Can I Tell My Fellow Bridesmaid She’s Too Big For Her Dress?

It's my duty as MOH right?

Q:DEAR AMY,

I’m the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding. She and I have been best friends for twenty years. Her wedding party is me, her sister, her sister-in-law, and future-sister-in-law, and another friend. I don’t really know fifth other woman well, but honestly, what I’ve heard is worrying. Still, it’s my BFF’s day and she wants her there, so I happily promised to be kind and inclusive and supportive.

The bride and I picked a dress for all the bridesmaids to wear. The bridal party is spread out, and the bride wanted us to share that. We let everyone know what dress we picked, got feedback, and everyone seemed on board. Then we found out the dress was being discontinued at the end of December, so we all had to scramble to get fitted and order our dresses before the new year. After many reminders, we all seemed to successfully have ordered the dress.

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Is My Friend Trying to Get out of Being a Bridesmaid?

Flash-forward five months and we’re in the home stretch before the wedding. All of us have our dresses, we are all in the process of getting alterations, and we find that this friend has ordered a dress that is easily four sizes too small. Purposely. She and I are similar in size and proportion. It’s likely that the dress would need to be at least a size 18 to 20 to account for her chest (same as me), and she has ordered an 8. At first, another bridesmaid thought it was a mistake and offered to take the smaller dress (that she barely fits in) to make the larger size that she had ordered for herself available to the other bridesmaid, but this set off a whole lot of argument about how offended the friend is by people talking about her weight.

I’m concerned for a number of reasons, but for one, she doesn’t seem to be accepting the reality that she’s probably not fitting in the dress. For another, she hasn’t acknowledged that she has the dress or even has tried it on. Lastly, she has had at least one other experience of pulling out of a wedding because of a dress (this is now just coming to light). I’m concerned she’s using this to try to either pull out and cause drama at the last minute, or try to bully the bride into letting her wear a dress of her choosing.

The bride has said she doesn’t want a different dress on any bridesmaid, but she also is terrified of asking this bridesmaid about the issue for fear of setting her off. I want to just ask this bridesmaid about the dress outright, but I also acknowledge that she probably is hoping for me to say something that can be construed as bullying or mean so she can either try to drive a wedge between us, or create a victim narrative for pulling out of the wedding. I am trying to help us get past this so we don’t have to have a blow up at the wedding or upcoming bachelorette (this weekend) but everyone is too scared to talk to her.

—Dress Drama

A:DEAR Dress Drama,

As the French say, occupe-toi de tes oignons—busy yourself with your own onions. Otherwise known as mind yo’ business! You do not need help from me because you do not have a problem.

MOH is an honorary ceremonial title. It does not bestow on you a right or responsibility to control the other bridesmaids. Why do you care that you haven’t heard good things about this woman? Your BFF wants her included. That’s the bottom line. You don’t need to think beyond that, and you shouldn’t even need to promise to be kind and supportive and inclusive because those all fall under your regular old “common decency as a person interacting with the world” obligations.

Also, a side note. When you and the bride picked the dress for everyone else, how did that go down? Did the bride ask for all their budgets and preferences? Did she circulate multiple options? It’s not much of a choice to approve of when you just get an email that’s like, “OMG after a full day of shopping we found the one please let me know if you love it!!!!!”

But that’s all water under the bridge, because you have all ordered the dress. For someone who has never seen this Other Woman in the dress, you are super duper certain that she doesn’t fit in it. So can we just pause on one thing here? Of course she is offended by people talking about her weight! What is this even?!? Telling someone, “Hey we all know you’re too fat for that dress,” is not a values neutral observation about the amount of cloth available to her. The issue isn’t that this bridesmaid is going to “construe” what you say as bullying or mean; it’s that you straight up should not be mean.

I have no idea if the Other Woman will fit into the dress or not, and I don’t care and neither should you.  If she doesn’t fit in it, then THE BRIDE ONLY THE BRIDE has a decision to make. If the bride doesn’t want to stand up for herself, then again, it’s not your problem.

Honestly, the kindest explanation I can find for this is that you’re just fighting as hard as you can for someone you love. And that’s nice, but she’s a grown-up, its just a dress, and you’re making more problems than you are solving. Please just let this go.

And never again—no matter how delicately phrased—inform someone she is too fat for her clothes, because I 100 percent guarantee she knows.

—Amy March

HAVE A WEDDING QUESTION?
EMAIL ME: AMYMARCH [AT] APRACTICALWEDDING [DOT] COM.

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