“My Friend is Acting like a Bridezilla about Her Destination Wedding”

A very close friend, “Emily,” recently asked me and another good friend, “Jen,” to be bridesmaids in her upcoming wedding. I love her dearly and am so excited to be a part of her big day. After a lot of concern about how expensive it can be to throw a wedding, Emily and her fiancé decided to go the destination wedding route. It will essentially cost each guest more than 1500 dollars (possibly a lot more) to attend. I have no problem with this at all – I can’t wait! – but Jen may not be able to afford the trip. The maybe-problem is the way Emily talks about the wedding when the three of us are together.

She doesn’t seem to appreciate how much guests are going to pay to attend, and often complains about how much the wedding is costing her. Most of the time it’s relatively harmless (she was trying to choose between two resorts and said she was wary of choosing one, even though it would be cheaper for her guests and possibly better in other ways, because it would be more expensive for her and her fiancé; she mentioned not thinking it was totally fair that they’ll have to pay the resort for the meal we eat at the reception, since all of the guests will be staying at the resort and it’s all-inclusive; etc.). But a few examples have been a little more upsetting. For one, she mentioned that rather than her paying for her bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup done, maybe we could just use the resort credit we’d receive upon booking our rooms to pay for our own hair and makeup. And another time, she laughed at the idea of providing fun “welcome bags” to her guests because “that would cost more money.”

Jen and I both love her and understand she’s probably just blowing off steam, but I worry how it might come off if she’s also talking this way to other would-be guests and/or members of the wedding party (none of whom are, as far as I know at this point, having any of their travel, accommodations, or wedding outfits paid for by the couple – although that could change as the date gets closer). A few other things she’s said have made me wonder if her eyes aren’t completely open to what a destination wedding might mean for her guests – for example, she’s talked in the past about what kind of wedding gifts her fiancé is looking forward to receiving. In my experience, guests may not give them more than token gifts since they’re paying so much to attend the wedding in the first place.

Should I say something to her about keeping comments like these in check, or just assume she’s blowing off steam to her closest friends and not worry about it? — Steamed-up Bridesmaid

Shouldn’t one’s closest friends be the kind of people you treat kindly and with respect and not act like an entitled beyotch to? I think so. And I think YOU think so too, and that’s why you’re writing to me. I don’t believe you are only concerned with what Emily might be saying and how she might be portraying herself to other people; I think you’re concerned that she’s behaving like an entitled brat to YOU and that you might begin to resent her if you don’t speak up. So speak up! Absolutely, give her a reality check. It’s your job both as her close friend and as her bridesmaid to be like, “Hey, Em, you know I love you, but, dude, you need to bring it down a few notches. You’re beginning to act like a crazy Bridezilla.”

I would then use some specific examples — like the ones you’ve shared here — to point out her less-than-cool attitude and behavior and tell her that you’re sure she’s just stressed out and blowing off steam, but she’s in danger of coming across as ungrateful. Tell her you aren’t thinking twice about what attending her destination wedding is costing you (except for when you are), and that she’s your close friend and you’re happy to spend the money to be able to support her in person on her big day, but for a lot of people (maybe even you?), going to a destination wedding blows one’s vacation budget for an entire year and uses a big chunk of their vacation time from work. She needs to respect that and understand that in addition to celebrating her wedding, guests will be trying to enjoy some vacation-like activities, too — including using their resort credit to do something for themselves.

Also, my God, I can’t believe she’s bitching about having to pay for her guests’ meal at her freakin’ wedding reception (all-inclusive resort or not). I’m sorry, but that’s one of the tackiest, cheapest, most ungracious things I’ve ever heard and says a lot about her character, or at the very least, her current mindset. Be a friend and give this girl a reality check, stat — before you’re the only person left who still wants to be her friend!


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    Yikes. WWS. Call her out.

  2. I 100% agree with what Wendy said. Question: How would having a destination wedding be a way to cut down on the costs? Is she literally only paying for her own and her fiancé’s accommodation and for the reception (and even bitching about that)? If that’s the case I think it’s super rude because she’s in essence leaving all the costs to her guests, and still expecting gifts. WTF.

    1. As far as I know, resorts can often give a special rate to the bride and the groom on their room/suite if a certain number of guests book rooms at the resort too. Or will have packages where the facility rental for the wedding ceremony and reception is free/at a reduced rate again if a certain number of guests book rooms at the resort. Every place in obviously different, but that’s what I have heard? Also, you generally have more inclusive costs for everything, so there will be a wedding package that includes the space for the wedding, the minister, decorations, a day-of coordinator, etc.

      1. I see, but if that’s the case it really seems like they are trying to do a wedding for free (in other words, having the guests pay for it entirely). It may cut down the costs FOR THEM if they get a special rate as bride/groom but only by imposing much, much higher costs on the guests.

      2. Oh definitely! I totally agree with you.

      3. Haha yes, I wasn’t disagreeing with you at all. I guess the thought process from “cheap wedding” to “let’s do a destination wedding!” just seemed odd. But maybe it really is a way to shift the cost to others. Definitely rude though.

      4. Yeah, I never really understood the fact that destination weddings are cheaper (for the couple) until I read things on DW.

      5. Also, a lot of times destination weddings have less guests, so that cuts down on the price.

      6. there are all inclusive wedding places everywhere, though… like i got something in the mail for one near me and i looked at their website and it literally can be as simple as showing up in a dress. that cannot be more expensive then flying god knows where and still having to pay for room and food and everything, even if its reduced!

        i do not understand the destination = cheap thing.

      7. One of my cousins did that sort of wedding deal back in the 90s–my side of the family thought it was the tackiest thing ever. (They eventually got divorced.)

        If you’re having a party, pay for the party. And if you can’t afford it, plan a smaller party.

  3. Uhhhhhhh, someone complaining about paying for their guests at a wedding is one of the tackiest things ever, I totally agree with Wendy. Definitely call her out or else I am sure that the complaining will get worse and more obnoxious as the wedding gets closer.

  4. i actually would be pissed if an all inclusive place made me pay for the dinner at a party. what a racket! thats crazy.

    i’m betting that the issue is that this couple thought they would essentially get out of the costs of a wedding by doing a destination wedding- but that is obviously not the case. maybe you could frame it that way? like, if she complains about the dinner, you could say, well, you know, you are having a wedding! weddings dont come cheap, destination or otherwise. honestly i dont know why people like this dont just elope, or do a modified elope-ish thing with a dinner with people afterwards. like if you are that concerned with money, why not, you know, not do the part that costs all the money? i dunno.

    so if i may thread jack…. my friend is getting married in august. this is the wedding that both jake and i are in. so she created a secret group for her bachelorette party and her sisters posted that they are thinking of cabo, mexico, or southern cali. a trip to cabo will be over a grand. just for the bachelorette party!

    1. If a trip like that is out of your budget (or you don’t have enough vacation time or something), say so now! Say something like “hey, I don’t think a trip to Cabo’s in the budget, how about a weekend in AC or something?”

      I don’t understand why these crazy bachelorette trips are a thing now.

      1. yea, i did. cali is better for me because i can use my points to fly there, and that cuts down on costs a ton obviously. a flight to cabo the dates they wanted was 800! i couldnt believe it. thankfully others said the same thing, so hopefully that will work out.

        i mean as much as i would love to go to cabo, obviously… ah its just so expensive. and then jake, hes so cute, he is like this is a once in a lifetime thing! you wont be a bridesmaid forever, you should totally go! have fun! live your life!

        i also didnt know this a “thing”, but its cool. ill take a trip to cali!

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        I could absolutely under no circumstances afford a trip across the country for a bachelorrette party. MAYBE I could swing it for a wedding. Maybe. I can’t imagine someone suggesting such an expensive bachelorette party to me. My jaw would drop. Most people I know just go out for one evening.

      3. I had to turn down a trip to Vegas for my friends bachelorette party this summer and I had friends give me some serious shit for it. One friend even bought up that I bought a house this year, so if I can do that, I can do Vegas, as if one has anything to do with the other. When I got married in 2011, we went out to a local bar for a few hours and walked home. Now, all my friends pretty much require weekend or longer getaways. When and why did this trend start and can it die now? lol

      4. “One friend even bought up that I bought a house this year, so if I can do that, I can do Vegas, as if one has anything to do with the other.”

        Oh my gosh, I hate that line of reasoning. People who have just bought houses are always broke for the next year or so.

        Once you spend the money (whether on a house or a car or a vacation or whatever) it’s gone. It is not available to be spent again.

    2. Destination bachelorettes only bother me if everyone is otherwise relatively local. If 95% of the bridal party/guests invited live within 1-2 hours of each other, don’t have your party halfway across the country. My friend did a long weekend in Vegas, but the invited parties were coming from Baltimore, San Francisco, New York, and Texas. So anywhere she had it was going to be a “destination” for most of her friends anyway, even if she’d just done an evening in NYC (where she was living).

      I ended up not being able to go, and she was totally fine with it because, hey, Vegas is expensive.

  5. WWS. Next time she’s acting like a brat you need to call her on it. It doesn’t need to be a big production or a sit down talk. A simple “Whoa there, Bridezilla!” can go a long way.

  6. Threadjack: Does anyone have an idea for a gift for a very low key wedding (essentially just a party to celebrate, no ceremony or anything)? I think it would be awkward to give something expensive in this case (because they are not expecting it), but I’d still like to bring a gift.

    1. $50 cash in a card. Can’t go wrong.

    2. camille905 says:

      How well do you know the couple? A nice bottle of wine (if they drink) is always good. My husband and I love board games and we’ve gotten those as gifts.

      1. or, a nice bottle of champagne. you know, to celebrate. you can get name brand good ones for like 70 i think

      2. thank you all, I like the wine or champagne suggestions – and funnily, I was also considering a board game. I know the bride well, but not the groom, and like I said it’s not a “wedding-wedding”, which is why I’m not so sure what’s appropriate.

      3. Gf and I went to a post-wedding party like this, and we got the bride and groom each mittens for their favorite sports teams. They loved them. If you think they’d like a board game, give a board game.

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Oh, if they are sports fans like Christy said, beer mugs with their teams emblem are great! Like these

      5. You should get the specific mugs GG posted regardless of what team they root for 😉 Especially if they’re from Pittsburgh

      6. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        I believe those mugs were made for holding vomit and that’s it.

      7. Blasphemy.

      8. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Hahaha I picked those because Christy is a Ravens fan right?

      9. I was hoping you picked them specially for me!

      10. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        Steelers forever!!!!

    3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      a good can opener. seriously one of my favorite wedding gifts.

    4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      a good can opener. seriously one of my favorite wedding gifts.

    5. I was actually wondering the same thing. A friend of mine is getting married in a few weeks and doing something similar, courthouse + party (which I can’t attend), for her second marriage, and I don’t really know what to send her.

    6. tudorprincess says:

      What Bethany said. I was married in Nov. I cannot tell you how happy I was to receive cash. My hubby and I already lived together and didn’t need much. I appreciated all that our friends and family gave us, no matter the gift, but the money really helped out. Especially since my car just need a lot of repairs!

    7. Avatar photo theattack says:

      I would definitely go with money in a card. Money is always the most useful gift, and useful would probably be the goal for a low key wedding gift.

      1. IDK, this is probably a cultural thing, but I’d feel awkward about giving money in this case. I know it’s a very accepted gift for weddings, but I feel like this wedding is too far from the standard for that rule to apply. It would almost be as if I went to a friend’s birthday party and gave her cash.

      2. its weird to give a friend cash for their birthday? why?

      3. I’ve just never seen that happen around here. I sometimes got cash as a gift from my parents or other relatives, but not from friends.

      4. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Okay, well if cash is weird, what about a gift card to somewhere you know they like? Or maybe a date night already paid for, like a gift card to the movies?

  7. Well, I’ll give Bridezilla points for paying the meal twice. If the guests have all inclusive packages AND the reception is paid in full by the bride then the resort gets paid twice for the diner that night. Either she gets a discount rate on the reception or so do the guests. Or is this common practice in the Resort wedding business to bill that meal twice?

    1. My guess would be the pay extra because it’s a special set up for the wedding dinner (decorations, maybe a separate room etc.), and maybe also a different dinner.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        That’s what I was thinking. I would assume the resort would put extra effort (décor, specialty food, maybe up graded drinks) into a wedding (rather than the buffet for all) thus the extra cost.

      2. I could see that she has to pay something because it’s a more expensive meal than the included all you can eat buffet. But she should get a discount on the of the price meal seeing the guests are paying part of the meal in their package. And if that’s the case, then she has no grounds to complain about gifts. It’s frequent for average guest to essentially gift something near the cost of the meal. In this case the guest do this by booking the accommodation package and it’s perfectly reasonable that guests don’t bring a gift (they already did by paying their meal as part of their package).

    2. yea me too! thats crazy. i would assume it is common practice though.

  8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Someone tell me when wedding season is over so I can come out of hiding.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        oy that’s a long season

    1. Are you hiding on your balcony? If so, you don’t need to come out of hiding do you?

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        For now I’m just hiding in my car. After April 11, I’ll hide on my balcony!!!!! So excited!!!!!!!

      2. You’re moving on my birthday! It’s a day when good things happen.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        a glorious day indeed! for your birthday, wanna help me move?

    2. well mine runs from now til may 11th, and then again sometime til august. busy busy

    3. I don’t think I was invited to any weddings this year! Hooray! But I’m helping Dave with a bunch, so it’ll be wedding season for me until December.

      1. I only have two, and they’re both awesome. One is a friend wedding, which I always feel has a different tone because your parents aren’t watching you get shwastey face. The other is my brother’s backyard wedding and I’m planning on making it as gay as possible because he and his fiance are actually very sedate, non-flamboyant dudes and I feel like SOMEONE has to get the dance party started.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I expect to be invited to … golly, just one wedding this year. Is that possible? I’ve had at least 3 every year for the past 8-10 years! But I’m excited for this one wedding because it’s my first gay wedding ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      3. You are growing up Addie Pray. Soon weddings will be a think of the past and you might start being invited to birthday parties.

    4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I think the only slow months are December and January. Sorry AP.

      We don’t have any weddings this year to attend, and I’m sad. I love weddings.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I actually love weddings, too. I always cry like a big fat cry cry baby! (I guess I just hate the planning and the rules and the stress and the fights and all that jazz that often (always?) happens before the wedding)

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I hate all the pre wedding stuff too, I’m so glad ours is done and over with. But the event is a blast!

      3. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        If you love weddings so much you can come to mine! Oct. 4. Bring comfy clothes and a treat for the llama.

      4. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Oooooh Vermont will be beautiful at that time!! Good choice.

      5. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        See, this is perfect, because you can swing down here for mine on Sept. 20th and then road trip to Llama’s!

        Although we will sadly not have a llama at our wedding, which kind of makes me sad. But we’re having ribs for dinner with jalapeno mac and cheese. AND our place is dog friendly so you can bring Moose.

      6. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        I have another friend (which brings the total from 2 to 3) who is getting married this fall in TN…why did all you decide to do this right after I leave! (Still working on making it work though!!)

      7. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        I want to go to your wedding, too! Ribs and mac and cheese and lots of dogs sounds like heaven! And it’s *never* too late to add a wedding llama. 😉

      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        oh that’s right i have hobo’s wedding too! 🙂

      9. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        and LP’s wedding – makes 3 for 2014!

      10. You should date my boyfriend, then you’d be going to an average of, like, 4 weddings per year 😉 We have one coming up in April with the same group of his college friends who got married last May, & some other couple in the same group of friends just got engaged.. ahh

  9. Guys, it’s Friday, right?? Because this letter is throwing me off.

    1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      Yes, it is!!

    2. Between this & the fact that I couldn’t wear jeans today (there’s a meeting), I’m all thrown off!! haha

      1. So, my office does “casual Friday” in theory, but we’re also still not allowed to wear jeans. It’s a long complicated story but basically our parent company’s policy is casual Friday but a leader in my division doesn’t like that so they’ve tried to make it difficult for anyone to ACTUALLY wear anything that different from the businesswear we do during the rest of the week. So I’ve just been experimenting with as many non-jeans-but-still-casual outfits that I can get away with. Like, sneaking a teeshirt in there, with a flowy skirt and an over-the-shirt belt. Or colored skinny jeans that you can’t tell are jeans from a distance.

      2. i hate casual fridays. i hate wearing jeans in the lab. jeans are tight and constricting and its hard to work in them. everyone thinks im weird, and once when i was in PA someone actually said “hey, you know, its ok for you to wear jeans on fridays! we all do!” and then of course i had to explain that i actually like my “nice” work pants better.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        it’s jeans day today in my office! not every friday is jeans day though. here, once or twice a month they have jeans day to raise money for a charity. you pay $5 to wear jeans and that money goes to whatever charity is up.

      4. I love that idea!

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        i’ve accidentally not paid before and instead i’ve accidentally spent the $5 on a big fat brownie from the cafe from downstairs. i’m not proud.

      6. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        Are you kidding me? Choosing a brownie shows financial responsibility and advanced decision-making skills. ALWAYS go for the big brownie and stand proud, AP.

      7. You’re supporting the brownie-baker! That’s very noble.

    3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      It’s Friday! My in-laws will be here in 4 hours! eck!!

      Also, last night at about 1:15am 2 huge fire trucks rolled up to our apartment complex and parked directly outside of our apartment. Apparently the building that is 20 feet from ours was on fire! Needless to say, I did not get a good nights sleep.

    4. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

      Yay Friday!!! I have the day off today, but I have to work all weekend, so I’m buying new sunglasses and new underpants today and going on a 5 maybe 6 mile run, then I’m applying for jobs and looking for a new place to rent.

      1. I hope you’re going for the run in your new sunglasses and new underpants, and nothing else.
        Every town needs that person. Be that person.

      2. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        @banana if it was warm enough I would certainly consider it, of course it would not actually be that strange in my city

      3. I want to go to there.
        Seriously, I’ve been living in Charcoal Gray Suits Central for too long. I need some quirk in my town, stat.

      4. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        Well obviously you should move up to Guelph, Ontario where there are all sorts of quirky things happening. Also, when you move to Guelph you should probably start some sort of company and hire me to run around town in my underpants and sunglasses to maintain the town’s quirkiness.

      5. In a heartbeat.

      6. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        Also, these new underpants I bought may force me to write a reader rec.
        They are glorious. Plus I have a few other products to recommend.

  10. kerrycontrary says:

    I **hate** the term bridezilla so I would not open any conversation with anyone as “I love you, but you’re being a bridezilla”. That can make most brides go from 0 to a 10 in 5 seconds. Yes this girl sounds like she’s a bit out of touch with reality, but bridezilla is this one-size-fits-all term that we apply to women who are stressed out over planning a wedding and *sometimes* do irrational things. Men act this way too over stupid shit and we don’t have a term to define them. Clearly this girl underestimated how much money she would have to spend on a wedding. I would try changing the subject or just reminding her how much her guests are spending on her wedding. Plus, I totally understand not doing welcome bags…Yes they’re a nice gesture, but if you’re on a budget they can certainly get cut from the to-do list.

    1. I agree — using the term bridezilla would only put her on the defensive. I do think it sounds like most of these things are probably just the bride being frazzled and a bit tone-deaf; but one or two stood out to me as REALLY rude, like talking about which gifts they “expect.” It just seems rude to me to express a specific expectation for gifts. If the registry is out there, people know what you want; after that, it’s up to them to choose what they can afford to give.

    2. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

      I hate that term, too. There are definitely women who turn into monsters during their engagement but I feel like this term is being used on any bride who asserts an opinion or sticks up for herself during the planning process.

    3. Totally agree. That term gets tossed around way too freely.

    4. kerrycontrary says:

      Yeh I think people just like finding an excuse to use the term because it’s a mean label that is socially acceptable. Like if you call someone a slut, some people *might* give you the sideeye, but you say bridezilla and everyone is willing to jump on that bandwagon. Like immediately after I got engaged people were like “are you gonna be a bridezilla!?”. I mean yeh, I care about my wedding. Cause it’s a big event in my life! I hope I won’t get too concerned about details, but I’m sure there will be a crazy moment or two.

      1. That still blows my mind. I can’t believe people would ask you if you’re going to be a bridezilla; that’s like asking someone who just shared the good news that they got a new job, “So exciting! So are you going to be completely deranged and incompetent after you crack under the pressure?”

      2. Agreed. There are some true crazies out there, but I think sometimes the label can kind of make people go to extremes more than they would in reality. It either makes people think that they can’t make a right decision, or that they have an excuse to do whatever because even the littlest thing will tip the scales to bridezilla so they might as well go with the trope. Never being in that position before, I do not have experience with either, but I could see both of these pressures actually playing out.

    5. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Are you really comparing slut shaming to bride shaming? Frankly I hate it even more when brides think it’s okay to act like self absorbed assholes because it’s “their special day.” That offends me much more than the word bridezilla. I wish more people called each other out when they do irrational things, wedding or not. You don’t get a pass to be irrational just because you got engaged.

      1. I don’t think she’s defending anyone’s assholish behavior, just pointing out how the term can be used unfairly for people who are just a little stressed.

      2. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

        YES. Simply having a wedding doesn’t give you permission to act like a self-absorbed, self-entitled, brat. I have seen people turn in to monsters and say terrible things in the midst of wedding planning. One girl who is typically a nice girl flat out said if people didn’t bring at least $100 dollar gift it would be a huge insult given how much they were spending on their guests.

      3. Whenever I hear stories like that, though, I have to think: did people like that REALLY turn into monsters, or were they just selfish, bratty people all along and the event merely directed your full attention to it? I just find it so hard to believe that sweet, kind, compassionate, caring people turn into monsters just for their weddings, and then turn back. If they’re selfish and bratty about the wedding it’s probably because there was that streak in them somewhere all along, and maybe you didn’t notice or weren’t exposed to it before. In which case, they’re not bridezillas, they’re just assholes in general. My feeling, whenever I hear stories of terrible brides (especially if it’s a friend wedding and not a family wedding you’re obligated to go to) is, “Well…why did you befriend a bratty person? If the brides in your friend group are insufferable, just stop hanging out with insufferable people.”

      4. kerrycontrary says:

        WBS. I’ve frankly never witnessed “bridezilla” behavior firsthand because I don’t hang out with crazy or dramatic people. Plain and simple. So every bride I interact with is normal. And maybe sometimes they’ll start crying over napkin colors but I realize that it’s just stress and I say “stop, people are focusing on you getting married, they will NOT notice this” and then they feel better.

      5. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        It’s normal to start crying over napkin colors?

      6. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        I use my sleeve so I wouldn’t know.

      7. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Haha you win.

      8. It’s normal for little things to tip you over when you’re already under a lot of stress. It happens at work, when planning a wedding, getting ready for a stressful trip, in lots of different situations, depending on the person. You’re not really crying about the napkins, you’re crying from the accumulation of things, and the napkins are the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s really unfair to call anyone who experiences ANY kind of stress-related irrationality (no matter how small and relatively harmless) a bratty self-centered person just because it happens to be related to a wedding (instead of a meeting or a trip or whatever).

      9. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

        yeah I agree with this. But I do also think some people become weird versions of themselves specifically when wedding planning and now also baby showering I guess? IDK my FSIL is having us buy $300 bridesmaids dresses, when she typically is like the most laid-back person ever but has become sort of irrational bride during the wedding planning process and super particular about everything.

      10. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I don’t know I wouldn’t hang out with any friends that irrationally snapped at me for anything. I think it just comes down to what type of behavior you’re willing to accept. If someone cried over napkins I would call them a bridezilla and tell them that they should be thankful they don’t have any real problems in life. It’s all about perspective. I mean I can’t believe anyone could argue contrary to that. How is it ever okay to cry about napkin colors? Is that really such a revolutionary idea? If my friends were stressed about work and then cried about napkins at a restaurant I would also tell them to get a grip. Maybe lovingly, but if it became a pattern I just wouldn’t hang out with drama queens like that. Or is drama-queen also an unfair label?

      11. It’s a good point that there’s a big difference between crying over something and lashing out. I don’t think it’s okay to lash out, ever (though I’m willing to forgive friends when it’s a really uncharacteristic, rare thing, because everyone’s human). But if someone just has a little breakdown without getting mad at anyone else, just kind of buckling under the pressure…yes, I know there are worse things in life than not getting the napkin color you wanted, but you might as well let them cry it out and then move on. Nobody wins the game of Top My Trauma. No one. Telling someone who’s stressed about a wedding that there are starving people in Africa is not going to make them feel less stressed. Showing a little sympathy, hearing them out, then gently getting them on a different topic/helping them see how it’s not such a big deal by being a positive and comforting person might. Everyone has boundaries and I respect that, but everyone’s human. Everyone has moments. Everyone has a pressure point. If you claim that you have NEVER had an irrational breakdown about something, you’re lying. I mean, for God’s sake, you’ve talked plenty about your own irrational moments of anger and frustration plenty of times on these boards — so why are you so harsh on everyone else who’s ever had an irrational moment?

      12. ok all true but….. we arent talking about someone just having a bad moment and snapping under pressure? this LW is clearly horrid. she is openly grabbing for gifts, openly complaining about actually spending money to have a wedding, openly not caring about how much money is being spent for her wedding, ect… you called her “tacky” yourself.
        no, i dont advocate the calling of anyone who buckles under pressure and lashes out an anything-zilla. yes, everyone is human, bla bla bla. but when its warranted, why is it so bad? its warranted here! this is like, why the term was invented! shouldnt we actually be advocating against bridezilla-ism and getting people to act specifically not like that anyway? shouldnt it be a shameful thing to be called a bridezilla? why are we shying away from this?

      13. yea i mean if you dont want to be called a bridezilla… dont act like one? i mean its that simple right?

    6. Letter Writer says:

      LW here! I just wanted to mention that I didn’t use the term “bridezilla” in my letter, that’s somehow what the headline ended up being, but not from me. I hate the term too!

  11. I don’t actually understand why the bride chose a destination wedding to “save” money, except that it passes along a lot of the costs to the guests, and it makes a convenient excuse to invite fewer people. I mean, if you want to save money on your wedding, to me the obvious choices are: invite fewer people or do something simple, during the day (so you’re not feeding people dinner), local, maybe in a relative or friend’s backyard. I can see wanting a destination wedding if you want something really exotic and different; if you want to reduce the amount of personal effort you put in (if the resort takes care of a lot of the details); if you want a place that looks beautiful without you having to beautify it; or, if you’re extremely generous, and you want to actually treat a small group of friends and family to a short vacation. I just don’t get choosing a destination wedding to save money. It’s kind of like the bride wants to have her cake and eat it too: extravagant wedding (no sacrificing what SHE wants) while being a massive cheapskate.

    1. It depends on where she lives and whether most of her guests are local. I’ve paid for two weddings in my life: one destination (in the Caribbean, not at a resort) and one in NYC, with about the same number of guests. The reality is that both were destination weddings for most of the guests, since they’re far flung, and the Caribbean wedding was definitely cheaper both for me and for the guests.

      Personally, the only thing about this that rubbed me the wrong way is the expectation of gifts. Everything else sounds pretty normal. Neither of the examples the LW cited as upsetting sounded like a problem to me. Gifts bags are nice, but totally optional. And why wouldn’t you use your resort credit on your hair and makeup? I got the sense that this LW thinks the couple should be footing the bills for their wedding party, and she’s unhappy they aren’t. But they have no obligation to do that.

      Weddings can be expensive, both for the couple and the guests. If it’s not in your budget to attend, or if you don’t feel like burning the vacation time, then politely decline. But don’t accept and then resent the time and money spent.

      1. Good points, the more I read the comments the more I start to understand how a destination wedding is cheaper for the couple and potentially the guests. And you’re completely right, it’s on the guest if they accept and then resent. That was a choice.
        I still think it’s kind of tacky that the bride is complaining so much about the cost of everything, especially to bridesmaids who are also spending a lot for someone else’s special day. Maybe if the friend talks to her, it will be an eye-opener and she’ll stop the complaining. Plus, the bride bringing up money constantly is a surefire way to make sure it stays on everyone else’s mind (who listens to her) which will only stoke resentment, even if it wasn’t there in the first place.

      2. Letter Writer says:

        Hi, LW here. To clarify, I agree that gift bags are totally optional, it was her response to the idea of having them that I was mentioning (not the decision not to have them in and of itself).

        And as for the resort credit, I maintain that it’s nice for a bride to pay for hair and makeup **IF** she wants it professionally done, particularly since the wedding party will have already paid for other “requirements” like the outfit, etc. If the bride doesn’t mind the wedding party doing their own hair/makeup, then great! (In this case, since writing the letter she has decided to pay for us all to get our hair and makeup done, which is awesome. That means the significant others of the bridal party will be free to use their resort credits to do something fun that day while we get pampered, which I think is really nice, since the resort credit is something you’re essentially paying for as a guest.)

        Last but not least, the only reason I mentioned that the couple is not paying for the wedding party’s travel or accommodations is that I know it’s technically “wedding etiquette” to arrange for your bridal party’s accommodations at a destination wedding (or any wedding if they are not local and have to travel to get there), at least for the nights they are “required” to be there for the rehearsal dinner and ceremony. (That’s what we did.) But I also know that it’s no longer commonly done and is kind of a controversial rule, so I just wanted to clarify what side this couple fell on for the purposes of context. I don’t personally care about paying my own way because I get a vacation out of the deal.

    2. RedroverRedrover says:

      Lots of people do destination weddings to save money. A coworker of mine had one, and he invited tons of people. What really rubs me the wrong way is that he knew most of us wouldn’t go, but he knew we’d send gifts. Like, if you’re doing a destination, don’t invite your boss and coworkers and stuff. It’s purposely rude, as far as I’m concerned. He might as well have said to my face “I don’t like you enough to actually want you to be at my wedding, but I’d like you to send me a gift”.

      Another friend of mine just wanted a small wedding. They only invited their parents and siblings, and then reached out through email to let close friends know they were welcome if they wanted to take the time and spend the money. It was low-key, no gift registry, no expectation that we’d go or send a gift or anything.

      That’s pretty much the only way to do it that isn’t rude. Unless you pay for it for your guests, or unless like someone said above, everyone was from out of town and was going to be travelling anyway.

  12. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

    Oh man, this is disgusting. Definitely say something before she alienates all her friends and family, including you. $1000 is a shit load of money for each guest to spend, and an ungrateful bride makes it a million times worse. My fiancé and I are getting married in Vermont this fall and we both feel really bad about how much my family is having to spend on travel (from Pennsylvania) and hotel rooms during peak foliage season (his family lives in VT – the ceremony and reception are actually both going to be at his mom’s house). We don’t have a registry and we’ve told our parents to spread the word to the rest of our family (we’re only inviting family) that we don’t need gifts, we just want a low-key celebration with our loved ones. I know talking about gifts at all is really tacky, but we wanted to make sure that my cousins, aunts and uncles know that we recognize the financial sacrifice they’re making just to be there (my extended family is not well off). But we’re paying for the wedding ourselves and we’re looking forward to getting our families together and making sure they have a fantastic weekend with us. I can’t imagine trying to make money off of them when they’re spending their hard earned time and money to celebrate with us.

    1. Vermont is beautiful that time of year. You are going to have such a gorgeous wedding.

      1. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        Thanks! We’re really looking forward to it. I’ll have to share photos here so everyone can see that I’m totally serious about my wedding llama. 🙂

    2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I think you handled the gift subject tactfully! We had similar conundrums (his family traveling from NC/SC to PA, my family all being in PA) and where absolutely overwhelmed with people’s generosity. I hope your wedding s fabulous!!

  13. The one thing I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut about in this situation is the gifts—if you say anything, I think it should be about that. Like, “ooh Em, I hope you get that matching china too, but usually guests don’t go all out for gifts on a destination wedding because they’re already spending so much, y’knoaaaaawwww? maybe your rich uncle will come through, heehee!!” (<– …? I don't know, ha)

    1. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

      um yeah, WTF? Not to inspire some rapid debate but gifts shouldn’t really be expected at destination wedding and totally an added bonus driven by the guest’s generosity.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        They shouldn’t be expected EVER ANYWHERE. Fuck weddings really bring out the worst in people. They don’t owe you a gift because you fell in love. People fall in love everyday, and no one’s love is special. It’s all love.

      2. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

        yeah I agree with this completely but didn’t want to start WW3 about gift giving etiquette so tailored it a bit.

      3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Haha man I wish I had the ability to tailor my opinions from time to time. I bet that comes in handy.

      4. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

        haha its not easy. I have been accused on too many occasions of having “no filter”.

      5. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        Agreed. Our guests don’t owe us anything. They’re doing us a huge favor just being there to celebrate with us and we wouldn’t dream of asking for more.

  14. Wendy you said exactly what I was thinking.

    Also, this is a reminder of why I’m thankful I gave up watching Bridezillas.

  15. Yeah, I think the double charged dinner is annoying, but to everything else she’s being a bridezilla. If one of my friends was hosting a destination wedding, I’d expect them to do a lot of special things that I wouldn’t necessarily expect at a regular wedding:

    1) Keep costs down for your guests and especially for your family/bridal party. E.g., pay for hair and makeup if you want that (or just skip and let them do their own), consider paying for or letting them bring their own outfits, or at least don’t get really expensive bridesmaid dresses/shoes.
    2) Don’t be offended if someone decides not to come to save vacation days/money
    3) Don’t expect presents if you aren’t paying for the travel and rooms (“your presence is our present!”)
    4) Cover most meals/drinks/entertainment if you aren’t paying for airfare and rooms. If its all-inclusive, and guests are paying for their own meals, drinks and entertainment, then buy a spa credit a gift bag, or some other significant gift for them to enjoy on their vacation.
    5) Only expect guests to dedicate 1 1/2 days to your wedding max, including close family/bridal party. Do not plan things the whole weekend and get upset if people won’t focus on you you you the entire time. If the trip is 3-4 days or more, let them do their own thing the rest of the time. Like Wendy said, this is their vacation.

    In my mind, unless you are cutting the guest list WAYYY down, destination weddings cost a lot more money.

  16. Ugh… WWS. This bride really needs a reality check. Please be a good friend and remind her that while there may be stress in the planning process she shouldn’t lose sight of being grateful for all the family & friends willing to travel for her wedding. Personally, it sounds like her & her fiancé didn’t do their homework (or establish a realistic budget) before committing to a destination wedding.

  17. I agree with Wendy. The real concern here is how she’s treating you and her other close friends, not the other random guests. (Like I say a lot of things to my close friends that I would never say to other people, so I wouldn’t be so preoccupied with her repeating this stuff.) Just because you’re a close friend doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to have her shut up. And if I may humanize her for a moment, it would probably really suck to find out that your friends thought you were being a total bitch for months and never once tell you so that you could clean up your act. So, even if you don’t care enough about your own ears to say something, at least give her a chance to be a nice person instead of silently judging and clawing your ears out.

  18. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    She’s an asshole. I wanted to put something like “Your presence is a gift” or something on my wedding invites because mine was a destination wedding, but my mom said that was poor etiquette, and I regret caring if it was poor etiquette because having guests buy you stuff ON TOP of attending brings about a lot of guilt. Or it might, if you’re not an asshole.

    (Small detail – my whole family – parents, gparents, extended family – EVERYONE, but my brother lives in Canada, so regardless it would have been a destination wedding for either my family or Ethan’s. So to be fair I decided we should all just travel to some place tropical. Having a destination wedding is something I do not regret at all. I will cherish those memories forever. Getting the whole family together in a tropical place is the best. But! I did have a very small wedding because of that. I mean duh, not everyone can afford it, and I knew that going in to it).

    I do think the bride needs to adjust her attitude and have some gratitude for the fact that people are willing to travel for her wedding. BUT this icks me out no more than the average bride expecting gifts. Gifts are gifts, not a ticket of admission.

  19. Bittergaymark says:


    PS (to grooms and brides everywhere): If you are going to endlessly gripe and complain about the cost of your wedding to your guests — FUCKING elope. Alone. Otherwise, shut the fuck out about it.

    1. Amen. Also, I wish this went for anything voluntary that people do, and then complain about the expense.

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      wiser words were never spoken.

    3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:


    4. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

      Yes-this should be a bumper sticker.

  20. I don’t have a problem with destination weddings (hell, half my guests had to travel to where I live but that doesn’t make it a destination wedding) and I think they can be fun. But there are some special snowflakes out there that have a destination wedding that act like this as a result, destination weddings get a bad rap. I honestly wouldn’t go to a wedding if someone were acting like this though. Between taking more time off from work, paying a huge expense to attend, and having to be around this person who doesn’t even appear grateful, it doesn’t seem worth it. And she wants to complain about how the costs and everything is affecting her, without thinking much how it is affecting her guests. She sounds like a handful. Getting caught up in wedding planning also doesn’t give anyone an excuse to be a jerk.

  21. sobriquet says:

    Yikes. It sounds like this bride is ungrateful and LW might want to mention it, kindly, once, but otherwise I would just ignore it. If she’s ungrateful that her loved ones are spending a lot of their money to attend her wedding, she’ll be ungrateful of the gifts she is given and spiteful about the gifts she doesn’t receive. Weddings are stressful, for sure, but they certainly do bring out a person’s true character.
    I’m having a destination wedding in less than 2 months (!) and it honestly is the cheaper way to go if you want a fancy wedding AND a nice honeymoon. We’re not having a destination wedding to save money, though, no. If you want to save money, have a backyard bbq wedding and spend a few hundred bucks. We’re having a destination wedding because:
    A) Our families are located all over the place and most would have had to buy a plane ticket + hotel room anyway, plus there would be more pressure to come if it was local
    B) We want a really small, intimate, yet beautiful wedding and we couldn’t think of another feasible way to do that without offending people
    C) Neither of us have much time to plan a wedding and the resort basically does it for you
    D) Bonus that it’s a tiny fraction of the cost of a typical wedding
    E) Double bonus that Mexico is really, really close to Texas! It’s a 3 hour flight.
    We mentioned it to our close friends and family members and they were completely on board. Some of our guests are staying at different, less-expensive resorts and will just get day passes to attend the wedding. We’re not getting free rooms after a certain amount of guests stay or anything like that. The actual wedding itself with the added costs of beach location, private reception, and cocktail hour is costing us less than $2K. (And yes, we will spend an extra $15/pp to have a private meal and $15/pp to have a private appetizer/cocktail hour. Even though it’s an all-inclusive resort. It seems obvious to me that we’ll pay extra to have people deliver food and drinks to us on the freakin beach!)
    People have been kind enough to throw us an engagement party and two wedding showers and those have been great opportunities for people who can’t afford to fly to Mexico to celebrate with us. I can’t imagine *expecting* gifts, though. We registered because my family urged us to do so. I’m spending a lot of time on my ‘thank you’ cards- they’re homemade- because I don’t know how to thank people enough.
    Anyway, that’s enough wedding talk for me for the rest of the month.

  22. I would like to believe that a nice calm talk would be all that’s necessary to bring this girl around, but honestly? It doesn’t sound like it. I had an acquaintance who planned a destination wedding and when she was talking about the same things (mostly how she was going to save money on a wedding this way), our other friend who was much closer to her and a PROFESSIONAL EVENT PLANNER tried to talk to her about how it wouldn’t be less expensive for her guests. She didn’t listen, and she seemed to be a pretty down-to-earth type of person otherwise. So, judging from just how far from reality she seems to be (using your own resort credit to pay for hair and makeup?), I’d say this needs to be more of a setting limits type of conversation. Like, start off by saying you’re going to use your resort credit for some other sort of activity while you’re there that you were looking forward to. So yes, it would be nice if she responded to your calm, rational talk about some of these not-so-harmless things she’s brought up, but I think she’d have to change her whole outlook on the situation to see that and it’s unlikely. If she understands budgets (seems like she understands her own), frame it in terms of what will or will not fit into your budget and stay firm – what’s she going to do? If she does something ridiculous like demotes you from bridesmaid, I’d say bullet dodged.

    As for “Jen,” please for the love of weddings don’t let her pay more than she can afford to come along. That is just ripe for resentment.

  23. To me this sounds like the bridge and groom are defraying the costs of the wedding by actually picking a more expensive wedding but forcing guests to basically pay for a percentage of the wedding. I mean seriously?! I’m sorry, but even if I’m related to you, spending over a grand on a destination wedding is going to put me in a bad mood as a guest.

    Frankly, I don’t think anyone attending the wedding should even bother with presents beyond a card.

  24. Wait, what? The bride has to pay for the wedding party’s hair and makeup? That’s obscene. Weddings are the worst institution ever. Do you’re own damn hair, seriously, how hard is that? I’m more and more glad I got married with no one except the officiant and my wife, and spent less than 500 for everything (900 if you include rings). This whole situation is disgusting, and I’m disgusted by the entitled behavior of both bride and guest. Disgusted.

    1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      If the bride wants the hair and makeup professionally done, then yes. Pay for it.

      1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        (the bride)

    2. Letter Writer says:

      LW here. Yes, IF the bride wants hair and makeup professionally done, exactly what LadyinPurple said. It is, in that case, traditional and also just a nice gesture, since typically the wedding party will have already put out their own money on a number of other things that are “required,” like the outfit, travel, accommodations, etc.

      If the bride doesn’t care about the wedding party doing their own hair and makeup, then great!

      Since writing this letter though, she has decided to pay for our hair and makeup, which is awesome!

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