(Closed) Bridesmaid backed out but already bought the dress…what do I do?

posted 9 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 3
3871 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I just gotta tell you that I would rather have a bm that backs out 4 months before the wedding than 2 days before the wedding.  I had two that did that.  I couldn’t get a replacement but it turned out good anyway.

I’m glad she told you when you did. 

I think one of my bm never wanted to be one but she strung me along and had an “accident” the day before my wedding.  I believed her until I started asking her about the accident and she wouldn’t respond to any of my messages. Whatever, she told me in text and didn’t have the audicity to call me personally to apologize but yet she can tell me congrats on FB?  WTF?

So, I guess it could have been worse.

EDIT: I would tell your bm that since she put you in this situation that it would be hard to get all of her money back.  Luckily, it does look like your replacement will be able to at least alter the dress to fit. Maybe get the old bm to sell the dress for half.. and the new bm buy the dress half off and then get it altered.  Hopefully the dress won’t cost too much to alter.


Post # 4
243 posts
Helper bee

I’m sorry that your friend backed out and that it created a lot of unnecessary stress for you 🙁

I definitely think you SHOULD NOT pay for anything in this situation – it’s not your fault that your friend backed down due to her own flakiness. I think it would be proper for her to take financial responsibility (at least somewhat) for this – so if that means that she would split the alterations bill with her “replacement” I think that would be fair.  I think also that she should facilitate getting the dress to her “replacement” by shipping it or whatever – I don’t think you should have that responsibility either.

Since she created this mess, she should do everything she can to fix it and take the majority of the stress from it off of your shoulders.

Good luck!

Post # 5
3162 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Honestly I’d let her send the dress and not discuss money. I don’t think she should get any $ back if she’s gonna leave you high and dry like that. It’s not your problem to get her her money. As for the alterations, just have the replacement girl pay for the alterations but not the actual dress. Ex-BM can eat the money.

Post # 6
1509 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Don’t pay for anything – this isn’t your fault.  Who knows if the Bridesmaid or Best Man can fit into the new dress.

Post # 7
4464 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Weird.  What is her reason for “backing out”?  Since she already has the dress and everything…

Post # 8
2000 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

Ugh..I hate when people do that. They’re so selfish, and they cause you even MORE stress in planning a wedding. I had some bail, but it was really way before we had done anything at all. My friend had her Maid/Matron of Honor bail, after paying for the deposit on the dress. I was the replacement for her dress, and the bride (my friend) paid off the rest of the dress for me since I was a late-comer. She was so nice to have done this. I had to pay for shoes, and that was the only thing! She already had someone to do the alterations that would do it for free. But if I were to have paid for the 2nd half of the dress, it really wouldn’t have bothered me because what she went through was horrible…& I was honored to be in her wedding.

It’s a personal decision I guess, but that’s what happened in my experience!

Post # 9
1032 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

This happened to me.

I didn’t feel like it was fair to ask the replacement to pay for a dress when she wasn’t the first pick and was helping me at the last minute.

I did not give the 1st Bridesmaid or Best Man her money back as she was the one who bailed on me.

Sadly because the old dress didn’t fit the new girl…and I couldn’t get another size…I ordered 2 new dresses and paid for the both our of pocket. It sucked for me but there wasn’t anyway I could ask a Bridesmaid or Best Man to pay for 2 dresses and it didn’t feel right to ask the new girl to pay,

Post # 10
4001 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

That’s really unfortunate!  But I’d say, and this might be totally wrong, that you don’t owe her any money.  First of all, she backed out giving you only a short window to get another Bridesmaid or Best Man, who is comparable in size.  Then you can’t expect a replacement to have the money available because she wouldn’t have had the same amount of time the others did to set aside the money.  I’d say, she lost the money and the new Bridesmaid or Best Man gets the dress for free.  However, it depends on how you feel about the Bridesmaid or Best Man that backed out.  There is a strongly chance that if you chose this route, there would be some tension in the relationship. 

Post # 11
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

This happened to my FI’s sister last year. Her ‘friend’ basically didn’t pay for the dress nor did she do any of the tasks she was asked. Finally when confronted about it, she admitted that she didn’t want to and couldn’t afford to be a bridesmaid. Two months before the wedding!

The dress was already ordered, in a size 20. My FI’s sister asked me to fill-in, and I’m a size 6. It was too late to order a new dress. The bride paid for the dress (because she couldn’t get her friend to pay for it). I paid for the alterations.

The ‘friend’ also still showed up to the wedding, costing the bride and groom the $100 to feed her.

Post # 12
1154 posts
Bumble bee

I definitely would not ask the ex bm to pay for anything.  How could you possibly justify it?  She didn’t sign a contract or anything so IMO she doesn’t owe you anything financially. (As a friend she should be very sorry for flaking on you like this). If you end up using her dress and thus she give up the dress I would reimburse her at least partically because um, otherwise you can’t demand the dress and she doesn’t have to give it to you.  If she keeps the dress I would just ignore the cash question and so have her bear the cost unless she is struggeling financially.  If she’s struggeling financially I would reimburse her just because it’s the nice thing to do.  Are you sure you’re going to have a ‘replacement’? 

Post # 13
6661 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

Well it’s obviously not your responsiblity to pay for the dress. And I would recommend not replacing her, unless there was someone else you had wanted to ask from the beginning but didn’t want to be uneven.

I wonder why she backed out so late in the game if she’s already bought her dress? Are there additional expenses she’s trying to avoid? If you still want her in the wedding, can you split the expenses with her or soemthing?

I’m just asking b/c I have a Bridesmaid or Best Man who might back out due to money at which point I am fully prepared to offer to help her. Makes me a little mad thinking about it though b/c of all the time and money I spent being a Bridesmaid or Best Man for her wedding recently.

Post # 14
473 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Well, I think you personally should not pay for anything.

Are you having a replacement? If you do, gently inform her that she has 2 options – buy a new dress and pay RUSH production on it – it can still be done in time. Or buy the dress from the other Bridesmaid or Best Man and pay for alterations.

I was in a wedding where I was the “replacement” – the other Bridesmaid or Best Man got pregnant and wasn’t wanting to be in the wedding. We were close to the same size. I bought the dress from her – same price, and had alterations done – most dresses need the alterations anyway.

Post # 15
1032 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Oh also… even though it’s not fair for us to have to pay for anything…I think you should.

Don’t ask the new girl to pay for alterations if you think it’s an issue for her.

No it’s not fair. It wasn’t fair  that I had to shell out another $300 outta my pocket….but sadly you can’t really expect others to pay for it and take care of everything. You may have to eat a little

But on the bright side…I did eat it…but I had everything all worked out 2 months before the wedding and by the time the wedding came around….everything was perfect and the girl who dropped out didn’t complicate my day at all


Good luck!!

Post # 16
3788 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Ugh, complicated. I think I would tell the Bridesmaid or Best Man who backed out to sell her dress online or do with it what she will and let new Bridesmaid or Best Man get her own dress. That way, you are not in the middle of it. Because really, she bought a dress for a purpose and she is now deciding of her own free will that she would not like to participate. So it’s on her, just like if she had bought a car or a computer or anything. If new Bridesmaid or Best Man does want to buy it off old Bridesmaid or Best Man, let them negotiate prices and shipping, but I don’t think new Bridesmaid or Best Man should be expected to take the old dress unless it will benefit her and/or she would like to.

Sorry you have to deal with this!

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