Thursday, July 11, 2013

Please help me not murder a bridesmaid!


Dear ESB, 

Your blog is my first stop in the morning every day, and I love it to bits. I never thought I'd be writing to you, but 1.5 months before my wedding, here I am! (Yay?) I am severely in need of some candor, even if it means getting bitchslapped across the face with the truth of my idiocy. So, without further ado, here's the sitch. I'm sorry it's so long!

So, my best friend (we'll call her Jane) is a bridesmaid in my wedding. I didn't name her the MoH because I was worried she wouldn't be great at helping with stuff (boy was I right), so I just didn't choose one.

Our friendship has always been really easy and fun, we were roommates for a few years, and have done a good job staying in touch and visiting and everything. There are three things that she's done (or rather not done) that make me really sad and kind of angry, and one thing that makes me livid. Also, please keep in mind I have very specifically never asked her to do anything, so I don't think I'm really expecting too much, but maybe I am?

Thing 1: Jane offered to help out with the flowers for the wedding because she studied plants in college, works in the field, knows pretty much everything about plants ever, and said she had a lot of fun doing the flowers for her aunt's wedding.

I thought "great." We had a really fun afternoon in October looking at pictures, and her making a list of things I liked (most of which I didn't know the names of). I decided on a few flowers, turns out I have really weird taste in flowers, so they're not really ones you can pick up at the florist. My mom offered to plant said flowers, as long as the flowers can survive and bloom and such in my mom's shady yard in MN.

I ask Jane about that, and she says she'll find out. For her this should be a relatively simple task, for me it would require hours of googling as I have a black thumb and know nothing about plants, except how to kill them. Months go by, nothing. I ask occasionally, she says "Oh yeah, I'll do that." She doesn't. I start to remind her regularly. Finally it gets to be planting season in MN, and she still hasn't done it. She only does it when I say "I need this info by tomorrow, if not, fine, I can do it myself, but I need to know if I need to do that." Finally she gives me the info, and the only reason it's not too late is that MN decided to stay a frozen tundra longer than usual.

Thing 2: I told my bridesmaids in January that they could pick out their own dresses as long as it was in a certain spectrum of blue (not super strict about that though), that they not wear something slutty (not really a problem, but better safe than sorry), and that they send me pictures of their dresses so I can give it my seal of approval. Jane says right away that she has two dresses that might work, I say great, send me pictures.

She waits until May to even show me her dresses, and both of them are terrible and neither are at all appropriate for a wedding, especially not as a bridesmaid. This is exactly like what she's wearing [1] , only it's from Gap, not Old Navy. Never mind that she doesn't even look very good in it, but WTF. I decide to let that one go because I DID say "pick your own," and she's always worried about money and I didn't want to hurt her feelings or tell her she needs to spend money on a dress. But I am very hurt that she literally pulled a crappy dress from her t-shirt drawer to wear at my wedding, when she knows that my other ladies are getting dresses from Modcloth, Nordstrom and Little Borrowed Dress.

Thing 3: She offered to help my other BM, Kate, plan my bachelorette party. I made it clear that it was absolutely not required to have a party, but should they choose to throw one, I wanted to do zero planning because I'm planning a destination wedding and a reception for local friends and family. Of course she does nothing to help Kate, who is helpful beyond belief, despite the fact that she's in med school, and literally started year three yesterday.

She makes a few suggestions, but her suggestions seem to be more focused on making it easier/cheaper for her to attend, than for me to have a nice time. (Her suggestions: "Let's all have a sleepover on the floor of my apartment" -- she lives in Boston, three of us are in CT, two in NY. Also she lives with 4 other people and their house is disgusting; and "I'll make brunch instead of going out" -- she's a terrible cook and has never cooked for a group before (that I know of).)

Because of this I have ended up helping Kate plan large chunks of my bachelorette, which Kate feels bad about (but I said that I would feel super bad if she planned it on her own while in med school).

Thing 4: I was planning on driving to MN early, for the wedding, and asked Jane over a year ago if she would like to come with me since I went on a moving related road trip with her before and it was pretty fun.* The only caveat was that she needed to learn how to drive stick shift since that's what my car is. I also thought it would be nice to ask her since she's always concerned about money, and this way all she'd have to pay for is her share of lodging for the wedding. (We gave her and some other friends money to help with travel, and I believe the money we gave her fully covers her flight back.) She agreed. Fast forward to about two months ago -- she still has never learned stickshift. Keep in mind her boyfriend, who she lives with, has a stickshift car. I start getting nervous and start reminding her.

*Fun, but also I paid for half the trip and my plane ticket home and she never paid me back, which at the time I was willing to shrug off, but now...

Also, since Feb. she has gone through several jobs, and keeps saying she's not sure she'll be able to get time off, despite the fact that she knew when she agreed to drive with me she'd probably have a new job. I start reminding her weekly about learning stick and getting time off. Finally last week she says she has gotten the time off, which is great, but she still hasn't learned stick. My fiancé and mom say to give her a deadline and if she doesn't meet it, make other plans.

I call her yesterday, to say she has a week (we're literally leaving a week from today), and she starts making excuses about how busy she is. What she's busy with, I have no idea, she's definitely much less busy than any of my other bridesmaids. The conversation gets kind of awkward, because I have to bring up that I'm stressed out, and basically think she's going to flake out, which I didn't want to have to do. She says she will "get on it." Last night she calls back to let me know that she has a new job, which is great, but that she won't be able to take time off to drive with me, but still plans on coming.

At this point I fully expect her to flake out and just not come to the wedding, which would make me happier. All of these things are bad, but the reason the last one is so bad, is because her flaking out looks like it's going to cost me either my honeymoon, or at least $1000.

The problem, is that my FH and I need a car to drive back to CT, because we were going to take a road trip mini-honeymoon. Here are the options as I see them:

1. I drive out alone. It gives me a little more time, but it also means I have to close my business (sole owner) for longer. Also the thought of driving cross country alone makes me nervous for all the obvious reasons.

2. Fly out, Rent a car. This looks like it will cost us a minimum of $900, because we will be returning the car in a different state.

3. Fly out, buy a used car. My FH and I are looking to move, so at some point I WILL need a car, but we're also trying to buy land right now, so we kind of need that money for the land.

4. My FH drives out in our car. He is more pro this option, but if he wants to do it without taking more time off (he's already past his limit) he will have to drive for 24 hours straight without stopping if he wants to arrive more than 24 hours before the wedding. Also it burns a plane ticket. 

5. Forget the road trip, everyone flys. Since there are no plane tickets to Mexico or anything involved, I will be able to get most of the money back, but there goes the honeymoon.

What should I do? How do I even discuss this with Jane, who appears to be completely oblivious to all of this? I want to say something because if I continue to hold it in, it will just eat away with me, but I don't want to deal with a ton of drama either. I just really need a different perspective.

Sincerely,
Miss Scarlet, in the Library, with the Tastefully Arranged Centerpieces

*****

You knew she wouldn't be good at helping with stuff, AND NOW YOU ARE MAD AT HER FOR NOT HELPING WITH STUFF.

Also: Girlfriend is clearly broke. Like, reeeeeeeeeally broke. She's gone through several jobs since February, she has no doubt been sitting on her couch wallowing (wearing crappy Gap clothes she's had since high school), and how is her relationship with that boyfriend (who very likely doesn't want to let her drive his car)? Have you even asked?? Maybe you should open your discussion with an apology for being self-centered.

#3. Suck it up and rent a car. Canceling your honeymoon because you are furious with your bridesmaid is what we in the business call cutting off your nose to spite your face.


PISS (off) by Ellen Jong via Emmas Designblogg

122 comments:

  1. Sometimes I'm on the fence about someone who asks for advice on this site, but ESB is right on. Knew better, kept giving her chances, mad when she fell through, which she has clearly always done. I wonder why, exactly, they are best friends, or even friends? It doesn't sound like she's ever really liked "Jane" that much.

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  2. Am I the only one who asks for something (i.e. info about planting special flowers) about 3 times and then moves on because it's clearly never going to happen? If you have to begin a campaign of weekly nudges, it's not worth it.

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    1. more like 2 times. CLEARLY SHE DOESN'T WANT TO HELP. TAKE A HINT.

      i hate to quote Sex and the City (really, i hate it) but seriously, this chick is NOT THAT INTO YOU.

      oh, and canceling your honeymoon would be a HUGE mistake. it's the best part of all this wedding BS.

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    2. by the way, why wasn't this on MMOHIAC ?

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    3. @17 I knooooooooow. She was just so specifically asking ME for a bitchslap.

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    4. and lord knows we all love dealing them out !

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  3. Yeah, as much as I want to be sympathetic...you're expecting too much out of someone who wants to be able to help but obviously just cannot. And you're relying on her to do a lot of work for you when, come on, just get on with it all...it's YOUR wedding, you figure it out.

    This may be a good place to put in the reminder: what is this day about again? Oh yeah, being in fucking love and celebrating it. Get shit done and enjoy it.

    Kate

    www.thrillofthechaise.com

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  4. Things I've learned from people writing in to ESB:

    (1) People rarely want advice, but just want to vent about their drama. Which is cool, since I love other people's drama.

    (2) Your instincts are almost always right. Don't be angry when they prove true.

    I've also had some pretty broke friends, who used to give me the run-around about why they couldn't do things with me that might of cost them some money (like go out for dinner, etc...). I seriously did not get this until they flat out said, "I do not know how to pay my bills this month. You choose things to do that are too expensive for me." It's hard to admit that, which is probably why she's not being very committal.

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    1. oh man, your comment about the broke friend is so right on - I have felt like an ass sooooo many times because I was too broke to do stuff that my friends with way more discretionary income than me wanted to do - and it sucks, because you feel terrible. yeesh.

      also, word on both #1 and #2. ;)

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    2. I want so badly to be sympathetic to you, because this sucks, but it's pretty clear: She can't afford your shit right now. And she's probably embarrassed about it or feels bad about it or at the very least doesn't want to burden you with talk about her problems while you're planning your wedding.

      You need to have ZERO expectations for her right now, and let whatever happens not throw you off your game. If she shows up, awesome! She probably will have to pull some serious strings to get there (even though it sounds like you're being very generous with your wedding party in terms of helping everyone get there- props to you for that!) If she flakes out entirely: You saw it coming, no surprise there.

      We all have friends like this, or WERE or ARE this friend at some point. Lady should not have said yes to being your bridesmaid if she was not able to afford ANYTHING pertaining to the wedding, but it's likely she agreed to it before really thinking it through because she wanted to be there for you.

      Slacking off on the flower research, though...there's no excuse for that, really. It doesn't cost money to Google whether or not ranunculus grow in MN. If she had come through for you on that, the whole I'm-too-broke-for-your-wedding thing would be easier to swallow.

      But at the end of the day, lean on your other BMs to help you tie up the loose ends and have a great wedding and cut your BF a loooot of slack. Who knows, you may need the same grace from her some day. That's what BFFs are for.

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    3. good point about broke friends. GOOD POINT. (i've been a broke friend. SUCKS.)

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    4. ' "I do not know how to pay my bills this month. You choose things to do that are too expensive for me." It's hard to admit that, which is probably why she's not being very committal. '

      100% truth. even being grown ass women, it's embarrassing to have to say out loud "I'm fucking broke." Being a bridesmaid is expensive even when you have a decent amount of cash flow.

      This reminds me of EVERY 'a practical wedding' post EVER where the editors say that weddings remind us of how weddings make us see the tension between how we want people to be (reliable! helpful!) and how they actually are (flaky!)... people's undesirable personality/character traits don't magically change on the day of your wedding. your friend loves you, and she's trying, but on top of already being a flake, she's got her own shit going on. Let's cut her some slack.

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  5. ESB is spot on. Also, am I the only one that's super nervous "Jane" will find this post with all its super-specific details and feel like shit? Cause I'm squirming over here.

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    1. YES. I'm stressed FOR her!

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    2. Me too! Oh my goodness.

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    3. Agreed, I always think that with these posts. OP may as well have named her because if 'Jane' is reading this she's not going to be in any doubt about who it's about!

      The internet lasts FOREVER!

      This is worse to me than flaking on plant research/road trip duty.

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    4. Bets on her name actually being Jane?

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    5. A lot of people have no clue about the blog world. I don't think I actually know anyone who reads blogs the way I do, so I don't think it's anything to worry about.
      This friend can't even research something she claims to have studied; you really think she is going to google "bad bridesmaid plants MN stick shift"?

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    6. You think that a woman who gives zero shits about her friends wedding is actually sitting around reading wedding blogs? Brides are self-obsessed (I know, I am one) and you need to get over the fact that nobody else has their life revolving about your special day. People suck, but people have more troubles in their lives than a blue dress GET OVER IT.

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  6. Okay, now I'm going to be a broken record, but effing talk to her! What the hell is with all these women who sit on their hurt feelings "to keep the peace/let it go" but are actually just nursing their resentments? If you're grown up enough to get married, you're grown up enough to have a goddamn conversation with your "best friend." Are you really so afraid to talk to her that you'd rather just outright end the friendship??

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    1. I read it as she wasn't asking ESB what to do about her friend, she was asking what the heck to do about her travel plans/honeymoon.

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    2. If this was just about the travel plans, we didn't need Thing 1-3, or much backstory regarding Thing 4.

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    3. Ms K, your record isn't broken so long as people keep writing in with resentments rather than speaking to the person in question. I totally agree - talk to her.

      But the talking thing goes both ways. If you don't want to do something (or can't because: money / something else. researching flowers doesn't sound like it would cost money. Although learning to drive manual certainly sounds like it would.) then it would be far better to just *say* that at the outset rather than flaky flake flaking um sure and then failing to follow through. This read to me more like the built up hurt from a friend who consistently flakes (combined with a questionable lack of sympathy for said friend's financial restraints) rather than a query about convoluted travel arrangements. It's like that thing where someone is constantly late: sure, it wasn't their intention to upset you, but over time it reads as unthinking disregard. (And I was a flake and lost a friend over it. It is hurtful to the flakee. Now I just say no to a lot of stuff outright and yes to those things I want to / actually can do.)

      I mean, the fact is, it is Scarlet writing in not flake-friend so assuming asking the friend to step up and change is out of the question, then yeah. Talk to her. And then take her or leave her - it's doing neither of you any good to expect more from her than she is willing or able to give. It is what it is.

      But her relationship with her boyfriend, esb? utter speculation. Not everybody with shitty gap clothes and an uncertain career / crap finances is a joyless sad sack who nobody can love. Maybe stickshift boyfriend would be perfectly happy for her to borrow his car.

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    4. I like The Gap! And I especially like Gap Outlet.

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  7. Agree with esb.

    It also seems to me like Miss Scarlet is a bit in denial about her "wants".

    She has known this friend flakes out of helping, yet still expect her to magically be "cured" for her wedding (in my experience, friends like that don't tend to change, take them as they are or leave them :P )

    She wants those flowers SO much that shed rather worry and nag a friend about them for months then possibly have to suck it up and get something else (or you know take a few minutes to Google it).

    And also total free choice of dress, except not. They have to be specific kind of color, not slutty (which can be really arbitrary), and per-aproved by her.


    And even though she doesn't really "want" a bachelorette, she'd rather go trough the stress of co-planning yet another event then telling poor med student Kate that its really okay to cancel it, like really. Especially if none of the other bridesmaids want to pitch in either (she sure don't mention them).

    I don't think she's has easy going has she thinks she is... Just sayin'.

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    1. Yes yes yes. And when people describe themselves as easy going I feel like it's kind of a red flag. See also men who have to really push the point that they're actually just really nice guys, really.

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    2. I was just typing out the same thing. In my experience, 100% of the time, brides who claim to be totally easy going and don't set strict parameters are the most difficult ones.

      Didn't we agree somewhere that a bridesmaid's only *responsibility* is to show up the day of the wedding and actively participate in supporting her bride. If you have expectations (which is totally fine!) above and beyond that, you HAVE TO MAKE THEM CLEAR. You can't be all easy, breezy, beautiful carefree bride and then get upset when your maids follow suit with this easygoing attitude.

      Can this be the final lesson to everyone -- If you say, "pick your own dress, just make sure it's this color-ish!" then you can't/shouldn't subsequently tell your maids they made the wrong decision.

      Btw, I've always been an active bridesmaid - diy projects, vendor visits, dress fittings, planning showers and bachelorette and the whole deal. It's great to have that if you DISCUSS IT AHEAD OF TIME and your maids have the time/energy/ability to help you. If you don't set the expectation, you can't, ya know, expect it.

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  8. You have made fairly intricate and precise plans that rely on someone who isn't in a place to participate in an intricate and precise way.

    Her behavior is not good. But no point beating a dead horse.

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  9. Asking your bridesmaid to learn to drive stick is too much. And being retroactively angry about having to pay for half of a road trip that you'd previously had fond memories of is really stupid. (Also, how is paying for half of a road trip a big deal?) I know this wasn't what the question was about, but these two points really stuck with me.

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    1. Seriously. That's like being angry at a bridesmaid who didn't learn how to do professional-level sewing so she could make her own dress because bride thinks OMG IT WILL BE SO CUTE AND FUN THAT WAY. Sounds like your pal had more important things going on in her life, like desperately looking for a job.

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    2. Also - if they are experiencing financial difficulties as a couple, there might be issues about driving around in his car to learn to drive stick. Clutches cost money to replace. So does gas.

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  10. Wow. Seriously painful. There are so many issues to be addressed.
    1. You knew this person was unreliable and yet you asked her to help you do some randomness like advise a bunch of non-gardeners in planting obscure but all important wedding flowers in a back yard? Impractical and dicey to begin, in the most likely chance the flowers don't turn out.
    2. Then you want her to learn to drive a stick shift? What? I'm pulling a meme line on this one, 'aint nobody got time for that!' If you want her to road trip with you, have her co-pilot and you can do the driving. At least there will be someone to talk to.
    3. You claim to have read this blog for months, shouldn't you know that letting bride's maids choose their own dress is a terrible idea? I've got like two friends with great style and then mostly everyone else is here and there (although I love them dearly, I'm not having my BM wear a polyester sarong to my wedding) That's just called wisdom...
    4. the excessive options on how to arrive at your wedding are irrelevant. This post is not about getting to your destination, it's about your friendship with Jane. Do you even know what is actually going on in her life? Have you asked about her new job? Maybe she desperately needs this job. I was unemployed for a full fucking year after graduating college. A wedding two miles from me was a financial burden, and that shit is embarrassing and demoralizing.
    5. Watch Bridesmaids. Relieve your friend of any wedding responsibilities, be understanding and let her have space to figure it out.

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    1. I love this reply. Took the words out of my mouth.

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    2. Ha, it's true, this is like the plot of Bridesmaids if Maya Rudolph was really really mean and fond of esoteric floral arrangements.

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  11. What is it with weddings making the bride feel like all of a sudden her friends' lives need to stop to revolve around what she needs from them? This is a significant life event, but it is YOUR life event, not your friend's. Maybe, as others have suggested, she's got her own stresses going on. Maybe she's just a flake. It doesn't matter; the fact is she's doing her usual thing. You put some pie-in-the-sky, you-knew-it-wouldn't-happen requests on her and then are upset with her and judging her and basically dumping a ton of negative emotions on her for not fulfilling them. This post made me curious whether she might not just be the convenient scapegoat for all your wedding stress? Is it really her fault you might have to shell out an extra $1,000 and alter your honeymoon plans? Does she really have that much power?

    Oh, also, you don't get to nag adults. "Weekly reminders" = nagging. Not fair and not cool. I would not be very motivated to help out a friend who nagged me or to spend a significant amount of time in a car with her.

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    1. Yesssss. Nagging makes me want to kill a bitch.

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    2. "I would not be very motivated to help out a friend who nagged me or to spend a significant amount of time in a car with her."

      Hahahaha! Yes.

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  12. I want an ESB drinking game where we take a shot every time someone writes that they haven't asked their bridesmaids/family to do anything at all but then rant about how their bridesmaids/family haven't done anything. But we'd all get alcohol poisoning pretty quick...

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    1. "I have very specifically never asked her to do anything, so I don't think I'm really expecting too much."

      Other than asking her to take an entire WEEK off of work to drive across the country, and also spend HOURS (and her boyfriend as well) learning to drive stick! Ha! These are totally unreasonable expectations.

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  13. Also is there seriously not a single other person who could join you for some or part of your drive? That seems unlikely. If your mom is willing to take on the responsibility of growing the must-have flowers in a shade garden in Minnesota, I bet she would fly out and give you a hand.

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  14. any chance you can make the captcha easier? I am so bad at it.

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    1. they make me feel broken.

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    2. but the spam is SOOOOOO BAD :/

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    3. literally the hardest captcha ever

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  15. This is just a reading comprehension question, but did the writer refer to her wedding in Minnesota as a "destination wedding"? I mean I love that state dearly but...

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    1. I read it that way, too. Having your wedding in your home state is not a "destination wedding." Funny, though.

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    2. des·ti·na·tion
      Noun
      The place to which someone or something is going or being sent.

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    3. Wow, who'd've thought I could call my NJ wedding, planned from New England, a ~*~destination wedding~*~

      Now I have just so very many regrets.

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    4. Right, Anonymous, but applying context helps.

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  16. Another warning to brides with flaky, but super fun friends: don't make them bridesmaids and expect them to change into super-planners with deep pockets for every bridal expense. It just wont happen. Invite them to the wedding, but don't expect them to learn to drive stick shift for you. It ain't gonna happen.

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  17. your friend is a flake, and you knew that all along. instead of hoping she doesnt come to your wedding at all, cut her some slack and hope she keeps this job! she very very clearly needs it.
    also, can you just lend her a dress that you like more than the gap cover-up? or buy a dress for $100 that you "saw on sale and loved for her so you just got it because you thought shed look so great in it"
    also, drive out alone - do not make FH drive 24H straight. you can hit chicago in 14 hours no problem (did it from CT before), and not too sure how much further MN is from there, but thats just two solid days of driving. get a blue tooth, a phone charger and a book on tape.

    your friend cant help who she is, and you cant make her change. i have a flakey friend that i always used to expect more from (and who nearly ruined my bachelorette party) but then i decided to stop worrying about her so much. if its important to her, she will do whatever she can, if it really isnt, then shes not as great a friend as you thought she was. take the good for the good and dont expect anything more.
    hope for the best, plan for the worst.

    enjoy your wedding and your hm and mexico!

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    1. This. Particularly about the driving. In the past 4 months my parents have driven from Boston to western Minnesota twice, each time in two days. Yes, there was two of them, but my mom didn't drive at all either time (because she can't drive stick). Also, I drove by myself from Virginia to western Minnesota in two days twice a year the four years I was in college, which was before every fancy phone or car came with GPS. As long as you have a fully charged cell phone (bring a charger with you so it remains that way) and a map you should be good to go. Why is this a big deal?

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  18. 1. Never rely on a friend to be a major vendor for free with no contract, ESPECIALLY if you know from the get-go that's she is unreliable.

    2. You can't say "wear whatever you want" if you don't truly, truly mean "wear whatever you want." I really don't understand this trend of brides wanting to "be nice" by giving bridesmaids free reign, but then being upset when they don't like what the bridesmaids chose. Just pick a dress (or a few dresses) you like, & it will save everyone a lot of trouble.

    3. Don't plan your own party—let Kate know that you really meant it when you said you need one. If no one is up for a sleepover, and Kate can't wrangle anyone but the bride to help her plan it, then shut it down. And stay out of it. Unless you didn't mean it when you said you don't need one — in which case, plan it yourself or help Kate, and just accept that you have some friends that are broke/not great at planning events.

    4. The road trip set up is confusing to me, since I guess I don't understand why the bride and the groom can't drive out together in their own car? But if it really means cancelling the "mini-moon" ... then maybe save up to do the trip on your first anniversary & just stay at a nearby, inexpensive hotel for a night? Or go out to a nice restaurant to celebrate post-wedding?

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    1. #3 - exactly! that was the point that really stuck with me. you told her she didn't need to do anything and you didn't expect anything and yet you got pissed that she isn't helping kate with the bachelorette party - which you said you didn't care about at all - clearly you did have expectations and you do care about the party, and if that is the case than yes, you do have to help with it.

      and where are the other bridesmaids in all this?

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    2. Also, what's so bad about helping to plan your own bachelorette party - life is not a rom-com.

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    3. There's nothing wrong with it, if you want to help plan it. But OP is seemingly annoyed by having to do it. AND apparently doesn't even want one.

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  19. YES!!! I would have had a long talk with her a few months ago. At least if she backed away then, you could have figured out other plans then.

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  20. Almost all of things 1-4 could be solved by you being more direct and specific.

    "I need the information on planting the flowers by this date. Will you complete it by then?"

    "I would like you to choose your own blue dress from this list of retailers." or "I would like you to choose your own dress made from these materials." or "Do not choose a blue dress made out of cheap tshirt material."

    Be Direct. Be Specific.

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  21. This is just all insane.

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  22. Run Jane RUN! Do not get in the car for 20 odd hours with a women who has been waiting to berate you for the better half of a year.

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  23. I wish my wedding hadn't already passed so that way I could make all my bridesmaids learn stick and do research!

    I don't know about all you cranksters saying she shouldn't expect a flaky friend to not be flaky, but when it's time for MY BIG DAY, every one should improve their normally base selves to be GOLDEN STARS at my wedding. Just saying.

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  24. Growing your own flowers for the wedding sounds like a high risk maneuver to me. Who will cut them, preserve them, arrange them, transport, etc. That will make the day of the wedding hell for someone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOU! i'm surprised no one's really brought any of that up. not to mention, you would have to plant a SHIT LOAD of bushels to get even a conservative amount of flowers for a wedding.

      also, miss scarlet, check this out. took me all of two seconds. AMAZING how modern technology works, isn't it?

      Delete
    2. Yes Celia! Also, you know who would probably be better to consult about growing flowers in MN? The nursery/garden store in MN you were getting the seeds/planting materials from. It's free, quick, and smart to ask those people for help- it's why they are there! And they are already at their job, not desperately trying to find one.

      Delete
    3. This was my biggest concern here (former florist). DO NOT try to grow your own flowers for a celebration you have a fixed image of in your head...even a decent gardener has very little control over almighty Mother Nature. Bad idea.

      AND, just because you have a 'black thumb' you are also unable to research/ask questions yourself???? WTF? Why?

      Delete
  25. I find it hilarious that she expects her FLAKY FRIEND to learn stick shift in time to DRIVE ACROSS COUNTRY to her wedding. What? Also, there's really nothing wrong with the dress she picked; it's inexpensive and simple, sure, but she didn't specify a quality level. Citing Modcloth as a more respectable place to buy a dress is hilarious, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was my second favorite part.

      Delete
  26. I just had a somewhat similar situation with a friend and my bachelorette (although she's not a bridesmaid) who caused one issue after another. It's mainly because she's broke but doesn't want to be so tries to act like she's not, and because she's a very immature 30 year old. As it started to frustrate me, I cut her from my plans (ie- carpooling to Palm Springs) and when she spent the night at a gay bar flirting with uninterested men instead of coming along with the girls, it didn't bother me because I had already let it go. The point is- I knew, as the OP did, that this person was unreliable and immature, but the reason I am friends with her is because she has good intentions and I do love her. I just can't count on her much of the time. But that's OK; her world is still about trying to get it together, not my wedding.

    Your wedding is just that- YOURS. Do the research if you want research. Buy her a better dress if she's broke and YOU want her to be a bridesmaid. How about the first time she said she wasn't sure she could get the time off and hadn't bothered learning stick, you moved on and made your own plans for YOUR wedding? For these reasons and so many more, I am forgoing a bridal party. My friends are all guests and while I would love them to be there, it's their choice and not obligation. The ones who have the time and want to have helped me, but those who can't or aren't interested haven't and that's just fine!

    Also- this whole "I let them pick their own dress and now I'm mad about it" theme is really killing me. My favorite weddings I have been in were where I got an email telling me what dress I'll never wear again to buy. Done.

    If you're being so easy-going and then getting pissed when people don't live up to your expectations... you're not easy-going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not having a wedding party (tomorrow!) or the same reason. The people who are responsible and enjoy helping and being supportive have identified themselves and are doing exactly those things. No pressure to include flaky people in important logistical shit just because we'e friends.

      Delete
    2. Have a great day tomorrow! Congrats.

      Delete
  27. i cant even understand... what? agreed with the poster who said it's all just insane. no, OP, you do not have any right to be angry. You did't ask her to do anything... except everything you asked her to do. crazy pants

    www.sartorialme.blogspot.com

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  28. This is hilarious. I'm pretty sure there are bigger things to "worry" about than a girlfriend learning how to drive stick. She isn't your maid of honor, maybe stop putting things on her you know she can't handle? Anyway, stop being such a whiny B and suck it up.

    Oh, and maybe try to important on more important things than growing flowers, learning stick, and forking up an extra 1k. That's what happens when you get married and want swanky thannnngs.

    ReplyDelete
  29. What the fucking fuck? This bride is crazy. In the UK interfering mothers do all this shit. If you have the time to pester your bridesmaid that much and give her deadlines, you surely have time to do some of this crap yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I can't even stop with my replies. Let's just consider the real simple parts and use some common sense. As a stick shift driver, I wouldn't allow someone who has "known" how to drive a stick for a week to drive my car. Because *conceptually understanding* how to drive a stick and *actually* driving one are different, so they're pretty much just using your car to learn. Aside from the fact that it's totally unreasonable to expect a person to learn to drive a stick for your wedding, all hope should have been given up months ago, not at the desperate one week part. Furthermore, even if you have mutually agreed that it's sensible to require her to learn (spoiler: it's not) you should have taken her to a parking lot in your car, not forced this on her boyfriend. Is your wedding now his responsibility as well?

    As for a cross country drive - MN is in the middle of the country, so driving cross country to get there is fundamentally impossible. It's like 28 hours from either end of the country which is two 14-hour days, aka totally reasonable and actually not even particularly difficult. If you're adult enough to get MARRIED, I think you can be adult enough to drive a car to a destination by yourself.

    I'm just rage posting at this point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The driving cross country part is spot on and also got my feminist blood boiling a little. If your future husband can drive cross country alone what makes you so much of a delicate flower that you need someone to go with you? And yes, I have driven cross country from MN to CA alone recently. I'm 22. I lived.
      And as someone said earlier, as much as I love MN since when is it a 'destination'? I had a cousin living in the south west have an MN wedding and it was only a destination for her and her husband.

      Delete
    2. I learned to drive a manual car a week before driving across the country in said car (long story) and that drive was fucking scary. Not a good idea.

      Delete
    3. Very brave, Sonny! No way I would have done it. I bought a car in college that was a manual, having no idea how to drive it, then ended up stalling on hills for the next month. Highway entrance and exit ramps are probably terrifying to a new manual driver.

      Delete
  31. Ha. Like @Stef, I'm back with another rage reply, but in the opposite direction to... about everyone here, I think? If the issue were simply financial then that would be one thing, but I can't get past how it doesn't cost anything to google flowers (and of course OP could have done the research herself, but it is wildly less efficient for someone who knows nothing to do it than someone trained in any particular field). It doesn't cost anything *and she said she would do it*.

    So many comments here seem to be supporting Jane's inalienable right to be the flake she is. That's just HER! Don't ask her to be anything different! You're so uptight for expecting Jane not to say yes to things and then not do them!

    And whilst, yeah, of course Jane probably is who she is for whatever reasons that may or may not change ever, that doesn't mean this flakiness is compatible with being someone who doesn't piss off their 'friends'. Flakiness isn't a cute quirk or inbuilt personality trait (and I thought we were over that Zooey manic pixie dreamgirl crap?") it's a behaviour, a repeated, self-absorbed, crappy behaviour - you know what it's called when you tell someone that you will do something with little or no real expectation (or realistic intention) of following through? It's called lying. To your friend, repeatedly.

    So, from a pragmatic point of view, OP is being an idiot for getting herself het up about the entirely predictable crappy behaviour, but Jane? I don't think Jane and her special snowflakeness should get a pass. If you don't want to (or can't) do something then fucking SAY SO. Are some of the requests ridiculous (learn to drive for me!): well yes, but then say NO! WTF.

    Hey, we are all sure we are the centre of the universe, but doesn't the social contract of friendship encourage us to at least try to be honest about it?

    Obviously the real victim of this piece is OP's mother. Actually, if there should be a general wedding rule, I think it should be 'don't ask your parents to grow your flowers unless they own a nursery'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many good replies to choose from, but this is my favorite. Yes, OP asked some ridiculous things, but Jane should have said no and maybe, you know, called the bride out on the ridiculousness instead of letting her live in la la land where asking someone to learn to drive a stick is a reasonable request (all the while stewing about it and somehow having no idea that it was insane). And while I don't understand why the bride would think Jane would change just in time for her big day,I also don't understand why she would want to continue being friends (let alone best friends, because how?) with this person. Truly, is she worth the headache? Maybe the part where Jane was amazing in every other conceivable way was left out of the letter for the sake of brevity.

      Delete
    2. RIGHT. Jane said she would do these things, she's not absolved from all responsibility just because she's a flake.

      Delete
    3. I posted higher up, and just to be clear, I don't think flakiness is okay or cute or quirky. However, if someone has been like that most of your friendship and you never said anything about it, always rolled with it, it's kind of ridiculous to expect that person to suddenly change.

      If OP is the way she sounds, then she probably never spoke up about the flakiness very much.

      Also OP sounds like she has a lot of judgement about Janes "busy-ness" level, her job situation, her life etc. Just 'cause the girl ain't in med school doesn't mean she isn't busy has hell juggling job interviews, actual jobs, roommates, boyfriend, family, friends, etc on rock bottom budget on top of that.

      I do agree with you that it shouldn't be indulged. But a week before your wedding might be a bit late. Plus, they both need a good long, honest, talk.

      Delete
    4. I can't stand flakiness-it's the total opposite of my personality and completely infuriating to me--Jane does not get a pass. However, the OP CHOSE to involve Jane in important wedding plans knowing she's always been a flake but still expecting her to be different. It's akin to me asking my friend who can't successfully bake a cake out of a box to make a 14 tier wedding cake for me, then being pissed when it doesn't turn out at the last minute. In this case, we'd both be at fault--I should have listened to my gut and my friend should have said no. However, since I am ultimately the one who's stuck without a cake, it was my problem to prevent and now is mine to fix.

      Also, I kind of feel favors are different from obligations, and I'm flipping uncomfortable with the notion friends are obligated to do big things for friends. If you need a guarantee, it usually comes with a contract, which also usually comes with a check.

      Delete
    5. I get that Jane shouldn't agree to things she can't take on, but it sounds like both OP and Jane are too passive for their own good. Jane doesn't want to make waves by saying she doesn't actually want to research flowers or learn stick. OP doesn't want to make waves by saying she hates Jane's dress and secretly clearly really wants a bachelorette. Yet another bizarre write in by someone talking about their "best friend" who they clearly haven't had an actual conversation with in who knows how long...

      Delete
  32. HOLY SHIT.



    i don't know whether to laugh or cry with this one.
    you asked her to learn to drive stick shift? YOU REALLY DID THAT?



    ReplyDelete
  33. 1. OP shouldn't expect a person to suddenly change and be an invested bridesmaid to the degree that OP desires. You can't say you're easy-breezy and then put a whole bunch of "I really don't mind but DO THIS AND EXACTLY THIS" on people. Either be specific or be truely easy breezy - can't have it both ways.

    2. I am so confused about the car driving thing. Got compeltely lost on this point, I can't even comment on this.

    3. BUT I do agree with Unfounddoor - why is Jane getting a free pass from everyone? Financially, absolutely, OP needs to realise that Jane can't handle the jandal right now. But a bit of googling and flicking a couple of emails back and forth with Kate about a bachelorette? Wouldn't have taken long and would make the financial stuff less of a "thing" at this point.

    Did OP know Jane was flaky? Yup.
    Should Jane have done what she said she would (except learn to drive manual - still don't get what that was about). Yup.
    Should OP have cut her losses and made alternative arrangements on every 'issue' much earlier? yup.

    There are two parties that need to assume some sort of responsibility for this. Jane doesn't owe OP 'anything', but as a friend - even if there is stuff going on in her life - she could have followed through more than she has. Even if OP's wedding is noone's problem but her own. And her fiance's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh, and OP needs to check in with Jane more - clearly there is some stuff going on in her life and even if she is stressing OP out, she probably needs a friend right now.

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    2. "Handle the jandal" is my new favorite thing.

      Delete
  34. Alright, I already read this exact post over on Reddit. Everyone there also told you to lock and load your big girl panties, so strap in for that long-ass ride to MN.

    I don't know what response you were expecting, but I'm guessing it's not what you're now getting. Don't give flaky people big tasks (yes, learning to drive stick so she could drive with you for 24 hours is a big task — even for someone as organized and anal as I am).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OP double-posted? This whole thing is so goddamned WEIRD.

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    2. WEIRD. I'm beginning to think Jane should be backing away from the roadtrip car real slow, like Homer Simpson into the bushes.

      Delete
    3. hahaha yall crack me up. And yes, OP is super weird!!

      Delete
  35. Can we all stop with the bridesmaids as slaves thing? I know that there are other complaints here, but considering the OP opened with a comment about how she didn't ask her to be a MOH because she isn't good about helping with stuff that's really all I can hear now.

    When I got engaged I asked my sister, who was moving to different hemisphere, to be my MOH for no other reason than that she was the person that I wanted standing up with me. She came back broke and flaky as fuck. It was all fine because I didn't ask her to be in my bridal party for SELFISH FUCKING REASONS.

    And yeah, I needed help with stuff. I got that help from friends who loved me who offered their assistance because they WANTED TO. Not out of some stupid archaic obligation which would ultimately build a pile of resentment on top of our friendships.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa, yes.

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    2. Yes this is the sane way to do it.

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  36. So when do we get to hear from OP?

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  37. I would like to address the flowers issue, cause for some reason that's the one that really bothered me, and most of the posters so far have skipped over that one.

    I'm a scientist. I specialize in the biochemistry of photosynthesis. I have no idea what flowers grow in Minnesota or when to plant them. I also have no clue how to find out beyond what any other normal person would do: Google it. I get it. Jane's a flake. But you knew that already. It sounds like she's actually been very helpful, though. Going through pictures with you identifying the flowers that you liked. To me that's the hardest part. After you know the names, look the rest up yourself. So what if it takes a few hours. It's YOUR wedding. If you want to do it yourself. Then do it...yourself.

    On a side note: Growing your own flowers for your wedding (or having your mom do it) is a terrible idea. There are just too many things that can go wrong in a garden. So pick some non-obscure flowers and stop pretending to be laid back. (It's ok not to be laid back, but it's probably easier for everyone if you just own up to it.)

    ReplyDelete
  38. This is next level crazy. The thing is I have good friends who I know would flake. I would offer them some tasks if they wanted to help but I would have a solid plan B that is actually my plan A because it is so unlikely that a flakey friend would actually come through. I would spend about 30 seconds being all WTF and then move on and arrange my own damn wedding.

    I'm not saying its ok Jane is a flake. Im just saying it doesn't seem she cares to spend more than 1 day this year celebrating your wedding. And you can't nag or manipulate her into caring more.

    Your time trying to make this different is a sunk cost. Remove Jane from your equation. Now drive on your own or figure something else out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This. A friend I adore and cherish is in my wedding party because I know she will be a special and important person in my life for years to come. That said, she's a flake, perpetually broke, and painfully slow at responding to texts/e-mails/calls. Nothing in my wedding depends on her. Nothing. She will come to what pre-wedding events she can, will show up to the wedding on time looking awesome and ready to dance and make small talk with my family, and she has and will be unbelievably happy for me throughout. That's enough. And that's about all you can expect from anyone at your wedding. If you want more, tell them upfront. I get that most people should assume that being a bridesmaid means having some responsibilities, but you muddy the water when you tell people you're laid back and don't expect anything when you do. It's OK that you do, but you need to own it for everyone's sake.

      Delete
  39. if you want to go on at adventure you can taka a dog with you it will help you in many ways.camping food for dogs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Turns out that captcha wasn't that hard...

      Delete
    2. I guess the captcha isn't quite hard enough. Sage advice, mikle abraham.

      Delete
    3. Or maybe mikle abraham is a real person trying to give OP serious advice. Travel with Charlie if Jane won't come! No? I totally didn't realize this was spam before I read your comments...
      (Also realized while posting this: That captcha really is hard!)

      Delete
    4. Personally, I think mikle abrahan has hit the nail on the head. Getting a dog to accompany you on your cross-country drive is only slightly weirder than making your mum grow your wedding flowers or requiring your bridesmaid to learn to drive a manual car. I guarantee your dog will listen to your woes more sympathetically than pretty much anyone else.

      Delete
  40. beating a dead horse, but yeah...you really gave a flakey person responsibilities for a wedding? BAD IDEA.

    "I have very specifically never asked her to do anything, so I don't think I'm really expecting too much, but maybe I am?" --- uhhh, you asked her to learn to drive stick! you asked her to do your wedding flowers! so yes, OP, yes, you are asking a lot, especially for a flake.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Add this whole ordeal to the list of why having bridesmaids is way more trouble than its worth.

    ReplyDelete
  42. whoa whoa whoa OP responded on Reddit.

    " Thank you, all of this is really, really helpful and I really appreciate your thoughtful response. And yes, that is how I tend to approach things :P
    The part that bothers me most about the dress thing isn't that it's ugly or inappropriate, but that I feel like this is the one thing I really required of her, and I feel like it's just crazy that she would think that was a good option. I thought about mentioning to her that she's going to be underdressed and might feel uncomfortable, but then, I think she's oblivious enough that she really wouldn't feel uncomfortable, so I decided to let it go as best I could. I thought about offering to pitch in on a new dress by my FH was dead-set against it, which is understandable since we've already put forth a few hundred dollars to help her out.
    As for the work thing, yeah, she has been changing jobs a lot, but it's only because she keeps getting better job offers from new places in her chosen field, hah. It's hard to feel too sorry for her about that, and while I don't have access to her bank statements or anything I think a lot of her money concerns are internally manufactured. She's gainfully employed, her rent is cheap and she doesn't have student loans.
    Thanks again, and yeah, I think my goal is to just try and keep things pleasant between us (on the surface at least), since she has no idea I'm bothered. (She was actually super surprised when I mentioned that her putting off learning stick was stressing me out since we have to leave in a month).

    "I think the thing I'm most worried about is driving 24 hours in a short amount of time. I'm worried about falling asleep at the wheel or having to stop at a sketchy roadside motel.
    Re: the dress. I thought about it really hard, I did. But I really didn't want to have to listen to her complain about then HAVING to go out and buy one because she's SO broke. I was worried if I said she needed a new one I would end up paying for it because she would make me feel guilty. But yeah, I probably should have said something.

    "I think you're misunderstand the situation. I never specifically asked her to anything. I have also fronted several hundred dollars to begin with to help her out, and had I thought she was flaky you're right, I wouldn't have asked her to do anything. I didn't think she had much interest in weddings, which was why I didn't ask her to be my MoH.
    She also makes much more money than I do, and I know for a fact that she is not the most cash strapped of the bridal party.
    Everything she has offered, I double checked with before relying on her. I live several hours from her, she said learning stick would be no problem, and sleeps in the same bed as someone who can teach her.


    you guys.. go on Reddit. i searched 'drive stick MN' and found the post in like 2 seconds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oddly, the more I hear, the less I care.

      Delete
    2. the inane comments over there make me love you guys SO MUCH

      Delete
  43. lol i wonder why the OP doesn't want to respond over here

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    Replies
    1. Cus we some bad bitches.

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  44. Re: Dresses

    Really, the just "pick your own dress" is not the easy-going route, nor the kind route. It's the I-can't-make-up-my-mind, don't-want-to-"seem"-controlling, passive-aggressive route. The only way it works is if you honestly are okay with your bridesmaids showing up in whatever they want to wear.

    If you want a certain look, the easiest, kindest option is to offer a selection of a few dresses at a couple different price points and let your bridesmaids choose from those.

    Concerning Jane, if you really are so concerned about her dress, you can offer to buy her one. A quick search on ASOS shows 417 blue dresses in a variety of styles for less than $100 dollars. Pick one you like and bestow it on your friend as a gift.

    ReplyDelete
  45. When she offered to help you with flowers, she ended up with the "relatively simple task" of having to figure out how to grow unusual, exotic flowers in a shady backyard in Minnesota.

    I wouldn't offer to help you with anything after that either.

    (I mean SERIOUSLY. Even if you know nothing about flowers, did you ever stop to think about why you can't just buy them at any old florist?)

    ReplyDelete
  46. The OP just emailed me an update:

    Hi ESB,

    Thanks for you candor in addressing my issues. However, since I like to think of myself as a generally nice and understanding person, and because I think you give good advice, and I respect your opinions enough to ask for them, I thought I would write back to you. Given your response I feel like there was maybe a lot of context missing, or maybe you'll still think I'm a total bridezilla after this, and that's fine too.

    I also wrote to you in between the 'well, I guess I don't have to worry about her flaking out anymore stage' and the 'ohholyshitwhatamIgoingtodophase', which is probably not the best time* to ask a stranger on the internet and her army of hipsters for advice.

    *Actually the best time for this is probably never.



    So anyway, to clarify:

    1. I previously never thought Jane was a flaky person, I know in my email it definitely sounds like I had prior experience with this side of her--that's just bad writing on my part. Definitely if I thought she was flaky I wouldn't have relied on her for these things. We have been very close for a long time and I very much value our relationship.

    2. I only say that Jane is "concerned about money" because she is a very frugal person. She makes a comfortable living. The reason she keeps going through jobs is that she keeps applying for better jobs and she keeps getting them.

    3. Out of concern for her frugality I offered her several hundred dollars to help with travel expenses (which she accepted). Having her drive out with me was another way to help her keep her cost of attending the wedding to almost nothing. Additionally, she has never overtly told me money was a concern--only hinted.

    4. I'm really sure where you're getting the thing about her boyfriend. He's great (I was good friends with him before I was friends with her), and their relationship is lovely and quite stable. He's also offered more than once (in my presence) to teach her how to drive stick.

    5. I'm only upset about her not helping with stuff because these are all things she offered to do WITHOUT ANY PROMPTING FROM ME. She offered to help with the flowers, and she offered to help Kate with the bachelorette. I would really have been fine without a bachelorette but she and Kate insisted that they wanted me to have one. Technically, yes, I did ask her to learn to drive stick, but she said that it wouldn't be a problem, and it was in return for a free ride to the wedding and quality BFF time.

    Anyway, thank you for your input the first time around and if no one else ever sees this, that's okay, but I did want to clarify myself to you.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. OP's follow-up just makes me think that Jane does not equally value the friendship.

      Jane is not frugal, she is cheap. And she's putting that before her relationship with OP. Taking money from you to defray costs associated with attending your wedding WHEN SHE MAKES MORE THAN YOU is just wtf.

      I think OP's feelings of frustration are legit. But I suspect they're less to do with wedding drama and more to do with the fact that Jane isn't really a friend anymore. To echo an earlier comment, she's just not that into you.

      Delete
    3. Also, download a bunch of podcasts on a topic you're interested in, pack snacks, and take breaks when you need them. You will be ok driving on your own.

      Delete