hard decisions, especially around my wedding, and they’ve been prodding at me for weeks now. I’ve cut off friendships because the realization that I wasn’t being treated as I thought a friend should be treated became very clear to me. When it gets to the point where you have to have a conversation about your friendship with someone, it’s time to weigh your options and do what’s best. In one instance, I bluntly asked someone if they considered me a friend, and they responded with “sometimes.” Well, that was that. Once you reach your mid-twenties, flaky occasional friends don’t add positivity or meaning to your life. And when you realize that the other person you valued doesn’t value you the same, and perhaps they upset you more than make you happy, you cut ties to salvage your own happiness and progress on your own.

While I’ve justified all of my choices and I don’t think I’d take any of it back, it’s hard planning a wedding and intentionally not including certain people that you had hoped were forever friends. I love people. I love sharing my life experiences with other people and creating those bonds that add meaning to life. I’ve always been the type of person to give people a second, third, fourth, twentieth chance because I never wanted to let go myself. But when you’re making a decision about which people you want to share in a life changing event like a wedding, memories come flooding back that truly make you second guess things. And that’s hard to deal with. I don’t know if I’ll look back and say, “I wish I had invited so-and-so.” But the very small list of friends I have invited are individuals who have actively stayed involved and interested in my life, and genuinely care to make an effort for me. They’re the people that cheer me on or cheer me up, depending on the circumstance. They share their life stories and happily listen to mine. These people give a face to what it means to be a good friend, and I am happy to say they’re my friends. So to those of you that I’ll see on my big day, thank you for being you and being a part of my life. I’m happy to share these memories with you! And to those of you wondering where your invite is, I apologize. But friendships, as with most relationships, require an effort of some kind from each end. And my wedding is an occasion where love of all types is to be celebrated, never questioned.

And as I continue to deal with the constant flow of changing friendships, I’m happy that there are still a few people I know I can always count on to be there, no matter what. And if nothing else, it’s important to always remind yourself that every experience is either a blessing or a lesson. The lessons may be tough sometimes, but we are tougher. Cheers to the future!

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you – even when you don’t see it yourself.”

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