Post # 1
I’m feeling very overextended as a bridesmaid! The bride herself hasn’t expected too much of me but I started the ball rolling in the bridal party for her bridal shower because I am so excited to throw her a wonderful bridal shower.
I asked my friend what she wanted in a bridal shower and she said she wanted it to be where she lived now, either in her house or in a very casual restaurant (like a pizza place or panera bread). This sounded great to me, I could focus my admittedly limited budget on food, games and a fantastic bachelorette party. The bride asked me to be sure to include all the other bridesmaids as well as her mother and specifically requested that I compromise particularly with her mom if she had other ideas.
I sent out emails to everyone and it seemed to go great – except nothing seems to be good enough for her mother. First we had to change the location to where the bride’s extended family lives. I checked with the bride and she ok’d it, so I said fine. Now of course we can’t have it in a home there so we need to get it catered somewhere, ok looked in to casual locations in the area. But they weren’t good enough for the bride’s mom either. Her mom offered to contribute financially, but won’t pay for the whole thing and is insisting we look at “nice” restaurants. Everything I find that she would approve of is in the $25-$30/person range before you add the 18% gratuity and the 10% tax. Even with the bride’s mom contributing that’s going to get seriously expensive. The wedding itself is only going to cost about $35/person for food.
One of the bridesmaids is a newly single mom and she cannot contribute anything, the other hasn’t given her budget yet and I’m a grad student working for minimum wage in a retail job. How can I afford this? Let alone the bachelorette party that I’ve already insinuated she’ll be getting.
I absolutely love my friend but I don’t know what to do here. She is the type to agree with whatever her mom says and I feel like I’m being guilted into this. Comments like, “well if you really want the bride to be happy…” have been thrown around by her mom. I feel like the only way to make this work is to put pretty much my entire paycheck for a few months toward her parties. While I theortically could do that, I know I would not be thrilled with it.
What do I do without starting world war three with the bride’s mom?
Post # 3
@sweet5k: That’s a tough spot to be in. I would just literally tell her that you cannot afford that… and as much as you’d love to be able to give her a lavish shower, you simply cannot. I think maybe being blunt in the nicest way possible might help!
Post # 4
I think set a fixed budget that you can contribute and then be very clear with MOB that you will not go over. Then her options are to either contribute more, find a cheaper place or invite less people. If she tries to guilt you, be firm but polite, something along the lines of “I’m afraid my budget is set. It is not possible for me to extend it”.
In terms of a cheaper option, have you considered a brunch shower. Or maybe afternoon tea, so instead of a full meal you can have plates of sandwiches, scones and cupcakes. Have you asked MOB if any of her family in the area could offer up thir houses.
Post # 5
@aliciaspinnet: Unfortunately the Bride’s mom is inviting quite a few people from out of state and feels that only a full meal is acceptable for people that travel so far. Also none of us (myself, the other bridesmaids, the brides mom or the bride) live in the area that the bride’s extended family live, so the bride’s mom has said that having it at a house is totally out since we won’t be able to be there to cook and clean and such. She either can’t or won’t ask family to host it and I won’t go over her head there because she may have good reason for that.
I probably will give a set number, but I’m afraid of low balling it too much. If I were throwing a bridal shower for my friend on my own I’d be trying to keep the cost at around $150 or $200, but I feel like that is SO low for this budget, plus I need to get invitations, make shower games and favors, so the number I give the mom will ONLY be for food and I’ll have to add extra on top of that for all the extras. For $25-$30 per person, all $150 will do is pay for tax and gratuity.
I know it seems like I’m being really cheap but $200 is 40 hours of work for me…
Post # 6
I think that if the MOB is not willing to budge, then you may need to bow out. If she wants it all her way, then she needs to pay. Is there something else you could do for the bride instead, maybe a bridesmaid lunch or something.
Post # 7
@sweet5k: I think $200 is very generous. I would tell her mother that’s all you can handle. If there’s still a problem I would ask the bride what she thinks. Tell her you’re in a really difficult situation. She’s probably the only one who can talk down her mother.
Post # 8
Urg, it wasn’t fair of the bride to put you in the position of hosting this party while having to make these other people happy. The shower she described is within your budget, and her mother is having none of that. That’s just not right.
I’d be inclined to put your money towards the bachelorette party that you’re hosting, and allow the bride’s mother to carry out the vision she has for her out-of-town guests in the shower. Depending on your relationship with the mother, this may be a no-nonsense conversation with her directly, or maybe it’s something to bring up with the bride since she’s a close friend and may be in a better position to facilitate changing hosts for this bridal shower.
Don’t let someone else’s mama play the guilt game with you!!
Post # 9
Thanks so much to everyone who responded. This gave me the confidence to feel ok going to the bride (which another bridesmaid had apparently also just done). The bride talked to her mom and now we’ll be hosting the party at her grandmothers house. So much less stressful!
Post # 10
@sweet5k: I’m glad it worked out for you 🙂 I was going to suggest you go directly to the bride to talk to her about it and so she can talk to her mother. I know if any of my girls came to me and said, “Hey, your mom wants X and I can only afford Y” I would definitely side with my BM over my mom and take care of it. 😀 Good luck! <3 And high five for being such a great BM!
Post # 11
@sweet5k: I would speak up to the mother and when she gives you curt replies just say, I looked into costs and it is not within my budget. And provide an option that is within your budget in return. If it’s not ‘fancy’ enough for what the mother of the bride wants, then she’ll have to reply with “I’ll cover the cost” or “okay let’s do it at the affordable place you’ve suggested”. I definitely don’t recommend going over budget and putting all your money into the wedding planning. The bride didn’t ask you to be her MOH because of your financial contributions, it’s because she loves you! The resentment you could potentially feel as a result of overextending yourself is not worth it. For bachelorette – would every bride like to be wisked away and travel with her best girls to Vegas or Europe or NYC – perhaps, but it’s not realistic or in the cards for everyone. I think a low key night that starts off at a home with drinks and snacks and music, then grabbing a cab or limo to a local club is more than adaquate, and shouldn’t break the bank. I’ve even thought of doing a cooking class or something along those lines for mine. Low key and affordable, as the bride, I would be upset if I heard that they overspent on my wedding and were overextending themselves financially.