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 email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
Somethingrandom August 31, 2015, 9:13 am
$400 on top of $250!!!
Yeah, they should have backed out
Skyblossom August 31, 2015, 9:26 am
I wonder if the bride regretted the chosen dresses and saw this as the perfect opportunity to change to a different dress.
keyblade August 31, 2015, 9:42 am
I’ll bet she did. There is no excuse for this behavior. And her blaming the letter writer is just icing on the cake.
SpaceySteph August 31, 2015, 9:14 am
$650 for the “privilege” of being set dressing in this bridezilla’s wedding? There’s literally no defense for that kind of insanity, she may have been nice before but this is not something a nice person does to their friends. Totally agree with Wendy, your friends need to learn to say no. Just like a pouty toddler, I think this bride needs a good healthy dose of “No.”
Skyblossom August 31, 2015, 9:25 am
Definitely the other bridesmaids needed to say no. If they all said we can’t be in the wedding if you require a second dress the bride would have to choose between finding a workable solution or finding all new bridesmaids.
juliecatharine August 31, 2015, 9:28 am
$650 on the dress(es) that will be worn once is beyond ridiculous. Your friends are either REALLY giving this woman the benefit of the doubt or are complete doormats. I’m with Wendy, miss pretty princess is choosing to treat her bridesmaids like shit and someone needs to tell her that if she wants her attendants in a $400 dress SHE should pay for it. Yeesh, her groom-to-be should run.
SpaceySteph August 31, 2015, 9:29 am
Forget only wearing once, one of the dresses will be worn ZERO times! Someone needs to shake some sense into this bride.
keyblade August 31, 2015, 9:57 am
Seriously. I can’t believe nobody backed out or insisted the bride pay for the new dress. When I read the original letter, I was at least hoping the dresses were in the $100 -something range. Even that would have been tacky and rude but I would have understood the bridesmaids grudgingly accepting temporary bridal insanity to preserve the frienship. But a dress that cost twice as much as an already expensive dress?!! I can’t believe nobody has backed out. Maybe the bride has some weird ideas about money arising from her poor background. Maybe they all do!? I just can’t wrap my head around it.
juliecatharine August 31, 2015, 10:45 am
I totally agree; it’s just crazy. Maybe these girls are all pretty young. I didn’t catch the assertiveness bug until I entered my 30s. That’s really the only explanation I can think of.
ktfran August 31, 2015, 9:53 am
LW, I’m sorry this bride’s nonsense is not giving you an opportunity for a baby shower. I still think it would be ok for your mom or perhaps aunts to throw you one. Or, if it was more about welcoming you to new mom-hood, maybe your mom could host a small gathering after baby is born? That way, everyone can meet baby and congratulate you!
Dear Wendy August 31, 2015, 10:05 am
A “sip and see”!
Rel422 August 31, 2015, 11:03 am
A friend of mine had a “Diaper Kegger” where they asked guests to bring a thing of diapers and were given a cup for the keg. I thought this was a cool idea and really fit her partying friend group. It wouldn’t exactly be my cup of tea… But maybe you could class it up a smidge and do wine instead?
bittergaymark August 31, 2015, 11:25 am
Have you priced diapers lately? I mean can everyone comment on just how utterly shrill and tacky it would be if I threw a “Easter Island Vacation Kegger” and simply gave everybody a cup for $10 bucks tosses in a jar that basically read: “ME FUND?” Honestly, I’ve grown so fucking weary (and leery!) of people expecting the world to pay for their babies… Can’t afford fucking diapers?! NEWSFLASH. You can’t afford a fucking kid.
mertlej August 31, 2015, 2:33 pm
honestly, this attitude reeks of a 5 year old “if I can’t do it, than NOBODY can!” kind of tantrum. It’s not always about what you get in return. And jesus, I sometimes buy my broke friends random gifts (clothes or jewelry they’ve been eyeballing, a gift certificate to get their hair done) not because I think they owe me something in return but because I love them and want to support them and sometimes its fun to give people things. Unless, of course, you are the grinch. And even he had a change of heart.
bittergaymark August 31, 2015, 3:42 pm
Tomato. ToMAHto. 😉
That said — tacky is as tacky does.
End. Of. Story.
Essie August 31, 2015, 10:21 am
I just can’t imagine making someone pay $400 for any bridesmaid dress, let alone a SECOND one. No, no, no.
And just to make everyone match for pictures that will be looked at once or twice……
kare August 31, 2015, 10:55 am
I would never agree to pay $400 for another dress. (Let’s be real, I wouldn’t pay $400 for any dress.) However, if they’ve already paid for it I think they should deduct this extra cost from the bridal shower and bachelorette party fund.
Dear Wendy August 31, 2015, 11:22 am
If they do anything other than “$1 frozen pizzas and store brand soda” for the bachelorette party, then they’re as crazy as the bride.
bittergaymark August 31, 2015, 11:27 am
Only infinitely dumber. Clearly.
bittergaymark August 31, 2015, 10:58 am
NEWSFLASH! People who are too dumb to stand up for themselves — are constantly taken advantage of. Surprise, surprise. LW, tell your foolish friends that it NEVER pays off either.
Sunshine Brite August 31, 2015, 10:58 am
They do know they don’t ‘have’ to still throw a shower and bachlorette party after she upped the cost by $400 right? Why isn’t she getting it “as cheap as possible” because they already bent to her other demands? You and your friends are doormats.
findingtheearth August 31, 2015, 10:58 am
I have dreamed about getting married, and I would be fine with dresses from Target or something. It’s more about a celebration with family and friends than beautiful dresses
othy August 31, 2015, 11:05 am
My bridesmaids skirts were from Target. Simple A-Line skirts in the wedding colors, paired with a black blouse of the bridesmaid’s choice. $30 a piece, and I know some of them re-wore the skirt.
Aeris August 31, 2015, 1:14 pm
My bridesmaids dresses were from Target. They were great! They looked exactly like $250 J-Crew bridesmaid dresses only a fraction of the cost. Back then they were only $50 but I think prices have increased since then. All my wedding pictures came out beautifully. You really don’t have to spend a ton of money on bridesmaid dresses. I’m a firm believer that if you pick the dress then you should pay for it. For my bridesmaid dresses I picked the color and let them all pick their own style.
othy August 31, 2015, 11:04 am
$650 is more than I paid for my wedding dress. For two bridesmaids dresses is absolutely crazy. Her 7(!) bridesmaids simply need to say no. All of them. Because it is beyond unreasonable. But, since they aren’t willing to say no, it sounds like they just have to suck it up and put up with their awful friend.
And I’m so glad that none of the bridesmaids are blaming you, but I’m horrified the bride still is. Because you should have scheduled your reproduction around her special day. *eye roll*
freckles August 31, 2015, 11:05 am
Holy crap. This bride is absolutely INSANE! She is being so rude and selfish, it is unbelievable. Your friends seriously need to learn to stand up for themselves and tell her NO. If it’s too late, and they’ve already purchased the second dress, they should definitely not throw her a shower or a bachelorette party. Yikes. I have a feeling friendships are going to be ruined over this one event.
Vathena August 31, 2015, 11:08 am
Still picking my jaw up off the floor on this one. What the actual fuck. Wow. Yeah, I agree that the bachelorette/bridal shower events should feature generic sodas and $1 pizzas. I can’t believe that one person, let alone 6, agreed to this madness.
Wonderland August 31, 2015, 11:14 am
Yeah I really wish the bridesmaids had said, as a group “If you require us to buy that dress, we will all back out – $650 is not reasonable and we won’t do it”. I know I would have done that – weddings are special and all that jazz but its one freaking day and honestly, the bride & groom are the only ones (and maybe parents) who really cares much at all about it.
bittergaymark August 31, 2015, 11:17 am
The most hilarious thing is that they’ll all STILL be paying off those sure to be hideous dresses when she signs her divorce papers in a year to two, just wait.
Regina Chapman August 31, 2015, 12:04 pm
LW, I’m glad you feel better and less guilty, but I can’t help thinking you’re still getting the short end of the stick here. Why couldn’t your friends just do the ‘social thing of welcoming you into the world as a new mom’? Couldn’t you – with help of your mother or other family – not pull, I dunno, THIRTY dollars to get everyone a few cans of soda, and make some chicken, bread and a huge salad? I feel you got cheated out of what would have been an important *social* moment with your friends, because of the *financial* craziness of somebody else (the bride).
Also, I always have a hard time believing that these brides are normally such nice persons. It’s hard to imagine a truly nice person doing such a not-nice thing. Anyways, I hope that at least you and the bridesmaids can stay close friends over this ordeal!
bittergaymark August 31, 2015, 12:15 pm
Everybody seems to be forgetting that on top of EVERYTHING else, a baby shower is literally where they are supposed to SHOWER the consumer-to-be with gifts… Even if the LW isn’t concerned about gifts. Tongues will wag and people WILL be bitchy about it behind their backs…
Regina Chapman August 31, 2015, 5:45 pm
Well, okay, then call it ‘A Pregnancy Break Night’ or whatever, where you get to have a break from being pregnant and just have fun with some close friends who want to celebrate you for being awesome and becoming a mom.
If OTHER people then come into play and bitch about the fact that it’s not a ‘real’ shower…I mean, really? We’re worrying about that, now? These stupid social codes are exactly why it’s acceptable to ask someone to go into debt over a bridesmaid’s dress. I say, if you want to throw a pregnant friend a nice party and just shower her with love – not gifts – PLEASE don’t be held back by what other people may or may not say behind your back.
Katmich15 August 31, 2015, 12:20 pm
Re the bride: Nice is as nice does, she’s not nice.
Re the bridesmaids: “You teach people how to treat you”, grow a pair ladies. Can’t remember who said this, but it’s always been a fav of mine . . .
kali August 31, 2015, 12:29 pm
Just a small caution to the LW about used items for her baby: make sure there are no recalls, especially on the car seat and crib. Those items are frequently recalled and you want the safest items for your little one.
Nancy Pants August 31, 2015, 6:55 pm
Jebus this bride is off her rocker. I asked my girls to buy $40 little black dresses that they actually can wear again and even then I felt guilty asking them to spend them hard earned money. Thankfully they all love the dress and plan to add it to their wardrobes after the wedding. I too am shocked they didn’t stick together and say no way to the second dress. Those bridesmaids must not have 1 spine collectively between the bunch.
Anonymous September 7, 2015, 4:23 pm
Taylor September 1, 2015, 9:46 am
LW, you seem like a really nice person, with a good head on your shoulders. Congratulations on your tiny human, and all the best for the rest of your pregnancy/labor and delivery.