Wednesday, November 23, 2005

DO be that bride: Giving thanks to level-headedness....(Part I)

Although I am in the middle of tacky wedding toasts, I wanted to pause for a moment to pay homage to the women who, while busily planning the hundreds of details for their weddings, are able to do it all, and keep everyone in mind while doing it.

I received a question the other night, which I thought was well-worth responding to in a post. I hope that whoever asked this question doesn't mind my repeating parts of it (or the general gist really):

"I am having the most frustrating time finding a dress (or whatever)for my bridesmaids... they all are of extremely different body types, they all live several hours away from me at least, and have major life commitments/crises that keep us from getting together to look for dresses. I know that most of them would be happy to wear whatever I chose, except for one of them. She has budget issues...I agree with reusable dresses. I have some pretty hideous things hanging in my closet, so I understand. I looked at budget and gently used dresses, I looked at skirts w/ pretty camisoles, I tried to find things in department stores and outlets, I looked at a gazillion things. I finally found some... very basic tea-length dresses. She not only didn't like them, she said she thought I should just cut her out of my wedding because she didn't like the stuff I picked out and she probably couldn't afford it anyway. All this after she told me how much she liked tea-length dresses!...I'm trying to cater to a person who can't make up her mind! It's going to be awfully hard to find a cute semiformal dress that fits everyone and is $30. I don't know what to do!...is there and answer for the frustrated bride who can't please everyone?... I don't want to just kick her out of the wedding and I don't want to lose a friend over fighting because I just can't please her."

It definitely can be said that there are not only high-maintenance brides, but high-maintenance bridesmaids. The trick for any bride who encounters this situation is to toe the line between gracious and honest. It's one thing to try and cater to everyone by looking for an inexpensive dress that is flattering and reusable, but it's quite another when most everyone is in agreement but nothing seems to suit one person in particular. I think in this situation, honesty is the best policy. "I know it's been difficult finding the right dress at the right cost, but I have decided, upon trying to take everyone's price range and style into account, that we're going to choose X dress. While I really would love you to be in my wedding, I will completely understand if you would rather opt out of being a bridesmaid."

While it may seem harsh, I think the key is as long as you've tried to accommodate everyone, , you've done your job as a "good bride." As circumstances are such that all the bridesmaids are scattered geographically and it's difficult to do a group-choosing of a dress, I think your approach (of keeping everyone in the loop and maintaining contact with everyone in terms of preference) is really all you can do.

Although it may seem like a cop-out, how about this for a solution? Perhaps make the uber-difficult bridesmaid-to-be an usher, or a reader, or someone who doesn't have to buy a bridsmaid's dress or complain about what you put her in. That way, she can wear something flattering to her body type and perhaps of a color that you suggest, and she'll have more latitude doing so.

It may not seem like I've given much of a solution here, but what I DO want to offer to you (and other women in your shoes) is encouragement. You're doing great, and obviously trying very hard to take everyone into account. Sometimes it doesn't work out the way you'd like. But instead of tormenting yourself, give yourself a pat on the back for going the extra mile. If your friend doesn't appreciate what you've tried to do for her, then maybe she needn't be a part of the bridal party, and can take a smaller role in your wedding.

On this Thanksgiving eve, I want to celebrate all the brides out there and give THANKS that there are so many of you who ask these types of questions -- whether to me or anyone else!

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

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