Post # 1
I am struggling inside my head and I thought the bees would be the best people to ask. I have 3 bridesmaids, my sister, my Future Sister-In-Law, and my best friend. They are all great and I absolutely do not want to kick anyone out.
The issue is that my best friend is currently in financial turmoil. She has a ton of student debt, and is currently unemployed and living off of credit cards.
We are planning to order bridesmaid dresses in the fall, and I can’t see her situation getting much better by then. I can’t afford to pay for her dress for her (they are $180 which seems reasonable to me), but I am willing to pay for her makeup, and possibly her shoes (she has short hair so would do that herself). She’s also from out of town, and while I can’t have her stay with me (my parents, their 2 dogs, my sister, BIL, and niece are already staying in our 3 bedroom townhouse), but I am hoping to find somewhere for her to stay so she avoids that cost.
I’m just wondering if I should give her an out. It would probably be much cheaper for her to just attend the wedding and not actually be in it. But I do really want her in it.
So, if you made it to the end: Should I talk to her about all of this and give her an out? I feel terrible asking her to drop almost $200 when she’s not working. Help!!
Post # 3
That’s tough. Could you pay the $180 for her dress but let her wear shoes she already has and not require her to get the makeup done?
Post # 4
I think you should just talk to her and explain everything. Share your concerns that you certainly do not want to cause her additional financial trouble and that you wanted to make sure she is comfortable with the expenses associated with being in your wedding. Also make sure she knows that you want her to be there more than anything and that if she is unable to commit as a Bridesmaid or Best Man that you understand and would love for her to still attend as a guest. Then leave the decision up to her. You don’t want to sound like you don’t want her there (and your certainly don’t sound like that at all!) but it is a delicate conversation to have nonetheless. Good luck!
Post # 5
I think you should talk to her about it. Let her decide if she can afford it or not.
Post # 6
It’s really sweet of you to put yourself in her shoes. I’m sure you if have an honest conversation with her and let her know that you’re conscious of her situation you two can come to some sort of decision. Maybe she could afford $100 towards the dress, and you can do the rest? Or maybe you can help her with her job hunt in some way (as a supportive friend, not as a “buy this dress!” type thing). She sounds like she’s in a bad spot, she’s lucky to have such a good friend!
Post # 7
Eek, that’s hard, I hate talking to people about money. It’s hard for both of you – I imagine she’s very stressed out (and probably a little embarrassed by her situation, even if her financial situation isn’t her fault).
The good thing is that you’ve got time. Is it possible by fall for you to save up enough to either pay for her dress, or pay for half of it?
If you can’t find a friend for her to stay with, are there any local coupon type programs in your area that offer deals on hotels, or does anyone have Hilton/Marriott points that they won’t use and need to get rid of? We have a sort of local coupon program here for all sort of businesses, and there are several hotels that participate – if you could get a room at a good discount, that might work out well too.
Post # 8
Was your friend in this distressed financial situation when she agreed to be a BM? Because she most likely knew the costs associated with accepting and made a decision to cut back in other areas to afford your wedding.
One of my BM’s was in a very similar situation. In addition to not having a job when she agreed to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man, during my engagement she got married and pregnant, distressing her even more financially. This was all before she had to spend a dime on my wedding.
What I did was, I kept a wait-and-see attitude the whole time. Like you, I picked out an ‘inexpensive’ Bridesmaid or Best Man dress for a grand total of $160 and did not require anyone to buy shoes or get hair or makeup done. But the first expense that came up was ordering the dress, I included her on the group emails with instructions and didn’t single her out. I just kept going along as though she had enough money to continue. She did find a way to pay for the dress (I’m assuming her Mom paid for it) and not once did she complain. Along the way, I paid for things when I could like her parking for my bachelorette party, etc.
At the end of the day, at least in my situation, I think my Bridesmaid or Best Man appreciated not being singled out, but I’m sure she could also tell I was being cost conscious on her behalf. This way she was able to keep her diginity, be involved, but not get into a financial hole for my wedding.
Post # 9
I would just talk to her about it, maybe you could add up how much you would be spending on her shoes and make up and put that towards the dress and see if she can come up with the rest, and let her do her own make up and wear shoes she already or maybe borrow a pair from someone???
Post # 10
Thanks everyone for the suggestions and kind words!
I just spoke to my mom and she suggested we could probably come up with some money to help her out with the dress (my mom is the best!). I also talked to my Fiance and he agrees that we could probably pay for it for her, as a gift, since we have a while before we’ll have to pay. Yay! 🙂
@moderndaisy: She wasn’t *technically* in this situation, because she was still in school. I don’t think she thought she’d be jobless this long! Thank you for your advice. I agree it might be best not to single her out, because I know she’s definitely embarassed about the situation.
Post # 11
For me $180 dress would have been a no go and too expensive. I didn’t want to pay for all the dresses especially since I paid for mine in the ones who were already married but our price limits seem to be a bit different. My dresses were $100 and I felt bad about that but I included them in the search and they all were in agreement that it was the dress they liked best and was a price they could swing. But I wouldn’t have picked out a dress knowing I wanted them to pay for it without input from them on their comfort with both the dress and the price.
I guess just from my perspective if you don’t ask first about their comfort financially then you have to accept that them not being comfortable with the choice might happen either by saying they can’t be in the wedding or by looking for help paying for it. For me I’d rather have the right BMs then then the perfect dress so I tried to not make the price of the dress an issue.
Post # 12
@troubled: I appreciate your feedback, but I am not choosing the perfect dress over the people. That isn’t very fair. I told everyone I wanted to keep the dresses under $200 and they all thought that was fair. I did have their input.
Post # 13
I didn’t realize you asked her if she was OK with the price. If she is then you’ve already talked to her about finances and she is fine with it, right? Or do you think she just told you she was fine with it but isn’t really?
Post # 14
I am actually in this same situation. My best friend is in a not-very-good financial situation, and when she agreed to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man (she’d just gotten a new job) I thought that meant that things were getting better for her. Apparently not. It’s only now that the wedding is 3.5 months away that I have started to hear about her situation.
I definitely feel for her and her situation, but almost wish I’d discussed the financial side of things with her much earlier, as she’s now asking for us to keep my bachelorette super cheap (e.g. she suggested that all six of us share one hotel room…no thank you) and has asked to stay in my parents’ basement the night before the wedding in order to avoid a hotel stay.
I am helping her out by paying for 50% of the cost of her dress, but beyond that I don’t feel there’s much I can do (I gave all the BMs the option of hair and makeup, so it isn’t mandatory).
I would say, if I were a year out, as you are, I would maybe observe for awhile and gauge the situation, and then, if things look like they aren’t getting better for her, have a heart-to-heart about the costs involved to make sure that she can handle them. I’m sure it’s really difficult for these girls as they want so badly to be a part of our days, but are having a hard time getting the money together.
Post # 15
@troubled: I think she said she was fine with it, and will pay for it, but I don’t think she should, since she’s expressed to me that she’s paying for everything with her Visa right now. Also yeah, she may have just said it was fine because she felt bad or embarassed about saying no. I guess I am just don’t want to see her go into more debt for my wedding, whether it be $50 or $500 ya know? I know credit card debt is dangerous!
Post # 16
Hmmm, if she’s already said fine to the dress she’s probably saying that because you’re important to her and she wants to be in the wedding despite the burden. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say, I don’t know your friend but if it were me I would feel crushed if you tried to give me an ‘out’ because you were concerned about a dress price, and that you were choosing the dress over me. I know that’s not what you intend but that’s what it would feel like to me, especially since I already expessed that I was willing to take on the burden. I guess if your mom is willing to help her out and you’re OK taking her up on that I’d offer financial help. Two of my single girlfriends shared a hotel, they didn’t know each other before but I asked both of them and gave them each others contact info and it worked out well. They carpooled and did all the wedding stuff together and basically became each others dates (not my intention, I just wanted to give them an option on more affordable housing) but I think there’s ways to make weddings more affordable if you’re worried about her but it’s still important she’s one of your Bridesmaid or Best Man.