It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “One Dress, Two Dress” who had to drop out as a bridesmaid in her friend’s wedding when her due date was moved up a week and, as a result, the remaining bridesmaids had to buy new dresses to match the dress of the replacement bridesmaid. Because of the unexpected cost, the LW’s two friends who had volunteered to throw her a baby shower said they couldn’t afford more than $1 frozen pizzas and store brand soda. She wrote: “I talked it over with my mom, and we want to take care of the food, beverages, and decorations, but we know it’s not kosher for the guest of honor and her mother to host the shower, nor do I want to hurt my friends’ feelings or pride. Can you think of a diplomatic way for me to tell my friends that we want to foot the bill for the shower, but I still want them to act as the hostesses?” Keep reading to see how she handled the situation.
One of my girlfriends called the same day your column came out, and she told me straight up that neither of them can afford the shower, so they are canceling. They feel terrible about it, but I am so relieved. She told me more about the situation also.
A little history might be helpful: We all met as teenagers working in a grocery store. We were all so broke, putting ourselves through school – we couldn’t afford to eat anything other than dollar pizzas, Ramen noodles, and old food the deli and bakery were throwing out. A couple of years ago we were out to dinner together, reminiscing about old times and how broke we used to be, and saying how grateful and lucky we are that our jobs and lives have gone well. None of us has struck it rich or anything, but we’re all doing all right. When my girlfriends said all they could afford for the shower was store brand soda and dollar pizzas, I wasn’t sneering at their offer – they actually did say they needed it to be “as cheap as possible.” I took their comments to mean that they were in a financial crunch because of the extra dresses, and I was really worried about them and the burden a party would put on them.
I was right – the new dress is $400, on top of the $250 the old dress cost. They are both going into debt for it. The bride is blaming me for the dress fiasco, but my friend told me that none of the bridesmaids actually blame me. They made several suggestions for how to handle this (some were suggested by commenters, too), and she refused them all. They are all upset but are trying really hard to put a good face on it. I can’t believe she’s doing this to them, and I’m feeling much less guilty about the whole thing now that I know they tried for more reasonable and affordable options, and she refused.
The bride is actually a really nice person, but I think the whole “princess for a day” thing has really gone to her head. She wouldn’t normally be so inconsiderate of her friends and their finances. I hope she wakes up from this and goes back to being her normal self soon. We still have to throw her a bridal shower and a bachelorette party, and I’m going to try to help my friends out with their portions of those costs, if I can do it sneakily.
A few people seemed to think I was only concerned about a gift grab for myself. I appreciated that you didn’t see it that way! I’m completely okay with not having a baby shower – my husband and I have almost everything ready for the baby. We’ve been Craigslisting and Ebaying for months, picking up the bigger items for cheap prices, and the only essentials we’re missing are clothes and diapers. Now that I know there won’t be a shower, I’m going to be hitting up thrift stores and garage sales for clothes and watching for diaper sales. We really don’t need the gifts – I’ve always seen baby showers as being more of a social “welcome to being a mom!” thing, and that is what I was really looking forward to.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question – I know you are super busy these days with two little ones! As time goes on, I’d love to read any general advice you have as a mom of two. 🙂
Thanks for the update. I can’t help but think your friends (and maybe you?) need to learn how to say “no.” There’s really no reason AT ALL that these grown women should be spending an additional FOUR HUNDREDS bucks on a REPLACEMENT dress and going into debt for this. Sure, the bride’s completely nuts — and, no, she’s not “nice” — but, frankly, the bridesmaids sound like doormats for agreeing to this craziness. At any rate, consider this a red flag in regards to this friend/ship and be glad you’ve been spared the expense of a second damn dress!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.