SALT LAKE CITY, July 5, 2013 — Dear Angela, A friend of mine got married a year ago, divorced a few months ago, and is already getting married again to this new guy in a few weeks! Crazy.
For her first wedding, she asked me to be a bridesmaid. I accepted the invitation because she’s a dear friend of mine, but the cost of airfare, the bridesmaid dress, alternations on the dress, a gift, and the hotel nearly broke my bank. Surprisingly, she’s having another huge wedding and has asked me to be a bridesmaid again with pretty much all the same expenses included. Now that I’m in school, planning my own wedding and only working part-time, I really can’t afford it to do all of the things that come with being a bridesmaid.
I would just explain my situation to her, but other bridesmaids have dropped out of the wedding party because of the large costs and their choices have really hurt her feelings. She’s been gossiping about them to me, saying she’s cried over the situation and has decided that they probably were never real friends to begin with. So much drama.
I’ve been considering biting the bullet and paying for it, but honestly, it just doesn’t work. How can I decline her invitation without being lumped into this “bad friend” group? I really love her, and this is seriously only about the money.
Wow. Sometimes brides can “over-bride” a situation, and this sounds like a prime example of that. “Over-bride” isn’t in the dictionary, but it essentially means to expect anything and everything from the people who know you, and then to get angry with them when they don’t or can’t deliver.
It’s the worst.
In your situation, to really be a good friend, help her to stop “over-briding.” The reality is she has friends who love her, so they shelled out a bunch of money to be there for her special day. Now she’s having another special day and people can’t afford it. That doesn’t make you guys bad friends, or malicious people, it just means that you have car payments, loans, insurance, and electricity bills just like everyone else.
Be open about your financial situation. You don’t have to be, but it will give her a much needed reality check. Tell her you’re concerned that you might not be the best bridesmaid choice because you wouldn’t be able to participate in X,Y and Z activities because your finances are being allocated elsewhere.
If she’s still unreasonable, tell her how that makes you feel. Wedding or no wedding, as friends, you both have an obligation (and a privilege!) to respect and have concern for each other’s points of view. Hopefully, by engaging in this type of conversation, she will realize that she doesn’t need to throw away years of friendship just because her friends can’t make this grand gesture twice.
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