Dear Wedding Maven,
I have read every wedding advice column and nothing came close to addressing my issue!
I was my best friend’s Maid of Honor. She really didn't ask much of me since she did most of the stuff with her very involved fiancé. When she did ask me to do something or be somewhere all else was put aside. It was her day and I wanted to make it spectacular.
After her wedding she told me that I was amazing and set the bar very high for her when it was my turn to get married. So here we are four years later and it is finally my turn! I am very obsessive about organization and being ahead of schedule. If I'm not ahead of schedule, I’m behind! That is my own issue. My MOH is the exact opposite. She is chaos.
Now more so than ever since she is married lives with her in-laws, and has three kids (four counting her husband) that she has to deal with. I understand her focus is never going to be on my wedding plans over her life, but the big day is eight months away and I picked out the dress for the ladies before I even found my own dress. My bridesmaid, who has been at my side for almost every outing, where I invited the girls along, wants to order the dress, but the MOH hasn't tried it on yet to see if it will look nice on her figure.
She was pregnant when I originally picked it so I told her after she had the baby and settled we would get together and try it on. That was over three months ago. I don't want to fight over my obsessive behavior, but my maid is ready to buy, and is waiting on the MOH. I asked her three weeks ago if on a specific day we could make an appointment and she had plans and said she would give me a day that was good for her. I still have no date and it seems every time I call some family situation is more pressing.
Am I becoming a Bridezilla, or does my MOH need a refocus? HELP! I'm confused and don't want to ruin a friendship over a silly argument, but I am really upset by her aloof behavior! Can I just tell the bridesmaid to order it and let the MOH suck it up if it looks bad on her?
Seriously? This woman has three children and lives with her in-laws and it has never occurred to you that the reason she hasn’t gone to try on the dress is that she can’t afford to buy it? Do you think she lives with her in-laws because it’s fun? The woman is broke. She also just had her third baby in four years, she may not really feel like trying on clothes. Three months after you’ve had a baby very little looks “nice on your figure.”
Yes, the right thing for her to do would be to openly and honestly explain to you that given her family and financial circumstances she really can’t be there for you the way you were for her. But given your somewhat snarky attitude toward her husband (he’s her fourth child?) and your complete lack of sensitivity to her circumstances, financial and otherwise, she’s probably a little reluctant to open up to you.
The answer to your dress issue is simple. She’s the MOH, even if you want the other maids to wear matching dresses, hers does not have to match exactly, so send the other girls to go order their dresses. That will relieve your stress and theirs (and btw, I’m totally with you on the “if it’s not early it’s late” philosophy). Your MOH can wear a slightly different dress.
The important thing though is that your friend is in crisis. She has three children under the age of four, and seemingly lacks the financial means to care for them. That’s an amazing amount of physical and mental stress. She’s not being aloof; she’s overwhelmed.
I would suggest that you ask her if you can take her to lunch or dinner. Keep in mind that it may be hard for her to get away. If that’s the case, make a plan that is kid friendly (you visit her house at nap time, she meets you at the park or zoo, etc.). Apologize for being so caught up in the wedding plans that you haven’t made time for her, and ask her how she is. Hopefully, she’ll be able to open up to you a little bit.
You can’t solve her life issues, but you can help her feel a little better. You can let her know that you’re there for her, and that you don’t expect anything from her. Once you have a better sense of how she is and where things stand with her, you can decide what to do about her dress.
If, as I suspect, the problem is money, then you have several options including offering to pay for her dress (if the matching is important to you), offering to let her wear a dress she already owns (again, since she’s the MOH she can stand out a little), or offering to help her find a less expensive dress in a similar color.
If the problem is more about her feelings about her post-pregnancy body or the general chaos of her life, then just give her a deadline for ordering her dress by, and remind her that it can always be altered. I would recommend setting the deadline a little earlier than strictly necessary.
I understand that it's disappointing that after giving so much to her wedding she is not able to return the favor, but friendship isn't always about a direct payback. Sometimes you give more, sometimes you take more. It's absolutely fine that your wedding is the most important thing in the world to YOU, but you have to recognize that it isn't and shouldn't be to anyone else (except of course your fiancé). There is a bigger picture here, for her and for your friendship.
If none of this advice appeals to you, then of course your other option is to remove her as your MOH, at which point, you should feel free to also remove the "hatchling" from your signature.
Do you need wedding advice? Do you have a question about wedding traditions, etiquette or relationships? Write the Wedding Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org