My Best Friend Gave Me the Wrong Dress Code for Her Wedding – I Decided to Outplay Her Smartly

When Emily’s friend, Elle, gets engaged to her boyfriend, Brian, she is completely over the moon. Emily does everything she can to help Elle plan her dream wedding. But then Elle starts acting secretive and gives Emily a wedding invite with the incorrect dress code. Thankfully, a mutual colleague gives Emily the correct details, allowing her to show up to the wedding to teach Elle a lesson.

“I’m engaged, Em!” Elle said, rushing through my door while I was sitting on the couch and reading a book.

“What?” I exclaimed, standing up to hug her tightly. “I’m so happy for you, my girl!”

Elle sat down on the couch and showed me her hand.

“Look at this rock!” she said.

Of course, I was over the moon for her. We’d been through so much together, and now it was her turn to walk down the aisle.

For my wedding, a few years ago, Elle had been right by my side. She helped me plan every little detail, from the font on my wedding invitations to the menu selections.

“It’s more like you and Elle are getting married,” my husband, Grant, laughed one evening when I told him everything that Elle and I had planned.

“Well, she’s been around longer than you,” I replied, showing him the mockup for our wedding invitations.

And it was true, Elle and I had been friends since our childhood, having lived on the same street and gone to the same kindergarten together.

We shared every major milestone, from awkward teenage years to college graduation, together.

We even ended up working at the same company, making sure to have lunch and tea breaks together every day.

So, naturally, I expected her to be just as involved in her wedding planning as she was in mine.

“Brian and I don’t want to be engaged for too long,” she said one day at the office while we were having tea and pastries.

“So, we’re planning for the wedding to be in a few months.”

“That’s a lot to do in a few months, Elle,” I said, sipping my tea.

“I know,” she agreed. “But you’ll help me!”

As the weeks went by, Elle asked me for advice on the venue, the dance, and the flowers.

“I need it to be perfect, Em,” she said. “Brian and I are the only children of our parents, so this is the only chance they’re going to get to be parents of the bride and groom.”

I helped her wherever I could. I booked visits of stunning venues that she could see. I booked her appointment with the florist who had done all the flowers at my wedding. And I arranged for her to meet my choreographer for her first dance with Brian.

“I don’t know how I could have done any of this without you,” Elle said, holding my hand.

But that’s not the best part of this story.

Despite our shared history and all the assistance I had given Elle throughout her wedding planning process, she didn’t tell me anything about the actual wedding.

“I want to keep the location a secret,” she said sheepishly, a small smile on her face. “I want it to be a surprise. So, you’ll know when the invites come out.”

And yet, when the invitations came out, I never received mine.

“Darling,” I asked Grant when I got home one day. “Did Elle’s wedding invitation come in the post?”

“No,” he said, looking up from his tablet. “Shouldn’t she have just given it to you?”

“I thought so, but I’m not sure where our invitation is.”

“Ask her, love,” my husband said.

I was puzzled, but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions.

So, I asked her directly.

“Oh, right,” she said, looking a bit uncomfortable. “I must have forgotten. I don’t have any on me at the moment, but I’ll bring one for you tomorrow!”

The next day, Elle handed me an invite. To my surprise, the dress code was “Mermaid.”

“Like the cartoon character?” I said aloud.

It seemed bizarre, but Elle had always loved that cartoon, so I tried to rationalize it.

“Maybe she’s going for a whimsical theme?” I muttered, thinking about a mermaid-themed wedding.

But still, I planned my outfit for Elle’s wedding.

It was about a week before the wedding when our colleague, Jane, and I were standing outside during one of our tea breaks and chatting.

“I’m actually looking forward to getting all dressed up,” Jane said. “It’s been a while since I put on a good pair of heels and did my makeup for fun and not work.”

“What do you mean? Is your costume all sorted?” I asked.

“What costume?” Jane asked, her reaction priceless; she looked at me like I had lost my mind.

“Elle’s invitation said that the dress code was mermaid-themed,” I said.

“I think she’s joking with you,” Jane laughed. “My invitation said ‘Cocktail’ as the dress code.”

My heart sank.

Elle was setting me up, but why?

For the next few days, I kept my head down, barely interacting with Elle.

I was feeling sidelined and hurt. We’d always been honest with each other, so why was she doing this now?

I remembered how supportive she was during my wedding and couldn’t understand why she didn’t want me involved in hers.

On the day of the wedding, I arrived in a long, elegant gray dress.

Grant and I sat at the back, away from the crowd, and we watched the beautiful ceremony unfold. I wondered why I wasn’t a bridesmaid.

But it was only during the reception, when Elle saw me, that the truth came out.

“What the hell are you wearing?” she demanded when she saw me.

The guests around us glanced at us and each other, sensing the tension.

“You know, I really thought that ‘mermaids’ as the wedding theme was a bit extreme. But then Jane showed me her invitation.”

Elle’s face went through a range of emotions, finally settling on a strained calm.

“Em… I guess it was a mistake,” she said.

“Stop pretending,” I said, my voice firm but gentle. “I’m your friend. It’s your wedding. What’s going on?”

She hesitated, her eyes darting around before finally meeting mine.

“Em,” she said slowly. “I was afraid that you’d outshine me. Everyone keeps talking about how perfect your wedding was and how beautiful you looked. I didn’t want to feel like I was in your shadow on my own day.”

I looked at her carefully, trying to process her words.

“My own mother kept talking about how wonderful your wedding was and that I should listen to you about everything,” she continued.

“Elle, you never had to compete with me. Your wedding is beautiful, and so are you. We’re friends, remember? I would never try to overshadow you.”

Tears welled up in her eyes.

“I’m so sorry, Em,” she choked. “I let my insecurities get the best of me.”

I pulled her into a hug.

“Everything is perfect,” I said. “You’ve planned your dream wedding, and it has all fallen into place. Now, come on. Let’s enjoy this day together, like we’ve always done.”

The tension melted away, and the awkwardness dissolved as we shared a genuine moment of reconciliation.

Grant and I sat at a table away from the crowd.

“Are things okay with you and Elle?” Grant asked me.

“I think so,” I smiled. “But I think that there’s bigger things we need to discuss, too. I just want to make sure that we’re on the right page. That can wait until after her honeymoon.”

My husband took my hand and squeezed it gently.

What would you have done?

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