Wedding Woes

Bridesmaid dress and sister woes

tiffanyesstiffanyess
Third Anniversary First Comment
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edited December 2015 in Wedding Woes
I'll try to make this short but I'm looking for advice. 

I decided I'd have only 2 bridesmaids- my sister as MOH and my future SIL as matron of honor. To keep things simple. Haha.

I also thought I'd be a cool bride and let the bridesmaids choose their own dresses within a given color scheme with my approval. So my SIL, who is older than me, went shopping, found a dress she liked in my color scheme, texted me pictures, and I approved it, so she bought it. 

So my sister, who is 27 years old, said she couldn't afford to buy a dress and so never went shopping for one herself until my mom offered to buy it for her. We all went shopping together over the Xmas break. She pulled a beaded dress in a dusty blush color (I'd given blush as an acceptable color choice) to try on.

She looked nice in it and at first I said it would be acceptable, but then she tried on another dress that I liked more and thought went better with my SIL's dress and my vision for the wedding, as I'd been thinking flowy chiffon from the get go, since it's an outdoor garden ceremony in the spring.

My sister has always been immature for her age but I was not ready for the sh*tstorm she was about to bring because I rejected the ($300) beaded dress. She told me it was "the ugliest dress ever," "disgusting," "hideous" and that she would be "miserable the entire night" if I "forced" her to wear this dress. By this time, she had tried on over 20 dresses and refused them all except the beaded dress. She was literally screaming what a terrible person I am in the Nordstrom's dressing room. Other people in the dressing room said she must be my sister as that's the only way anyone could talk to me like that. 

I considered just getting the beaded dress to make her happy but my mom said it's my wedding, my theme, and I get final say in the dress, and especially since she's paying for it. So I chose the grey dress. My sister continued to berate me the entire drive home until I snapped and said I'd be fine if she wears the beaded dress, then she can sit in the audience and not be a bridesmaid. She refused to respond and has not spoken to me since.

Was I wrong to tell her to wear the grey dress? Should I ask my SIL to change her dress to go with the beaded dress? Should I just not care about coordination to make everyone happy? Oh, and I forgot to mention, I just finished chemotherapy for breast cancer 3 weeks ago, and I'm starting radiation on Wednesday. I really don't need this drama.

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Re: Bridesmaid dress and sister woes

  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots
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    I wouldn't necessarily say you were in the wrong but you probably could have handled it differently. If you really hated the beaded one, and she really hated the grey one, you probably should have just said "OK we'll continue looking another time". By then she would have gotten over the beaded one.

    But that being said, I've been a BM 3 times and it was always a dress the bride chose that I was not a fan of, so it's pretty standard of the bride to have final decision.

                                                                     

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    MesmrEweHeffalumpOliveOilsMom
  • If you give a color scheme and nothing else, you're effectively relinquishing any other say in the dress. She picked a dress within the colors dictated. Unless your mother, as she is paying, rejects the price, I do not feel you can veto.

    Let it go and do not kick her out of the wedding over a dress. Truly, she looks better in the blush beaded one than the grey chiffon anyway. You didn't specify chiffon to begin with, so you can't backpedal now.
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    holyguacamole79YogaSandySP29
  • I did say with my approval, though. 
  • Jax43615Jax43615
    Third Anniversary 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
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    edited December 2015
    I feel that if you are saying your approval is required for their selections then you should've been the one to either pick the dresses or pick a specific color scheme to narrow it down for your BMs.

    I agree with @artbyallie. Don't kick her out over a dress. In reality, the dresses they wear will mean next to nothing.

    Edit: sorry, you did say that you had chosen some color schemes, but perhaps narrowing them down even more would've helped; especially if their choices need to meet your approval.

    SP29
  • tiffanyesstiffanyess
    Third Anniversary First Comment
    member
    edited December 2015
    Yes, I probably should have said no when she pulled the beaded dress, before she tried it on. But does that really mean I have to have BM dresses that look completely uncoordinated?

    And I'm also very unhappy with her behavior at the store, especially after all I've been through this year. I feel like if I give in now she'll think she can always get her way, and the wedding is about her and how she looks. I can already see her pitching a fit because she doesn't like the way the stylist did her hair, and I got a hair trial so why didn't SHE get a hair trial??

    She already told me to basically expect nothing from her as far as planning and assistance (ie, showers, bachelorette party, helping set up), so was it really so much for me to ask her to wear a dress I like?
  • I've been told that the bridesmaid's only "job" is to show up the day of, in the dress that was picked out - and that the dress should be something that suits their budget and should be mindful of the bridesmaid's comfort level (ex no strapless if the bridesmaid is not ok with it). 

    Your mom was obviously ok with the budget for the dress so you're good on that point. Why does your sister hate the gray dress so much? Did she feel like she should have something fancier (like the beaded dress)? Honestly I think the gray dress looks better on her than the beaded one. You're not asking her to have any of her lady bits hanging out and unless she has a problem showing her shoulders I don't know what the issue might be. 

    I probably would have cut it off once she started going off and told her we could continue shopping on a day when she could be more civil. But I don't think you were in the wrong by saying no to the beaded dress.
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
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    Yes, I probably should have said no when she pulled the beaded dress, before she tried it on. But does that really mean I have to have BM dresses that look completely uncoordinated?

    And I'm also very unhappy with her behavior at the store, especially after all I've been through this year. I feel like if I give in now she'll think she can always get her way, and the wedding is about her and how she looks. I can already see her pitching a fit because she doesn't like the way the stylist did her hair, and I got a hair trial so why didn't SHE get a hair trial??

    She already told me to basically expect nothing from her as far as planning and assistance (ie, showers, bachelorette party, helping set up), so was it really so much for me to ask her to wear a dress I like?

    You shouldn't expect anything from any of your bridal party for planning / assistance. If they offer and do it, great. If not, then don't make an issue over it.

    You said that you accepted the beaded dress at first, so I would tread VERY lightly. I would find time for the two of you to get together over coffee. Aplogize for snapping, and let her know that you really liked the gray dress on her and that it would look better at the wedding.



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    Jax43615nerdwifeSP29canadianteacher
  • What's done is done as far as what should or should not have been said. If you are really unhappy with the beaded dress and she is really unhappy with the grey one then you need to organise another shopping trip on a day where things are a little more calm. In my opinion the beaded dress does little to flatter her, but she obviously doesn't feel that way. If it is out, then the grey one has to be too or ot sounds like you will have more drama.

    Talk to her about what she likes in a dress and give your input on what you want and see if you can come to a compromise together. Eg. sister: I like beading, you: I would like tulle, compromise: light beading on a tulle skirted gown. For example, not to sound patronising or anything. Maybe a little bit of calm dialogue before shopping could help you both get on the same page.

    For what its worth, OP, your sister doesn't have to help with anything in your wedding. That's your responsibility along with your FI, no one elses. Please don't make that a reason why she needs to wear the dress you want her to.
                 
  • indigo26 said:
    Why does your sister hate the gray dress so much? Did she feel like she should have something fancier (like the beaded dress)?

    I think she fell in love with the beaded dress and no other dress would do after that. I do think she wants to look fancy and that she thinks this wedding is more about her than in reality. She's never been a BM before, and this is the first wedding in our family. 

    Honestly I think the gray dress looks better on her than the beaded one.

    I agree! She says the grey dress makes her look fat and shows her arms too much. I think she's also upset that the grey dress is a size 12 ("I'm NOT A SIZE 12!!!") and the beaded dress is a 10 so that makes her feel better about herself.

  • Yes, I probably should have said no when she pulled the beaded dress, before she tried it on. But does that really mean I have to have BM dresses that look completely uncoordinated?

    And I'm also very unhappy with her behavior at the store, especially after all I've been through this year. I feel like if I give in now she'll think she can always get her way, and the wedding is about her and how she looks. I can already see her pitching a fit because she doesn't like the way the stylist did her hair, and I got a hair trial so why didn't SHE get a hair trial??

    She already told me to basically expect nothing from her as far as planning and assistance (ie, showers, bachelorette party, helping set up), so was it really so much for me to ask her to wear a dress I like?
    This seems to go far beyond dress shopping. Is this a pattern of behavior for her? Does she throw tantrums regularly? If not, I wouldn't worry.

    If so, I feel like that's probably something that should be dealt with outside of wedding planning. I would actually keep her away from all planning and assistance, even if she offered, as it would be nothing but a headache.

    My sister does tend to start fights and such pretty regularly, and so I've tried to keep her out of all my wedding stuff. She'll be there, and she'll probably stand up with me at the ceremony, but that's it. She doesn't need to do anything else, and I don't want any of the added stress - or to give her the excuse to make our relationship about my wedding, or my wedding about her.

    Good luck with your radiation!! That's so much more important than any of this!
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    If this is your sister and you love her, wouldn't you want her in a dress she feels her best in?

    Also your bridal party members are not obligated in any way to help you plan, or throw you parties or anything else.

    lc07
  • O.k. I'm going to guess there's a price difference between the two dresses.  Asking someone else to spend $300 on a BM dress that they can't afford is asking too much even if your Mom is willing to spend it.  Period.  You can walk into so many other stores and get a beautiful BM dress for so much less.  I'm really NAF of the beaded dress as a BM dress regardless of the price tag, so my bias is there, and the grey does truly look better on her, but I don't think it's the right "fit" when she absolutely hates it and you did give her some flex. 

    IMO, another shopping trip is in order.  Return the dress ASAP if you purchased it.  Could things have been handled better, probably, but first things first, don't be looking at $300 dresses when her budget is someone else's money no matter how willing they are to spend it!  AND, she needs to get over "being a number" and focus on fit - it's all dependent upon who did the sewing that day!

    I think some space for both of you to chill out is the way to go, but the grey dress goes back ASAP and the beaded is vetoed...

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    Jax43615OliveOilsMom
  • Look at her smile when she is wearing the beaded dress.  Compare that to her expression wearing the gray dress.  The face says it all.  She obviously loves the beaded dress. What's really the problem?  You're pictures won't look as matchy matchy?  Relationships last longer than pictures.
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    Peaseblossom55SP29
  • justsuzie said:
    Look at her smile when she is wearing the beaded dress.  Compare that to her expression wearing the gray dress.  The face says it all.  She obviously loves the beaded dress. What's really the problem?  You're pictures won't look as matchy matchy?  Relationships last longer than pictures.
    I agree with this. Even with the face blurred you can tell. 
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  • justsie said:
    justsuzie said:
    Look at her smile when she is wearing the beaded dress.  Compare that to her expression wearing the gray dress.  The face says it all.  She obviously loves the beaded dress. What's really the problem?  You're pictures won't look as matchy matchy?  Relationships last longer than pictures.
    I agree with this. Even with the face blurred you can tell. 
    This. And I just don't get why you care so much about this. It's a dress. It will not look uncoordinated with the other one. It's in your color scheme and they're both formal gowns in gauzy fabric. Let. It. Go.


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  • At the end of the day, it's a dress.  I'm seeing a lot of resentment between the lines:  maybe you feel like she always gets her way, maybe this is the tip of the iceberg and you feel that someone finally needs to put their foot down, maybe you're tired of her taking things that you wanted to be about you and making them about herself instead.  Only you can decide if all of this drama over a dress is worth it to you. 

    If it were me, in the absence of long running family dynamics, I would let her wear what she wants.  In the grand scheme of things, one dress is not going to make a fig's worth of difference. 

    FWIW, I like the gray dress better on her, too, but I'm not the one wearing it.  And she clearly prefers the beaded one.  It's not at all unreasonable for the bride to have the final say, I'm just questioning whether it's worth all the drama.  IDK, you mentioned breast cancer, chemo, radiation (good luck, BTW), and you're planning a wedding on top of it--I'd be tempted to say "Wear what you want, I have enough on my plate right now."

    Also:
    So my sister, who is 27 years old, said she couldn't afford to buy a dress and so never went shopping for one herself until my mom offered to buy it for her.
    Did you ask her budget beforehand?  I think it was cool of you to pick a color scheme and let them choose whatever.  If this is the first time your sister has been in a wedding, maybe she didn't understand that she didn't necessarily have to choose a $200 dress from some designer's bridesmaid line at a bridal salon?  And maybe that was feeding some of the resentment on her end?
    She already told me to basically expect nothing from her as far as planning and assistance (ie, showers, bachelorette party, helping set up), so was it really so much for me to ask her to wear a dress I like?

    Well, that goes for anyone in the WP, so this was a) unnecessary on her part, and b) not an excuse for you to barter her (non-)services in exchange for making her wear the other dress.
    mrsconn23artbyallieSP29
  • You have A LOT on your plate right now.  

    Honestly, from reading everything and your responses, I think you should table the wedding and dress talk with your sister.   Is the snapping and screaming something new with her?  Is this a recent development in your relationship or has she always been this way (stubborn, digs in, railroads to get her way)?  

    If this is new, I think you need to have a heart to heart with her.  I know from past experience that having a sick sibling is very hard to go through from the sideline.  She may be feeling lost in the shuffle between your illness and wedding.  I'm not saying neither is important, because both are...but she may be feeling out of control and pushed aside...and the digging in regarding the dress is a way for her to feel like something is about her.  It's not right or wrong...she's just feeling her feelings. 

    Good luck with your treatment and best wishes for continued good health.  I'm sure you'll work out the wedding stuff. 
    HeffalumpOliveOilsMom
  • Thanks for the  responses.

    Yes, I understand WP is not obligated to plan. However, seeing as she is my sister, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June at 31 years old in the middle of wedding planning, I was hurt that she preemptively told me not to expect anything from her. You'd think if anyone was going to volunteer to help out, it would be your own family after a cancer diagnosis.

    And no, this is not unusual behavior from her at all. She has ADHD and OCD and takes medications, but they don't seem to be helping. My mom still bankrolls her and coddles her because of her problems. My mom likes to say she's perpetually 16 years old emotionally and mentally, which is why she needs so much help. Like a teenager, she throws tantrums when she doesn't get her way, and usually everyone does what she wants. I'm tired of it.

    We've never had a particularly good relationship because we have very different personalities. But I was really, really hoping that this could be a turning point, a new leaf for us. Most people would be honored to be a MOH, and I thought it would make her happy. More disappointment. She never even called to ask how I was doing during chemo (we live in different cities). 

    And yes, the grey dress was $150, the beaded $300. She never told me a budget, probably because she just planned on my mom paying from the get go. I honestly didn't feel comfortable with that price either. And it simply doesn't look like a bridesmaid dress, which I didn't realize until I saw other dresses, as the beaded one was one of the very first she tried on. My sister has no problem asking for things that expensive from my mom. Mom actually bought her a washer/dryer set for Christmas, and Christmas morning she complained that she didn't like the brand and wanted to return it. Can you see why I am so frustrated?
  • That helps. Thank you.
    MesmrEwe
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    I'm not sure why you thought your wedding would magically change your sister's behavior. If someone is aloof and not supportive in everyday regular life, expect them to act the same way in regards to your wedding. 

    I think the beaded dress is really pretty. It doesn't need to look like a traditional bridesmaid dress. I've worn about 7 traditional bridesmaid dresses, and they all sucked. Don't even get me started about the two piece heavy dress I had to wear back in 2003. Anyway, just let her wear the dress. 

    Also, your mom is not being forced at gunpoint to buy these things for your sister, yes? It sounds like she is choosing to spend this money on your sister. That's between them. 

    AddieCake
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    So many people seem to think that being in a wedding with someone will "bring them together" or "bond" them. It really doesn't. It's not some sort of relationship-altering experience. 

    You told her she could get a blush dress, and she chose a blush dress. It isn't fair to her to be told no now just b/c you don't think what she chose "goes" with what your FSIL chose. What if she had bought it and then your FSIL bought the dress she got. Would you ask her to change? Ask your sister to take her dress back?

    And the cost is between your mother and your sister. If your mother had an issue with cost, she would have (or should have) told your sister what she was willing to spend. If your mom doesn't want to spend the $300 for the beaded dress, she should tell her so, but not just so you will get your way. 

    I'm very sorry about your diagnosis and hope that treatment works for you. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • We've never had a particularly good relationship because we have very different personalities. But I was really, really hoping that this could be a turning point, a new leaf for us. Most people would be honored to be a MOH, and I thought it would make her happy. More disappointment. She never even called to ask how I was doing during chemo (we live in different cities). 

    Weddings rarely bring people together that have strains in their relationship and/or change long-standing behaviors.  They can magnify the worst in relationships especially when there is an expectation for change. 

    You cannot change the dynamic of your mom's and sister's relationship.  Also, using what your mom does or does not do for your sister as a yardstick will only make you miserable. 

    Honestly, you're best off a) not having any expectation beyond your sister showing up and wearing whatever dress she wants to and b) changing your reaction to your sister by not engaging her or acknowledging when she starts in on some nonsense. 

    I'm sorry that your relationship with your sister is not good and you feel like she has not been there for you.  That sucks, plain and simple.  But don't make yourself crazy on her behalf.  
    Yeah, I feel like that happens in movies, the whole wedding-inspired epiphany.  It would be nice if making your sister your MOH fixed all of the issues between you and opened a brand new chapter of your lives together, but from what I've seen it's usually more of the same.

    DH has a sister who has had a hard time getting her life together.  I posted recently that while we were visiting their dad for Thanksgiving, he bought her a car.  When DH and I first met, that would have made him crazy.  But he has done exactly what mrs.conn suggests, above:  he doesn't worry about what their dad does for her, how she makes bad decisions and keeps getting rescued, "it's not fair," etc.  He feels like he's in a good place in his life, and while I wouldn't say that he looks down on her, he feels more pity than envy now that she's 40 with two kids and still can't manage her life.  I digress, but basically, he's made his peace with it and is about 1000% happier as a result.

    Between this and your shower post, it seems like there is a lot of stress and drama in your relationship with your family.  With everything else going on, this might be a good time to get some counseling (if you haven't/aren't already) to work on building some healthy boundaries so you can focus on your own physical and emotional health.
    mrsconn23AddieCakeSP29
  • Heffalump said:

    Between this and your shower post, it seems like there is a lot of stress and drama in your relationship with your family.  With everything else going on, this might be a good time to get some counseling (if you haven't/aren't already) to work on building some healthy boundaries so you can focus on your own physical and emotional health.
     Yes.  You may want to see if there's a chapter of the Cancer Support Community in your area.   They were an invaluable tool to my best friend (and her sister) when she had cancer.  They can assist with group and one on one therapy. 
  • Given what you've added, I question the diagnosis of your sister, but that's another topic for another day.  It really sounds like you already were on the border of questioning inviting her as a guest and not as a MOH and it accidentally slipped out in a moment of anger given the additional info.  The dress is just a symptom.  The cancer added to the mix is just bringing out long-standing issues you've had going on in a clearer extent.  No, she doesn't have to help you with anything, but I understand the level of deep disappointment from someone you'd expect to be there for you emotionally to be clear about they have no intentions of doing so especially when Sisters/BM's are suppose to be who you're closest to.  It's the emotional battle of cancer in that you've given up so much of your self already and so many things have been taken from you, you want this one day to just be a dream about you (and FI), and, you're now discovering you really do have preferences about how things are even though you didn't think you did earlier in the planning process. 

    It's often recommended not to "choose colors" until after the BM dresses are purchased.  You're changing your mind on the color after seeing what it looks like.  Budget wise, the mistake was made of looking at dresses above where you're comfortable spending (same with bridal gowns - never look at dresses above your price-point because inevitably you'll fall in love with it and nothing else compares).  And, have you considered ordering her the same dress as your other MOH? 

    As for your Mom's spending habits - remember - it's her money, she gets to choose how it's spent.  Annoying as it may be - just chill out on it because it'll eventually work itself out and your Mom will put her foot down on her own time. 

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    tiffanyessholyguacamole79
  • Do you have your sister's permission to post pictures of her online?  The face is barely blurred and she would be very easily recognized by anyone who new her.  Not cool to violate someone's trust like that.

  • tiffanyesstiffanyess
    Third Anniversary First Comment
    member
    edited December 2015
    There, EVEN MORE BLURRED for her pleasure.
  • There, EVEN MORE BLURRED for her pleasure.

    You didn't answer my question.

  • I actually agree with @drunkenwitch, its better that you've blurred them more as they were kind of recognisable. I don't think you need to get upset at her for pointing that out to you.
                 
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