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Moms and Maids

Bridesmaids being difficult about dresses

Hi:  Am I wrong in thinking that my wedding is my day, and my bridesmaids should (within reasons) be accommodating to my wishes regarding dresses?  Unfortunately, the situation is a little complicated, as most of them are in another country, and another is on the other side this one, so I'm trying to get everyone organized online.  I experienced extreme backlash when I tried to suggest a dress for everyone to wear (mostly along the lines, "I just don't like it," and "this color won't work for me").  I initially told them that this wasn't exactly a democratic process, and those of us who have either already been married, or been bridesmaids previously, understood that you're obligated to buy whatever the bride wishes, even if you don't love it.  I even had one MOH start suggesting dresses to me, which I thought was highly inappropriate, particularly as she did it in a group conversation, and not privately.

I ended up allowing them to suggest their own dresses within certain parameters, simply because I there are so many body types to contend with, and I want everyone to be comfortable.  Also, I realized I'd just chosen dresses that would look great on me, but not so much on everyone else.  I imagine this a relatively common problem for brides who are unused to dressing anyone but themselves.  I think it will look better if everyone is wearing something they love and is flattering on them, rather than having everyone in the same dress. Even this is turning in to an irritation.  I asked everyone to send me a few suggestions of dresses that they liked, and I would try to accommodate their first choices, but that may not be possible.  So far I've had one suggestion from everyone, which, rightly or not, frustrates me, because it's not what I'd asked for.  It seems like it will be harder in the future to tell one or two of the girls that I can't accommodate their dresses, rather than having a few options for everyone, which means I can at least give them a concrete answer, rather than a flat "no."  

Also, a technical question.  As everyone is choosing different fabrics (apparently this is necessary to accommodate all the different figures) but from the same manufacturer, is there any point in getting them all in the same shade?  I understand enough about fabrics to know if you put a piece of satin, a piece of chiffon, and a piece of jersey in to the same dye, they'll all come out slightly differently colored.  Or should we go with different colors within the same family? 

Am I being unreasonable?  I feel as though my instructions were both simple and acceptable.  In the past I've purchased some expensive dresses that I didn't like and will never wear again, and I feel like I am being liberal with my bridesmaids and they're being unappreciative of this.  Is this simply because I can't read tone of voice online?  Does anyone have any suggestions of how to get my point across without sending a mass email that sounds unnecessarily aggressive?  

Thank you for your suggestions!
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Re: Bridesmaids being difficult about dresses

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Hi:  Am I wrong in thinking that my wedding is my day, and my bridesmaids should (within reasons) be accommodating to my wishes regarding dresses?  Unfortunately, the situation is a little complicated, as most of them are in another country, and another is on the other side this one, so I'm trying to get everyone organized online.  I experienced extreme backlash when I tried to suggest a dress for everyone to wear (mostly along the lines, "I just don't like it," and "this color won't work for me").  I initially told them that this wasn't exactly a democratic process, and those of us who have either already been married, or been bridesmaids previously, understood that you're obligated to buy whatever the bride wishes, even if you don't love it.  I even had one MOH start suggesting dresses to me, which I thought was highly inappropriate, particularly as she did it in a group conversation, and not privately.

    I ended up allowing them to suggest their own dresses within certain parameters, simply because I there are so many body types to contend with, and I want everyone to be comfortable.  Also, I realized I'd just chosen dresses that would look great on me, but not so much on everyone else.  I imagine this a relatively common problem for brides who are unused to dressing anyone but themselves.  I think it will look better if everyone is wearing something they love and is flattering on them, rather than having everyone in the same dress. Even this is turning in to an irritation.  I asked everyone to send me a few suggestions of dresses that they liked, and I would try to accommodate their first choices, but that may not be possible.  So far I've had one suggestion from everyone, which, rightly or not, frustrates me, because it's not what I'd asked for.  It seems like it will be harder in the future to tell one or two of the girls that I can't accommodate their dresses, rather than having a few options for everyone, which means I can at least give them a concrete answer, rather than a flat "no."  

    Also, a technical question.  As everyone is choosing different fabrics (apparently this is necessary to accommodate all the different figures) but from the same manufacturer, is there any point in getting them all in the same shade?  I understand enough about fabrics to know if you put a piece of satin, a piece of chiffon, and a piece of jersey in to the same dye, they'll all come out slightly differently colored.  Or should we go with different colors within the same family? 

    Am I being unreasonable?  I feel as though my instructions were both simple and acceptable.  In the past I've purchased some expensive dresses that I didn't like and will never wear again, and I feel like I am being liberal with my bridesmaids and they're being unappreciative of this.  Is this simply because I can't read tone of voice online?  Does anyone have any suggestions of how to get my point across without sending a mass email that sounds unnecessarily aggressive?  

    Thank you for your suggestions!
    You are not being difficult in demanding the color dress your BMs wear.  But, did you ask them their budget first?  Perhaps these dresses you were suggesting were over their budget and no one knew how to tell you.  I realize that you have purchased dresses that you may not have liked previously as a BM, but that doesn't make it right to force your BMs to buy something they hate that's over budget.

    I think you are being overly sensitive in regards to your MOH offering suggestions of dresses.

    Since your BMs are all over the world, I think you need to step back from this a little bit to make it easier on yourself.  Just tell your girls to get any knee length navy dress or long black dress, etc.  If you are afraid that they will buy an inappropriate dress, then just ask them to show you their choices before they purchase their dress.  

    The different shades that come with same dye in different fabrics is no big deal.  I was just in a wedding where the MOH had satin, I had sateen cotton, another BM had lace, and the last BM had chiffon - all in DB's Marine.  It looked great and al of us BMs were happy, because we got to pick out something we loved.
    MairePoppymissdelilahsouthernbelle0915Vivandiere8

  • You are not being difficult in demanding the color dress your BMs wear.  But, did you ask them their budget first?  Perhaps these dresses you were suggesting were over their budget and no one knew how to tell you.  I realize that you have purchased dresses that you may not have liked previously as a BM, but that doesn't make it right to force your BMs to buy something they hate that's over budget.

    I think you are being overly sensitive in regards to your MOH offering suggestions of dresses.

    Since your BMs are all over the world, I think you need to step back from this a little bit to make it easier on yourself.  Just tell your girls to get any knee length navy dress or long black dress, etc.  If you are afraid that they will buy an inappropriate dress, then just ask them to show you their choices before they purchase their dress.  

    The different shades that come with same dye in different fabrics is no big deal.  I was just in a wedding where the MOH had satin, I had sateen cotton, another BM had lace, and the last BM had chiffon - all in DB's Marine.  It looked great and al of us BMs were happy, because we got to pick out something we loved.
    Thank you for your suggestions.  So far I haven't demanded that anyone do anything, but it's getting to the point at which I feel as though I may have to.  

    The wedding is actually being held in my home town, where most of them live, so there's no travel expenses involved, aside from my sister, who's moved to the US as well.  But then she had her wedding in our home city when I was living here and she was living there, and I bought the expensive dress I didn't feel comfortable in, and travelled to the other side of the world for it halfway through a semester while I was writing two completely unrelated thesis.  I'll understand if she ends up not being able to make it because of the transportation costs or taking time away from the business.  My sister is actually the one telling me to just make a decision and have them all suck it up.  Perhaps that's why she's actually being really easy about this whole process.

    I've spoken with them all about budget, and am I'm not asking them to lay out anything excessive.  The dresses are far less expensive than most bridesmaids dresses for formal weddings that I've been involved in.  It was simply a matter of "I don't like this dress."  And maybe I am being overly sensitive about my MOH suggesting dresses, but it seemed rude to me.  And interestingly, when I said everyone could choose their own dress, said MOH's choice was nothing at all like the one she'd recommended.

    After speaking further with the girls, it seems best to pick a color for them.  The colors are clearly showing up very differently on each one of our monitors (for example, two colors one of the girls liked came up as pink to me, but purple to her).  I'll have to find a retailer and see if they have swatch samples.  

    Thanks for sharing your experience about the different fabrics.  It makes me more confident about choosing just one color for everyone.

    I also think half the problem is that I wake up to five whiny messages from the girls every morning due to the time difference.  I could not have predicted that giving people the option to shop for themselves would cause so much frustration.

    Thank you again; it's very much appreciated!
    image
  • I went the route of picking a color and let the girls then pick their own dress. I knew there was the possibility the colors might not match - but to me comfort was key.  Also - I went to a wedding recently where the girls had two colors on - a champagne color and a light pink - they were different styles and it looked absolutely beautiful!!  Or you could go the route of just having the girls pick a black dress - my guess is that would budget friendly and you could get some fun accessories (not as their gift) for them to wear!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I would get a swatch of the color you want and send it to each girl.  That way there is no confusion from colors on the computer screen.  Let them know they can get any dress they would like in that color.  If you want a specific length, tell them that too.

    It is not a big deal if the colors are not exactly identical.  It is impossible to make everyone happy, even being this flexible someone will always find something to complain about. Don't let this small detail stress you out.  If they continue to call, text, and email you with complaints then send a response along the lines of: "I just want you to be comfortable and confident in whatever you're wearing.  I'd be happy to look at dresses you find if you'd like a second opinion, but I trust your judgment."
    image
  • Thank you bookstorespeakeasy14 and schellzinator for weighing in.  I think the problem was that I expected that giving everyone the option to choose their own dresses would make them happy.  But I think my sister was right when she initially told me to just choose something and make everyone buy it.  It only would have become a problem because my two extremely busty girls would have had to buy something several sizes too large and have them massively altered.  I wonder if part of the problem is that I don't entirely judge everyone's judgement.  It makes me a horrible friend, doesn't it?  From the suggestions I'm getting so far I want to tell everyone that my wedding isn't your excuse to buy the sexiest dress you can find.  But maybe I'm just being over sensitive.

    I had a thought about two different colors, but then I wasn't sure whether I had to ask everyone to organize a half and half sort of thing, or not.  I think everyone's at least content with the color I've chosen.  

    I couldn't find fabric swatches from the manufacturer I'd chosen, but I found out that they do the color charts on cardboard, which is certainly unusual, but if they're reasonable sizes I can cut them up and send them to everyone.  

    Thank you both so much for your input!  I really do appreciate it.
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  • The more I got into wedding planning, the more I realized I'm sort of an anomaly when it comes to my feeling about these types of issues.  I do not think it's appropriate for a bridesmaid to object to the choice of dress by the bride unless 1) it's out of her budget or 2) she has a serious comfort issue (i.e. I will be stressed out all night about my boobs popping out all night because they are too big for a strapless dress).  Not liking the style just because it isn't your style or a color because you don't feel it's the best looking color on you is not a "comfort" issue to me.  Some brides are perfectly happy to say to their bridesmaids "Pick your fav. dress that you already own out of your closet!"  Super, that's awfully sweet of you, but that's not going to fly for me.  Some brides are cool doing the whole, pick your own style/material in the color of your choice... again, more power to you but that would drive me nuts.  I think there's been kind of cultural overcorrection taking place in recent decades in response to the rise of the concept of the "bridezilla", and now we're at the point where it feels like brides are supposed to put everyone else's desires above their own because "this day is not all about you".  Well I think in issues of taste, you still have the right to make it a little bit about you.  So if you are cool with them doing their own thing for the dresses that's awesome, but I just wanted to say I definitely agree with your initial sentiment that they were out of line to reject your choices on matters of taste!
    Jamiea291
  • @ElizabethAdeline91 Thank you!  I have such a fear of coming across as a bridezilla, that I just saw letting them choose their own as the easiest option.  I've given them a designer, a fabric, length, and choice of colors, so I'll see what they come up with.  I think, considering the very huge differences in size and shape between the girls, that this the best way of getting everyone to feel comfortable and look great.

    I do understand that they all have lives outside of my wedding, so I don't expect them to order their dresses immediately, but I would like a little communication from them.  I have one who I feel is likely to buy something in the wrong color (I want blue based purples, and she loved this color that is hot pink, and tried to convince me that it was a really purple shade on her monitor... well, it's possible, but does everything show up a strange color on her computer?)  At that point, am I in my rights to tell her to dye the dress, buy another one, or not show up?  This is the friend who didn't like the dresses I picked for vanity reasons.  Actually, the one thing she was uncomfortable about (she wanted something to cover her arms as she's recently lost a lot of weight and is self conscious about them) suddenly stopped being an issue when I told her to choose her own dress.  I told her we could get her a bloody wrap if she wanted, but no, the color wasn't right, the cut wasn't right.  Yeah, I was actually only worried about "those of us of the giant knockers" as they've been dubbed by another BM, feeling comfortable and not having wardrobe malfunctions.  

    I'm sorry.  It's been almost a month and I'm still annoyed by it.  But thank you so much for your response.  I feel a whole lot better about the whole situation now.
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  • If she shows up in a hot pink dress when your color is a blue based purple... you are definitely within your rights to be mad at her. That is not actiing like a bridezilla. 
  • lilacck28 but there's a line between being mad at her and booting her from the wedding party.  I'm just not sure how I would handle that situation, but I'm worried that it will happen.  I can't force the ladies to buy from the boutique I want them to use, but if they do, I have total veto power, and can see what the girls want.  I ordered a color chart, so I sent them the names of the colors that were acceptable.  Hopefully that will be enough.
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  • lilacck28lilacck28 member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited August 2014
    You're right, there is definitely a line. I don't know how I would handle it if my young FSIL showed up in the neon orange floral dress she wants to wear instead of the navy dress she already owns and matches the other two bridesmaids. Though it's been made pretty clear to her and FMIL that the navy dress is what she is supposed to wear. 
  • At least FMIL can take the navy dress along with her if FSIL is dead set on wearing on the orange.  You can tell her to suck it up, or he doesn't get to be in your bridal party.  If my friend buys a pink dress from anyone other than the boutique I'm using, I can't do anything about it.  I likely won't even know until two weeks before the wedding, which is when I plan to be in town.  Although I could ask them to share pics when their dresses arrive.
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  • ps- but that's because she is FSIL. If my friend showed up in neon orange or hot pink instead of navy or purple, I think I'd feel less of a need to just let her walk down the aisle anyway, but I don't know how to phrase "thanks for coming! I noticed you weren't able to get the bridesmaid's dress... so I guess you'll just be a guest".
  • That was my problem as well.  I guess there's no really polite way to send it.  But turning up in not the bridesmaid dress would be their choice, and choices have repercussions.  And I've tried my hardest to let them choose dresses and colors that they like, and might actually wear again.  Or get a really light purple and have it dyed afterwards.  Well, we'll see.  I hope FSIL pulls herself together for your day.
    image
  • She will. I'm honestly not worried. I was just trying to say, I understand your conundrum, and sympathize. 
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