Ask Team Practical: Bridesmaids are Grown Ups


Not Cats To Herd

by Liz Moorhead, Ask Team Practical

Ask Team Practical: Bridesmaids are Grown Ups | A Practical Wedding

Q: Is there a way to express my anxiety and stress about planning my wedding to my maid of honor when she’s the cause of the anxiety and stress?? I’m getting married in October, but she happens to be in another wedding in June. I’m freaking out because we can’t seem to coordinate schedules enough to actually shop for her dress. I know there’s plenty of time, but I’ve recently had it ingrained in my very being that bridesmaids dresses take a while to order and ship and fit and yadda yadda yadda. I just want to have a conversation where I demand all of her attention for a whole day (or week or month), so that I can get stuff checked off my to-do list. I’m worried that we’ll run out of time between now and the other wedding in June and then have to rush to get everything done by October. My whole issue here is that I’m being hugely selfish; I know it and I accept it. But I’m torn between being selfish and being sympathetic… We’ve been talking about possible dresses for her, and I made a suggestion that she go ahead and order a dress (online at ModCloth) and I would pay for all of the shipping—especially if it needed to be returned. It’s $50 at most, and it really irritates me that she wants to wait a few weeks since she just redid her guest bathroom and bought her other bridesmaid dress. I understand money issues, and neither of those things is cheap, so of course I said, “Sure, let’s wait until May.” Inside, however, I wanted to tell her to forget it, I’ll buy the damn dress if only so I can feel like we’re making progress.

Sorry for the long, rambling rant, but seriously, is there a way I can talk to her about this without making her feel guilty or suppressing my real feelings? Or, better yet, is there a way to quiet my mind and be all zen about the whole thing? (I’m anticipating “no” on both counts, but I wanted to take a chance.)

—Amy

A: Dear Amy,

I’m gonna take a shot in the dark and assume your friend knows how to order herself a dress. She knows how to do the whole thing—from budgeting in advance to figuring out a week when the money will be available, to looking into turn-around and shipping times, to putting the dang thing on her body. And if she’s not keen on that stuff, she’ll be forced to quickly adjust to things like “rush shipping” and dresses that are too baggy in the chest because there’s no time to alter them.

Those little bits at the end there probably started you hyperventilating a bit, didn’t they? But, you know what, they’re not your problem. It’s not your problem if she’s charged extra, or of the dress isn’t a perfect fit. She’ll handle it, not you.

Right now, you’re just adding to your to-do list and to your load of stress. Big projects (like, say, planning a wedding) are best handled when you can delegate some of that stuff. And “dress yourself” is a perfect place to start. Your only sort-of, kind-of responsibility may be to let her know about lead timessomething you don’t really need to worry about with a typical retailer, but that comes into play with bridesmaid shops. Even then, the rushed timeframe is usually overhyped and it doesn’t take that long. Usually, they’ll quote you around twelve weeks, and the dress will still arrive long before then. (And yes, there are some bridesmaid’s dresses that they’ll tell you six months, but just don’t ORDER them.)

I completely understand that little impulse to leap on the little things you can control when there’s a giant, looming to-do listmost of which you can’t really tackle. It feels like there are all of these questions, decisions, checkboxes floating in the air, and if you could just get her to buy this damn dress, it might give you a sense of control. But, listen closely here. Taking on these small stresses to try to alleviate the bigger ones is counterproductive. You want to check something off your to-do list? Go ahead and put a big old strike through “buy bridesmaid dress” because someone is already handling that, and it’s not you.

Q: One of my bridesmaids who I’ve been close with for the last few years has done a total fade out. She hasn’t responded to my calls/texts/Facebook messages in almost three months (wedding related or just reaching out to get together since we live in the same city). She’s dropped off the radar once or twice before, but never for nearly as long as this. We had been getting together fairly regularly when I asked her about being a part of the wedding about a year ago.

I’m at the point now (about three months out) where I’m trying to make day-of—and week-of—plans and need to know things like when she’ll be getting into town (my parents are generously offering to cover the hotel for the out of town bridesmaids since money is tight—but they need to book it ASAP), if she wants me to book a hair appointment for her, or even if she’s bought a dress (she came along on the shopping trip over the summer but wanted to wait a bit before buying). I really don’t feel like I’m asking too much of my wedding crew—I chose the color of the dresses and we had a group shopping trip where I basically said choose whatever you’re comfortable in; as far as hair, makeup, shoes, and accessories, they all get to choose those on their own; and I’ve made it clear that I don’t expect the whole WIC fanfare. I really just want a laid-back planning period followed by a fun day that results in having a husband. But, this total lack of response is super stressing me out between the need to plan and also just not knowing what the hell happened to my friend. (Editors note: It was determined that said friend was alive and healthy, so that’s not the concern.)

The stress is also piling on since my mom is nagging me to get answers from her. I’D FREAKING LOVE TO GET A RESPONSE. It’s not like I’m not trying. At this point, I don’t know what to do any more. I’m racking my brain trying to figure out what happened or what went wrong and I really can’t think of anything. Has this ever happened before? How do I fix this??

—Haven’t Understood Reasoning, Though I Need Gameplan

A: Dear HURTING,
I’m giving you the same answer as above, only for a starkly different reason. Unlike above, your bridesmaid is really dropping the ball (and frankly, kind of being a tool). You can’t reach her at ALL? No response to any kind of messages? That’s just rude.

But, like above, you can’t worry yourself about it. If you still want her in the wedding, send her your important and helpful updates (“Hey, FYI, we’re all meeting at the ceremony site at 10am!”), but don’t make any plans for her or around her. She’s not responding about hotels and hair? Then she can very well find herself a place to stay and figure out what to do with her mop. Your options are to one: just move on making plans without her (and brace yourself for the possibility of a no-show), or two: flat out ask her if she wants out, or tell her you want her out.

Your sanity is important, and killing yourself to chase this girl down isn’t helping you any.

If you think something went wrong, then of course send her one of those assorted messages. This time with a, “Hey, I haven’t heard from you in awhile. Is everything okay?” Not for the sake of the wedding end of things—that all will work out even if she misses out on a free hotel room or hair appointment. Just out of concern for her, for the sake of friendship, you caring about her and all of that. The fact that you mention she’s done this before makes me think it’s just her thing, and isn’t personally about you or anything you’ve done. But maybe it is? We’d probably have a better idea if she responded to a freaking text.

Team Practical, when do you chase down your bridesmaids and when do you just take a nap?

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her son.

read the comment policy before you post

  • Tasoshka

    I had a bridesmaid, a friend of 14 years, suddenly drop all contact. I tried contacting her on many levels, and was finally responded to 2 months later with a terse letter letting me know that after some thought, she’d decided she didn’t want to be part of a wedding between 2 women, because we are sinners and marriage is between a man and a woman. So that was interesting.

    • genevathene

      Oh I’m so sorry! That must have been rough. :(

    • Laura

      This happened to a friend of mine. Very tough.

    • scw

      wow. I’m so sorry.

    • MisterEHolmes

      That’s horrible. I’m so sorry.

    • Mezza

      Oof, so sorry. This happened to me with one side of my family (deciding to not show up or RSVP, just lecture me).

      I also had a very close friend of 15-ish years suddenly cut me out of her life completely, because her new boyfriend (now husband) didn’t trust me around her, about a year before my wedding. I had always planned for her to be a bridesmaid, but I never got the chance to ask. I’m not even mad; I just miss her.

      • taoshka

        Thanks. Yeah, it’s weird, because while I’m hurt I also just miss the friend she used to be. Sorry you had to go through it too, it really sucks.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      That. Is. So. GROSS.

  • Laura

    NAP. Always. Because they’re adults and they have lives that don’t solely revolve around my wedding. And because I asked them to stand with me during my wedding not because I want a backdrop or an entourage but because they are tried and true friends who have Never. Failed. Me. Yet. So I don’t expect them to now. If, when it’s the month of the wedding, one of them doesn’t have her hotel booked or another doesn’t have her shoes picked out, I might be slightly stressed out by this, but it’s really FINE. I know she’ll figure it out. I know she’ll show up for me. Maybe I’m lucky in this sense.

    • Meg Keene

      If that’s true, you are lucky. As evidenced by this thread (and plenty of stuff I’ve seen in real life) plenty of people don’t pull through when it really matters. But at the end of the day, that is on them, not you. All you can do is be like, “Ok! So one less Bridesmaid then!”

      • Laura

        I might also be delusional. And overly optimistic. We’ll see what happens when July rolls around. Til then, trying to maintain the zen.

      • Laura

        After some introspection, I guess the other thing I should add is that I’ve titrated my expectations for each bridesmaid based on past experience. For instance, “Jane” works two jobs and has been known to cancel social plans last minute, so I don’t get upset when she tells me she can’t make it in time for the rehearsal. NBD, what really matters is she’s there on the big day, and anyways she can get a walk-through right before the ceremony.

        • Hannah B

          I love the phrase “titrated my expectations.”

  • Anon for this

    I have a bridesmaid who I feel like I don’t know how to be friends with anymore. Her partner died a few years ago after an agonizing illness, and she’s still really adrift and depressed and generally not doing well. I want to continue supporting her and I have no expectation that she’ll just suddenly get over this, but it’s gotten hard to have conversations with her even at the most simple day to day level. She doesn’t have enough going on in her life to talk about much besides complaining about her job, but she doesn’t seem very interested in my life, either. Textbook depression, basically, and she is on anti-depressants and sees a therapist at least occasionally. At this point I want to be a good friend to her because we’ve been friends for a long time and I know what a horrible, horrible time she’s had of it in recent years, but I’m not even sure I know how.

    • anon

      As someone who has gone through a difficult family death, I’d suggest making a regular date with her — e.g., bring her dinner or go out to dinner the second Tuesday of every month or the like. Grief can be all-encompassing, and one of the ways people helped pull me up was to get me out of my house and my head with no expectations for me. That is, they picked me up, they brought me meals, they did things for me, all the while knowing (and they were right) that if they held on long enough, I would turn a corner. There’s no set cycle for grief and everyone mourns differently, but a robust community can really help. It’s a time when it’s not an equal, reciprocal exchange, but the friends who stick it out can make a huge difference. It also helped me when my friends invited me to events even if they knew that my body might be present but my mind wouldn’t be (I’m not talking a wedding, more like come out to drinks even if you’re just there to sort of perceive the presence of others, not to participate). Just some thoughts…

  • Berkshire

    For LW #2 – I’ll add to Liz’s response that if you give a deadline (“We are making the hotel reservations on Friday, so if I haven’t heard from you before then, you’ll need to find your own!”) you have a perfect justification to not scramble to accommodate her when she finally gets her shit together and asks for a hotel room. As long as her non-communication isn’t affecting other people (her dress order isn’t holding up the other bm’s dress orders), you don’t have to stress about it. She’s an adult.

    • jashshea

      THIS. I didn’t have bridesmaids, but I have at least one famously…last minute friends. Terminally broke, disorganized, etc. She’s wonderful in many/varied other ways, but she isn’t what I’d call a grown up just yet. A few months in advance, I told her that I would pay for her flight or hotel, but I needed her to be a big girl and book them herself. I then told common friends to make sure she did it. Sometimes you have to let people know that you expect them to step up* and let them do it (or, sadly, not).

      *even if “stepping up” is basically “acting like a regular adult.”

  • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

    I had a similar situation to LW #2 and…that member of my bridal party didn’t show up in the end. And didn’t confirm that until…18 or so hours before the wedding? (Because it was finally determined that flights were too expensive. Yes, THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING, FLIGHTS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE.)

    My advice: try to nail her down for a phone conversation where you can go over the details (which will help with your anxiety) but don’t assign her any responsibilities (which will also help with your anxiety) or front the money for anything of hers (like her lodging). I did the first two and prepared for the worst, but when it happened I got screwed out of the money for two night’s lodging, which REALLY bugs me. Oh and my friend literally hasn’t responded to my texts since the one where I found out that said friend wasn’t going to be there.

    • Jules

      …Geez, why is that it seems so many people here have dealt with the friend fade-out? The one time it happened to me, it affected me worse than any breakup ever has and it still hurts. Logicking my way out of it (well, screw her, because I did X and that makes WAY more sense than Y) and guilting myself (oh, maybe she had a point that I was a bad friend and never should have done Z!) haven’t gotten me anywhere, so I stopped. But I really can’t wait until I get over it for good.

      • Lawyerette510

        I found that removing myself from seeing the person’s social media really helped me move past it.

      • River

        I just have to second this – it hurts WAY worse than my worst break-up and it’s been almost four years since my friend disappeared. The worst part is that now she is getting married and asked one of my best friends (and bridesmaid) to be her maid of honor. I thought I was fine with the fact that these girls are friends without me, but all this wedding planning without her (while hearing about her wedding from my bridesmaid) is like, way harsh, Tai.

        Anyway, hugs from one hurting gal to another :-)

        • Lisa

          One of my best friends started doing the fade-out a year before her wedding after she had already sent us STDs. She ultimately defriended me on Facebook and threw away a bunch of my fiancé’s furniture right before she moved out. (They were roommates at the time.)

          We had a lot of mutual friends, and it’s still painful to see her posting on other people’s pages and to see photos of her wedding, which she never sent me an invitation for. I don’t know what happened or what I did that offended and upset her so much because she refused to talk to me and blocked our phone numbers. I’m still having horrible dreams where she yells at me and tells me what an awful person I am.

          We were friends for many years, and I always thought she would play a big role in my wedding. With it finally happening, I get these horrible pains thinking about her not being there, despite all of the awful things she did.

          More hugs for all of us who are hurting.

          • Jules

            Ouch, I am so sorry. Friend breakups are really something else. You don’t get instruction from society about “how to deal with it” and there are just so many FEELINGS…and so little closure…and because we generally have more than one friend, they never really get “replaced” in the sense that a partner might. Ideally a partner breakup leads you to the right partner, but a friend breakup is just a friend breakup. Never HAD to happen, you know?

            Not sure how long ago this was for you, but now my dreams are all about us meeting up and we’re friends again or at least there’s kind words and we go on our way.

            I second the “remove from social media” thing, but it won’t protect you from mutual friends, which is tough. I no longer have social media at all, and I still struggle, so it’s only half the battle.

            I really want to write a piece on this someday if just for my own peace of mind. Hugs all around! Also, wine.

          • Lisa

            I completely get what you’re saying. All of the friends function and support us in different ways so it’s difficult to find a “replacement” who can act in the exact same capacity as someone else.

            It’s been a year since she de-friended me, but it was back in August when they moved out and she blocked all contact. She moved to another state to be with her fiancé, and I haven’t heard from them since. (Except to threaten us with harassment lawsuits for calling to figure out what they’d done with my fiancé’s furniture.)

            The only way I could completely remove her is to block her on every web-site, but I haven’t been able to make myself do that.

            I wish so hard for the dreams you mention. I would love to feel somewhat at peace with all of this. I would love to read something written about these feelings on here!

            And I will take any excuse to drink more wine. ;)

    • Lawyerette510

      My sister hasn’t bought her flight out here yet, and she is supposed to be here May 9 for the Gal’s weekend before our May 12 wedding. (But she got her ticket home last week) This morning I was driving to work and I thought “I sure hope she doesn’t bail, that would really damage our relationship.”

  • Anon

    One of my bridesmaids was completely absent for most of my planning process and wouldn’t respond to repeated attempts at communication over several months. I decided that if something serious was going on with her that she didn’t feel comfortable sharing with me, I would give her as much space as possible while still including her on all group communication so she would have all logistical information with the assumption that she would be there when it really mattered (the day of). I didn’t expect her at any other functions (shower, bachelorette, various crafty get togethers with the other bridesmaids, set up, or rehearsal) and I was honest with everyone else that I hadn’t heard from her and not to expect her to respond to them either. Finally, the week of the wedding she wanted to be a part of everything, which turned into wanting a lot of attention from me since she hadn’t kept up with any of the information I had been sending. She helped set everything up the day before and that night at our very informal rehearsal dinner asked me where she should spend the night. I was completely flabbergasted. She expected to stay with my husband to be and I in our studio apartment the night before our wedding. I always told my bridesmaids that I understood my wedding wasn’t the focus of their lives, and I really tried to give her the benefit of the doubt that for whatever reason (probably completely legitimate) she just couldn’t be there for me. But I found her assumption that I would be making her sleeping arrangements somehow without her asking to be very hurtful. The wedding went great and she was physically there, but the friendship is definitely over. She hasn’t contacted me since that day (a year ago this weekend!) and neither have I. I’m not sure if I handled it the “right” way, but for me all trust was completely broken and I just couldn’t put myself out there any more. All this is to say yes, your bridemaids are adults and will probably get everything done (even if not on the bride’s schedule), but also that bridesmaids are adults capable of making very selfish decisions that have consequences for other people.

    • MisterEHolmes

      Yeah, I agree: they may be adults, but that doesn’t make them responsible, socially competent adults.

    • MC

      WHAT. Who would expect to stay with the couple the night before their wedding without talking about it beforehand?? I would be flabbergasted to.

      • Anon

        Yeah I couldn’t believe it. I just told her “we’re staying the night in a hotel so we all have a place to get dressed in the morning. Two other friends are crashing at our apartment and you’re welcome to stay with them” but she quickly made other plans. Thankfully, my “wedding zen” had already started and I was able to laugh it off. I certainly wasn’t about to start trying to find her a hotel room with no advance warning.

  • Chelsea

    I feel like I’m having the exact opposite problem with my bridesmaids. Namely, I guess, because they aren’t technically bridesmaids yet. I haven’t asked anyone because my wedding is still 18 months out (grad school, man) BUT my three friends are the closest ones I have at school, and I love them to death, so I am definitely going to ask them to be in my wedding. The only problem is, they don’t seem interested in my wedding at all. I’ve been shopping for a vintage wedding dress online, and I finally found the perfect one. I sent it to them in a joint email and no one responded :( It makes me feel like I’m just really bad at this female thing.

    • macrain

      Is it possible that they are into you, but not into weddings? (I mean, even if that’s the case- come on, if your friend finds her wedding dress, respond to the damn email! Make something up!)
      But still, I wonder if that’s more the issue. In which case, they can still be there for you and be wonderful bridesmaids, they just might not want to gab about centerpieces with you. (In which case- do you have another friend who is into this stuff? Some of the most valuable wedding advice I’ve gotten has been from a close friend who is NOT my bridesmaid.)
      What I’m saying is, don’t mistake “not being into your wedding” as “not being into YOU.”

      • Jessica

        Right, or not into emails. I have a friend who I thought was totally disinterested until I’d seen her in person and she was expressed excitement…she’s just not the email-responder type.

    • Amy March

      It’s 18 months away!! That is 2 full gestational periods worth of baby away. Aka a really crazy long time. You’re going to be very disappointed expecting excitement for anything that far in advance.

      • Meg Keene

        What? Yeah, I totally disagree on that, as someone who was engaged for 18 months and has gestated a baby.

        There isn’t a time limit on how early you can be excited for friends, and you can ALWAYS be excited for friends who are picking their wedding dresses.

        My advice is the opposite. Ladies who don’t respond to wedding dress emails might just not be the best ladies to have with you for your wedding. Which is fine. You don’t have to have ladies doing this wedding thing with you, you’ll find people in your life who care, whether they wear matching dresses or not. Lots of those people will end up as your people, over time.

        • Kendra D

          I agree with this! I got really upset when my Mom wasn’t interested in looking at dresses with me and we were about 15 months out. She was tied up in prep for my sister’s baby (about three months prior to his birth) and didn’t want to take the time or give the emotional energy to me. I know the timing wasn’t the best, but I was only in the US for three weeks and after that wasn’t going to be back until just six months before my wedding.

          I really struggled with her disinterest. And, it has had long lasting impact. I find it much easier to discuss wedding things with my MIL because she has been excited the whole time and I don’t have the same resentment. It feels awkward to talk about wedding stuff with my Mom now, even though she did eventually go dress shopping with me after I moved back to the US.

          Which is to say that lack of support from friends is always disappointing regardless of when it happens or what it is about.

          • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

            My MIL was a bit like your mother. Yes, she had both her other childrens weddings AND her mothers 90th birthday in the 8 months before our wedding.

            So, I didn’t bother her with details, or ask her for help.
            But what we got was a lot of resentment. Heaving sighs of “I guess I should get around to looking at flights for your wedding” (the only event of the year she had to travel for – all the others were literally around the corner from her house). I felt like an imposition, and it really killed my desire to improve my relationship with her.

    • MisterEHolmes

      My friend who seemed totally uninterested at first turned out to be the most in my court. So hold on to hope!

      While 18 months out is seriously far in advance, I understand how much it can hurt when someone doesn’t respond. Cut them slack for awhile?

      • Meg Keene

        I just don’t think it’s that far in advance, y’all. We did most of our planning 18 months out. LOTS of people do most of their planning way far in advance because long engagements are common. If people had held off being excited till like, three months out, there would have been nothing left to be excited about. We would have been done planning (and frankly, at that point, I would have written them off in any wedding related capacity).

        The point is, we’re supposed to be there for our friends when they NEED us. Not when we feel like is appropriate for them to need us.

        • MisterEHolmes

          “we’re supposed to be there for our friends when they NEED us. Not when we feel like is appropriate for them to need us.”

          Well that is truly the ideal, but it sure hurts when they aren’t. Waiting a little while would just be trying to extend them a courtesy.

        • Amy March

          To be fair to them though, NEED is a bit strong for “excitement over a wedding dress.” If you have people who are going to sustain excitement for 18 months, awesome, but I actually think this is a downside to long engagements. If you’re desperate to tie the knot so you can finally get laid already, and your wedding is 2 months away, everyone can be excited!! If you’re taking 18 months because, ya know, completely normal modern reality, I think if you have an expectation that all of your people can wrap their heads around that time frame and demonstrate sincere excitement, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

          • Meg Keene

            Yeah. It’s not though, because we’re talking about friendship here, not say, basic human survival. Needing your friends to be excited about the fact that you’re buying your wedding dress (even if they aren’t excited about, say, your personal style) is a pretty reasonable desire.

            That’s the shitty part about weddings: realizing who in our life can’t/ won’t/ doesn’t care to hit the lowest bar of what we happen to need out of our friendships. As a result, it’s really common to lose friends during the course of wedding planning, just like it’s really common to lose friends during other really serious life events: someone dying, for example. Turns out that lady you thought had your back during all those nights at the bar is MIA when one of your most important people is dying? Well, you’re going to realize the two of you didn’t have the kind of friendship you hoped you had.

            It’s always possible to realize, “Hey, this friend isn’t that good at weddings, but they’re super good at other things. They’ve been there for me for a long time, and I love them, regardless.” It’s also really normal to realize, “Oh. When this friendship is tested, this person isn’t interested in my fundamental emotional needs.” And walking away. That’s fine too. It sucks short term, but it’s fine.

            Wanting to have people who really love us, and are really there for us in the ways that matter to us, might be setting ourselves up for disappointment. But it’s also, I’d argue, worth it.

            When it comes to good friends, I don’t need ALL the good friends. I just need a handful of people I can, at least collectively, count on come whatever. Death, wedding dress shopping, baby in NICU, whatever. All those other people are lovely, but they don’t need to be part of my core inner circle. Getting married helped me figure that out.

          • Sarah

            I think every relationship is different and lines between what’s ok and what’s not ok in a relationship are different for everybody, but I think you’re right. Getting married made it really clear who was there for me and who was just “around” when things were fun. Not that those people are bad, just that I can’t invest myself in a relationship that’s one sided. Because seriously, most of my wedding planning was fun! And if people didn’t want to be there for the fun stuff, they sure won’t want to be there for the hard stuff.

          • Meg Keene

            I don’t want to give the impression that after my wedding (or other huge life events, some more awful than joyful) I cut everyone out of my life that was a “just for fun” friend. But. It did give me a really clear lay of the land, and it gave me a really clear idea of who my real people were… which was often not who I expected, AT ALL.

            It’s hard, but you also discover who will sleep out of a car (and not tell you about it) to be at your wedding. That’s worth finding out who the weakest links are.

          • Lawyerette510

            I think that being involved with a wedding is a good litmus test for who your people are both being in the bridal party and as being the bride (First time bride, 10+ times bridesmaid). I had friends who when they were brides I bent over backwards for who treated me badly during the process, which I contributed to their being stressed etc, but then continued to do after the wedding- so they aren’t as big a piece of my life; and I have people who have really stepped up with enthusiasm and love related to this quirky, quickly planned Monday wedding we’re having who I was surprised cared so much about helping me. Either way, I’m glad that it all happened, because like you said, it shows you who your people are, and that’s a really good thing to know.

          • anon

            Well, sort of. Different people handle different circumstances with more or less aplomb. Some people are rockstars when the shit hits the fan (baby in NICU, family death, job loss, etc) and flail around with things like wedding dresses. Others are awesome at building excitement around happy events (wedding dress, new job, graduation, etc) and less tapped in to how to handle the bumps in the road.

            I’ve been through both sets of circumstances recently, and while there is a fair amount of overlap in that many friends are capable and wonderful at both, there are the firefighters who you need to step in for the crazy sh*t and aren’t reliable for getting giddy over sparkles and there are the party planners who fade during sh*ty moments but pump you up in advance of good times. All three types are great friends, you just have to know who they are and where they’re likely to shine.

          • K.

            Sure, daily, unrelenting excitement isn’t reasonable to expect. Hell, as a bride who did her heavy-duty planning during the 18-15 month mark, even I don’t have that kind of excitement; I’ve got other shit to do. But for the big milestones, like buying the dress (which was particularly important to me), I definitely would have been hurt to get radio silence from my friends and family, even if it IS a long ways away.

            I do think it’s important to know your audience with friends. I can’t remember if it was here, OBB, or maybe even Jezebel, but they recommended sorting your friends into Wedding or Not Wedding, and sharing your plans/details with that in mind. I thought that made sense, especially since I absolutely have some friends who DIE for dress detailing and others who will take one glance, say “oh, that’s pretty,” and then want to start talking about something else. Taking the time to consciously think about things like that can really help mitigate expectations.

          • kmlc

            I hate to think it’s just “wedding friends” and “not wedding friends” — I think it’s about friends who take the time to consider your emotions over their wants.

            Maybe I’m not super into wedding dress shopping, but if I’m super into my friend, I’m going to figure out that she wants/needs me there for that. And some people are denser than others, and may need a “Hey, this means a lot to me so I want you there” message. But if you give them that, I would hope and expect they would be there with the best attempt at girly dress shopping enthusiasm.

          • K.

            Sure, I agree. But I would never expect my friend who doesn’t care about weddings to suddenly want every detail of my centerpieces or want to know all about my wedding dress designer (not saying that the OP expected this; she just wanted ANY response). It would equally be unfair to have those expectations on them just because I’m getting married as it would be unfair for them to completely refuse to acknowledge ANYTHING about my wedding. They may be willing to go on a girly wedding trip and do their best to be there for you, but expecting a non-squeer to suddenly squee just sets yourself (universal) up for potential disappointment and resentment on their end.

            I just think balance and meeting each other halfway is important, whether you’re the bride or not, that’s all.

    • Aubry

      I just had to pipe in to say that totally sucks, and wasn’t good of them. Just because it is a long way out or their not into wedding or whatever, they could have at least sent you something like “That’s beautiful Chelsea!” – it takes literally 10 seconds or less to reply to an email with one sentence.

      I am having a 15 month engagement (three months out) and my friends have been with me the whole time. Certainly some more than others, but lots of questions and helping with crafting. I had several cry when I told them I was engaged (in a good way). You need at least one friend who loves weddings and will talk to you about silly trivial and not so trivial stuff. If you love your friends and they aren’t into supporting your wedding necessarily, you can still have them in your bridal party. But don’t expect enthusiasm about anything if they can’t even muster a sentence for your freaking dress!

    • June

      As someone who is also planning a wedding and in grad school, I would mention it again when you’re with them. I’m not sure what you’re program is like, but in mine we get so many freaking emails, the same thing happened when I sent out pics of my wedding dress. I brought it up during class and my two good friends went back through their emails and ooh’d and ahhh’d appropriately.
      I agree with most of what Meg said below about people who aren’t being there when you need them, but if I were in your position I would let them know you were sad not to hear anything and see if it was on purpose or if they both just missed it in the chaos of getting in a paper or something.
      And 18 months is totally not too soon to get excited about stuff (and seriously not too soon to start planning while in grad school!). I planned my wedding for two years and had peaks and valleys of excitement the whole time. My close friends who ended up being bridesmaids were right there with me.

    • VirginiaMarie

      You’re not bad at it, and congrats on finding a dress you love!

      You mentioned that you are in grad school and right now its finals time. I know it seems like a simple thing to reply to an email, but grad school is super kicking my butt right now and I can see how they might not realize how this is a BFD for you. It is! and it should be! They might just be in survival mode. This is coming from someone who should be writing a paper and using APW procrastination as a coping strategy, but I can’t really process more than getting through the next couple of days at the moment. (Seriously, it sounds ridiculous but for example meal planning, if it’s not cereal or it requires more than one utensil it’s out.)

      It doesn’t excuse them, but consider cutting them a little bit of slack temporarily. If they continue to not step up then definitely find the people who are excited for you because they are so out there. Like us!

  • Jules

    Amy,

    From your letter, the only stressor you directly mentioned in regards to this bridesmaid is the dress (picking and ordering it, that is) and beyond that just stuff that you worry might have to wait until June. Your first sentence says “she’s the cause of the anxiety and stress”, but surely ALL the wedding planning stress isn’t about her lack of dress, is it? (If so…kudos. Really.) While it’s annoying you that she won’t purchase it right this second, the wedding is at least five months away, and you’re not special ordering, AND she’s probably got a lot of pull on her finances, so she may not see a reason to order right this second versus in 2-3 weeks. I certainly wouldn’t.

    It seems like you’ve honed in on this one specific, achievable thing, and it’s driving you crazy because OMG WHY CAN’T SHE JUST ORDER IT. BUT. I venture to say that ordering this one dress won’t relieve you of all your wedding stress, and I encourage you to re-examine what it is, exactly, you are stressing about being left til June that needs attention NOW? Did you ask her to help you with all those things on your list? Is she not following through? Does it matter if she’s not? (Example: maybe you really wanted her to go cake-tasting, and she just CAN’T. Mourn the loss of your cake taster and if it’s worth it to you to do it now, just go!)

    If you feel that talking to her would be productive, I wouldn’t do a feelings-dump on her since that tends to make people feel pretty blamed and defensive. Approach her as “I know you have so much going on and I’m so glad you’re my bridesmaid, but I need help doing X. Is that still something you think you could help me with by [date]? If not, that’s okay – I am just trying to make some progress.” Accept the fact that she may be in over her head and have to tell you, sorry, I just can’t until June. And you’re going to figure out which things you want to wait on or not.

    Mostly, though? It sounds like you could use a really nice loooong weekend and big glass of wine where you put things in perspective. My best zen exercise is wondering “what’s the worst that can happen?” and letting myself go to town. It’s usually not that bad. Promise.

  • La’Marisa-Andrea

    For LW#1, if you want to buy her the dress, buy her the dress. Her finances are her business and if she wants to wait for a little bit longer to spend more money on a dress, that’s her business. If that’s a problem for you, you could just offer to buy her the dress and call it a day. It sounds like this is your only issue with her and from what you say, it sounds easily solvable. My two cents.

    • Meg Keene

      True story. Any problems you can solve with a $50 dress purchase, SOLVE WITH A $50 DRESS PURCHASE, if at all possible. Life is just too short, you know?

      • M

        Thread derail: Does this also apply to buying six dresses instead of just one? My Mom is determined for the bridesmaids and groomsmaids to match, but many of our friends can’t afford to buy a dress. FI thinks we should just buy the dresses for them, but I feel like 6 dresses would add up to a BIG number.

        • KEA1

          Does your mom have the money to buy 6? If she’s the one who cares about the matching, is she willing to foot the bill? 6 dresses’ worth would be prohibitive for me personally, but maybe it isn’t for her?

        • Meg Keene

          Ok. So. I am actually a huge fan of buying bridesmaid’s dresses. This is just a personal thing, but I think if you’re asking people to wear something of your choosing, you should buy it for them as a gift. That’s the tradition in the UK, and it makes FAR more sense to me than our tradition. So yes. I PERSONALLY think you do, absolutely, if you’re asking them to match, big number or no. (I didn’t ask anyone to match, for a lot of reasons. In retrospect, I probably should have just bought them all dresses, because the way we did it was a mess for everyone.)

          That said, in the US it’s tradition for bridesmaids to buy their own dresses. So while I side with your partner on personal ethics, you’re correct in terms of US tradition.

      • Amanda L

        I just have to say that if I was in my friend’s wedding in October, and I told her in April that I would order the dress in May, and then she went ahead and ordered it for me because she couldn’t wait four weeks/didn’t trust me to order the dress, I would NOT be happy. I think it’s worth a conversation between the bride and bridesmaid. At least then the bride would have the opportunity to say ‘I know it might be silly, but I know you loved that dress and I can’t wait to see it on you, and I am worried about the shipping time. Are you ok if I go ahead and order it now and you can pay me back when you were planning on ordering it?’

  • Elizabeth

    I was really second-guessing my decision to have my wedding party limited to just my little sister, but this put those fears to rest! I have wonderful friends who are volunteering their time and talents and I was worried I was somehow not honoring them properly by having them be bridesmaids. Now I’m remembering that bridesmaids have certain “obligations” and managing those expectations is not something I wan to deal with. I’ll accept my friends’ help, treat them to dinner and/or presents, give them lots of hugs and kisses and leave it at that.

    • Sarah

      Sounds like a wonderful plan!

    • JDrives

      I did the whole Bridal Brigade/Something Blue thing for my far-flung amazing womenfriends. 6 of the 7 will be traveling from out of town/state/country so I wanted them to feel zero obligations or expectations other than, I really hope they can come to the wedding!

    • Lisa

      I’m having just my two little sisters as co-MOHs, and I think it’s the best decision I could have made. I love my friends, but I think missing out on all of this drama is worth it!

    • gingersnap

      Sisters are just as capable of blowing you off and treating you like crap as your friends are. My relationship with my sister was severely strained by her making my wedding all about her. Then, I got sick and was diagnosed with a chronic illness and she made that all about her too. We don’t talk anymore.

      • Elizabeth

        Yikes! That sounds like a very horrible experience!

        My sister’s maid-of-honor-dom is purely symbolic as she is graduating from college the week before the wedding and will be elbow deep in poop (literally, she’s doing research). All she is expected to do is be there, clean off the poop, and wear a red dress.

        • gingersnap

          On the bright side, weddings and funerals tell you (probably more clearly than anything else) who the people you can count on are. At least I know that’s not my sister. It sucks, but I know who my people are now, and that’s an important thing. Best wishes to you and your sister with upcoming celebrations and transitions!

  • macrain

    I have a bridesmaid who left her damn dress on her front stoop for two days, and recounted the entire story to me as if it were the delivery person’s fault. (Tracking said “delivered.” Who the hell wouldn’t check their stoop? Or furthermore, make sure the dress was ANYWHERE for two days?)
    She is great at other things, but at this type of reliability- just, no.
    I realized the bigger issue is that I just wanted her to give a damn. Her ambivalence about figuring out where her dress even was made me bonkers on a level I can’t even talk about. Just CARE, for chrissake.
    In addition of course to what Liz is talking about, I think there is this other issue of feeling hurt when our expectations are not met, even when we’ve made it so easy and been so laid back.

    • MisterEHolmes

      “feeling hurt when our expectations are not met, even when we’ve made it so easy and been so laid back.”
      This is it, exactly. I felt like I had bent over backwards to be accommodating and didn’t get so much as a lick of enthusiasm in return. I didn’t think that was really too much to expect…

      • Sarah

        Yes definitely. I tried harder to accommodating to my bridesmaids than I did for our families, but even then I had a strong feeling that they thought I wasn’t doing enough FOR THEM.

        • Eh

          I was very cognizant of how much I was asking people to spend and I still heard complaints. My sister had to travel across the country and stay in a hotel – so it was going to be an expensive weddingfor her (she never complained at all yet she spent a ton). I let her pick any dress she wanted (she ended up picking a typical bridesmaid’s dress but she could have gone to the mall) – I just gave her a colour. For my BIL who was supposed to be our Best Man we were going to let him wear a suit he owned but he didn’t own a suit. My husband had to buy a suit and he found a suit that his brother could rent or buy (for about the same price). He had the nerve to ask if he could wear something else he owned (my husband wanted him in the suit and put his foot down – in the end since he didn’t act as Best Man he wore what he wanted). A month before the suit debacle he said that he was broke so he couldn’t plan my husband’s bachelor party (he had just taken his family on a big vacation). My husband spend over $1000 on their wedding (actually his parents and I gave him the money since he was a broke student) between tux rental, car rentals, accomdations, the stag and doe, the bachelor party, etc. (we also bought them a wedding present). Not to mention that my husband had to take 6 days off work (2 days for the stag and doe and 4 days for the wedding). My BIL bought a suit for our wedding that he didn’t even wear – that was the extent of his expenses since the wedding was in his hometown and he didn’t buy us a present.

      • macrain

        I mean, is the solution to NOT bend over backwards, so we don’t feel resentful? Like, be reasonable, but don’t kill yourself trying to please everyone?

        • MisterEHolmes

          Right?! But then that’s not it, because when I spoke up and was honest about how I was feeling (while still trying to acknowledge that maybe they’re just busy), mine quit and accused me of firing them. So being not-accommodating got me labeled “bridezilla.” I can’t imagine what being actually demanding would have done!

          • Liz

            I flat out think folks don’t know how to have reasonable expectations about weddings because of all the cultural noise (not saying that’s true of YOU, but that sometimes friends don’t “see” the effort you’ve put in, or don’t know how to respond with their own effort, being blinded by words like “b-zilla”).

    • BlueBelle

      I think we’re missing the bigger point here… why hadn’t she left her house in two days? She sounds problematic.

  • Gina

    To Amy: Liz’s advice is right on. And I would like to add– perhaps you are so consumed with your stressors that you haven’t really considered how stressed out your MOH might be. Being in two weddings in a year is a huge responsibility– emotionally, financially, and logistically. She is doing her best to make things happen in the correct order, be responsible with her money, and fulfill her responsibility to you both. Rather than seeking “a whole day (or week or month)” of her attention to focus on YOUR to-do list, why don’t you have a conversation about her? What’s going on in her life, what her new bathroom looks like, etc? You mention that you know you’re being selfish but it doesn’t seem like you know how to stop it. Well, that’s how to stop it. Focus on her instead.

    Also– If the dresses you picked take 5 months (by my count, that’s how long you have if she buys it in June) to order, just consider letting her wear something else. It is not worth your time stressing about and it is not worth the stress on the friendship. Honestly, if I were in a wedding in October, I would not buy the damn dress in May. I just wouldn’t.

    • Anon

      All of this.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh. Be careful with this one. One of my former closest friends wrote me a long and detailed e-mail rant accusing me of not being available and not caring enough about or paying enough attention to her wedding. I read it as I was laid up on the couch after major surgery (which she knew about), so big that I was off work for three months to recover. Meanwhile, I also had major, major family drama going on (which I’ve barely shared with anyone, ever. That’s between me and my therapist).

    Looking back, she was right, I was not available and did not care as much about her wedding as a bridesmaid probably should have. But we had been friends for a long time, during which I took unpaid time off work to fly to the Caribbean to be in her first wedding, a destination event. I flew across the country to help her when her mom died, and again to help her pick out her wedding dress the first time because her mom couldn’t be there. I felt tremendously let down that, after doing so much for her and being friends for so long, she didn’t ask to make sure everything was OK with me and instead just went off.

    Maybe she was letting off steam, maybe it was a bad day. But I backed out of her bridal party, didn’t go to her wedding and we’ve barely spoken since. Maybe I overreacted. But at the time, it was way too much.

    • macrain

      I think you make a good point. I have been in some TENSE situations as a bridesmaid and feel happy that my relationships have remained in tact (there were seriously some moments where I was wasn’t so sure). At the end of the day, it’s just not worth it to lose friends over this stuff (although I admit Gina- not sure I’d want to be friends with the person you are describing).
      In any case, an email rant is NOT the way to go. Being understanding and having a face to face (or phone) conversation is much better.

    • Eh

      I think these situations should not be dealt with through text of email (preferably in person but at the least over the phone). My husband prefers to text people. This was part of the reason he had a communication break down with his brother (that said, his brother doesn’t anwer his phone either and didn’t have voice mail at the time). Both of them prefer to avoid conflict so it was easy for them to say things that were misunderstood in the text messages.
      That said, I think that the bride and groom need to make sure that people involved in their wedding know what the expectation is (we told each person involved in our wedding what we expected them to do – e.g., get fitted for a suit/dress, attend the rehearsal the day before, help set up the day before, be available to get ready the morning of the wedding – it wasn’t a “task” list telling them what to do, it was to give them an idea of the time committment we needed and when). The bride and groom also need to have reasonable expectations though. Of course you weren’t available or caring about her wedding you were going through a lot. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have stepped down but she should have also been understanding of that. I’ve said this before, but people don’t change just because it’s your wedding. If someone hates public speaking and you ask them to say a speech you need to take that into conideration. If the person lives out of town and doesn’t have a car and works two jobs and you drop things on them the last minute you can’t expect them to do it to the highest standards.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      I don’t think you overreacted. Something about getting married sometimes just makes people temporarily crazy and incredibly self-centered.

      • ART

        I’ve experienced that. I keep feeling awful because I default to thinking everything anyone says or does or pins and every piece of mail we get, etc is about our wedding, even when two of my fiance’s relatives are getting married within months of us, so all of my in-laws are thinking about at least two weddings this summer, along with everything going on in the rest of their lives. It makes me feel like such an asshole!

    • Liz

      A good and wise friend encouraged me to ALWAYS assume that if someone isn’t there for you during your crap, it’s probably because they’re going through crap of their own (which sounds like your case). It’s just unfortunate when someone else doesn’t assume as much about you first.

      I think i’m frustrated with the bridesmaid in the second letter above because it sounds like a habitual issue.

  • Eh

    “If you still want her in the wedding, send her your important and helpful updates (“Hey, FYI, we’re all meeting at the ceremony site at 10am!”), but don’t make any plans for her or around her.”

    This is how I kept my sanity with my BIL being Best Man (or not). When my BIL requested that my husband fire him as Best Man (and uninvite him and his family from our wedding), my husband told him that we wanted him to be Best Man and gave him the details he needed (and he also said that we wanted him and his family at our wedding too). As this only became a serious issue the month before our wedding we had already made some plans around him but we altered those plans so that if he didn’t show up we had a backup plan (e.g., someone else to sign as witness, someone else to walk my step-mum down the aisle, sweetheart table at the reception, etc.).

    We did have a couple of issues with him earlier in the planning process. He procrastinates and likes doing things last minute. The store he was getting the suit from said that he needed to come in at least 6 weeks before to be measured to ensure that it would be in on time and any alterations could be done (they were buying suits not renting). My husband wanted to go with his brother so they could hang out (they are both very busy so he was trying to shoot two birds with one stone). So my husband tried to find a time when they were both available. His brother said that it was too early to go for a suit fitting so he refused to make the time to do it (my husband went for a tux fitting last weekend for a wedding which is 15 weeks away – my husband was trying to arrange this with his brother 12 or 13 weeks before our wedding – so not too early). My husband’s response was that his brother could go to the store on his own time but reminded him of the deadline the store had given. This situation was kind of sad since my husband wanted to spend time with his brother, and maybe using a suit fitting for that wasn’t the best thing to do but nonetheless his brother couldn’t even put in the effort to do that. And even before that he didn’t seem interested in doing things the Best Man normally does, for example when my husband asked about the bachelor party his brother said that he was broke and couldn’t afford it. Since his brother didn’t seem interested he asked someone else to plan the bachelor party (which upset his brother when he later decided that he wanted to plan the bachelor party). After our wedding my husband was told that bachelor parties are supposed to be a surprise for the groom and his brother felt that my husband was being too hands on (because he wanted to know when so he could book the day off since he works weekend and because he was giving a list of people to invite since his brother doesn’t know all of his friends).

  • http://nzmuse.com eemusings (NZMuse)

    My one bridesmaid went MIA on me too (she had a lot on her plate – preparing for an overseas move and she also got engaged a few months before my wedding). Eventually after no responses I emailed her saying not to worry, I don’t need a bridesmaid anymore, let’s eliminate this source of stress for us both. Cue a response, crying, a I-understand-I’m-so-sorry-please-at-least-let-me-throw-your-hen’s-night come to Jesus moment … anyway, it worked out, she was my bridesmaid, we made it through.

  • Sara

    I was in a wedding a couple years ago where the bridal party was mixed – three women and two men on each side. Less than two months before the wedding, the MOH and one of the brides-men backed out of the wedding. The MOH basically said that she didn’t even feel close to the bride and she couldn’t understand why she was even asked to be in it. Then she accused the bride of making her broke (we went to Vegas for the bachelorette party on HER request since she lived in SFO at the time and we were all in Chicago, but she was angry we didn’t want to stay at a cheap motel off-off-strip and refused to come which actually started this whole thing) and that it wasn’t worth her time or money to even fly out to the wedding. The brides-man was just broke and couldn’t afford to come, but once the MOH v Bride thing started, sided with the other girl.

    Fortunately, because the parties were already mixed, the bride was able to ask our two guy friends from high school who were SO thrilled to be asked, and took their roles very seriously. We had a guy friend that worked at Men’s Warehouse who fit everything for her, and while the hurt of the friend attacking her like that didn’t really go away, I think the two guys’ joy at being in her wedding really helped her move on.

  • Kendra D

    I think for the first part it is important to remember that your bridesmaid is a grown up who can take care of things on her own. My chicas are wearing black dresses and of the five of them, only one has bought a dress thus far. Our wedding is in August. I’m not too concerned. One girl is pregnant and due in two weeks, so she will probably buy as last minute as she can. One is still losing baby weight and wants to wait until later this summer to buy. Another isn’t sure she can even come anymore, but the door is open if she wants to and I’m certainly not planning to shut her out just because life decided to throw her a curve ball. And the last has bought her shoes and is just waiting to find a dress she likes. Which, I guess is to say that they’re all grownups. I’ve told them where to be, where people are mostly staying, and given them a general idea of what to wear. I really do trust them to take care of it.

    As to the non-responding friend, I would definitely aim for a phone call to figure out what is going on and finding out if something is up in her life or if she’s just being flaky. I don’t think that things have to revolve around the bride, but she can’t even know to be there for her friend in a tough spot if said friend doesn’t respond to anything.

  • http://twitter.com/mollyepollard Molly Pollard

    I understand the stress, but I really think it’s going to be ok! If I hadn’t nixed the bridal party and kept it to just my Maid of Honor — my twin sister — I’m pretty sure I would have had similar experiences and gone nuts in the process. I think it’s probably pretty common. A few of my older sister’s bridesmaids were super flaky about buying their dresses, to the point where she had to buy their dresses for them just so they had them in time. They were also fairly expensive, but that’s another issue entirely.

    My own experience has been fairly simple… I just had to remind my sister to go out and buy a dress already (we’re less than a month out). I told her it needed to be pink and that was it. Maybe the letter writer could do something similar and just let them buy a dress of the rack. I feel like it would save a lot of time and stress for this letter writer in the end.

    As for the other letter writer having issues with her bridesmaid, it might be time for a come to Jesus talk.

    Weddings are stressful all around, but it”ll work out! Try not to lose site of what matters.

    • MisterEHolmes

      I get that this “off the rack”/not all matching thing is sort of a trend, but why should the bride have to change the plan late in the game because someone can’t so much as wear a dress for a few hours?

      I think it’s ok to want a “look” (within reason…and most folks on APW are well within reason) from the bridal party. Shouldn’t the friend be considerate enough to just…follow through with it?

      • http://twitter.com/mollyepollard Molly Pollard

        Oh, most definitely. Her friend is being unreasonable here… I don’t think she should have to accommodate everyone to the point of sacrificing her wedding “look.” But I think it might be worth looking into IF keeping her friend in the bridal party is a big priority for her and having a dress is going to make or break that. Ya know? Ideally, everyone would be a good friend. But alas… :(

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Our closest family and friends are disorganized procrastinators. As we sorted out how this applied to wedding-planning, here’s what we came up with: Everything we could get done by ourselves and/or ahead of time, we did. We moved things around in the “standard” planning timeline and blocked off the end to deal with others’ procrastination.

    Like my in-laws insisting on a ketubah, which then had to be selected, run by the not-Jewish officiant, purchased, and filled in. Then the officiant decided he wanted a picture of the ketubah and an explanation of it for the programs, which he was designing and printing. But we were alright (not happy with the situation, but getting by) ’cause we had eliminated as many last-minute details as possible from our end.

    That said, I totally get the LWs. Over and over again in our planning, I complained to my now-husband about people not respecting our timeline. Also, our biggest MIA person during planning was our officiant, my Priest of several years. I only learned after the wedding that we got married at the end of the worst year the Parish had seen in decades (law suit, break-ins). We don’t have many weddings in the Parish, and the wedding was a big deal. It just wasn’t the biggest deal that year, sadly. So you just never know.

    • Eh

      “Timeline respect” was a big issue with our procratinators too. I almost blew a gasket when I was told we were doing things “too early” by someone who does things at (or after) the last minute. We based our timelines on our needs and what was “reasonable”. (One of “our needs” was my husband’s schedule which requires him to give two weeks notice if he needs a day off work and since he normally works weekends that means he needs to book a lot of Saturdays off for wedding related things but he couldn’t book every Saturday off and booking a day off also means losing a day’s pay – plus we didn’t have a car so if we needed a car for the task we needed some notice since we needed to rent one.) I used wedding timelines I found online to help decide what timelines were (having never planned a wedding I don’t know how long things take). For things that involved people who procrastinate we started those tasks at the beginning of the window and we moved up the end date by a little bit to give us some wiggle room if they didn’t meet the deadline.

  • Ally

    See I interpreted the first question as being that the bridesmaid dresses needed to be picked out, and THAT was what the MOH was the hold up on… which is why I thought it made a lot more sense why the bride was concerned… If the dress had already been picked out, there’s no reason for them both to go bridesmaid dress shopping. So how is the MOH supposed to be expected to purchase a dress on her own that hasn’t been selected yet? I think Amy/Bride#1 just needs permission to pick out the bridesmaid dresses by herself if the schedule isn’t working, and THEN let her MOH and any bridemaids handle their own dresses.

    • Liz

      I could be wrong, but I got the impression that it was just the maid of honor, there weren’t any other bridesmaids involved. It doesn’t sound like anyone else is waiting on her.

  • mackenzie

    I am a frequent disappearer. Poor LW #2. Those kinds of friends are hard. I know that I don’t do it to be a bad friend, it’s just that sometimes life is hard (for awhile) and I just want to be alone. Or quiet. Or an observer.
    If you were dealing with me, I’d be feeling really bad about not returning your calls/texts and then as time went on I’d feel like I’m just in a deeper and deeper whole and digging myself out seems harder and harder. Maybe you could tell her that you’ll meet her at her work someday for lunch, or coffee/a drink after work. That way, it’s in her own space (kind of) and the effort on her part is minimal. I’m sure you feel like she’s the one who needs to put in the effort right now, but maybe she feels like she’s never going to undo her silence. Give her a blank slate and meet her way more than half-way. My guess is that it will seem just like old times and by the end of you conversation she’ll be back to her old self, and you’ll be back to having a bridesmaid you can count on.

    • Kelly

      Yes. I know I’m guilty of this, too, and I can get stuck in a shame spiral that results in me assuming I’ve ruined things beyond repair. If a friend were to say, “Hey I don’t hate you and we can just pick up where we left off,” its like that spiral-o-shame would be instantly short-circuited and I’d snap right back to where I needed to be.

  • Louise

    To LW #1– first, I think if you can solve this problem by buying a dress for her, do it. But the bigger thing is this– does she know that this is stressing you out? If you told her, “yeah, no problem, let’s wait”, it’s a little unfair, I think. I am flashing back to my friends weddings where, as a procrastinator, I didn’t always follow the same timeline as the other bridesmaids. I always showed up in the right outfit, looking pretty and I never expected the brides to do anything extra to help me get my shit together. If they stressed about it,( which, knowing these girls and having now had the experience of having them as my Very type-A bridesmaids, they probably did),t hey never told me, but if they had said, “hey, it would help my stress level if we could nail down some deadlines, etc” I would have done it in a heart beat.

  • Anon

    Just keep repeating to yourself “Noone will remember what the bridesmaids wore except the bridesmaids”. Seriously. (That’s what kept me sane when my sisters completely ignored my colour scheme and bought dresses in a completely different colour to what I requested.)

    • thefluter

      OMG, that is 100% true. I just tried to think about what bridesmaids wore in the past several weddings I’ve been to, but except for the couple where I was in the bridal party, I have no idea.

  • Anonaconda

    Okay, for #1, I know weddings make people crazy, but seriously, who cares what the MOH wears? If a $50 dress from ModCloth is an option then it doesn’t like something that needs to be done 5 months in advance, i.e., something made-to-order from a bridal salon. Let her handle it & focus on crossing off some of the things that actually need your involvement.

    For #2, this is really tough. When your friend has disappeared in the past, was it a response to anxiety, or is she just kind of self-involved? I’d be more inclined to work with the former than the latter, but that’s me. At the end of the day, you can’t control whether or not she’s going to be there for you, you can only choose how you’re going to deal with it. I like the idea of keeping her in the loop on group emails and such but when push comes to shove, don’t front money for her and don’t give her any responsibilities that someone else can’t fill. And if she suddenly emerges the week before your wedding and needs her hand held while getting up to speed, please pass that job off to somebody else.

  • light0a0candle

    One of my bridesmaids is very body conscious and continually refused to buy a dress because she wanted to lose more weight before doing so. This irked me mostly because she and I are the same size! Haha. Anyway, I continually sent her dresses online and she continually said she wasn’t comfortable buying online because of size and fit and so I found a dress on Modcloth for $50 and bought it in my (and her) size and said, hey, if you don’t like it I’ll keep it. We’ll see how that turns out. Anyway, i totally understand when it’s driving you mad because it feels so good to check it off the list. Totally get that. Same thing happened with my shoes, and now I have two pairs of expensive shoes. Wedding shopping is the worst.

  • Lindsay Rae

    Ouch. I think this boils down to expectations of friendship, rather than bride and bridesmaid duties. If I needed something from a friend and she blew me off for weeks it would be just as damaging to our friendship… regardless if either of us were getting married.

  • K.

    Yeah, the second part is basically the bare minimum beyond showing up on the day-of. The first part (present throughout the process), sure, your mileage may vary, but it’s not insane or anything.