Metro-East Living

Bridesmaid wants bride to pay for her dress

Q: My daughter in getting married next spring and she recently asked several of her girlfriends to be in her wedding. One of them told her that unless my daughter paid for her dress and shoes, she didn’t want to be in the wedding because it was just too expensive. She also told her she would not have time to be part of a bridal shower, nor help pay for one.

My daughter was shocked and embarrassed at this girl’s response and basically told her she would have to discuss it with her future husband before she could respond. She also has asked me what I think about it. My daughter and this girl grew up together and we are very good friends with her parents. This girl also has a good job, but I do not know anything about her financial situation, nor is it any of my business.

My advice to my daughter, is not to pay for this girl’s dress or anything. I think she should just tell her she can’t do that for her if she doesn’t do it for the other girls in the wedding. Then, she should ask some other girlfriend to be in her wedding. I do have a couple of questions though: Is this normal for a bridesmaid to want the bride to pay for her dress and shoes? Isn’t it a bridesmaid’s obligation to help host a bridal shower for the bride? Is it proper for my daughter to cancel her invitation to this girl to have her in her wedding?

A: No, it is not normal for a bridesmaid to ask the bride to pay for her bridesmaid dress and shoes. The manner in which she made the request to your daughter is definitely impolite. If in fact, she has some sort of financial situation preventing her from being able to afford a bridesmaid dress and shoes, rather than give an ultimatum to the bride, it would be far better if she merely said: “I’m sorry. Thank you for asking me, but unfortunately my current financial situation will prevent me from accepting.” Your daughter would then have had the option of discussing the situation with her future husband, evaluating their budget, and then possibly extending an offer to her to pay for the dress and shoes with a request that she not tell anyone about their arrangement.

Because the response was more of an ultimatum, as well as rude, it is proper for your daughter to politely withdraw her invitation. For example: “I am very sorry to hear you are having financial difficulties. I would never want to add to that problem and I wish my fiance and I could afford to pay for your dress and shoes and your share of a bridal shower, but with all the other wedding expenses facing us, we unfortunately cannot. However, having you attend our wedding and share in our special day would mean very much to us.”

Q: A widow lady friend and I go out to the movies occasionally and then have a bite of dinner together. I am not a big eater and there are some restaurant chains I just don’t like. I’ve told my girlfriend several times which ones I don’t like to go to, but invariably when she is driving, where do we go — yes, to one of the restaurants I just don’t like. When I drive, I always offer options of restaurants that I know she likes. I have never complained and have found something to order that I will eat, but I am tired of this game she is playing with me. Next time she does this to me, I am going to tell her off and not go with her anymore. She ruins the evening every time and I think she does it on purpose. What’s your opinion?

A: Sorry to hear your girlfriend has not been listening to you, nor taking your desires into consideration with regard to restaurant selections. It is certainly your choice whether or not you continue to go with her to the movies and dinner, especially if it is not a fun evening for you. Rather than “tell her off,” however, you might just politely decline her invitation the next time she calls.

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Maureen Houston, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to mhouston@bnd.com.

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