Wedding Etiquette Forum

Bridesmaid Dress Issues- Is Bride Asking too Much


My younger sister is getting married this September and there seems to be some issues with bridesmaid dresses. Background information, my little sister is a very selfish person who can be very bitchy under normal circumstances. Also, she didn't actually ask me to be in her bridal party, she just assumed it. And she was terrible for my wedding a few years back. By terrible, meaning she was so unhelpful and rude I would not have had her in my party if I realized it would have been that way and did not speak to her a long time afterwards. She refused to help or participate in anything, picked fights with my in-laws for no reason, and spent the wedding reception (along with shower and gift opening) telling everyone how much better her wedding will be (when she wasn't even engaged at the time).

I am being the better person, but I am not sure how much is her asking too much, especially considering the type of person she is. I feel very unmotivated to do more for people who would never do half as much for you. If the roles were reversed for the situation below, I bet my left kidney on there being no doubt she would not go along with the expectation she is laying out. I know the general expectation is to please the bride, but when is the bride's expectations too much?

So the issue at hand is my younger sister has very expensive taste. She choose a purple for her wedding, specifically a plum. But the shade she chose happen to not be available at David's Bridal, and only at boutiques that are more expensive. 

Being a bridesmaid, I expected to pay somewhere between 100-200 for a dress, and then pay for alterations. She told me and the other sister that only this color would do and dress prices at this boutique where between 180 and 250, which is the price for dresses these days. That Davids dresses are the same price, garbage quality, and not available in her color. Turns out all of that (besides the color) was not true. Davids prices range from 100 to 180 and are the same quality as the dresses at the boutique. And the dresses at the boutique were more expensive than projected.

Going to the boutique, me and the other sister did not receive any help picking out or finding dresses, barely any help with putting them on. Also, my sister and I are both plus size, about sizes 18-20. We tried on a bunch of dresses, most of which are priced at 250. There was not much selection at the boutique in dresses in our size and we don't like the idea of trying on a dress that is no where close to your size as a basis for ordering your size. 

After this fitting, we found out that the color of the dress my sister picked is only available from one designer (its his color) and that most of the dresses we tried on where not his. To this date, I am not sure which ones I tried on where his or not his, which ones where actually close to my size or not. We also found out that there is an additional 30 dollars for the plus size, and that may be even on the prices of the sample dresses that are plus size.

My other sister wanted to go to Davids to try on dresses that are in our sizes, even though they don't have the shade of purple that is an exact match to the color my sister chose. The first thing they did was size us and helped us find dresses in our sizes to try on, which seems normal. The dresses fit very well. The thought was we could use this to make it easier to pick out the dresses from the other bridal store. Me and the other sister than contacted a few bridal salons to see if they have samples from this designer in our sizes to try on. The result was the same everywhere, that they only get up to size 14 or so, and they get larger sample sizes from other designers.

I then compared the size chart of davids to the designer's size chart, to our measurements to find that the designer's bust:waist:hip proportions are different than Davids. They are less plus size friendly, Davids has 5 inches difference between waist and bust, designer has 7. Me and my sister each have about 5 inches difference between waist and bust. 

So to purchase a bridesmaid dress, we would have to decide on a style that doesn't have a sample in our size to try on, pay an extra 30 for larger size on top of the higher 250 prices, hope the dress looks good on us, pay to have the chest altered to fit us, and pay for helming and any other alterations.

By time it is said and done it is between 400-500 dollars I am expected to pay to get a dress that is designed not to fit me. I really think that the designer does not want plus size woman (except ones that just have big breasts) wearing their dresses. The bride sister has no room to budge to have a similar color that is not an exact match. 

My dad has offered to pay some of the expenses for all the bridesmaids, since these dresses are quite more expensive, but it still seems like it is asking a lot. And its someone who you can't ask anything of at any time that is asking a lot.

My other sister also has two daughters, who will be 11 and 9 at the wedding. She does not want to pay the designer prices for a dress for these children, and my sister is back to not budging on the color for more affordable dresses.

I don't understand why a color in a more accessible line of dresses would have not been an option or why a slightly off shade isn't an option. I am not finding this to be a good experience, I know I have a little more weight on me, but I expected that I would be able to try on dresses that fit me and are reasonably priced. 

I am debating wheither I should back out, just buy a dress of a similar color and make my sister deal with it, or just buy a dress from the designer and hope it works out. And if that dress doesn't fit well to the point I am uncomfortable wearing it, what do I do then? 

I texted my sister about this situation of the road block of not being able to try on dresses and that the designer is not plus size friendly, but she ignored it. She is getting mad and doesn't want any more to do with it. She yelled at our mother for asking her about the color shade being off and told her she is done going to bridal boutiques. There was one farther away that the boutique recommended a designer that is plus friendly and the color is very similar, but it seems that my sister doesn't want any variation or anything to do with it.

She also went on about how she is spending way more for this wedding (which the other sister explained to her is how weddings work) and it is costing more than her income of 30,000. My parents say she is highly exaggerating that figure, cause they are giving her 4,000 that almost covers her dress, the food, and the cupcakes. 

I feel like my sister has been lying or misleading us a little and doesn't care we can't try on dresses before we buy them, which I find really strange to buy such an expensive dress I can't try on. I don't know where the line between pleasing the bride and the bride's expectations being unreal is. I am unsure what to do and am frustrated that my sister is just letting this be our problem. Especially since from her behavior currently and in the past, a lot of this wedding seems to be about one upping our weddings. 

Any advice? Is her expecations reasonable/unreasonable? Is my response reasonable/unreasonable? 

I also feel like there is more of this and less of fun for the future, since my sister is a little unbearable of a person to begin with. 

I really don't know anymore. 

Re: Bridesmaid Dress Issues- Is Bride Asking too Much

  • Take your wedding and how she acted out of it. Do you want to be in her wedding? Will the fallout from that be worth it? If so you have your answer. 

    If you do want to stay in the wedding keep in mind your sisters behavior probably isn’t going to change because she’s getting married. If the dress is too expensive you need to tell her that clearly, not emotionally. 

    I think its reasonable to want want to try on the dress before you buy it. Sometimes that’s not possible. I’ve tried on dresses bigger than my size, smaller than my size and stores will clip/pin them so you can see what they look like. It’s definitely a pain but most stores will only carry a few sizes in a given dress or line. 

    How similar are the David’s dresses in terms of fit, style, and color? 
  • My sister was a PITA about my wedding too, even though I planned hers for her. Whatever, my wedding wasn't about her. 

    However, if you have an established budget and she's asking you to exceed it, you're within your rights to say no. 
  • another vote for backing out.

    Also, keep this between you & your bride to be sister.  The more you discuss this with your other sister, the more drama there will be in your family.   
  • It’s not uncommon for bridal boutiques to not carry every last size.  But if the dress your sister wants you to buy is over your budget, tell her.  She can dictate any dress as long as it’s not above anyone’s budget, and that’s not happening here.
  • Your sister is being an asshole. Plain and simple, she is insisting on a dress that is 1) outside of your budget and 2) uncomfortable for you to wear. Yes, a bride can just pick a dress, but any bride that doesn't ensure that the dress will be comfortable for the people wearing it is an asshole.

    Ignore all this other stuff. Tell your sister that you are not able to order this dress (or from this line) and that if that means you'll need to attend as a guest, so be it. 
  • The issue is not the dress.  The issue is you expected more of your sister than the person she is.  First, hang around here for a while, you'll realize your expectations were out of line when it came to your wedding, the only job of a bridesmaid for a wedding is show up in the desired attire relatively sober the day of the wedding, stand and smile for some pictures, and done.  This isn't a paid position, so it's not a "job".  Anything more than that is window dressing and gravy.  Next, you've said what her personality is like, accept her for who she is even if you wouldn't choose to be in the same room with her if she wasn't your sister, and adjust your attitude accordingly and be firm with your boundaries.  

    Now, for the dress, being plus-size sometimes SUCKS!  You know what looks good on your body and what the designer has for styles.  I order my formalwear from online because I can get what I want in the size I need, it's just as much a risk for me as going in to a salon and usually FAR less money.  You need to be a more savvy shopper in the internet era, google the designer and color, you have your measurements to know sizing, find someplace more budget friendly (there are some good consignment shops online as well), and go with it.  The designer and color are constant, where you get it from, not so much.  You may find a place online for half the price, or, pick a style, pick up the phone "I need X Dress by Y Designer in Plumbleberry Purple, in size Z, what's the best price you can do?" and you WILL find one who is more budget friendly than another (order it for "get it here as soon as humanly possible without a rush fee" btw...  And be done with it!  Alterations are often optional, a spool of thread and a needle can tack most things in to place and hems are a couple hours of your time unless there's lace involved.  

    Most of all - if you want out, SAY SO!  Just say "You know, love you sis, but I want to enjoy your wedding from a pew and maybe help out here or there without the responsibilities of being a bridesmaid!" If you want out, do it now!  She is not going to change her personality for her wedding!  And, sometimes it's just more fun to come in and help with the things you want to and leave when you're tired of dealing with her because "Starbucks closes at 8!" and smile all the way to the car because you're not part of the shi*show by cutting it off at the pass!

    P.S. She hasn't given you the shoe, makeup, and hair info yet, be aware that is coming with this type of personality so you aren't blindsided.  She already doesn't care about your budget, she isn't about to start any time soon!
  • EvilSockLadyEvilSockLady member
    Third Anniversary 100 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper
    edited December 2017
    As others have said, not being able to try on your size isn't uncommon. David's has its own label doesn't it? And many of the dresses are mass produced more, so the shop floor can be full of them.
    Alternatively, for a boutique to offer several different styles from different lines, they can't just have them all in stock in every size. They wouldn't have the space and they'd lose money because many designers come out with new stuff every year. They'd end up with a lot of unsold inventory. They're more a made-to-order sort of thing.
    It's annoying, and I know I got bit by both the plus-size extra free and the cost of alterations when the sizing was wrong, but it's not super out there.

    But yeah, tell your sister, "I love you but I'm only able to spend $x on all wedding attire and dress alterations. I just don't think that's possible with the lines this color is available in. I'm happy to look for dresses in similar shades. But if you'd prefer I just attend the wedding as a guest I understand."

    MesmrEwe has hinted at. If you're told to get specific shoes (outside of a general guideline like "black/nude/metalic") tell her that was not part of your budget and you prefer to wear xyz shoes. (If she falls for flattery you could drop something like "Don't worry. People will only have eyes for you. Absolutely no one will be looking at my feet").
    If she says hair and/or makeup will be mandatory and indicates you have to pay for it just say "That's ok. I will do my own hair/makeup." And if she presses it remind her that was not part of your budget.
  • She's your sibling, isn't she? I don't understand why you act like you hate each other. If she favors a brand, go for it and tell her your limit. Let her pay the rest of it. If she hates a brand, avoid it. Given that you want to be in her wedding. If you don't, then don't. There's no reason to be in a wedding that upsets you and the bride at the same time. It's not worth it. 
  • mollybarker11mollybarker11 member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments Name Dropper
    edited December 2017
    ericamkohn said:

    Any advice? Is her expecations reasonable/unreasonable? Is my response reasonable/unreasonable? 
    Her expectations of her bridesmaids are unreasonable - she should have asked for your budgets before selecting the dress. (Sounds like your expectations of your bridesmaids were unreasonable too - help & participation aren't required.)

    Your expectations of the bridal shops are unreasonable - unfair as it is, they can only carry a limited number of sizes for clients to try on. PP had great advice about shopping online. I avoid real stores & dressing rooms as much as possible.

    Here's my proposed response:
    "Sister, the dress you have selected is $80 over the highest end of my budget and the alteration costs would be much more expensive than expected. I've found several other purple dresses that are within my budget, for example X one and Y one, but if this specific shade is required I will need you to cover the additional cost."

    She may respond that your dad has already offered to cover the additional cost so this is a non-issue, at which point you'd need to decide if that makes you uncomfortable enough to step down as bridesmaid.

    - Do not bring up her behaviour at your own wedding or her bitchy personality or her expensive tastes or her own wedding budget. Irrelevant.
    - Do not get involved in your nieces' dress issues. Unrelated.
    - Do not go ahead and buy a dress from another line and "make her deal with it." Immature.
  • Don't be controlled by your sis, leave her alone and don't be anxious about this, you have a lot things to do!!! Tell her the truth and say nooooo to her.
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