Wedding Party

*Heavy Bridesmaid Issue* Please help!

edited March 2016 in Wedding Party
Okay, so I'm new to this so bear with me. I have a complicated situation. I'm getting married in about 5 months and I've chosen my bridesmaids already and they're in the process of ordering their dresses. I have my sister as MOH, my 3 best friends, and 2 sisters that live away that i've known my whole life. One of the sisters (let's call her Chelsea) has been a struggling alcoholic for a year now. When I asked her to be my bridesmaid in the fall, she had just come out of rehab and when I saw her she seemed to be better, focusing on herself and happy. She stayed at my house in December and things were good, we had fun and it was like it always was with her. She left just before Christmas to go be with her family, and she relapsed. Her family is odd and doesn't talk about her issues openly so I figured it was the stress of everything and she couldn't take it. She moved down to my city in the beginning of January, and on New Years Eve my fiancé had to drive to help her husband carry her inside their apartment because she had passed out from drinking outside. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, we tried getting together a couple of times and every time she bailed, didn't reply in time, or it just never worked. I did end up seeing her once at the end of January, but with her having roommates we didn't get the chance to go over what had all happened with her over the holidays. I made plans with all my bridesmaids to go look for dresses at the end of February and the day before I finally got to sit down with Chelsea and talk about everything. I was concerned with her coming to the bachelorette and of course her own well-being. She assured me that we can all 'drink around her and she would be okay' even though i expressed that there would be alcohol, no doubt about it, but she still insisted she was good, everything was great. Now, a couple days ago I got a phone call from her mother (who lives out of province) that I needed to go pick her up, she was passed out again outside of her apartment and her husband was upset because they got in a fight. I am always there for my friends so of course I said I could get her. Long story short, without going into too much detail, it was a horribly sad night and she ended up escaping from my house at 6:30am and we couldn't find her anywhere because she had lost her phone. My fiancé left work and drove around the area because I had to take care of our son and called local police and hospitals worried sick about her. We ended up finding her after 3 1/2 hours when she borrowed a phone from someone and called her mom. Her father had driven 10 hours to come get her and she is now back in her hometown. I was told she got kicked out of her house and doesn't have a phone, although I've seen her "Like" posts on Facebook. I've already decided it's not in anyones best interest if she came to the bachelorette, it's too toxic for her and it would just put her in a bad place. My question is, should she still be a bridesmaid? She is practically my sister, but she lives away from me and lately with her situation I barely know her anymore. I don't want to send her over the edge by removing her as a bridesmaid, but others around me think it could help her in recovery by her seeing that her alcoholism caused her to mess things up so bad that she won't be in the wedding. I'm also unsure if she should attend the reception (due to wine at dinner and an open bar, and unless she has admitted to being an alcoholic and is serious, it would just be another toxic situation) She has been told that by the end of this week she needs to have her dress ordered, so I was planning on making a decision by then. I don't know if anyone has been through a situation like this? Please help, any advice will do. 

Re: *Heavy Bridesmaid Issue* Please help!

  • edited March 2016

    That's one thing I was worried about, I definitely don't want to make it worse for her, and also definitely don't want to ruin or lose the friendship. My only concern if she does continue as a bridesmaid is what if she cant afford the cost of the dress or anything else pertaining to the wedding day? The dress needs to be ordered within a week in order for it to come in time with alterations and I know she doesn't have a job because she just got back to her hometown before the weekend, nor do I know if she can even keep a job at this point. She also would need to get her measurements done somewhere unless I just guessed her size. Would I need to pay for her dress to keep her involved? I most likely wouldn't see that money again, and with all the expenses we will need to be paying I don't know if we can afford the cost. I really want her to be in my wedding and stand up there to support me, I just don't know how to ask that of her when she can't seem to support herself. I'm so torn and taking everything so seriously because I just want her healthy and happy, but I've been told that its my day and I shouldn't have to worry about how she is handling the alcohol around all day. I also don't know if i'll be able to even get a hold of her, last I heard she doesn't have a cell phone and she got kicked out of her house.


  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    That's one thing I was worried about, I definitely don't want to make it worse for her, and also definitely don't want to ruin or lose the friendship. My only concern if she does continue as a bridesmaid is what if she cant afford the cost of the dress or anything else pertaining to the wedding day? The dress needs to be ordered within a week in order for it to come in time with alterations and I know she doesn't have a job because she just got back to her hometown before the weekend, nor do I know if she can even keep a job at this point. She also would need to get her measurements done somewhere unless I just guessed her size. Would I need to pay for her dress to keep her involved? I most likely wouldn't see that money again, and with all the expenses we will need to be paying I don't know if we can afford the cost. I really want her to be in my wedding and stand up there to support me, I just don't know how to ask that of her when she can't seem to support herself. I'm so torn and taking everything so seriously because I just want her healthy and happy, but I've been told that its my day and I shouldn't have to worry about how she is handling the alcohol around all day. I also don't know if i'll be able to even get a hold of her, last I heard she doesn't have a cell phone and she got kicked out of her house.


    Assuming you asked her for a budget before you picked the dress, it's fair to assume that she will figure out a way to come up with the money. 

    If she doesn't order the dress in time, she can pay rush fees, buy a second hand one on e-bay, or figure something else out. (Although the good friend would just let her wear something she already owned if the dress was the only thing keeping her out of the wedding.)
    OurWildKingdomSP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I'm coming here as a member of Nar-Anon. 

    First and foremost, she drinks because she's an alcoholic. Not because there was a party, or a bar, or a bad day.  Alcoholics don't need a reason to drink; that's what sober people to do project motive and better understand addict behavior. 

    Second, I would keep her as a BM and leave the responsibility on her. She has made a commitment  and saving her from following through on this commitment is enabling. However, if she doesn't get it done, don't be mad, but don't let her stand either. Part of realizing your rock bottom (which I agree, she hasn't found yet) is experiencing the consequences of your actions and in this scenario letting down a good friend is a consequence. Let her experience this.

    Addict behavior is not a representative of who your friend is. If she doesn't come through, it's because she has a disease and feeding that disease comes first. I'm sure sober friend would never have missed this opportunity. You sound like a good friend and the line between supporting and enabling is very fine but my rule of thumb is to not do anything for my qualifier that they can do themselves. 

    Hugs. 
    I agree 100%. Don't remove your friend from your bridal party just because she's alcoholic, but do make her aware that her actions (or lack thereof) have consequences.
    kimmiinthemittenOurWildKingdom
  • Reading the title, I thought for sure that OP was going to be a bride upset that one of her good friends was "heavy" and wasn't sure if she should have a big fatty in her wedding party and ruining the pictures.

    Anyway, the advice here is good. I'm glad you're taking it, OP. Especially the enabling vs. supporting stuff. 

    That's exactly what I thought this was going to be.  "My BM refuses to lose weight for my wedding!  I just need her to lose enough weight from her size 18 body to fit into a size 12 dress.  That's not too much to ask for, is it?  Or maybe I should ask her to step down from being my bridesmaid since she can't fit in the dress.  But she's been doing the most work helping me plan, so maybe I can ask her to be my Personal Assistant and can wear the fatty version of the BM dress!"
    sparklepants41spockforprezthefanciestbeckler
  • adk19 said:

    Reading the title, I thought for sure that OP was going to be a bride upset that one of her good friends was "heavy" and wasn't sure if she should have a big fatty in her wedding party and ruining the pictures.

    Anyway, the advice here is good. I'm glad you're taking it, OP. Especially the enabling vs. supporting stuff. 

    That's exactly what I thought this was going to be.  "My BM refuses to lose weight for my wedding!  I just need her to lose enough weight from her size 18 body to fit into a size 12 dress.  That's not too much to ask for, is it?  Or maybe I should ask her to step down from being my bridesmaid since she can't fit in the dress.  But she's been doing the most work helping me plan, so maybe I can ask her to be my Personal Assistant and can wear the fatty version of the BM dress!"

    __SITB__________________________________________

    Ditto. I was expecting a "which of these poems should I send my fat bridesmaid asking her to get gastric bypass surgery in time for my wedding?"
    [Deleted User]charlotte989875lnixon8spockforprez
  • OP, we see so posters come here all the time with unrealistic expectations of their BM's and some truly horrible attitudes towards the people that are supposed to be their nearest and dearest. It's nice to see someone genuinely want to work out what is the best way to help their friend, wedding be damned. I'm glad the ladies here have helped you gather some perspective, and I hope your friend is able to work through her demons with your help.

    Change your username and stick around!
    Thank you, I've been struggling so much with this issue since the weekend, she means the world to me and it kills me for her to be going through this because she is such an amazing woman, she's young so it makes the situation even more sad. I can't imagine what she's going through and I really didn't want to make it all about "my wedding" because although it's an event coming up, her health and wellness mean WAY more to me than everything that comes with a wedding.. (the dress, the bachelorette, the wedding itself) but with her being in it and she had already agreed to some things, and now she isn't do well, put me in a bit of a predicament, but these ladies have definitely helped! :)
    ShesSoColdsparklepants41kimmiinthemittenahoywedding

  • adk19 said:

    Reading the title, I thought for sure that OP was going to be a bride upset that one of her good friends was "heavy" and wasn't sure if she should have a big fatty in her wedding party and ruining the pictures.

    Anyway, the advice here is good. I'm glad you're taking it, OP. Especially the enabling vs. supporting stuff. 

    That's exactly what I thought this was going to be.  "My BM refuses to lose weight for my wedding!  I just need her to lose enough weight from her size 18 body to fit into a size 12 dress.  That's not too much to ask for, is it?  Or maybe I should ask her to step down from being my bridesmaid since she can't fit in the dress.  But she's been doing the most work helping me plan, so maybe I can ask her to be my Personal Assistant and can wear the fatty version of the BM dress!"

    __SITB__________________________________________

    Ditto. I was expecting a "which of these poems should I send my fat bridesmaid asking her to get gastric bypass surgery in time for my wedding?"
    That would be terrible! Maybe the title was a bit confusing...but I was feeling quite 'heavy' about the whole situation. 

  • I'm coming here as a member of Nar-Anon. 

    First and foremost, she drinks because she's an alcoholic. Not because there was a party, or a bar, or a bad day.  Alcoholics don't need a reason to drink; that's what sober people to do project motive and better understand addict behavior. 

    Second, I would keep her as a BM and leave the responsibility on her. She has made a commitment  and saving her from following through on this commitment is enabling. However, if she doesn't get it done, don't be mad, but don't let her stand either. Part of realizing your rock bottom (which I agree, she hasn't found yet) is experiencing the consequences of your actions and in this scenario letting down a good friend is a consequence. Let her experience this.

    Addict behavior is not a representative of who your friend is. If she doesn't come through, it's because she has a disease and feeding that disease comes first. I'm sure sober friend would never have missed this opportunity. You sound like a good friend and the line between supporting and enabling is very fine but my rule of thumb is to not do anything for my qualifier that they can do themselves. 

    Hugs. 
    Thank you. Yes I agree..she does drink just to drink. She has said it's usually because of a fight with her husband (although this latest relapse apparently started from myself and all the bridesmaids toasting to finding the dress and she had to 'cheers' with a tea mug instead of a drink) but I don't really know her triggers, so I would just assume that alcohol and seeing people get drunk isn't helpful? I'm trying my best to understand alcoholism for her sake so I can help, but It's difficult to wrap my head around!

    That's a good way to put it, I do want her as a BM but she, like any of my other BMS, are expected something, and if she couldn't handle the responsibility than she should tell me. She definitely hasn't hit rock bottom yet, we all thought she did...but apparently not. She does need to feel out her consequences, because with everything lately she has always had someone there to 'save her.'

    Thank you also for putting that into perspective, I do need to keep telling myself it is a disease, because it is. This isn't who she is but what she's struggling with. Enabling has been something I have been doing, not intentionally, but you're right, it's SUCH a fine line between supporting and enabling, and I do need to hold her accountable to what she had agreed to.
    kimmiinthemitten

  • adk19 said:

    Reading the title, I thought for sure that OP was going to be a bride upset that one of her good friends was "heavy" and wasn't sure if she should have a big fatty in her wedding party and ruining the pictures.

    Anyway, the advice here is good. I'm glad you're taking it, OP. Especially the enabling vs. supporting stuff. 

    That's exactly what I thought this was going to be.  "My BM refuses to lose weight for my wedding!  I just need her to lose enough weight from her size 18 body to fit into a size 12 dress.  That's not too much to ask for, is it?  Or maybe I should ask her to step down from being my bridesmaid since she can't fit in the dress.  But she's been doing the most work helping me plan, so maybe I can ask her to be my Personal Assistant and can wear the fatty version of the BM dress!"

    __SITB__________________________________________

    Ditto. I was expecting a "which of these poems should I send my fat bridesmaid asking her to get gastric bypass surgery in time for my wedding?"
    That would be terrible! Maybe the title was a bit confusing...but I was feeling quite 'heavy' about the whole situation. 
    Yeah, we had a post like that a couple of months ago...

    I have nothing to add OP other than the PPs have given some very good advice and I hope your friend eventually seeks out the help she needs. It's frustrating watching someone sink into the abyss of addiction and being helpless.

  • Thank you. Yes I agree..she does drink just to drink. She has said it's usually because of a fight with her husband (although this latest relapse apparently started from myself and all the bridesmaids toasting to finding the dress and she had to 'cheers' with a tea mug instead of a drink) but I don't really know her triggers, so I would just assume that alcohol and seeing people get drunk isn't helpful? I'm trying my best to understand alcoholism for her sake so I can help, but It's difficult to wrap my head around!
    As the child of an alcoholic I can tell you I still don't always completely understand it. And that's after 30 years. But one of the best, succinct explanations of why alcoholics drinks is not because things are bad, or fights happen, or they see someone else drinking; alcoholics drink because they are alcoholics. Where non-alcoholics want a drink or two drinks, alcoholics brains tell them they want ten drinks. Their brains work differently. And it's hard for people whose brains don't work like that to understand. 

    As for triggers and what makes her drink; anything. No matter what topics or issues you try and avoid, situations to keep her from, until she has gotten treatment and begun to deal with her addiction there will always be a reason to drink. It's not your responsibility to keep them from her. 

    I think you're doing the right thing;keep her in the wedding party, give your security a heads up that she might drink too much and have them escort her out if there is a problem. This may be controversial but I wouldn't tell the bartender not to serve her. She'll likely find a way to drink anyways and likely be pissed you singled her out. Just trust them to cut her off and security to do their thing if there's a problem. 
    kimmiinthemittenglasgowtolondon
  • To me it sounds like the issue is that you are more concerned that certain aspects of your wedding could risk her staying sober then any embarrassment she could bring. Not sure how well this will go over, but you could ask whoever is planning the bridal shower to not have any booze there & be honest on why. When it comes to the bachelorette party, can you ask whoever is coordinating it if they can perhaps organize the beginning portion to be doing something where you wouldn't be drinking, like getting your nails done, going to dinner, etc. & then arrange for her husband or someone else to come & pick her up after diner if the next step is for you to go to bars/dancing? This way she could participate in a portion of the bachelorette party, but not the part that would put her at risk. I know for my husband, it was an all day event & different guys came to different parts of it based on their schedules, interest & budget. They started off the day with golf, then went on a limo bus about 90 minutes away for lunch & gambling & then came back, did dinner & then hit the bars. And as for your wedding reception, it's no guarantee that it will work, but you can get to the venue and talk privately to the bar tenders and point her out to them and advise them that she is not to be served any alcohol and give them an extra tip to do it. It's up to you if you tell them why they shouldn't serve her. I'm sure it's not the first wedding they would work where there is a recovery alcoholic there & the bride/groom want special arrangements made for them. There is no promise she won't go sneak from someone else glass. And for the toast, have the staff just give her ginger ale, that way she will look like she's drinking champagne, but isn't. We actually did that for a BM who just doesn't like the taste of champagne or any booze for that matter. And like PP said, give the staff/security a heads up about her situation so that if you need to ask them for help to remove her or if they see her getting out of control, they can be prepared to address it. Good luck & I hope she is able to get sober & stay sober before anything tragic happens

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