Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Q & A: Not Hurting Mom's Feelings

Reader Question: I have a question for you. My mother bought my wedding dress and two other wedding dresses at a salvage store (total price for 3 =$50). She thought it would be a great idea to use the other wedding dresses for my two bridesmaids. Now that we've had them for a while, we've discovered that they can't be dyed. So she decided on a sash and thinks that should be enough of a difference. Another friend wants to paint the dresses, but my mom worries that it might not come out well. In the meantime my bridesmaids hate the dresses, don't want to wear white to take away from me (or being mistaken for the bride!), and are conspiring to wear something else. All in all, my mom put a lot of time and effort into getting these dresses, but it is an odd solution for bridesmaid dresses. I don't really know how to smooth the ruffled feathers of my mother or my bridesmaids if I decide one way or the other!

My loyalty lies with your closet friends in this case. Their concerns are very rational and legitimate, and I think it's important to ensure that they feel comfortable in whatever it is you require them to wear.

I understand that you're concerned about hurting your mom's feelings, but the last thing you need during the wedding planning process is this kind of stress. I would kindly sit your mom down and say, "Mom, thank you so much for being involved in this process with me. It means so much to have your support and to factor your opinions into my decisions. With the dresses, I've decided that my bridesmaids should wear something else. They are worried about wearing white, and they would be more comfortable in something else that is more their style. I want to find something that all of us can agree on. I'm sorry you spent so much time looking for those dresses. Let me know if you want help reselling them on craigslist, ebay, or Etsy or if you want to save them for future occasions."

Period.

In situations like this, it's important to follow your heart (in a way that respects other people's feelings, of course). Your mom's feathers may be temporarily "ruffled" but none of it will matter when she sees you standing next to your beloved, professing your love and commitment!

Best of luck to you...

(and please, 2000dollar kindred spirits, chime in with your opinions!)


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9 comments:

megan said...

i agree completely with your bridesmaids and sara. it was incredibly kind of your mom to buy the dresses, but did she ask you about it first? if not, it's not your fault that the dresses don't jive with your style. and at least you're wearing the wedding dress she chose for you. that is a hundred times more special than the bridesmaids wearing something she chose.

as long as you present it to her nicely, she should have no reason to get upset.

Eco Yogini said...

I agree with the bridesmaids and sara as well. Dealing with parents can be tricky- especially with one who seems as involved as your mom. But it isn't her wedding- it's yours.... and you should be able to make the decisions that are right for you. Might just mean a little sensitive talking. :)

SH said...

Totally agree with the comments above and with Sara. Just talk to your mom and tell her your and the bridesmaids' concerns and tell her you've decided on a different idea. I'm not sure how you're dealing with money and the wedding, but if you need to, purchase the new dresses yourself. (or have the bridesmaids purchase their dresses).

Jillian said...

Could you maybe donate them to Brides Against Breast Cancer? I'm not sure of their requirements, but it might be a solution that would make it feel to your mom that the dresses are going to a good cause.

:) said...

All great advice. The Brides Against Breast Cancer suggestion is a great one if you're not interested in keeping the extra dresses.

Kate said...

I agree with the others and Sara. It's awkward, but ultimately you don't want anyone feeling uncomfortable on your wedding day. The sooner the better to have the conversation. You'll want as much time as possible to find another solution and also to allow potential hurt feelings to subside.

Would your bridesmaids be open to allowing your mom to help decide on alternative dresses? That way she can still feel included. If they'd prefer to choose without her input, see if there's something else that you can ask for your Mom's help with so she feels like she can contribute in another area to make up for this debacle.

Ginger said...

If the other two dresses are salvagable, tell your mom you're taking them to a seamstress to be remade into dresses you can wear after the wedding. A white dress is always nice for summer, and you might even be able to wear them on your honeymoon!

Becca said...

I agree with what everyone else said, but wanted to emphasize letting your mom down gently and also offering alternative ways you want her help. If she's anything like my mother (which she may not be, of course) it's less about the dresses than feeling like ALL her opinions are being rejected. So there needs to be a lot of thanking her, and asking for input in the areas where you do trust her judgment. For example, if you want to involve her in the new bridesmaid dresses, I would strongly suggest deciding on three acceptable options with your girls ahead of time, and ask your mom to choose between the three finalists, instead of from an open world of opportunities. Or ask her to help with the bouquets, bridesmaid accessories, or male boutonnieres ideas, if no one is ties to those already. It's in the same decor/detail family, so she may not feel as rejected if you immediately indicate that you still want her involvement in the same wedding party area (even if the dresses are going on ebay tomorrow).

I'm finding that it's all about letting family and friends know they're valued while also mitigating damage. Good luck!

Cove Girl said...

I'm with the bridesmaids as well. However, I think that the mothers ingenuity was well placed, and very cost effective. Way to go Mom!

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