• Mon, Aug 16 2010

Bitch, Please: What Your Friend Isn’t Telling You About Being A Bridesmaid

Do you have issues with your no-longer-best girlfriend? Is your coworker driving you crazy? Megan Carpentier is here to give you the life advice that you don’t want to hear, told in the way you absolutely need to hear it.

You wrote last week how that girl could get out of being a bridesmaid, but how do you kick a bridesmaid out? I asked one of my best friends to be a bridesmaid and she said yes, but then when I told her we were doing a church wedding after all, she got this look on her face; when I told her that I changed my mind about having them wear their own dresses and told her to go to David’s to buy hers, I heard she told one of the other girls that she hadn’t signed up for this. I mean, this is my special day and I want everything to be perfect, and I feel like her attitude is just bringing the whole day down. I mean, she even bailed on helping me make favors one night and called my bachelorette plans “kind of tacky.” So how do I kick her out without ruining our friendship? I mean, her dinner’s already paid for and stuff, but I don’t think her dress is.

Well, you could do what my friend did to me after she first invited me to be in her wedding and then disinvited me: she called me up and asked me to go to brunch to go wedding dress shopping, then told me in between mimosas one and two that she had “mistakenly” invited 6 other women to be in her wedding party. She added that she’d decided to cull her party by having one bridesmaid from each era of her life and that, since I wasn’t her “best-best” friend from college, I was out. Then she made me go wedding dress shopping. Of course, you might also want to consider the upshot: we’re not really friends anymore.

Look, it sounds like you invited her to be in your wedding and presented her with three conditions on which she could make her decision (because, after all, it is a decision): that she was important enough to you to be asked; that it wouldn’t be a religious ceremony; and that she wouldn’t have to buy a likely expensive and usually unflattering dress. And then you changed at least two of the conditions — which may well have been important considerations for her — and now you’re saying that, in effect, the first condition doesn’t apply if she has the audacity to snark about the other two.

And, fair enough: it is, indeed, your wedding. But there’s no way to disinvite a friend and tell her it’s because she’s not being sufficiently obsequious to the awesomeness of your plans (especially when it’s based on one look, a secondhand gossip item and the idea that your bachelorette party is “kind of tacky” which is, I thought, the point of bachelorette parties) and save the friendship — let alone ensure her attendance so you don’t eat the cost of her meal. And, if she did already buy the dress you asked her to buy you should, at the very least, offer to buy it off of her if you are really going to kick her out of your wedding.

But, maybe it’s worth having a conversation with her first! A nonjudgmental one, preferably, that starts with something like, “Hey, I know that when I first invited you to be a part of my wedding, I initially thought it would be one thing, and that what it’s turned into is slightly different, in between our decision to have a religious ceremony and go with more traditionally bridesmaidy outfits. I get the sense that maybe you like the initial ideas better? Is there something I don’t know about either issues you have with religion or difficulty around buying the dress?” And if she does, indeed, have issues participating in a religious service or difficulties buying the dress, you can then maybe offer to let her out of her obligations by saying something like, “I totally understand your objections, and I appreciate your sense of respect for our friendship that you were willing to still be there for me despite them. But if these things are really important to you, I should show you the same respect and let you opt out, since it was me that changed the ground rules. I mean, I love you and I would love for you to be there in this way, but if that’s not possible, I would still love for you to be my guest and whatever part of my day makes the most sense to you.”

And if it just comes down to the expense of the dress — hey, it is a recession, you know — it might be worth considering how much the friendship is worth to you, quite substantively and help her out with the cost.

If you have a problem with a friend, relative, coworker, or other person in your life, email Megan at advice@thegloss.com. If you have a problem with your boyfriend, you should probably just try talking to him.

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  • CurlySarah29

    I think this is good advice. While, as bridesmaids, we basically “have to” do what the bride asks of us, a lot of times, what that is, turns out to be a lot more than what we bargained for – one way or another. It sucks to have to consider asking out of a wedding party, or asking your friend to step out. Just keep in mind that it’s your wedding, and everyone is entitled to their opinions and that the way other people do things, isn’t the way you necessarily would. But that’s OK! As long as you’re both adults about it…

  • Amy

    Something I think the bride is forgetting is that being a bridesmaid is a pain in the ass. Her friend is doing her a huge favor, and is investing time, money and having to deal her the other (apparently, immature and gossipy) bridesmaids.
    Maybe the friend is reacting negatively to being tricked into accepting bigger investment then she was obviously prepared for. Agreeing to being a bridesmaid isn’t agreeing to taking orders and being treated like a servant.
    Remind you friend how grateful you are that she is doing you this favor, and if buying a dress wasn’t part of the original deal, INSIST on paying for it.

  • Kait

    “I mean, this is my special day and I want everything to be perfect.”

    Ughhhhhhhh.

  • Erin

    It’s been my experience that your coolest, most down to earth girlfriends (the the best bride to be intentions) quickly forget that they told you they “don’t want to put you out” and that they aren’t going to “pick a really expensive dress”. So you agree to be in the wedding, and suddenly your spend thrift friend, who’s forgotten your birthday more than once and never spent any money on you at all, is now asking you to buy a ridiculously expensive, usually ugly, can’t wear it again dress. Then they decide that it’s their day and they are going to torture you for the year leading up to it. The bride in this case is a jerk. She changed the terms of the agreement. getting married is about MARRIAGE. It’s not about making people do what you want and wear what you want to your celebration. Maybe if we all focused less on David’s bridal, and unnecessary limo rides to the bachelorette party, we’d lower the divorce rate.

    Furthermore, the groomsmen typically incur very little expense to be in a wedding. They have a tux rental and a bachelor party. They don’t have countless brunches, showers, dress fittings and alterations.

    I still, for the life of me, can’t figure out why my friends think I should put my financial goals and my life on hold to wear an ugly dress and waltz down the aisle. I’d rather split the difference, not be in the wedding, and give them half the money I would have spent doing and wearing things I will later resent them for.

    Being a bridesmaid sucks. Its more like slavery and less about sisterhood and marriage.

    • Erin

      (*with the best bride-to-be intentions)

    • casino

      So. So. True.

      Preach it.