- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dear Ms. Vicki:

I need your help before a wedding takes place next month. I am a maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding. The groom is my best friend, too. All of us went to high school, college and the Air Force Academy together. We are like family.

The bride is a very beautiful woman. She and her fiance really have it together with solid careers, money in the bank, et cetera. They love each other, but I also know her fiance is more invested emotionally. She has always acted like, “Whatever; I can do without him,” while he acts as if he cannot live without her. I´ve tried to stay out of it and provide good counsel to them both.

It has now been revealed that my friend, the bride, slept with the best man. She denied it at first, but people in the best man´s family know what transpired. The groom doesn´t know and probably won´t find out because everyone has vowed never to tell, which is what the bride wants. I feel stuck in the middle, holding the key to this marriage.

They have planned this elaborate full-military ceremony in the D.C. area. I feel that this is a sham and that I should tell the groom. How could I live with myself knowing what has happened? The best man admitted to me that this is not the first time the bride has slept around. She gets every man she wants, and I can barely get a Saturday night date.

So what do I do, Ms. Vicki? Do I keep my nose out of it and pretend it never happened, or do I tell the groom that he is marrying a woman with a mattress on her back?

- Shout It Out!

Dear Shout:

I agree that this elaborate wedding appears to be a sham. However, I must admit I have seen and heard of the same situation before. Someone tells the bride or the groom about one of them cheating, and guess what? The wedding still takes place, and many of the couples are still married today.

If you disclose this information to the groom, be prepared to take the heat. The bride will become angry with you; she will say you are jealous and you are trying to ruin her life. I picked up a jealous tone when you said she gets every man she wants and you can barely get a Saturday night date, but that´s a side issue.

Here are my suggestions. One, you can keep your mouth shut and continue on with the wedding. Two, tell the bride that you know she slept with the best man. Tell her that in good conscience, you cannot keep such a lie to yourself. Let her know she has 24 hours to tell the groom what happened or you will. Three, if she does not come forth and you still think you should disclose this information to the groom, tell him when they are together.

Just know that you may lose friends, and people will be angry with you, accusing you of being a nosy busybody. I hope this helps, and would you please write me back and let me know what happens? I guess I´m being nosy, too.

Dear Ms. Vicki:

I would be happy if you would attend my wedding in September. It will be in the beautiful city of The Washington Times, and your company at my wedding would be well-received.

I´ve been engaged to a military officer for two years and have been planning diligently on my wedding. It will cost around $30,000.

My problem is that my parents are now refusing to pay for it. They want me and my fiance to pay for it. Money isn’t the problem for my parents. They paid the same amounts for my other two sisters’ weddings and also sponsored elaborate rehearsal dinners. My parents say they won’t pay for my wedding because I have been living with my fiance for the past two years, unlike my siblings, who did not live in what they call “sin.”

My parents are big Christians or so-called Christians. They believe living together, or “shacking up,” as they say, is a sin. I´m not going to debate with them because I don´t think it´s any of their business. Who are they to judge me, right? No one can sit it judgment.

All I want is the same as they did for my siblings. They say I should just marry quietly with a justice of the peace because everyone will know that I´m not “pure.” My parents never said if we lived together before marriage they would not pay for my wedding. This was never stated as criteria to have my wedding paid for. Ms. Vicki, how can I convince my parents this is not fair and they need to pay up?

- Wedding Bliss

Dear Bliss:

Your parents have made your “shacking up” their business. It obviously is their criteria for paying or refusing to pay for your wedding. You may need to consider downsizing your wedding to something you and your fiance can afford. There are many Web sites that will show you how to have a wedding for, let´s say, $1,000 or less.

Bliss, I think you must keep things in perspective. You hopefully are marrying the man of your dreams, your soul mate, the one man you love and plan to grow old with until death do you part. My point is that a $30,000 wedding won’t confirm or validate that. The cost of a wedding won´t solidify or sustain a marriage. In my opinion, it wouldn’t matter if it were you and your fiance, a few close relatives and two of your best friends who, along with your priest, pastor, rabbi, et cetera, perform a sincere and heartfelt wedding ceremony in the backyard under a tarp.

Bliss, here´s the deal: I don´t think your parents are going to pay for your wedding. I know you will never think their decision is fair and equitable. However, it is what it is, and they have the right to say no. In other words, you need to start moving forward with other plans because your wedding date is fast approaching. Please leave a place in your heart for reconciliation on this matter with your parents. Thanks for the invitation and keep in touch.

• Vicki Johnson, a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three, has been counseling service members and their families for 15 years. Her column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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