Sometimes the greatest gift you can give is just to be quiet.
That's a lesson one wedding guest sadly had to learn the hard way after the bride shot down her "gift" of a song.
Now, however, the bride is feeling a little bit guilty about telling her singer friend no. She visited the popular subReddit "Am I The A**hole?" to see whether she had done anything wrong.
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
"This is very awkward and I'm not sure who to ask so I decided to post on here. My boyfriend proposed last year around Christmas, and of course I immediately said yes and together we have been very excitedly planning our wedding. We were due for September this year but have obviously put everything on halt."
"One of my friends, Abigail, is a singer. She has a very gospel-ly kinda voice but as awful as it sounds all I think when she sings is 'this is warbly' and I have to fight to keep a straight face. She's not awful, but it's really not my cup of tea."
"Obviously I would never say that to her but I do encourage her passion because one day she wants to turn her hobby into a career. I always respond in the group chat with constructive feedback when she sends us voice clips asking for it and if it's very bad I'll just stay quiet and not say anything at all."
"Now recently in January a little known music producer (I think) retweeted a video of her singing and she has taken this as her sign that she is about to break it big. She asked why I hadn't asked her to sing in our wedding, and I answered honestly that I want her there in a friend capacity, not there to work. She then said she insisted on 'gifting' us the song to our first dance."
"I really, really don't want her to do this so I told her I would need to square it with my fiancé as we are making all decisions together. Thankfully he was on board with me and I texted her ASAP to say that fiancé wasn't keen on the idea because he really wants x band to play instead."
"She became upset in our chat group and quite a few of my friends are texting me telling me I should give her the platform and that I'm being a bad friend and an asshole, and that I'm being selfish."
Reddit users encouraged the Original Poster (OP) to be strong and stand up for what she wants.
"NTA, here it goes, my friend. The second anybody you know hears about your wedding, they're going to start telling you what to do. But it's YOUR wedding and if you don't want your first dance to be sang by someone whose voice you don't care for, you have every right to do something else. Put your foot down and let Abigail stay butthurt. Your wedding is about YOU, not her." -keatonpotat0es
If there's any day you can be selfish, it's your wedding day.
"Exactly this. My wife and I had a blast planning our wedding...when we were doing it. Once family gets involved and voices their opinion, that's when stuff starts to suck. Guest list and seating arrangement was an absolute nightmare, but bride and groom get final say over what's done. It's nobody else's day. It's your day to be selfish and plan the party the way you want it. Definitely NTA." -sarcastic_patriot
Sometimes people push back until it becomes clear how important an issue is to you.
"This. My the only thing i really really wanted was to walk down the aisle to 'zelda's lullaby' but the priest said no (catholic wedding). So my mom ripped him a new one because we had already given up a unity candle because he said no. And this song was the only thing i really really wanted."
"Later that morning, we got a call from him, song and candle were both a go. Moral of the story, its YOUR wedding. Not your friend's. NTA." -Ember2010
Reddit's professional musicians also felt the friend's behavior was quite unprofessional.
"This is so annoying, if she thinks she's talented enough to perform weddings she can put up a website with demos of her singing, collaborate with a pianist, and charge for her services. The fact that she can't/isn't doing that shows she's obv not ready."
"I'm a professional musician and after hundreds of weddings, trust me, we're over it - it's just work. Most of my family have asked me to play at their weddings and I'm happy to, but it's also really nice to just relax and be there as a guest, no way in hell would I demand for someone to let me work... for free, ha."
"Has she had any lessons? if there was some way to encourage her without offending, she'd benefit from some lessons with a professor at a local college. They are blunt, and if you want to succeed bad enough you learn to appreciate that bluntness and use the information to get better." -MenacingJowls
A true friend wouldn't need a "platform" at another friend's wedding.
"Agree the wedding is about OP, not her friend. I find it weird that her other friends think that she somehow owes the singer friend a platform. It isn't a place to showcase her singing--it's her friend's wedding. OP, you are NTA and you are absolutely not selfish for not giving your friend a platform at your wedding. If anything, the friend is selfish for insisting/expecting it." -IwantAnIguana
Though having a friend sing at your wedding can in some cases turn out fine, it can also produce true horror stories.
"Hijacking this to say that I was at a wedding where the bride & groom let our other friend "gift" them a song. Singing was this persons whole persona, and getting praise at karaoke places was what we all often heard about; but none of us had ever been to karaoke with her."
"We couldn't have known how bad it was going to be. She is legitimately tone deaf. I've never heard someone sing so wrong before. It's like the uncanny valley of noise; it's indescribable how offputting it is to hear. So, about one line in, immediately everyone's face changed and everyone started glancing around to see if everyone else was participating in this train wreck."
"So basically, everyone was taken completely out of the moment and distracted by how bad it was, instead of being immersed in celebrating with the happy couple. To this day, I've probably talked about her horrible singing more than I have their wedding." -artbypep
The only way anyone suggested OP change her behavior was to be even more honest.
"I agree 100% to the NTA, but I sorta feel OP may have dug this hole themselves by not being open with their friend about their taste in music from the start..."
"I can understand not wanting to offend people by giving harsh criticism, especially friends (and saying 'your singing just isn't my style of music, sorry' does fit into that area to an extent for some people, though I mostly mean the sticking to not saying anything if you've got nothing good to say bit in OP's post) but they said their friend wants to make this a career, and not just a hobby, and that they ask OP for constructive criticism right?"
"Well that's the kind of point someone in the creative arts would WANT criticism, whether it's harsh or not. Personally I've been trying to turn writing stories into a career, and if the people I send my writing to and I trust told me it was shit? I'd respect that and try and see from where they are seeing it."
"Would I feel horrible? Yes. Would I feel like I just wanted to find a hole to crawl into and die? Yes, but that's what comes par for the course with creative ventures! If you can't take harsh criticism from your own friends, then how can you possibly take the inevitable harsh criticism from strangers?"
"I think you, OP, should've just said your true feelings from the start. I understand the worry of 'what if they hate me for it?!' as I go through that same thought process all the time. I just think that there's no point getting stuck worrying about things like that. Either way, you don't have to find a way to explain your feelings in 10 words or 20 like in movies and tv shows and such, you can explain it in a 100 or a thousand, even tens of thousands of words if that's what you need."
"And if that's not enough? Then that wasn't a friendship that would be worth keeping if you can't respect each others opinion, however differing they are. Either way: a friendship built on lies isn't a friendship, it's coexistence." -RemLandova
Sometimes a simple "no" is most effective.
"NTA. Planning your wedding is a perfect time to learn to set boundaries, you'll need them your whole married life (and for all of life!) so start practicing saying, 'No thank you, we're going a different direction.' The problem is you've been offering explanations with your "soft no" that gives friend the opportunity to 'solve' the exception and argue with you."
"Stop offering explanations and reasons, just a simple, 'No thank you.' Remember 'No.' is a complete sentence and you don't have to justify your choices to anyone. I also agree with posters who say that this isn't a 'gift' it's her trying to find a stage on which to perform, and, likely get some promotional video." -YinzerChick70
It seems OP is going to have to have another slightly uncomfortable chat with her singer friend, but it will surely be worth it when her first dance turns out the way she wants.