(this is longer than intended- but I think the whole saga needs to be understood so y'all get why I'm at my wits end)
What do I do-
After having been a bridesmaid in several weddings and spent a ton (without complaining- it's usually part and parcel of the bridesmaid thing, right?) on dresses and shoes that I would never wear again, I was determined to try to be as thoughtful as possible about my attendant-wear selections. I'm not requring the girls to buy ANYTHING but the dress and have selected a shoe/cardigan color (black) that most women already have stocked in their closet.
One bridesmaid- the one driving me batty - we will call her OBM- did not accept to be a bridesmaid right away because of cost concerns. I told her I wanted to keep their cost low but that I understood. After several days, she said essentially our friendship was really more important and she wanted to participate. Keep in mind- OBM is single, lives rent and prtgage free, is gainfully employed, and makes more money than at least three other bridesmaids, hands down.
Generally, I think bridemaid dresses are ugly, cheap quality, and horendously expensive (or good quality and even more horenously expensive), so my original thought was to go outside the box to find the girls' attire. I've consulted them every step of the way on dresses- from cost to style. We picked one out which looked like it would be lovely. While more expensive than I was aiming for $130) all the maids said they loved it and would wear it again (including OBM, who purchased it ASAP). Unfotunately, it ended up being a disaster (made everyone look pregnant- including a 12 year old) and we sent them back.
After this, OBM started grousing about the cost of being in a wedding. I gave her an out- I said I really wanted her in the wedding but if she didn't want to, I would understand. It was kindly delivered and kindly recieved, and she said she wanted to stay in the wedding- which I am glad about!
We then spent several months looking for an under-$100 alternative and couldn't. The bridesmaids (most of them) were pretty supportive and said to stop stressing about the price, that they were willing to pay more. Out of desperation, I selected a David's Bridal frock that was $139. It wasn't worth that much, but it wasn't ugly and the bridesmaids liked it decently well. OBM, however, complained that she didn't like the color and wanted me to change my wedding color from blue to turquoise because the turquoise in her opinion looked better on her. When I declined because it wasn't the color for our wedding, she started complaining about the cost, but eventually stopped. Then my MOH and I went to the store and were treated very shabbily. I was so digusted at both the state of the dresses in that branch (wrinkled with runs and strings hanging off- showing their bad quality) and the way we were treated that the DB dress was out the window.
After another month of hunting, I went back to a particular non-bridal website which has tons of styles- which you can customize style-wise to some extent- and on which you can actually get your dress custom made to your exact measurements. They also had tons of dresses in the same shade, so the girls could pick their own style (another idea I really had originaly wanted to go with but was unable to because of logistics) .I had previously considered the site but was wary of the internet after first dress fiasco, so I read over a dozen reviews of the website, researched, and spent $90 to get two test dresses for myself (for the honeymoon) before committing the bridesmaids. In additon, I found out how to get substantial discounts and free customization so they could get their dresses for -if they picked a cheaper style- a hair over $30-$70 tops. Finally, I changed my dress color from a lighter blue to navy just so we could go with this website - I didn't think it was worth it for the girls to pay double the price or more for a specific shade of color. My test dresses were great, so I told the bridesmaids to go for it. I sent them the discount info, then e-mailed the website (which had depleted their navy seletions somewhat) to see if they would bulk up on navy in different styles so the girls could have more selection (they did- in spades). They are all cute, stylish knee-lengthish numbers that the girls can wear again because they are poplin, a nice but not formal fabric.
SO - what does OBM do?? First she sends me an email stating that she's selected a dress from the website which she loves. It is gorgeous! and her! She says she will order it the next day.
Barely more than 24 hours later, She asks me if she can wear a floor length, shimmery, chiffon, formal dress which she already owns and happens to be a (lighter, non-matching) navy. I ask could she please get a dress from the site because, while pretty, hers is too long, formal, and not the right color- and though I don't mind them having different styles, I would like them all from the same website and the same type (i.e. cocktailish, not formal). Now- She's MAD at me. Because I ask her to buy a $30 dress.
What do I do? I'm so frustrated at this point. And- I'm feeling a little annoyed because -if we're going to count pennies- (though she doesn't know it) I'm spending $70 each on the girls for custom-made artisian jewelry as a gift, which means that OBM will likely pay HALF the cost for her dress that I am paying for her present to be in our wedding.