A friend of mine is in her girlfriend’s wedding. This is the first wedding she’s been asked to participate in and she had no idea what type of cost would be involved in the role of bridesmaid. She just moved out of her parents’ home. She’s paying her way through school, supporting herself in her new apartment and working two jobs.
The dress is $200, the hemming is $60, the shoes are $80 and now the bachelorette party and the bruch the day after the wedding are part of what she’s expected to pay for as well. With the shower gift, the wedding gift and the other extras not mentioned, she’s at over $500 in cost. My friend doesn’t spend this kind of money on herself – and she doesn’t have this kind of money to spend on anything. She wouldn’t be able to, or expected to pay this much to be in her own sister’s wedding. The bride’s expectations appear to be out of control, and no one has said anything to her about it. My friend and the other bridesmaids have now developed a resentment toward the bride about the exorbitant costs incurred and the hardships this is creating for them.
The 12 Step programs talk about self will run riot – this appears to be just such a case. The 12 Step programs also talk about being rigorously honest. No one has yet let the bride know the hardships they are facing with these costs. So here’s a perfect opportunity for my friend to get honest, humble herself and address the facts of the situation. She’s decided to ask the bride for help to pay for some of the costs of the wedding attire, and also let the maid of honor know that she can participate in the bachelorette party if it’s a pot luck to which she’ll be happy to bring a dish, but that she can’t afford to share in any further costs for these events. She’s also letting the bride know that she won’t be able to afford the bridal brunch the day after (which the bride just announced would have to be paid for by the bridesmaids because her parent’s gave her a financial boundary). I’ve offered moral support to her regarding being honest and requesting assistance. Her requests are reasonable and appropriate. We get to take care of our side of the street in life, make reasonable requests and put the results in God’s hands. My friend has learned much from this situation. She’ll surely politely decline any future requests to be in weddings, or give the prospective bride her budget limitations up front to avoid any misunderstandings, stress or potential resentments. Setting helpful boundaries is a learning process and we have the support of our fellows when we face these new situations. It’s part of becoming responsible and accountable. We are in good company as we learn to set these boundaries and it does become easier. Progress, not perfection.