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A Wedding Surprise

Ask Alma

Alma Gill | 10/14/2015, 1:05 p.m.
Dear Alma, I'm so embarrassed. I feel just terrible. My cousin who still lives in the old neighborhood where we ...
Alma Gill

Dear Alma,

I'm so embarrassed. I feel just terrible. My cousin who still lives in the old neighborhood where we grew up asked me to help out with a wedding. She needed some extra hands at the reception. It was no biggie, I had done it before, so I said ok and didn't really think twice about it. We're close in age but went to two different high schools.

So when I asked about the bride, she told me her name but it didn't ring a bell. My instructions were to show up at the wedding and reception ready to work. And that's what I did.

Low and behold I was completely shocked when I saw the groom. He was my high school best friend's husband. OMG, I had no idea! I heard that they'd had an awful breakup because he was having an affair, but that's all I knew. I didn't even know they were divorced. Anyway, there I was, stuck, assisting the event planner with a wedding that if I had had any idea who the groom was, I would not have been there. Honestly, I hadn't talked to this old friend in a long, long time. I left and went away to college and just lost touch. But I feel terrible. I'm sure she heard I was at the wedding and I hate that she probably thinks that I'm totally ok with him having an affair and then marrying the woman, but I'm not. I mean, whatever happened is none of my business, but more than that, I surely wouldn't have been a part of it had I known it was her ex-husband. What can I do to make it right with my friend?

Wedding Regretter,

Drive to her house Mz. Minnie Mouse, early, on a Sunday morning. People seem more relaxed early on Sunday morning. Take two cups of coffee, a homemade lemon glazed pound cake and a large piece of your heart. Tell her, straight up, "I had no idea she was marrying your husband." Explain how you were asked to be an extra hand at the reception, which turned into assisting with the wedding as well. Let her see your honesty. I can tell this is very important to you, otherwise you wouldn't care how she was feeling.

Fall on the knife, girl, and ask her to pull it out. You can put a bandage on yourself later. Accept whatever she throws at you. You deserve it. You wanna know why? Let me put it like this: If I offered you $100,000 to jump out of a plane without a parachute, would you do it? I bet you said no. Just wait, you didn't let me finish.

What if I told you, the plane was on the ground? Mmhmm!! Life Lesson: Know all the facts before you make up your mind. You committed to this wedding before you had all the facts - really before you had any facts. When this happens, trust me, you open yourself up to making all kinds of mistakes. I applaud you for longing to apologize for this unexpected, unanticipated crash and burn.

After your apology over cake and coffee, give her a hug and say goodbye. Leave the leftover cake, don't make this visit long and drawn out. If you want to rekindle your friendship, devote attention to that another time. I respect you for finding it necessary to stand up and do what you feel is the right thing. Making amends when you've been imperfect. You're my kind of woman, you've got a good heart. I hope you can carve out some time for her. I suspect, right about now, she could use some belly laughs with a really good friend who knew her when.

Alma Alma Gill's newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: alwaysaskalma@gmail.com