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Suggestions needed about a bridesmaid situation this time...

Ok. My best friend and I have talked about my wedding day for years. I would love nothing more than for her to be able to stand up at the altar with me as my matron of honor. The problem is, I'm not sure she'll be able to make it and I'm not sure how to proceed. Her husband is in the Navy, and they are stationed on the other side of the country from me. She knows that he will most likely be deployed when I get married. She also has three small children that she would have to bring back with her. Now, I know what I signed up for as far as getting to see her and whatnot when her husband joined the Navy. And I know that she will do everything she can to be here for it. I can't however wait until a month or two ahead of time to hear that she can't afford to come after all. So my question is, should I give her a deadline as to when she can let me know if she'd be able to come, and if so, when should that deadline be? I want to make sure that if she can make it that we can get her dress in time.

Re: Suggestions needed about a bridesmaid situation this time...

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    What if you requested a color and length and said that whatever dress she got would be just fine? That way she could get a dress when she knows whether she'll be able to come.
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    What if you requested a color and length and said that whatever dress she got would be just fine? That way she could get a dress when she knows whether she'll be able to come.
    This is a great idea.  Keeping the dress flexible will also keep the price lower for her too.

    It sounds like this friend of your is absolutely your VIP and if I were you, I'd do everything I could to ensure that she could be there for your day.  If he is deployed and she needs to travel with her small kids, I would set aside some extra money to help defray her costs in getting all 4 of them to your for your wedding.  Can she stay with another friend or family member to avoid hotel costs?  Also, try to hire a babysitter to assist her with her children on that day as well.  In the meantime, pick your date and start planning your wedding with your FI.  If you plan on doing whatever it takes to get her there when the time comes, it will all work out.  She sounds like a wonderful friend and you'd hate to look back in regret and say, 'Jeez, if I'd passed on the favors and the champagne toast, I could have had her there with me.'  Make her presence a priority, and it will all work out.  
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    If your concern is the dress, I agree with @Keptinstitches. You could do this for all your BMs so she wouldn't be the odd one out if she comes in something else. I was my sister's MOH and she let all her BMs choose whatever they wanted - just a blue, knee length dress. It was really cool to see everyone in different dresses.

    If you're also concerned about having her as MOH or someone else, you have a few choices. You can make someone else MOH and then if she ends up being able to come, have co-MOHs. If you do this, I would make sure the other MOH knows what's going on. Or, you don't have to have an MOH if she can't make it.
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    Why can't you wait until a month or two ahead of time?

    I guess I don't get what the "big rush" is. You won't name a replacement MOH, anyways, so if she can't make it due to hubby's military requirements...well so be it. You'll be an awesome friend for not pressuring her.

    If you can save up $500-$1,000 to help defray some of her costs should she be able to make it...then awesome!

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    I would say that your best bet would be to as flexible as possible with your dress selection so that she doesn't have to make a specific deadline.  The military can sometimes really throw people curveballs (we won't have any idea if my cousin will be able to make it until after our RSVP date, and he is stationed in my own state currently).  And as the matron of honor, it really won't look weird if she is wearing something different from your other bridesmaids, even less so if they aren't all matching (which can also be a really neat look).  

    I don't know if this was part of your question, but even if she can't make it, you can still name her your MOH.  She sounds like a good friend and will be there with you in thought and emotional support, even if she can't physically be there.  
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    She definitely is a very good friend. We've been friends since 7th grade and we're both pushing 30 now so over half my life I've known her. I was concerned about the dress because we were just going to get everything from the same store, and I was thinking that she would need to send me her measurements. But all of you are right, her being there is more important than the dresses matching. I was thinking that I couldn't wait until a month or two ahead of time because I wanted to make sure that we could get everything taken care of without having to rush, and that's when I was thinking that all of the dresses would match. I'll do everything I can to help her with finances. We are on a tight budget but again, as you all have said, helping her out is a priority too. She'd be able to stay with her parents when she got here and I'm sure they'd watch the kids on that day. I certainly won't pressure her. I just wasn't sure what to do.
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    It sounds  like you are approaching this in a very considerate way, which is the important thing.  I hope she is able to make it, and I'm sure everything will work out fine.  Good luck planning!

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    Definitely be flexible with the dress. If she can't make it, you can do what I'm doing. My BM isn't able to make my wedding, so my MOH is carrying a tablet with her on skype down the aisle. We're also going to *hopefully* get some skype pictures of her and me the day of.
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    Even if you do want the same dress .. depending on her location you could try using a large chain like David's where she can go get measured and try on the dress in person at her local store and order it there.  Just a thought. 
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    One of my bridesmaids recently joined the Navy.  She said they give decent notice most of the time for when they need to leave.  She will be getting orders next month and will let me know then officially, but I let her know I fully understand if she can't be in the wedding.  Shit happens with the military. :/  I hope everything works out for you!
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