Post # 1
Background: Two years ago, my sister "B" had a friend get engaged. Sister "B" became the MOH; sister "A" was asked if my nephew (then 1 year old) would be the ring bearer. My mom also offered to throw her a hometown bridal shower (ended up costing around $250, the same amount as the bridal shower my mom threw for me a couple months before).
Fast forward to this week (my nephew is now 3). The bride is getting married in 3 weeks. She asked sister "B" to pay for a $200 dress even though she knows "B" has massive amounts of debt and had to move in with my parents because she is broke. On top of that, she has gotten two quotes for over $150 for alterations. My mom stepped up and paid for the dress and alterations. The bride also requested "A" rent my nephew a $160 tux. Sister "A" is a single parent, going to school full-time and only works part-time. She doesn’t have a ton of money to spend on things like this.
My mom called me today to complain about the bride and her financial demands on our family. The bridal shower was a gift from my parents, and my mom had no problems paying for it. She didn’t have to pay for "B"’s dress, but did so only after "B" discussed with the bride about her financial situation and the bride saying there was no alternatives; she either paid for the dress or couldn’t be the Maid/Matron of Honor. "A" doesn’t want to confront her about my nephew’s tux rental costs because she wants him to pariticpate and not be kicked out of the wedding.
If a bride came on to WB and complained about this situation, I think a lot of people would commiserate with her. After all, both "A" and "B" had 2 years to save up the money they would need for her wedding. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous. Neither "A" nor "B" are in good financial positions right now; in fact, they couldn’t even get us presents for our wedding. It seems really harsh to say that they either pony up the cash or aren’t allowed to be in the wedding.
As a bride, what would be the best way for someone to approach you so that you would commiserate with their financial burdens instead of reacting emotionally to this situation?
Post # 3
Personally I think $160 is outrageous for a tux rental for a ring bearer, and I’d not hesitate to tell the bride that if she asked here. Our ring bearer tux was $70 to rent (picked out by my husband), and I called his mother and told her that if that was too much, she was more than welcome to find a similar tuxedo anywhere. $200 is also a lot for Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses, but not completely outrageous. Did she consult the BMs about the dress choice, or did she just pick one? I feel like sister B probably shouldn’t have questioned the Bridesmaid or Best Man dress (she did agree to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man, and this kind of thing comes with the territory), but sister A is definitely ok to question such a ridiculous cost for a tux.
Post # 4
The bride picked out the dress and the tux without input from the rest of the bridal party. My mom thinks "A" ought to just buy a tux off Ebay and not tell the bride, but I think this is pretty sneaky and disrespectful. I think both "A" and "B" don’t really want to talk to the bride about the money because 1) they are embarrassed about their financial situations, 2) the bride reacted very emotionally when "B" told her she couldn’t afford the dress, and 3) they want to participate in the wedding and not be kicked out. It seems like a very touchy situation to me…
Post # 5
My immediate reaction after reading this is what you said near the end… both A and B had about 2 years to save for this occasion, as a bride that would be my biggest argument. Its good that you are aware of that, but I agree it isn’t really fair for their financial situation.
For me, I don’t know how much argument sister "B" has, she did have two years so I honestly don’t know the most appropriate for her to bring it up. However as sister "A" goes, $160 for a tux for a 3 year old?! I’d definitely (as the bride) be willing to contribute to that or would have allowed the RB’s mom to find an alternate ensemble that is more affordable. If she approached me and said "look "RB" is gonna look great at the wedding but I’m a little concerned abouthow much the tux will cost, if we find another, less expensive option would that be okay"?
I’m sorry your mom has had to bear a lot of the burden on this… my mom always ends up taking this sort of thing on also! I don’t know about the whole shower thing though, since it was volunteerily hosted I really don’t think the bride should have to contribute anything to that…"
I’m really interested in seeing what "devil’s advocate" positions other bees come up with here…
Post # 6
I think they need to be upfront with the bride regarding their financial situation. I understand they may be embarassed by it, but I don’t see that they have much of a choice. Yes they had a couple of years to save but they didn’t. Can’t go back and change that now. If they talk to the bride and explain the situation, and she still really wants them to be part of the wedding, maybe she will help out or come up with a different option.
Post # 7
I would have to say that I would be guilty of commiserating with the bride. I think that when someone is asked to be in a wedding, they accept or declined based on their financial situation at the time. So, my advice to you would be that if Sister B couldn’t afford to be in the wedding, she should have been upfront with the bride about it. If it really meant a lot to the bride that she be her Maid/Matron of Honor, she would have found a way to help Sister B with the dress cost.
In the case of Sister A – I believe it’s the same type of thing. $160 definitely is a lot of money to rent a tux (at that point, why not just buy it??), but if she didn’t think that she was going to be able to afford him being the ring bearer, she should have been upfront with the bride to let her know.
When I’m asked to be in a wedding, I know that there is a financial burden that is coming along with that. I’m in a wedding coming up where my former roommate was also asked to be a bridesmaid. Since she knew she was going to be having a baby 2 months prior to the wedding, and her and her husband’s financial situation isn’t great, she respectfully declined. The bride was very understanding, and knew she wouldn’t be able to help her with the cost of the dress, so she asked her to be a reader since there was no cost associated with that. She’s still a big part of the wedding, and it’s not costing her anything.
Unforutnately, it’s going to be difficult to approach the bride now with the wedding only 3 weeks away. My initial reaction is that Sister A is putting the bride in a stressful sitation that could have been avoided had she been upfront with her 2 years ago. Imagine if your Maid/Matron of Honor and ring bearer backed out of the wedding 3 weeks prior b/c they couldn’t afford it. As a bride who had a wedding to pay for and is paying off all the final bills 3 weeks prior, that would be extremely stressful for me. I know that this is a stretch, but is there any way that Sister A could borrow the money from her parents to pay for the tux and slowly pay them back? Again, while I agree that $160 for a tux is ridiculous, I do think that backing out now is going to be a bigger deal.
I’m sure this wasn’t what you wanted to hear, but just wanted to give you the brides point of view on this. It’s not that I think she is "kicking" them out of the wedding…I think it’s just added financial burden to the bride and groom that wasn’t expected. Hope it didn’t offend…
Post # 8
I personally think that the bride should help b/c she did not consult BM’s about the costs beforehand. I tried to pick the cheapest dresses I could find, and then also told everyone to talk to me if they had issues (if there was someone I knew would, I wuold also have addressed it with her separately).
Also, I’m not clear on the timeline. When did she make your sister aware of the cost of the dress and tux. that matters a lot. If the dress is ending up being $350 with alterations and then another $160 for the tux, that’s way more money than she may have planned for.
Ultimately, I think it’s telling that the bride was willing to kick her out rather than have her be in the wedding. If I were your sister and the alterations were not paid for, I might take her up on the offer and put the $150 toward the tux so that her son won’t be disappointed.
Oops, just realized it’s two different sisters…but the same thing applies. "B" cuold step down, and put the $150 for alterations your mom offered toward A’s son’s tux.
Post # 9
Finances are always a tough topic of conversation, but if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t do it. Despite having 2 years to save up, it just might not have been possible. I think that if the bride has a specific dress or tux she wants the wedding party to wear, then she needs to at least pay for part if not all of the rental/purchase price. I’ve paid for my attendants attire (they’ve agreed to pay for their alterations) and will do the same for the tux rentals for the groomsmen, ring bearer and flower girls. If I am choosing what they wear and asking them (as a favor to me and my fiance) to be part of the wedding, then it’s my responsibility, especially if I know that someone I’m asking to be in my wedding has financial difficulties.
Post # 10
I can see both sides on this. Yeah, you can "save up," and 2 years is a long time, but life happens. Cars get in fender-benders, loans need to be repaid, kids get sick and you have to take an unpaid day off.
Unfortunately, sister A is in a bit of a tough spot right now — 3 weeks before the wedding is pretty late to tell the bride she can’t get the tux (although I agree that $160 for a 3-year-old’s tux is nuts!). The best solution, I think, would be for her to take a look at the rental company’s cataloge and see if there’s a similar, less costly option. She can then suggest this to the bride — "I really want Ring Bearer to be in the wedding, and I feel awkward about saying this, but I just don’t have $160 because of my school loans and working part-time. I found another Ring Bearer tuxedo that’s also black and only costs $80 to rent. Would that be all right?"
Post # 11
To clarify fixicsgirl question: The dress for sister "B" was ordered without her knowledge and arrived last week. Part of the reason the alterations is so high is because the bride didn’t have "B" measured and ordered the wrong size. The rb tux has been a struggle with the rental shop for the last month because they kept messing up the order. Yesterday, the bride called the tux company in a three-way call with "A" to get things straightened out, and that’s when she found out the total cost.
Keep the advice coming, ladies and gents! I’m very interested to hear what everyone has to say. 🙂
Post # 12
It’s inconsiderate to change on the bride 3 weeks b4 the wedding. This is assuming that all parties are in the know for what they’re up against for a long time and that the bride was clear in her demands long before now, e.g. >3 months ago. Given this assumption, it would have been reasonable for your sisters to discuss alternatives with the bride (alternative tuxedo for the newphew, alternative dress, or even backing out) immediately after the dollar amount involved was communicated.
Now that your sisters have waited till now to evaluate the situation, this is really tough for everybody. If the bride does not mind your sisters backing out, I would actually be impressed with the brides’ tolerance for last min changes. However, if your sisters insist on being in the wedding party (or if the bride cannot accomodate people backing out), I feel sorry for your mom that your mom has to bear the financial burden for your sisters’ decision.
I would only be on the side of your sisters if there was absolutely no hints of these financial burdens until recently. In that case, if the bride makes almost last-to-min demands on others, I feel justified that others should be able to change on her in the last-to-minuste fashion. I guess I’m too into reciprocity.
Edit: After reading Mrs. Spring’s clarifications, it seems that the bride was quite disorganized and haven’t been in good communication when it comes to dollar amt involved. In that case, I feel that your sisters are reasonable in wanting to negotiate alternatives. I guess one could make the argument that wedding party members should help out the bride in her planning so that the bride wouldn’t have made these mistakes. On the other hand, ultimately, the bride is still the person that has to be accountable for all the planning snafus. If I were your sisters, I would have backed out of my responsibility. However, if ur sisters want to be super nice and give in to the bride’s demands, I guess it’s your mom who has to bear the financial burden. Well, it’s up to ur sisters to decide whether your mom’s sacrifice is worth the friendship/ wedding party participation for the bride.
Post # 13
I want to echo fizicsgirl — I think the right thing to do is talk to the wedding party about cost before picking out dresses, so that everything is clear right off the bat, and it d oesn’t sound like this bride did that at all. When we were picking out dresses, I told all the girls about how much the ones I liked were, and let them know to ask me for any financial help at all in paying. I don’t think it’s fair when people say "she had 2 years to save up for it!" because life happens, people don’t squirrel away money for years for someone’s wedding when they have other financial troubles going on. I think it’s sad that this bride would tell her Maid/Matron of Honor that there was no alternative and that she’d have to step down otherwise??
Not sure what I’d do if I were your family. Even if it’s embarrassing, it’s probably best to just be honest. If I were confronted with this situation from a wedding party member, I’d rather just hear it as soon as possible and directly as possible so I could find a way to help. But since you already mentioned that the bride reacted emotionally before, I’m not sure if your sisters will find a good way to talk to her about it 🙁 I hope it works out!
Post # 14
Whoa. The bride ordered the dress without consulting your sister on her size or getting her measurements?! And didn’t tell Sister A how much the tux would cost until yesterday? I’m kind of stunned. This was very, very, VERY poor planning on her part, and making B pay for crazy expensive alterations when it’s the bride’s fault the dress doesn’t fit at all is kind of insane.
I think Sister A needs to get on the phone with the bride today and explain, gently, that she had planned to cover the cost of RB’s tux but had no idea it would be so expensive — she wants him to be in the wedding and is heartbroken to think that he might not be, but that she can’t scrape together $160 in three weeks on her part-time salary. Then she can suggest a less expensive alternative if one exists at the rental store, or offer to buy a tux on eBay like your mom suggested.
If the bride says "no, pay $160 or he’s not in the wedding," I have to say, it might be time for your family to write off this woman as a friend. She sounds really disorganized, thoughtless, and selfish to me — is she like this even when she’s not planning a wedding?
Post # 15
- Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch
A reasonable bride might make accomodations–either offering to help pay for the bm dress, or letting the bms select their own dresses with certain criteria that have to be met. But I don’t think refusing to do so makes her unreasonable, and while the wedding might be a burden on the family, the mom offered to host the shower and that’s unrelated to the dress and the tux.
(I do think that the bride should reconsider the rb’s tux, though. That’s a LOT of money on a rental for a small child who doesn’t need to match the rest of the wedding party! A black tux is a black tux! No one will notice if it’s not the one she selected.)
But a reasonable bridesmaid knows that part of being in a wedding is buying a dress, and a $200 dress is pretty par for the course. If the bride can’t help out with the dress (and she’s probably pretty strapped, too, if she’s like just about every other bride in the world), and if she’s not willing to make changes to accomodate her wedding party’s financial situation, then B really doesn’t have a choice if she wants to be in the wedding.
Really, it’s always easy for attendants to complain about what a bride is requesting financially (and we all do it here and there’s nothing really wrong with it as long as we’re not taking it to the bride!), but this is what you sign up for when you agree to be in someone’s wedding.
Post # 16
I think I’m mostly giving the evil eye to the bride on this one. (But I’ll get back to that in a minute.)
If finances are that big of an issue with your sisters, I think they should have probably been upfront with the bride. ($200 for a dress is not outrageous. $160 for an Ring Bearer tux is, however, if she’s in such a financial bind that the extra $50+ dollars that makes the tux so costly is going to break her bank, then it would have been helpful to be upfront.) Yes, I think they could have spent a little time saving more for the wedding. But did they have a clue about the cost. Maybe they simply thought it would be less costly. Sometimes people just don’t know. I think it was the birde’s responsibility to discuss attire costs…..and like a year ago.
This bride needed to have been way more organized. If she had the attire picked out months ago, your sisters might have been able to save the money. While $200 for a dress isn’t ridiculous, $150 for a Bridesmaid or Best Man alteration is. Especially since the bride ordered it without your sister’s measurements. I can only guess she was feeling pressure to just order it so it could be in in time for the wedding. Sorry, not your sister’s fault. I guess your sister could have asked her what was up with the dresses. But for all I know she did. Or the bride was a bridezillla or something. So just based on that, the bride should at least offset the cost of the alterations. (What bride orders dresses without checking on sizes?? And really the bride should have at least checked with the BMs about what price range is comfortable too. Some might disagree with me, but I think for a bride to pick out a dress without consulting with her BMs on price or style is being a bit bridezillaesque. Did she even consider how the dress would look on different body types?) And as for the $160, yes it’s too much. I think it says a lot that she’s not considering the cost of a little boy’s tux, regardless of whether the parents are broke or doing fine.
It sounds like, ultimately, your sisters wouldn’t want to miss the wedding. And your mom is fronting the money for them. So I’m not sure there is much left to say. If they are willing to stick together, Sister A can talk to her about the tux. (Maybe sister B can discuss the alterations fiasco with her too.) If the bride is that stubborn that she won’t allow sister a to at least find a cheaper tux, maybe both of the girls can threaten to back out. If I was the bride, I certainly wouldn’t want to lose my Maid/Matron of Honor over supplementing $75-150 for alterations, because I screwed it up in the first place. But really, it sounds like your sisters would rather just be in the wedding than anything else.