Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wedding Woes

Ok gals I need advice.

This is a long one- so get comfy.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from one of my bridesmaids lamenting that she will be unable to pay for her dress by December which is the month that I had predetermined I would be comfortable with ordering in. She wrote that she understood if she couldn't be a bridesmaid and that her children (the flower girl and ring bearer) could still be a part of the wedding even if she could not.

I called her immediately letting her know that I could give her until the middle of January but that would be the latest. I told her that hse was important to me and that I wanted to do what I could to make things easier for her. At that time though I also made sure that she knew what the other expenses were that she would be expected to cover as a bridesmaid so that there would be no surprises later. She assured me that after Christmas she would be okay to contribute and all could continue as planned.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday. I got a call from the salon where I selected the dresses informing me that the style I selected for the bridesmaids was being discontinued and the order would need to be placed ASAP to ensure that we could get all of the dresses. When I heard this my heart sunk - I knew that this bridesmaid would not be able to afford the full cost of the dress up front at this time. So I asked the sales rep. if it was possible to put money down and pay later for this particular girl. After checking with her manager she told me that 60% would secure the dress.

I relayed this information back to my bridesmaid who said that she could still not afford 60%. I mentally went back to the drawing board and decided that since the other style of dress - the one intended for my sisters who are co-matrons of honor, had not been discontinued that I would put this bridesmaid and my bff in those too allowing more time for her to accumulate the money.

I went to the salon with two of my girls today hoping to be met with success only to find out that BOTH of the dresses were in fact discontinued. Not only that but I tried the second style on my bff and it looked not so good on her- whereas the original style looked adorable.

So the two girls I had with me were fitted and paid for their dresses - leaving me with this last bridesmaid and no possible dress. I called her and asked if there was anything that she could contribute to them in the month of December and she said flat out no. Not I can try, not let me do some re-budgeting, nothing. So I told her that unfortunately I would be sending the dress order in without her dress and that though I still want her to be a part of my day- she could no longer be a bridesmaid.

What I didn't tell her was that had she even offered to pay half of the deposit needed to buy the dress- I would have gone the other half. I was so shocked that she wasn't even going to attempt a solution that I didn't throw my Christmas money out there for her taking - because she's the type of girl I wouldn't get it back from.

To be perfectly honest I knew she was going to be a problem financially from the get-go but I was willing to work on it with her. This was completely out of my hands. I fell in love with and picked those dresses back in April - this bridesmaid and all of the others have had months to prepare knowing that I expected to place the order in December. Half of my girls had already been fitted and had paid- there is no going back- and to be honest I don't want to - I love those dresses!

My advice seeking here is this:

Was I being too stand-offish in not offering to pay for the dress out right- I mean its Christmas time here too -not only that but Ben and I are financing our own wedding right now- but was I wrong in not out right offering?

If I'm not going to pay for her dress (which at this point I'm not planning to) and she's not going to either, is it ok to ask another friend to step in and offer to pay her portion because its so last minute? I know that sounds mean why would I pay for one and not the other- but the original girl has known she was going to be a bridesmaid since last February she's had plenty of time- this other friend has been asked to do a reading not be a bridesmaid and hasn't been preparing to pony up the cash. Am I wrong here? Also what would be the best way to ask the new girl without making her feel she's second choice?

I just want to do this appropriately and not put anyone out. There is still 6.5 months until the wedding so I don't feel like its too close to ask someone else to be a bridesmaid but I don't want to alienate the original girl either.

What should I do?

What would you do?


Miss Amber Lane


Rachel Ann said...

I think you were perfectly fine in asking her to step down. Having bought the dress, I know that it wasn't like you picked out a super expensive design that was out of a normal price range. It is actually less than I would expect to spend as a bridesmaid. If she can't pay for part of the dress or at least try to make it work, what happens when she needs shoes, jewelry, bachelorette party expenses, etc.?

skinnybitching said...

i think you handled the situation well, and that's a hard one to take! did the store give you an absolute deadline as to when the dresses had to be ordered by? i was told my wedding dress was a discontinued design when i first tried it on, and had to order asap. i wasn't ready to make the commitment and it was still available when i went back to order a little over a month later... so maybe january won't be too late? just a thought!

Somewhere In Between said...

I've been on BOTH sides of this conundrum, and it makes for a difficult situation, no matter what the outcome.

Years ago when I was engaged, we ordered the dresses ahead of time, and suddenly, one of the bridesmaids told me she just couldn't be in the wedding (and I wound up footing the bill because we had pre-ordered everything on my credit card) the end, the wedding was cancelled and I now own 6 bridesmaid dresses that will never be worn (I couldn't make the girls pay for a dress that they'd never wear because of me), but I was off-put by the fact that the girl had known that I'd already ordered and paid for the dress, then suddenly she couldn't afford it cause she was going on vacation with her boyfriend...that put a bit of a strain on our friendship.

Cut to this month, when one of my best friends whose wedding I am in next October called and said she wanted everyone to have their dress orders in and paid for, "just to be sure there was enough time for everything." Unlike your situation, nothing has been discontinued, she just wanted to be prepared (which seems a little outlandish because the wedding is not for 10+ months, and the dresses will be ready in a month). The thing is, my boyfriend had lost his job after I had already agreed to be in the wedding, and I've been paying for both of our expenses for 3 months (he is now working again, but my funds are drained and I "cancelled" Christmas because of a lack of funding). She didn't pick out a ridiculously expensive dress, but a large deposit had to be put down to secure the dress, and when you are in financial straights, every last penny counts. We didn't have ample time to know when the dresses needed to be ordered - it was just sprung on us. I ordered the dress because I just didn't want to deal with it, but it really caused a strain. SO I would say, if your bridesmaids have known for a good amount of time when the dresses needed to be ordered, then by no means were you out of line to ask her to step down. If it was similar to my situation and it was sprung on her, I could see how she might be offended. Unfortunately, there may be no clear cut way to avoid alienating the original girl, as she may resent the fact that she couldn't be in the wedding...but she also has to realize that you had deadlines as well, so it may just be a matter of how she takes it...I wish there were an easy answer for you!! Good luck with the outcome :)

Liana said...

i think it was totally fine that you asked her to step down. I think you assume when someone asks you to be in the wedding that you need to think if you can afford it. Iwould in no buy it for her, she should have met you half way or at least tried. i'm so sorry you hve to deal with this, i bet it's the last thing you'd like to worry about :)

Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition said...

I honestly think you handled the situation very well. It's the bridesmaids' resonsibility to cover the cost of the dress, everyone knows that. You were a sweetheart to have even been as patient as you were!

Anonymous said...

I would excuse her as the bridesmaid, and go with one less.

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