Watching as a lifelong friend goes through an important life event, like getting a promotion or getting married, is certainly a reason to celebrate.
But it’s a terrible feeling if they suddenly take advantage of that friendship in favor of their big event, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor pianowedding64 was excited about her childhood friend getting married, at least until the bride started pressuring her to play piano for the wedding, for free.
When the bride and her friends were furious with her, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was being selfish by declining.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not fulfilling my friend’s request for her wedding?”
The OP was excited about her childhood friend’s wedding.
“My (23 Female) friend, Lisa (24 Female), is getting married in October.”
“I have known Lisa since we were around 11 years old, so when I heard she was getting married, I was extremely excited.”
“She let me be a part of the wedding planning, and we discussed all the things she wanted at her wedding.”
Things changed when the subject of music came up.
“We came to the topic of music, and Lisa really wanted live music from a pianist.”
“I told her that it was a great idea, but it would be a bit pricy.”
“She then got the idea that I should be the pianist for the wedding, that way it would be for free.”
The OP had concerns about this idea.
“I played piano from when I was about 10-15. However, I quit because I started developing pains in my hand, and I was just no longer interested in the instrument.”
“I told her that while I appreciate the offer, I wouldn’t feel comfortable enough to play due to my hand issues and skill.”
“She got really upset at this and begged me, because they really wanted live music but couldn’t afford it, and I was the only outlet.”
“I told her no once again, and she got mad at me and got quiet the rest of the night.”
The bride wasn’t the only one who was upset.
“That morning, a few of our friends texted me, saying that I should feel ashamed for not wanting to do a favor for a close friend.”
“They told me I should just get lessons to refresh my skills if I’m so embarrassed.”
“But when I asked if anyone would pay for these lessons, they told me that it’s my responsibility.”
“I feel really torn because my family is on my side, but all my friends (except a few) are telling me that I need to do this.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the friend was delusional to not want to pay the OP to perform.
“NTA. If she appreciates any musician’s work, she should pay them! I’m so tired of people expecting artists to work for free.”
“On top of that, you explained why you can’t, and for her to not respect that is even ruder.”
“Weddings bring out the worst in people sometimes and this is one of those times. The bride is the AH, big time.” – MidniteProph
“NTA. You aren’t the on-call pianist. The only reason she asked you was because she knew it would be free.”
“Artists of all kinds work and sacrifice to get to where they are. They, and you, shouldn’t be taken for granted. She’s and the friends are definitely TAs.” – juliekelleher57
“NTA. That cheap manipulative AH.”
“You haven’t played in 8 years due to injury and she wants you to play at her wedding to save money??”
“Why don’t the friends take lessons themselves? I’m sure if they each learned a piece, they can cover the whole ceremony.” – cassowary32
“My daughter’s 1-hour weekly piano lessons are $200 per month. So they want you to pay $600 for the privilege and expectation to play at a wedding you don’t want to play at?”
“Tell your friends, all of them, that they are certifiably insane. Her expectations should not cost you $600 and 6 – 10 hours per week of practice from now until her wedding.”
“If a pianist was so important, she should have budgeted for it.”
“She can moan, groan, complain and pout about it, but again, if this was actually important to her, she would have budgeted for it in the beginning.” – Avoidingthecrap
“NTA. She’s probably more upset that she doesn’t think she can afford live music and you just happen to be where she’s venting right now.”
“If you feel guilty, I’d ask myself, ‘How happy would she be if I agreed to play and I sounded awful because I haven’t played in 8 years? How happy would she be if I could only play for an hour because I no longer have the finger strength and stamina, but still have the hand injuries?'”
“Also ask yourself, ‘What part of her not being able to afford a pianist means I need to pay for hours of lessons, put in countless hours of practice, then work for free at a wedding?'”
“Your friends who are telling you to be ashamed of yourself are also AHs. They can raise a collection for a pianist or take lessons themselves if they’re so concerned.” – Forsaken_Ebb_1884
“She didn’t just get the idea of you doing it after you told her it could be expensive. That’s what she wanted all along because god forbid entitled brides to have to pay for their own luxuries.”
“Tell your friend to look into hiring current students to try to get a better rate. If that’s not manageable, she can use a recording like so many brides before her.” – jenkinsburns
“50 hours x $80/ hour for lessons = $4,000.”
“Plus another 200 hours or more practicing. If you value the OPs time at $20/ hour, that’s another $4,000.”
“All so she can sit in a corner and not be able to socialize or dance at the event.”
“That’s a hell of a wedding gift.”
“But the bride would probably still expect the OP to buy something off of the Wedding Registry as well. LOL.” – Dennis_Ogre
Others pointed out that “no” was always a complete sentence.
“100% NTA. She asked and you said no. She’s ignoring a clear boundary. She’s also expecting you to work at a wedding for free.”
“Not only is she an AH, but so are your friends. Stay strong and don’t cave!” – Alternative_Tie_4220
“NTA. If you don’t feel you’re up to the event then you shouldn’t do it. It could turn out really bad.” – SoSleepySue
“Girl, hold up.”
“1. You played for 5 years, a decade ago.”
“2. It caused pain.”
“3. Friend asked if you’d play at her wedding, for FREE.”
“4. You declined (and explained why, but you frankly didn’t even need to).”
“5. She persisted and guilt tripped you about it (which is gross, plus her financial issues aren’t your problem).”
“6. Apparently, she complained and/or spun a story about this to others, which is… really immature. Have you spoken to these friends yourself? Do you know they have the correct version of the situation?”
“NTA. Just….. Don’t deal with all this drama, the lessons, and the high-pressure favor unless you know it’s for someone who values your friendship (and seriously, don’t do it for free).” – kyl_r
“Since the friends want you to take lessons to refresh your skills ask them to pay for them. Ok, I’ll wait (insert crickets).”
“Now let’s address Bridezilla: She asked. You declined.”
“Your hands. Your Talent. Your choice.”
“Let her and her friends know that you did not decline just because you don’t want to but for physical reasons.”
“Do not feel guilty. No means no.” – stinstin555
“NTA. She’s no friend if she can’t respect your reasons behind your refusal.”
“Remember, you only need to state your position ONCE. Don’t keep providing explanations to her or anyone else.”
“The wedding won’t collapse if you don’t perform. She’s being a bridezilla.” – diskebbin
“Why do I think the only reason the bride ‘let’ the OP (who is not a bridesmaid) ‘help’ with wedding planning is because getting OP’s free services as a pianist was the bride’s end game?”
“OP, when you help someone with their wedding planning, they are not ‘letting’ you do it as a favor to you. They are asking you to be the one doing them the favor. And you are always entitled to say ‘No’ for any reason. You are also entitled to say ‘No’ without providing any reasons.” – cat-lover76
“I used to gig clarinet for events as a teenager. I could do a 2-hour event without any issues and with plenty of music on rotation.”
“It’s been about 10 years since I did that though. I could not in any way play live music for an event at this point. It’s been too long since I’ve practiced that much, memorized or familiarized myself with dozens of songs, and straight up my stamina is no longer there.”
“I can’t imagine how rough an event like this would be on OP’s hands, since she mentioned hand or nerve issues. It would be murder on her.”
“The bride should look into a local music school as a suggestion, though, as that’s how I got my start!” – dreisamkatze
A few joked about how to deter the bride from thinking this was a good idea.
“Does she really want to walk down the aisle to ‘Chopsticks’? Cause so many years removed from practice isn’t gonna leave a ton of options on the table.” – 9311chi
“I suppose you could always agree, put together a list of tunes within your skillset (‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,’ ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,’ ‘Chopsticks,’ ‘The Entertainer’ (but right hand only) and ask her if these are what she had in mind.”
“If she balks and demands more, point out she’ll need to hire a professional or merely stream some piano tunes through her phone, no bathroom breaks or tip jars required.” – JeepersCreepers74
“Play her some of that really difficult Chopin, with no prior practice.” – HuggyMonster69
“I’m sure I could muster up ‘Here Comes The Bride’ on a kazoo if the friend wanted me to.” – HokeyPokeyGuestList
The subReddit was left shaking their heads collectively over the audacity of this bride.
Live music is lovely, no question, but it should not come at the expense of a friend’s health, respect for that friend, or the friendship as a whole.
The subReddit absolutely agreed that the OP was right to stand up for what she needed physically and for being concerned about not being compensated at all.
If the bride really wanted live music, she would just have to look into other options like any other bride.