Wedding Budgets for 4 Attendants in Our Family

Updated on February 18, 2014
L.C. asks from Detroit, MI
31 answers

We were asked about 4 months ago to be attendants in my brother's wedding. I will be a bridesmaid, my husband a groomsman, daughter is the flower girl and son is the ring bearer. Their wedding budget is very tight and they know we are on a tight budget as well since we are down to one income. I happily agreed since we're pretty close and I thought we'd work together on a budget and we'd have sufficient time to make it work. In addition to attire expenses, we'll be traveling out of town (10 hours of driving) for the wedding with our 2 kids plus we'll have a six week old so we have to pay for the hotel too. We're now 6 months out from the wedding and no budget has been discussed with us. Out of no where I received a forwarded email with ordering instructions for a $200 Jim Hjelm dress not including shipping and alterations. Aside from the price, the dress is open back and basically has to be completely removed to nurse a baby. I asked if she had thought about considering a couple different dress styles for her bridesmaids and she responded that "it would be too difficult to coordinate." Here I am stuck having to order a $200 dress that I likely won't be able to wear post baby and still have no idea what she expects me to pay regarding my flower girl, ring bearer, and my husbands tux. She and my brother invited themselves to stay with us for 10 days but haven't included in any wedding details and only got a thank you text on their way home for our hospitality so we have no idea what is going on. I'm sick about how much this is going to cost us (plus our $4000 hospital bill this year) and I can't decide if we should back out or just say we can't afford it (we truly can't without going into debt over it.) Since there's 4 of us in the wedding, should a budget have been discussed with us or is she allowed to pick out whatever she wants and send us a bill? I'm part sick over the money and part angry that I'm being put in this situation in the first place. Do I buy the dress and not say anything or tell her I can't wear it post baby? What about the other 3 outfits? I feel taken advantage of, please help!!!

To respond to a few of the comments.... Both my parents as well as my in-laws will be there to help with the kids and I don't feel that $200 is a ridiculous price normally, except when compared to their particular wedding budget. They are planning this wedding for a fraction of what a typical wedding costs ($30 a head) and have seemed to pick their items to splurge on when its at someone else's expense. Thats where I'm feeling taken advantage of... they won't spend the money on guests and are looking at $10 attendant gifts but then chose a high end item when it was coming from someone else's wallet. She did ask me at the beginning to send her a picture of something if I liked it, which I did and then was told by my brother not to get involved, so I didn't. If we did back out, they'd have no flower girl or ring bearer and would only have 3 attendants so I do hate to leave them in the lurch. Yes I can communicate with them but do I volunteer what I can afford before being asked or wait for her to send me a $400 bill at the last minute for the 2 kids outfits. I would love to find a second hand outfit or pick something out in my budget but I'm pretty sure the flower girl dress she has chosen is another designer dress for $275, although I haven't been told anything for sure. Thanks for your feedback!

Maybe it would add more insight to add they are graduating college students and although I love them dearly, they are the first to stick their hands out for anything free and want everything as cheap as possible unless someone else is paying. Also, her sister just had a baby a few months ago so she is very aware of a nursing mom's needs and I didn't expect her to have a nursing dress picked out. Nothing in my closet is "nursing" specifically but a simple strapless style would do so I can pull down one side and not have to undo an entire dress. They are also very aware of our financial situation so no conversation was needed to tell them. Again, I'd love the freedom to pick it out myself but that was not offered. I don't want to stir the pot if my husband, mom and I are the only ones that feel this way, not because I don't know how to communicate.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I first polled here not because I don't know how to communicate but because I wanted to communicate correctly and decide what was more important before burdening her. I talked to both my brother and future SIL and they quickly apologized for not agreeing on a budget with us from the beginning. She is picking a new dress because the other bridesmaids cannot afford it either nor do they want to wear it. She also agreed that $300 was way too much for a flower girl and prefers to have us pick out the kids outfits anyway.

On another note I am so sad to see how many people on here not only agree with the current bridezilla mentality but are willing to walk away and not attend or go broke over their family's weddings. How could a bride possibly care more about a dress than who is wearing it and at her side? When did outfits and dresses become more important than your family when you make the biggest commitment of your life? One poster below completely nailed it by saying we need to put the effort into our marriages that is being put into weddings. I am very thankful that my family and future SIL see the value in the commitment and the ceremony that is going to take place. Not in a million years would I have skipped my brother's wedding over a dress.

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answers from Chicago on

And this is why I usually say "no" to being in weddings. Seriously, my best friend wanted me to stand up and I said no. She lives in California. It would have cost me a small fortune to be in her wedding, especially since she doesn't understand the concept "budget." For the sake of the friendship, I said it wouldn't work.

I let my bridesmaids wear whatever dress they wanted, I just specified the length and color. I don't get why people think it's reasonable to expect others to pay $200 plus on something they will never wear again. Where did this insanity come from?!?!?!

Back out.

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answers from Detroit on

It's been a long time since I've been in a wedding, but $200 for the dress doesn't seem unreasonable. I completely understand where you're coming from, as we are a large single income family as well. SOs family is far from close knit. That doesn't stop me from jumping at the chance spend time with mine.
IMO-yes, I would go into debt for my brothers wedding. I would try my best to not think about the debt and just enjoy the once in a lifetime moment.

Hopefully the tux will be a rental and the other outfits will not be so pricey. Planning a wedding is stressful and it's hard to please/include everyone.

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answers from New York on

I'm sorry, but I don't think that you are being put in a situation. They asked if you'd all like to be in the wedding party, and you said yes. You didn't ask what it would cost for all of the outfits or tell them that you didn't think that you could afford it. $200 is a normal price for a bridesmaid dress. The bride to be isn't thinking about what a nursing mom can wear. Six months ahead, they may not have visited the tuxedo shop yet to find out how much rentals will cost. If you cannot be in the wedding party, you need to tell the bride and groom right away, so that they can choose other attendants, not order any personalized gifts, or whatever else they need to do.

You are not being taken advantage of. You didn't tell them that you can't afford wedding outfits for everyone. Typically, yes, the bride chooses the dresses for the bridal party, and hopefully doesn't choose anything over the top and expect them to pay. $200 is not over the top for a bridesmaid dress. Perhaps either just the adults or just the kids should be in the bridal party, but not both. This will save money. If just the kids are attendants, it should also save you from having to chip in for the bridal shower, which you should expect to be asked to do, as a bridesmaid. If you can't wear the gown she picked because you'll need to breastfeed the baby and wear a nursing bra, then perhaps just let your kids be in the wedding, but let the bride know your decision right away. Apologize for any inconvenience. You sound stressed and angry about this, but I don't feel that the bride and groom have done anything wrong. If you had special financial needs, they should have been discussed with the bride and groom
Good luck!

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answers from Grand Forks on

I personally feel that if a bride wants a bunch of attendants in fancy matching dresses then she should pay for them herself. If she can't afford to do this then she is going beyond her means. (I have only been in three wedding parties, but one the bride bought my dress, the second the bride paid for half and the third I was only told what colour I was supposed to wear, and I wore my own dress.) I know most people don't agree with my point of view, but this is the sort of thing that makes me detest weddings. What a waste of money.

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answers from Chicago on

"I thought we'd work together on a budget". That was your first mistake!!! Obviously they are not going to bring it up because she is not thinking about your finances. Don't expect a kidless college graduate to understand the first thing about nursing or being considerate of your finances, especially when they are planning a wedding. Also, people without kids will never understand motherhood until they become mothers themselves.

Personally, I would sit down and write down all concerns. Go over it with your husband, come to an agreement then call them and tell them what you've decided.

This is a learning lesson to never accept something in the hopes that others will know your situation and work it out with you, speak up!!

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answers from Austin on

I think your hormones are going haywire.

No one is trying to take advantage of you. She asked a long time ago and you all agreed and now your situation has changed. Just be honest.
This is family. If you cannot be honest with them, who can you be honest with?

Sounds like your situation has changed and you will be able to attend, and you are excited about being there, but you cannot not actually all be in the wedding party, because you cannot afford it.

It is not that you do not WANT to be the bridesmaid ,groomsman, flower girl and ring bearer, it is that you honestly cannot afford all of that. This happens all of the time, but if you do not communicate, how are they supposed to know?

Be honest and then work from there.

Can the kids wear some cute things YOU find that are cute? Can you tell her you can afford $50. each towards outfits for the kids.
But you just cannot afford anything over (whatever amount) and since you are Breast Feeding on demand, whatever you wear in the wedding, needs to accommodate this. Ans since she has something picked out, you understand and do not want to make her change the outfits. Not a big deal. You can understand this.

Just be calm, gracious and honest.

People that do not have children, have not had to stay on a tight budget, may not understand, but that is their problem.

Can you speak with your own parents so they can also let the Bride know you all are excited to attend, but because of things beyond your control, your situation has changed.

Communication is an amazing thing.

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answers from Philadelphia on

My friend spent $200 for her son's tux rental for his prom. So I would not look for savings there.

I think you should speak up and tell them your situation has changed or that you are so excited for them and really did not think through the financial implications of all 4 of you being in the wedding. Never the less, you can not afford clothing for 4, in addion to travel expenses, hotel room etc. As a bridesmaid you should also expect to pay for part of the bridal shower and possibly bachelor and bachelorette parties. Perhaps suggest that only your children be in the wedding party.
Best of luck. This is a tough one.

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answers from Phoenix on

Check on eBay for the bridesmaid dress! I would also suggest checking out something from the same designer, in the same color, in their maternity line. If your baby comes late, you may only be a few weeks post-delivery and you should be comfortable! If the bride really can't accommodate a small change in your dress to make you comfortable, there is nothing wrong with saying that you think you really won't be up to being a bridesmaid. You can still go, hubby and kids can be in the wedding, you can sit out with the new baby and just be a guest. You can take the kids back to the hotel early. That way you can avoid the cost of the dress for you and a sitter for the kids, at least. If you can swing the tux for the men and a dress for your daughter (again, eBay, thrift stores are great for these, they only get worn once!), then this is the route I would take regardless. Actually, you can offer to have hubby back out as well, then their bridemaids/groomsmen will be even and you can just foot the bill for the two little ones. You can frame it as necessary to care for you and baby, but still be included in the ceremony through the kids.

Let the not including and the off-hand text go- they are in their own wedding-stress world right now. It is a selfish time.

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answers from Toledo on

I would cut the bride some slack. When I was planning my wedding I didn't have a clue about breast feeding or babies. It probably didn't even dawn on her that the dress would be inconvenient for you.

I've only been in a couple of weddings, but I was always told which dress I needed to buy, how much it would cost, etc. no one ever discussed it with me. I don't think it would have been rude for you to let them know that money was tight and you would appreciate them taking that into consideration. But that's the kind of information you need to volunteer. By complaining that they stayed with you for 10 days and never spoke to you about a budget, you are showing that expected them to read your mind.

My sister's two kids and my husband's sister's two kids were in our wedding - as well as the sisters and their husbands. We knew money would be tight, so I found dresses for the flower girls in an Easter clearance sale. My SIL found a cute suit for my nephew at a consignment shop and inexpensive, cute shoes for the girls. We were very lucky to do it cheap.

Why not talk to the bride about the kids outfits first. Maybe you can get them at a department store for a lot less than you would at a bridal shop or tuxedo rental.

The cost of your dress is very reasonable. I paid that much for a bridesmaids dress 15 years ago, and it was definitely on the inexpensive side. I would expect a tuxedo rental to be about the same.

Talk to them now. Let them know that you are not sure you can afford this and why and what you could possibly afford. But you have to reach out to them. Don't expect them to read your mind.

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answers from San Francisco on

This is a pretty common problem... being a bridesmaid is often more hassle and pain than you expect. A few suggestions:
1. Look on the Jim Hjelm website and see if you can find other dresses that comes in the same color and same material as the one she chose. Try to offer a couple of other styles that might work better for nursing and see if she'd be willing to let her bridesmaids choose from a set of three or four gowns all from the same collection. If she says no, you buy the dress she picked and don't say another word about it.
2. Your husband has to wear the same tux as the other groomsment, so be prepared for a higher cost there.
3. Since your children seem to be the only kids in the wedding, tell her what your budget is for their outfits. You guys can then work together to find something cute that works for both of you. Don't let her force you into a $275 flower girl dress when you know you can get a beautiful dress for under $50.
4. Check craigslist and consignment shops for tuxes or suits for your son. You should be able to find something. It doesn't have to match the other tuxes exactly as long as it's the same color.

I don't think you should back out of the wedding. It's your brother and you may regret that decision later, especially if it causes a rift between you and his wife. You agreed to do it and they are counting on you. Now you need to find a way to make it work. Lowering the budgets on the children's outfits is a good way to save.

One last thought - see if you and some other family members can rent a condo or vacation home in the area for a few days rather than getting a bunch of hotel rooms. It might save everyone a lot of money.

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answers from Washington DC on

From the perspective of someone married over 20 years: She and your brother are being what they are -- college kids with zero idea of what things actually cost other people. The fact she has a sister who recently had a baby does not mean the bride is at all "aware of a nursing mom's needs." The fact they like to save money where they can but then want things as cheaply as possible but don't see how it appears to others to ask others to pay to do this or that -- well, that's being young and dumb and self-centered in the way that all kids planning weddings can be, frankly.

You sound afraid to talk to them.

Time to say, "We've looked at the expenses with travel, clothing for four of us...and we can't make it on our budget. We very much want to be part of your special day but we need to let you know now, before the wedding gets any closer, that we can't all be in the wedding/we can't come at all/I can come as attendant and the husband and kids will stay home" -- whatever you AND your husband decide to tell them.

Do not haggle over dollars and cents. They will not get it. You didn't say no when you should have and now you have to say it fast, before it's so close to the wedding that this will create a rift.

If you fear that saying it now will create a rift, why are you so scared of their opinions?

I would never, ever go into debt for any wedding - not mine, not my sibling's (which is happening in two months) and not even my child's. You will have three young children by the time of this wedding. Going into debt would be incredibly foolish. They won't see that but you need to see it and SAY it.

Stop worrying over "should I pick out my own dress that I can nurse in" or "what if the flower girl dress is expensive" and just tell them what you are willing and able to do. You're picking at the details of the costs and dress style when it's past time to bow out of this. Say frankly that you unwisely did not realize the costs for a family of FIVE to do this, and you can't afford it. Make some suggestions if you really want, but be ready to hear "Then just attend if you want but you won't be in the wedding." Can you live with that?

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answers from Anchorage on

Let them know now that you can not afford what they expect you to pay and back out unless they will let you pick out your own dresses that will fit in your budget. I would never dream of asking someone to pay that much for a dress to be in my wedding, if I wanted a dress that cost that much for my bridesmaids then I would pay for them all as the bride. When my bridesmaids told me they would pay for their own dresses I let them have some freedom in choice and we found a dress that worked for us all that was under $50.

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answers from Denver on

Maybe the best scenario would be for you to step down from duties since there really won't be anyone to care for your nursing 6 wk old at the wedding. You husband and kids could still be attendants, or, if that would throw off her attendant numbers with the groomsman numbers, both you and he could step down and just the kids could be in it. I was in a wedding with a 1 wk old nursing baby. It was pure hell.

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answers from Sacramento on

Don't put your family into financial trouble over a wedding. I'd just say you've agonized over this decision, but realized with the dress selection that you just can't afford to be a part of the wedding right now.

The bills are going to mount up quickly for you with this wedding if she's mandating a $200 dress when she knows your financial situation. They're not being considerate. Considerate is telling you the color to get and letting you choose something in your budget.

Don't go broke over a wedding. That's silly. YOUR family needs to come first. Let them know how excited you are about the wedding, but that you'll need to just attend the festivities due to finances.

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answers from San Francisco on

Can't you just call them and have a discussion? This is your brother and future sil, not some random distant relative or friend, you really should be able to TALK to them about it. If not then you really shouldn't make such a deep emotional and financial commitment. The wedding party are supposed to be the people you are closest too, right?

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answers from Dallas on

FORGET THE WEDDING!!! Back out now!!!!! Your problem is what my problem used to be - I didn't know how to say no, and you don't know how, either. Please learn from my mistakes and back out! They know you are on a tight budget, and so are them - so if anyone can understand, it should be them. It would have been ideal had you said no from the beginning, but that is okay - there is still time to back out. I was in two weddings I didn't want to be in for 2 reasons: 1) I felt I wasn't close enough to them to be a bridesmaid, and 2) b/c of the money. Stupid me just spent the money b/c I didn't know how to say no. But at least I was single with no kids. You are a family of 4, and going to this wedding will cost you a fortune - from gas money, the hotel, tux, your bridesmaid dress, and your kids' wedding attire - it will set you back a lot, and as you said, it will put you in debt. No wedding is worth going into debt - even if it is a close family member. Unless they are going to pay for everything (which of course they are not), then you cannot go. Plus, you will have a 6 week old baby! That alone is an excellent reason why you cannot go!

Politely thank them for including your family in the wedding, but tell them after a lot of thought, you need to back out due to finances and your newborn baby. They will probably be angry (unless they are very mature people, but it doesn't seem like they are). So what. Let them be angry. They will get over it! If they do not say anything rude or nasty to you, you and your husband could offer to take them out to dinner to celebrate their marriage either before or after the wedding. But if they are nasty about it, then forget it! Good luck, and please let saying no to people be the best lesson of your life!

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answers from Denver on

The wedding is still six months away. Back out now while you still have the chance. Tell them you're honored they asked you, but after going over your finances carefully, you simply can't afford to participate IN the wedding. Whether you even attend or not is another decision for another time. For now, get out of the wedding party obligation.

The bride is planning HER perfect wedding - your finances and dress issues are not being considered at all. This is perfectly normal for a young, excited bride. That's just how it goes. She can choose anything she wants. YOU can choose not to participate.

I'm surprised you agreed in the first place. Two children PLUS an infant. You being only 6 weeks out from giving birth, if everything goes according to plan (what if your baby is born a week or two late? It HAS happened). That super long drive. All the prep that goes into being in a wedding party, the months before, THE DAY OF, the obvious expenses. This is a logistical nightmare. I would have declined immediately.

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answers from Miami on

Here's what I would do. I would tell her that you will not be able to be an attendant with a 6 week old in tow. Tell her that the kids will still be in the wedding and your husband.

It is ridiculous for you to be in this wedding 6 weeks post-partum. I'm sorry. You guys weren't thinking. It's fine for her to be one attendant short. Tell her EXACTLY how much money you have to spend and you cannot spend ANY more than that. This includes your kids' clothes, which should NOT have to match any attendants, and your husband's tux. If she has to pony up for part of that tux, maybe she won't rent ones that are the most expensive. And NO to her choice of designer flower girl dress. GOOD GOD! What is wrong with her? You need to stop letting HER call the shots on the budget. Tell her that YOU will buy your daughter and son's clothes and bring them with you. She has no business picking them out. She only watches HER budget, like you've said. She is NOT going to watch yours.

Stop worrying about stirring the pot, for heaven's sake. If you don't step up now and do this, the bill that will be waiting for you when you get there is going to blast your bank account wide open. I promise you that it will cost more than you are expecting. Service charges, taxes, this, that, all adds up to more than you ever think it will be. Just do it now, Lindsay.

Is there NO family that you could stay with instead of having to pay for a hotel?

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answers from Milwaukee on

To be honest, I can't think of any type of bridesmaids dress that would be able to accommodate nursing without needing to be removed. Most dresses don't have "access panels" and are typically form-fitted, so the collar can't be simply pulled down.

Now is the time to go over your budget with your husband. Calculate the amount of $$ you will spend on gas for travel, the hotel & a few meals for you & the kids. Don't forget a wedding gift, and most likely a bridal shower gift as well! This is what you would spend, regardless of whether or not your family is "in" the wedding.

Then, calculate how much you can afford to pay for the "extras" of being in the wedding - A dress for you, tux rental for your husband, a dress for your daughter and either suit or tux rental for your son. Shoes to match, on all 4 (sometimes included in tux/suit rentals, sometimes not)

There are reasonable amounts to expect to pay for all of that. $200 for a dress may seem like a lot of money, but it is pretty average. You will need to find out if alterations @ a local shop would be included, if you ordered the dress from that shop, or else price out alterations with a dressmaker.
Looking online, tux rentals average between $150-200, with some higher/lower depending on the style & the store.

So right off the bat, you should figure $500 for the two of you to be in the wedding, plus additional expenses for your children. It is possible the bride would be willing for you to buy a dress in an appropriate color/style for your daughter, & you can probably get a suit @ a store for your son, vs. a rental fee. But let's figure another $100-150 for the two of them.

Keep in mind, these are reasonable, budget-minded expenses. When I stood up in my sisters wedding, she let us get our own dresses (from wherever we wanted) in a certain grouping of colors. On clearance @ Boston store, I found one, & still paid $110.

Additional expenses can include shoes to match your dress, jewelry to go with it, and salon expenses to have your hair/makeup done. All told, you & your husband should expect to pay $###-###-#### for the priviledge to take part in your brother & SIL's big day. For 4 people, that is not too expensive, although I do understand that a reasonable expense is always relative to the disposable income you have available.

Therefore, once you & your husband discuss whether you CAN afford to participate, you need to pick up the phone and call your SIL-to-be and have an honest conversation with her. If you can afford it, but it will be tight, let her know that. Say "I've talked with Jim, & we really want to be a part of your big day. Looking at the expenses for being able to attend, we have a tight budget of $XXX that we can spend on the outfits & accessories. I wanted to talk this over with you & see how we can make it work, so that you are able to have your dream wedding, and we are not stretched over our budget for the 4 of us).

Or, if necessary, say "I've talked with Jim, and after figuring the amount it will cost us simply to attend your wedding, there just isn't any way for the 4 of us to be able to participate in the wedding. By our tightest budget estimate, it will run $XXX, and we can't afford close to that. I wanted to let you know as soon as possible, so that you & my brother can make plans to adjust the wedding party accordingly."

In this case, you might even be able to offer "I know that the greatest part of that expense would be for Jim & I, but I thought maybe you & I could work out outfits that would not stretch us beyond our budget so that Sally & Johnny could still be your flowergirl & ring bearer."

I would personally leave the dress & breastfeeding hassle out of the conversation. Chances are, there isn't a dress that would easily accommodate your needs, & still be in fitting with the color & style of the rest of the bridesmaids. I'm assuming someone will be holding the baby for you while you are standing up during the ceremony, and when it comes time for feeding, you will need to make sure to have a quiet place to go. If possible, you could also pump & feed via a bottle (knowing that some people exclusively nurse & this may not be an option you are willing to consider)

Overall, you & your husband need to talk, & then you need to talk to your SIL-to-be, so that everyone is on the same page. Don't get hurt feelings over the nuances of your personal situation that do not seem to be taken into account - when planning a wedding, the different needs for a nursing mother are certainly not something a new bride is aware of, or understanding of how to accommodate. T.

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answers from New London on

I think you should honestly drop out. Or at the very least write out each worry you have, gather your thoughts, have an adult conversation with them and if you can't agree THEN drop out.

Either way it's silly to put yourself in debt over a wedding that isn't even yours!

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answers from Chattanooga on

I have not read all the responses, so forgive me if this is repeating what someone else has said.

I think this conflict in your mind started far before you were asked to be in the wedding. You mention an incident when this couple stayed with you for an extended length of time without an appropriate show of appreciation. You also mention a tendency of this couple to expect some measure of help from family members without thought of whether it's affordable or not. While this is likely a trait coming directly from their being young and naive, it's naive on your part to expect their attitude toward their wedding to be any different from their history.

Having said that, I can't imagine that you thought through clearly what would be involved in having 4 of your 5 family members in a long-distance wedding merely 6 weeks after you birthed a baby. You can't possibly be fitted in a dress properly now and expect it to fit then, but when did you plan to do it after the baby was born? As I'm sure you remember well, you won't even stop that insane postpartum bleeding for several weeks. Even if it was completely free, I think even attending a wedding while managing 2 older children and a newborn on a 10 hour drive would be too much to expect of you. There are far too many variables that can happen between now and the time a baby is 6 weeks old to plan anything of much consequence.

In my opinion, you should back out of a commitment for yourself and your husband. If you are comfortable agreeing for him to go and take the kids, by all means let the little ones participate with his supervision. And if you and the baby are up to making the trip? Great! But you'll be a bonus, not a required ingredient. As for telling the couple? I think you should focus on the complications required by the baby rather than the financial commitment. I feel that issue is peripheral anyway, and is much more divisive.

As for just waiting until you get "a $400 bill for the 2 kids' outfits", that's just immature and purposely drama-causing. If you know now that it would be a problem, now is the time to have the conversation.

Bottom line: You were honored to be asked, so you said yes immediately. Now that you've considered what is involved with bringing a newborn along for the ride, as well as your unpredictable postpartum body and hormones, you can step down graciously, allow them to be young and naive for a little while longer, and see how you feel when the weekend arrives.

Good luck with this!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Personally? I'd consider baring my financial concerns but still letting the kids participate.
(The logistics of the 4 of you all being in the wedding AND a six week old? Sounds like a tactical nightmare to me! Who is going to watch the baby? All day/most of the evening? Will your kids be seated with you to eat? If not, who will supervise them? During the cake cutting, wedding party dance, garter/bouquet toss?)

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answers from Jacksonville on

I feel for you. Really, I do. I was an attendant in my brother's wedding as well. My son was the ring bearer, my daughter was a flower girl (there were 2). Most of the wedding party was family of the groom! (My other brother was a groomsman, and his THREE daughters were jr bridesmaids or the co-flower girl). His wife had just given birth to their son as well... so your story is a familiar one).

It was nice for the bride to want it to be a family affair and bring the family into it. Really and truly.
However, the costs do add up quickly.
I would say that the time to have mentioned it was before now. (We also had to travel out of town and book multiple night hotel stays for the rehearsal and wedding nights). We even had to drive 2 cars, since husband came a 2 days after the rest of us had to be there (rehearsal and final fittings) and he went on to work and joined us the day before the wedding.

What helped a lot, was the bride/groom paid for material, and my mother sewed the dresses for the junior bridesmaids and the flower girls. I was just left with shoes (try finding white shoes in October in the south), son's tux, and my dress (and alterations and shoes). It was a costly alteration, too, b/c it was a 2 layered dress with satin and then a chiffon overlay. :(

But they didn't skimp other places... open bar at the reception, for example. Nice jewelry (to be worn during the ceremony) for the attendant gifts, and something engraved for my son. The budgeted and did a very nice event. It cost me a pretty penny, but we were able to afford it. I admit I did cuss a little at the alteration bill... it was half the cost of the dress.

My SIL just declined since she was expecting to be post-partum after a Csection, though she was also invited to be a wedding party member. I suspect my husband would have been included as well if she had been able, but she wasn't, so they stuck with blood relatives to keep the adult attendants balanced.

I totally get what you are saying and where you are coming from. But, if you don't say anything, or haven't said anything... how are they supposed to know?
I echo the comment about her being unaware of nursing issues. She likely has no idea what is involved with that AT. ALL.
Maybe just back out (you) and suggest a family member make the flower girl dress? They are usually fairly simple (and small, so not that much material to buy)... Ask her to pick a pattern. Or show her a few.
It is very touchy to suggest too much, but it is also a little rude on her part to not discuss it with you at all (the flowergirl) since you are footing the bill.

I didn't have any say (didn't really want any) for my daughter, but SIL had already discussed it with my mom and her sewing them... it was a non-issue.

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answers from Roanoke on

After fretting too much over the high costs of being in several weddings over the past couple years, my husband and I have decided we are going to say no to being in any future weddings. We will still go to weddings, but we will not be in weddings anymore. Wedding costs are outrageous, and I don't like the bridezilla thing going on these days.

If people put as much work into preparing for their marriage as they do in preparing for their weddings, maybe marriage would have better outcomes.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Tell them you can't afford what they want. Not in my part of the world, weddings are usually a church thing and we have a cake, nuts, after dinner mints, etc...sort of reception.

I've never in my life been to a wedding that had a meal with it. Never. And I've been to wedding receptions that had politicians and other important people in attendance.

I watch these wedding shows and am appalled at what people will spend on a couple of hours. My bridesmaids, both times I got married, wore homemade dresses from fabrics picked out an Hancocks. They wore their own shoes they chose and I bought them cheap necklaces the last time that had matching earrings.

My dress was the only higher cost. The bridesmaids dresses cost less than $100 each girl. In my first wedding I had candle lighters and a flower girl. Their dresses were maybe $20 each.

So to me when a couple on a budget can't get past just having a simple normal wedding reception where you get a piece of cake,generic punch, some nuts, and a few mints then they are spending way too much.

This bride and groom don't have an idea what real life is like for you. YOU must tell them you can't afford to do this and afford to come to the wedding too.

She has picked the dress she wants. That's her right and her choice. So what if you have to go into a bathroom and slip your dress off your shoulder, you'd have had to do that anyway unless you got a dress with slits made for nursing. So that's not a big deal. Your baby shouldn't even be at the wedding or reception. You'll need to pump and allow the baby to take a bottle or you'll have to take a break after the wedding ceremony to nurse the baby. Then go back to the reception. The little ones should make an appearance then probably go back to the hotel with a non-family/guest babysitter. Surely there is someone in the family that has a wonderful babysitter they trust.

Anyway, I'd go to the wedding whether or not you are in it or not. You said yes, you know weddings can get expensive but you said yes anyway. I think you have to decide what is going to happen. It's family, not some distant friend from high school that you haven't seen in 20 years. Spend the money, drive overnight to get there, you sit beside the baby and let hubby drive. He can sleep all day the next day and you can nap while the kiddo's play with grandma and grandpa and all the cousin's they surely have.

Everyone else is going to be there to help as you said. So tell her you need a list of what it's going to cost because you can't afford much.

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answers from San Francisco on

I would just give your future SIL a call and let her know that because you will just have had a baby, you will need a dress style that can accommodate a nursing bra. She may not have ever thought through the mechanics of how nursing works, but I'm sure if you explain to her that without a nursing bra, you could be prone to massive leaking at any moment, she might change her tune. I'm sure it is probably overwhelming to her to think about all of the details that wedding planning entails, so perhaps you could volunteer to do the legwork on this one. Stick with the color she has chosen, and find a dress style that could work for you. If it doesn't seem like she's going to be able to process that change for whatever reason, just gracefully bow out of being a wedding attendant. Maybe you could borrow (or buy on Craigslist or elsewhere) a used flower girl dress that would fit your daughter (really, if you've seen one, you've seen them all, right?), and I would think your son and husband will just be renting their tuxes, so that shouldn't be too pricey.

Just try to remember that people who don't have young children truly don't understand what you are going through as a parent, or what it's like to have a newborn baby, or any of that. I'm sure they are not trying to take advantage of you, they're just a little bit clueless about what it's like to have a lot of financial demands (raising kids on a single salary), and what it's like to NEED to wear a nursing bra, etc. One day, your SIL will understand these things, but right now she is just not coming from your perspective, and probably just doesn't "get it." I remember being in my best friend's wedding when my daughter was 6 months old, and she chose a strapless, skin-tight designer dress for all of us bridesmaids to wear. I sent her a picture of my 3-year old wearing my bra as a hat, with one of the cups completely engulfing her head, and said, "Are we sure a strapless dress is going to work?" She thought it was hilarious, and picked an alternate style that I could wear, where my nursing bra straps would be covered. It worked out fine, and you don't even notice in the wedding party photos that my dress was different from the others.

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answers from New York on

For the kids, you should be able to find something inexpensive but nice.
If she wants a tux for ring bearer and a dress from bridal place for your daughter, I would just tell her sorry can't do it. Or just have the kids in the wedding and you and hubby back out. With hotel, gas, food etc plus wedding expenses, that will be a lot of money. Think long and hard and be up front with your brother.

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answers from San Diego on

I was in my brother's wedding when my first was only a few months old. Trying to get the dress to fit was a nightmare and I suffered through it being close enough if you didn't look too hard. Even the seamstress felt bad that she just couldn't make it fit quite right.
The dress was not one I could nurse in. What I ended up doing was finding a second outfit (a nice matching skirt and shirt combo). My husband came with me to the suite the bridal party was changing in, I changed into my dress at the last moment, having done my hair etc before getting there, before we all left to go down for the ceremony. My husband watched our son during the ceremony and some pictures after. As soon as the toast was done, before the food, I went back to the room and changed back into my 2 piece outfit I wore before changing to the bridesmaid dress and nursed our son then. I wore that 2 piece outfit the rest of the night so I could nurse on demand. It took a little planning but we managed to pull it off.
As for the price of the dress. I don't know what you can say. Far too many women don't take into consideration the needs of their bridal party and just go a bit "bridezilla". I would be upfront and tell her clearly what your concerns are. I know when my brother was getting married his wife to be appreciated the input, even if it did bug her a bit when looking for something she wanted. She had another lady that was pregnant at the same time plus my needs with a young baby. Would your parents be willing to help in the cost of the clothing needed for your family for the wedding? It's their son getting married. Tell them you'd rather not have to back out of being in the wedding but you may have to if you are not able to afford her expensive taste (though I wouldn't use that wording LOL).

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answers from Denver on

The biggest obstacle that I see is the expected baby (congrats, by the way). The wedding plans sound typical, and not over-the-top. However, a baby is unpredictable! What if you have to have a C-section, what if you have the baby very early or very late, or what if the baby needs to stay in the hospital for some extra attention? And even if everything was picture-perfect and you have the best and healthiest baby in the world, how will alterations work? You'll be pregnant until just a couple weeks before the wedding, and alterations sometimes can take a month or more. I feel that telling them that the baby delivery will just make plans too difficult. And tell them now, not later. They still have 6 months to make other arrangements. It might be a different story if you lived on the same street, but 10 hours away is a big deal with a newborn. That way it's not a matter of money, but nature.

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answers from Kansas City on

You will not enjoy the event if you feel taken advantage of or if you're worried about how you're going to pay the bills.

I suggest you and your hubby back out as attendants. If you both back out, that won't leave her with an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. You have a 100 reasons to back out...just tell her you're getting nervous about being 6 weeks post-op. You will be adjusting to having 3 kids, you're worried about getting the dress altered, etc.

Let your kids stay in as the ring bearer and flower girl. That will cut way down on your budget.

Also, she may not even want you in her wedding. She may have asked you and your husband out of obligation. You might be doing her the favor. I had my brother's wife in my wedding, but I wanted her. My sister totally asked her out of obligation--and actually wished she would have said no. When my brother and his wife got married, she only wanted me and her sister. My mom said she had to have all of her future sisters-in-law (3 of us!). So, her wedding party went from 2 to 4. Again, she was obligated.

Just back out and be done with it!!!


answers from Chicago on

Just to help ease your mind, a flower girl and a ring bearer are not necessities. They are cute little props.

I'd back out. Since both your husband and you are in the wedding, you won't be throwing off the balance of their attendants by doing so. Weddings are, indeed, very expensive, but your family's burden is disproportionate and TRULY burdensome.

I've never been able to wear any of my bridesmaid's dresses again, so I don't count that against the bride.

If you do decide to back out, do it graciously and apologetically. There's no need to insinuate that they are selfish in their choices. Just let them know that you won't be able to swing it and are sorry to have to back out.

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