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.)
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 times—something 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 list—most 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!