There are some things most of us just know not to do when our best friends get married: Badger the couple for a plus one when we didn't get one, wear white, get so drunk we end up passing out face-down in a slice of cake.
Other parts of 21st-century wedding etiquette are more iffy: When is it okay to take photos during the ceremony? Do you really have a whole year to give a wedding gift? And should you stick to gifts from the registry? (A strong "yes" to the last one, if you ask me.)
So which camp does staging a surprise proposal to your girlfriend in the middle of your best friend's wedding ceremony — and revealing her pregnancy — fall into? Judging by the outrage on the internet over just such an incident, it's the first one.
"My husband and I started dating, got pregnant, had a child, moved in together, bought a house, and got a dog in that order. Our friends and family have asked us for years why we weren’t married yet. We always pushed it off to build better lives. We’ve done really well for ourselves and finally reached a point where we could afford a huge blowout wedding to celebrate our lives with everyone we know and love. My husband’s best friend, 'John,' was the best man/officiant. The setting was beautiful, everyone seemed happy, our families were overjoyed. My mom may have used the phrase hallelujah a few dozen times. The entire atmosphere felt moving. So moving in fact that John stopped mid-ceremony to propose to his longtime girlfriend, 'Jane,' and reveal her pregnancy. I couldn’t even hear the vows my husband wrote or the rest of the ceremony over the noise of Jane’s happy sobs, her very surprised family who were also guests, and people seated nearby congratulating her. Even the videographer cut to her frequently during the ceremony, and you can’t hear anything over the chatter. When John gave his toast, he apologized for being caught up in the moment, and then proceeded to talk about he and Jane’s future with nary a mention of us.
"During the reception John and Jane became the primary focus of our guests. John even went out of his way to ask the band for a special dance for just him and Jane on the dance floor. I’ve never been an attention hog, and I wouldn’t even have minded if he’d proposed after the ceremony, but weeks later I am still seething. I am so shocked and angry that I keep asking myself if this is real life. My husband hasn’t spoken to John since the wedding, and our mutual friends think what he did was rude but that my husband should just get over it. My husband has joked that he’ll resume his friendship when John and Jane give him a $40,000 check for 'their half of the wedding.' Do you think John’s behavior warrants the end of a long-term friendship, or are we angry over nothing?"
Prudence responded that while this may not be cause to completely cut off their friend, it's worth having a conversation about.
"I think it merits a fight! In between 'getting over it' and 'never speaking to John again' is the happy medium of 'having a difficult conversation with a longtime friend who did something selfish and self-absorbed on your wedding day.' He’s your husband’s best friend, so your husband should tell John just how upset his behavior during your wedding made him. Maybe John will apologize and the two of them can have a meaningful reconciliation and build a better friendship as a result. Maybe John will double down and dismiss your husband’s feelings, and things will naturally fall apart between them. Whatever the outcome, there is definitely at least one step in between 'seething silently' and 'cutting John loose forever,' especially since the two of them have been best friends for a long time."
Our take? While "John's" intentions may have been pure, this was a rude and self-absorbed thing to do. Even when caught up in planning a romantic proposal, an adult should have the foresight to consider his friend and understand the fact that turning the attention away from the couple at their own wedding might piss them off just a little bit. He could have asked the couple for permission beforehand, and planned a time to propose — perhaps after the ceremony, like the bride wrote, or at the tail end of the reception — instead of just busting in. Someone else's wedding is not the time to announce your own news.
Sure, this doesn't mean the friendship should automatically be over, but the couple does deserve a meaningful apology.