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Always a Bridesmaid…Never the One With Some Say

Monday, April 29, 2013

I need some advice…

My brother is getting married in September. This is his second wedding and it's shaping up to be a much bigger and more elaborate affair than his first. He proposed to his now fiancé while we were all on a family vacation to Hawaii in February. After they got engaged, he and his fiancé asked if I would be in their wedding. My response was less than enthusiastic and quite honestly downright rude. I believe I said something akin to, ‘why? So I can have another dress in my closet that I never wear?’ I have been a bridesmaid 3 times. Twice for the same bride. Two out of 3 of those weddings have ended in divorce (so far). I had made a promise a long time ago that I was never going to be a bridesmaid again. I don’t want to be in another wedding unless I’m the star of the show (and quite honestly, I’m not sure I actually WANT to get married, but since that isn’t a looming prospect, I won’t worry about that right now. :)

When I made the crack, my headspace at the time was pretty low. Right near rock bottom. I was feeling awful about myself. It was before I started making some changes and feeling a bit better. At the time, I tried to explain to them that I wasn’t sure I was really up for it, but I would think about it.

My friends had told me when I got home that I needed to just suck it up, it was my brother. Stop being such a whiner. So when my brother called me a few weeks later to get the final answer, I apologized for my previous behaviour and said that yes, I’d like to be in the wedding but I was concerned about the ‘attire’ required. There will be 6 bridesmaids in total (between you me and the fence post, I think that’s ridiculous but anyway…) and all the bridesmaids are thin(ner) except me. So immediately the opinions started flying around from all these girls about what type of dress to wear. At first, because we all live in various parts of Canada and the U.S. she was going to get us to get a dress from a wedding place – I convinced her we could order them custom-made online for a fraction of the cost. So at least she went with that. Then I suggested that she choose the colour and fabric and we could choose the dress that best suited us. And it seemed this was where she was going with it.

Until today. Today I got an email announcing that the colour was going to be Aquamarine (which for some reason on the website they refer to it as hunter green…but anyway) and that the style she had chosen was this:

Now, I don’t really care what colour it is. I mean, I’d prefer no orange or yellow because I’m a redhead with a pink complexion but other than that, I was fine with anything. So although aquamarine might be on the bottom of my colour choice, it’s not my wedding or my colour scheme so it was fine with me. I mean let’s be honest here people, the dress is going to be worn once and then hung in the closet with the other 3 for the rest of its natural life. Or until I make it into a pillow case (but now that it’s going to be aquamarine, I think it’s doomed to the closet). But the choice of dress just about made me cry (and I was at work). I had explained to her previously that I’d really like to have a dress I can wear a bra with and that was long enough to go past my knees. I thought both requests were relatively minor and since she was likely going to let us choose our own dress, I didn’t push it. And then this is the dress she chose. This is a lovely dress. But not for me or my body type. I am very ‘square’ meaning I have no hips being very ‘apple shaped’ and carry my weight in my stomach and chest and have wide shoulders (daintily decorated with permanent stretch marks which I’m sure will look lovely highlighted by spaghetti straps,ugh) – this dress is not the right cut for my body.

When I asked her innocently, ‘so… everyone is wearing the same dress then?’ she said yes, she thought this was the best choice because it went past the knees and had straps. Now honey, I don’t know about you, but those ‘straps’ as they’re referred to wouldn’t hold up a mosquito much less my generous 42DD chest. Which means not only am I now going to have to invest in an industrial strength strapless bra that probably costs more than the dress itself (and which will also live the rest of its natural life in the closet), it will make no difference because the back fat will roll nicely over the shoulderblade-high back and strain those dainty little straps anyway. And I’m not sure if she’s blind (I sure hope not because she's a surgeon...lol) but that dress does not go below the knee. It does in the back, but not in the front. I certainly have plans and am making efforts to be in much better shape and thinner by September. But I’m not going to be a size 2 (ever, actually, lol).
So if I wear this dress, I will spend the entire evening hiking up my strapless bra, trying not to let my boobs escape their flimsy covering and ensuring my legs are stuck together tighter than a frigid librarian so I’m not flashing the audience as we sit at the head table.

And I can’t blame her – I know she’s trying to please 6 different women with 6 different bodies. And 6 different types of body issues too quite honestly. This is one of the top reasons why I didn’t really want to be another bridesmaid. Having done it 3 times, I KNEW what she was going to get herself into and how difficult it was. She was incredibly naïve when she was first discussing how ‘easy’ it would be to get the girls outfitted. I bit my tongue at the time. This is her wedding, I don’t want to be a spoil sport more than I already have.

So what do I do now? I don’t want to wear that dress!!! She had told me she wanted us all to feel beautiful and happy and comfortable on her wedding day. If I wear that dress I’m going to be miserable, self conscious and uncomfortable all evening. There is a chance one of the groomsmen is not going to be able to make it, they don’t know yet. When I heard that previously, I said well, I’d be ok if you wanted me to step down. But now I’m thinking maybe I should just tell her that I think it’s a lovely dress but I really can’t wear something like that. And I don’t want to cause issues so I’ll step aside and just attend the wedding instead. It might solve the problem with the other groomsman maybe not being able to come. But I’m scared that by doing that I’ll offend her and my brother. Or they’ll feel guilty. Or they’ll scramble to change things again.

So what do I do? Do I just suck it up and order the damn dress?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ARW715
    Sorry I missed this when you first posted. I actually the dress will be flattering. I would suck it up and be in the wedding. I backed out of my best friends wedding and I have always regretted it.
    1874 days ago
  • JEM2929
    Hey girl!

    I may have missed the boat on this one since you posted this a few days ago but man, I was reading this and could totally relate on every account. 3 years ago I had the summer from hell - attending 7 weddings in 9 weeks, and bridesmaids in 5 of them - ugh! I feel for you buddy.

    I know that you know your body far better than I do, but I am also shaped like an apple and I carry all my weight in my middle (sucks to be us - I'm so jealous of the bigger ladies with the hips lol) but when I opened your blog before I read any of it I saw the dress and thought "Oh, she'd look really nice in that" and then couldn't believe what I was reading! lol - like I said though, you know your body and I don't but I think that there may be simple ways to have this dress altered to suit your style and to make you feel more confident.

    You should see if you could have a bra sewn right into in. I have had this done a few times and they just sew the cups and band right into it so you still have to clasp the bra when you put the dress on but it's much more comfortable and supportive than going strapless.

    Also, if the shape is something your not fond of, maybe ask the bride if you can wear a crinoline under it so it poofs out a little more in the skirt area which could give the illusion of a different shape. It won't do anything good for the length though but if you can find the right crinoline, it would be okay if it was longer than the dress, might take some searching though.

    I'm on your side with this though - at the end of the day if you are going to feel uncomfortable, you don't owe anyone the duty of being in their wedding. They should want you in their wedding to make you feel wonderful and not the opposite and not just you, but the bride too will have a better time if you're not worrying about how you look/feel etc.

    The reason I am not a fan of weddings is the little things like these - 6 girls (wow) in the same dresses is kind of an unrealistic fantasy (like most aspects of most weddings) lol. Good luck with this, let us know what happens! By the way, why on earth do they make dresses like that? Shorter in front? It's like the mullet of dresses and mullets are not cool lol.

    1876 days ago
    When I read aquamarine, I thought it would look perfect with your complexion and hair from your profile pic! Redheads and aquamarine remind me of Ariel from the Little Mermaid. :)
    I think Lolaturtle makes a lot of great points - if you wanted to be in the wedding, no dress should stop you. Dresses can be changed. I prefer thicker straps because they look less "sporty" than "pasgetti" straps - you can get a lot of alterations made to get the dress to look like the way you want.
    I think the bride isn't setting out to be unfeeling but I think we are not very good at actually understanding where people come from. Maybe taking her out for coffee and explaining your discomfort again will help. But if you don't want to do it because of weight, I will yell at you.

    1878 days ago
  • _BABE_
    This is the second blog I am reading of yours and I like your style and sense of humour. Maybe you should stand up for yourself cause obviously she is clueless to your needs and a tad inconsiderate to boot. Order a similar dress in same fabric...oops!

    1878 days ago
    First I want to say, I have been there many times. I have been in 3-4 friends' weddings and both of my brother's weddings. That's a lot of bridesmaid dresses! (I already have mine for my cousin's wedding in July, also).

    At all but my brother's 1st wedding (and the upcoming one of course), I was at or near my highest weight. For my best friend's wedding, I gained ~ 40 pounds and had to have extra fabric added in the side seams of the dress because it wouldn't zip. That was fun.

    So I completely understand your feelings. I just want you to know, there is a third option.

    I have always given the same restriction: I will be wearing a bra. Not I'd like to, not I'd prefer it. I will. Period. Yet all the dresses are either strapless or spaghetti straps! This is not because all the brides are jerks, it's because all the dress designers are morons. So what I always always do is, fit the dress to my chest and get straps added when I get alterations. I always tell the brides this. "Are you okay with this dress?" "Yes, as long as you understand I will be adding 1 inch wide straps to it." No one has ever complained. In fact often other bridesmaids would do the same after hearing my brilliant idea.

    It's very easy with long satin dresses because the alterations people can use the fabric they cut off for the hem; otherwise, most places that sell dresses also sell coordinating shawls or wraps; I buy one and have them cannabilize it for the fabric. Any decent alterations person can do this. Find a little old lady who has been doing tailoring her whole life. Or find an actual dressmaker. It costs a little more than wearing the dress as-is but it's worth it to be comfortable and enjoy the wedding.

    The other important part is ordering the dress. Hopefully there is somewhere you can try it on! I always order the size that will provide enough fabric to cover my chest. This often means the waist has to be taken in and the skirt has to be hemmed. It's okay - they can always cut, but they can't add in the bust! The salespeople at bg chain bridal stores are often dumb and try to talk me out of this, or say the alterations will be too much. I ignore them and find my own alterations person.

    Finally, bra. You may need a convertible bra - a strapless style that has half inch or so straps that snap or clip on. The reason is, bras for larger chested girls like us usually have straps that get wider at the top of the cups, and where they meet the back. It's difficult to cover that fabric. A convertible with the straps on offers way more support than a strapless + the dress straps. You can even have the alterations lady sew the bra straps on for a more secure fit: that's what I did for my wedding. Though, looking at the picture above, you'll be fine in the front, it's just the back that is low.

    I offer this as a possibility because I don't want you to feel like you can't be in weddings. Yes, the wedding industry makes you feel that way, but honestly? They can go $%#@ themselves, pardon my french. Maybe you can wear a different dress - if the bride is okay with it and that makes you happy, great. Personally, that always made me feel like "oh look, there's Kate in her mumuu bc she's to fat for a bridesmaid dress." I'm stubborn. I was gonna WEAR THAT DRESS DANGIT! But you may feel differently and that's fine.

    This is your brother. I know it's stickier because the bride is usually more in charge & she's not family yet. But they asked because the love you. They already know what size you are and they do not care about that. The bride has probably never been heavy so she doesn't understand how hard it is to fit a dress. I don't want you to be uncomfortable, I just also don't want you to feel like you can't be in your own brother's wedding. I have been in weddings when I was bigger than you are. No one comes up to you and says "boy, you sure are the fattest bridesmaid I've ever seen". It's never as bad as you are imagining it will be. I want you to know it's possible to get the alterations you need so you can wear the dress rather than be held hostage by it. Or you can ask them if you can wear a different dress. Don't feel like your only/best option is to not be in the wedding. *hugs*

    Oh and those other never wearing them again dresses in your closet? Toss them. Right now. All they're doing is taking up space and making you feel bad.
    1878 days ago
    I'm sorry you're stuck in this position. :( I think it's nice to support your brother and his new wife. I also have large ladies, and would ask if I can please wear a shrug/bolero type thing so that I can wear a bra. You might even be able to get one done in the same colour/material so it doesn't stand out. Most ladies with small boobs don't understand that there are "special needs" to us more endowed girls and are pretty understanding when things are laid out clearly.

    I'm sorry that you feel that your size and body are prohibiting you from living a life outside your comfort zone. That just makes me what to give you a big SP hug! emoticon

    1879 days ago
    I understand your feeling in potentially being uncomfortable. :( I am the maid of honor in my sisters wedding in June and I am nervous because I don't like to show my arms. HOwever, I love my sister so I am doing it to support her and using that to drive my motivation to work that much harder. I cannot make the decision for you, and I realize how hard it is... maybe you can have a heart-to-heart with your bro and tell him how you feel.

    1879 days ago
    1879 days ago
    I think you are in a difficult position but at the same time, have the right answer. I believe the most important part is that you make it clear that the last thing you want is to upset her or your brother or make them feel bad... and if they make any changes you will fell bad too, so maybe they'll let you step down your bridesmaid duty and allow you to help them or participate in any other way like someone else suggested.
    I hope it al goes well.
    1879 days ago
  • MARIANNE9855
    I guess I would go with what you suggested but maybe you could offer to read a special poem or reading for the wedding and then you could pick a nice dress you feel comfortable in- and you would still be participating in the wedding in a special way. emoticon
    1879 days ago
  • JOHGLO2011
    I think all of the above have great advice. It's always best to be honest but be as kind about it as you can. Best of luck!
    1879 days ago
    I understand how you feel. My brother got married in October 2010, 4 months after I began my journey. At the time we were getting dresses (my first and hopefully only bridesmaid dress) I hadn't even considered losing weight. The bride chose the color and we got to pick the style. Great, except they were all strapless, NO GOOD! A woman who's 300 plus pounds should not be in a strapless anything, in my opinion. If you want to be in the wedding, still sounds like you're on the fence, ask about using a shawl. I got one for my dress. It was made of very sheer, light material that was the same color as the dress, but I felt much more comfortable, and I was able to cover the bat wings and back fat. Talk to your brother, maybe he'll understand and you'll be able to get out of it all together.
    1879 days ago
    I feel like you made reasonable requests that were, if not agreed upon explicitly, at least implicitly. I would just be fully honest that the dress won't work for you. Tell her that it's going to be an upsetting experience for you, and that it's their big day and it's not a day that they want to have a cranky, uncomfortable bridesmaid (and sister-of-the-groom) so you'd like to step aside. We're five months out, not five weeks. It's not too big an imposition to change the wedding party now, and the bride can always find another bridesmaid if she needs one. And if it's that important that you be her bridesmaid, she'll find a dress that makes you comfortable.

    Of course, this is just my advice, so consider the source. ;)
    1879 days ago
    Even though I think you would probably look lovely in the dress, I think what you said to us is perfect, just tell her the same thing. Tell her that its a lovely dress but that you really can't and won't be able to wear it, and that to avoid issues or hard feelings, you will step down and celebrate with them from the audience. It was a lovely and honest response. Even though it was my brother, I could NOT wear a dress that made me feel that bad about myself either. And especially with a groomsman who may not make it either, it seems like the most painless solutuon for everyone.
    1879 days ago
  • LEANIE64
    My advice..have a prayer..then call her once you feel comfortable..have all the issues laid out..dress not appropriate for your body size, etc. Tell her that you are so honored to be chosen to be one of the brides maids..but with the above issues in mind..what does she suggest that you do..as the dress won't work for you..That way you are being kind to the bride..who is more than likely stressed..and being kind to your self..if she suggests something that won't work for you..just say..that won't work..any other idea's? I am sure we can come to some kind of decision to make this the best wedding ever. Maybe look up dresses that are the same color that would work into the scheme of things..and show her what you have chosen..Good luck with this touchy issue..
    1879 days ago
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