10/26 Real Bride Amy: Broke-Ass Friends

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Basically, the Broke-Ass uniform. Via Etsy seller TrendingTops

I’ve talked about dealing with moms and in-laws, but I’m finding dealing with friends to be the most challenging to handle. I don’t know why; maybe it’s because it’s a less secure relationship than a family member, but it’s adding to the already stressful situation I’ve been having.

Last week, I told you about our recent venue visit and how plans got turned upside down. Needless to say, we had to reevaluate some things and change our vision a bit. In case you haven’t been following the saga, our goal was to really spend quality time with friends and family, so instead of having an event that only lasts a few hours like a traditional wedding, we found a small “resort” where people could come stay the weekend. We are renting a house, hosting guests for a big dinner party Saturday night and having the ceremony and a brunch reception Sunday morning. We had hoped people would come up and stay for two days and maybe two nights so we could all hang out and enjoy the activities at the resort.

When we went to visit a few weeks ago, we found out that our house for Saturday would not accommodate our projected guest count and construction plans for the space we planned on holding our ceremony fell through, and the alternative would need quite a bit of gussying up. Which brings me to our new plan: We’re renting a larger (more expensive) house on the property that also includes a tent for the reception Sunday. Because it’s bigger — costing us more — we are hoping people will stay in it and pay for their rooms to defer some of the cost. I’m only asking couples to pay $400 for the weekend, so it seemed reasonable to me. It’s less than the actual cost of the house, and it’s as much — if not less — than they would pay for their own accommodations. I sent out a note to a group of my friends explaining the situation asking if they would agree to take rooms so we could move forward with the venue and go with the house rental. I got two immediate yeses, which put me more at ease, but the next morning that changed.

The next day I opened my email to find a note from my closest friend, and would-be MOH. She casually told me she and her husband chatted about it, and they decided to find another place to stay in the area so they were just going to come up Saturday, stay at their rental and leave Sunday afternoon. She wished me luck with the house. I was really upset! First, I was counting on my friends to buy in to this plan in order to make it work. Second, her, of all people, was not going along with the plan. I started to see our whole vision crumbling once again and Plan C falling apart. If people aren’t going to come and stay, it defeats the purpose of the whole event. I know the real purpose is a marriage, but my point is, I could do that with just the two of us, close to home, without all the fanfare and planning and cost that I’m putting in to this for our guests to enjoy. I’ve really been so guest-centric in all of my decisions, I feel like I’m being as accommodating as possible.

Real Bride Amy serving as a bridesmaid

One of my many bridesmaid appearances. Isn’t it my turn now?

We talked via text and she asked to get coffee. She apologized saying she didn’t understand how important it was that she was there for the weekend. She did change her mind and is coming up Friday, but is still staying elsewhere. The reason? Money. Here’s where it gets messy: Friendships and finances don’t mix, but I hate this as a justification. Unfortunately, some things you can’t put a price on. For me, friends are not an area where budget comes in to play. I’m trying to respect her broke-assness, but I’m having a hard time. Mainly because I didn’t do a formal bridal party for this reason. I was in her wedding, went away for a bachelorette weekend, threw her a lovely shower, dress, hair, shoes … the whole nine. Plus, I did the makeup for her and the rest of the party, gratis. I easily spent over $1,000. And now I’m asking $400, a year in advance, and she can’t swing it. It’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s not just the dollars and cents, but it’s about value, like she’s saying I’m not worth it. It’s not an easy situation to be in to ask friends and family to spend money on you in the first place, but to have them say no when you do ask is worse.

So ladies, what do you do when your friends play the broke card?

Amy is an outside-the-box Upstate N.Y. busy bride-to-be! She squeezes in wedding planning between her day job in healthcare, her second job as a makeup artist, an 8-year-old soon-to-be stepson and blogging for BAB as well as a local community blog. She tries to have a social life and occasionally sleeps. In her precious free time, you'll find her snuggling on the couch with her favorites, her two rescue pups, catching up on her shows and eating a snack that is not on the pre-wedding diet. Follow her on Instagram @beautywithsass.
  • Julie

    Maybe if you broke down the cost into installments it might be easier for your friend to go along with? For me, committing to $400 a year from now is tough, especially if it’s a weekend away because it means I’m going to have to pay for food for all three meals, gas to get there and back, and any kind of entertainment the group decides to take in while away. That’s not considering if she has a pet she needs to put in a kennel or leave with someone or a child that she needs to find childcare for. Add to that the normal costs of a wedding (clothing, gifts etc) and that could get close to $1000 pretty quickly. This friend might also feel obligated to do some of the things you did for her for you even if she’s not formally part of a bridal party and might be considering that as part of her costs as well. I think I’d probably have a hard time too because its like you’re asking her to pay to attend your wedding. When someone asks you to be a part of their bridal party, you are aware that there are costs associated with it and you have some role in deciding upon those costs. Personally I unfortunately don’t have the ability to choose friends over budget myself all the time at least in terms of doing exactly what everyone else is doing, but like your friend I would still do my best to be there despite that.

    That being said, I understand your feelings being hurt, especially when you put so much work into her wedding. Weddings can do a number on relationships but the best thing you can do to try and combat that is being open and honest (but kind) with the people you love. It sounds like you’re already in the process of doing that by sitting down and having coffee with her. Hopefully you can resolve it and come to an understanding between the two of you.

  • Lauren

    Hi there, Amy! I’m sorry this situation is stressing you out, and I hope you find a solution soon! However, as a fairly broke grad student who has spent the past year paying for a bridesmaid dress+alterations, a bachelorette weekend at the beach, and multiple 3+ hour trips out of state for the bridal shower, shopping, and actual wedding, I can totally see how your friend is kind of balking at the cost of this affair. Although you see it as “just” $400, I agree with the commenter below who is also taking into consideration all of the OTHER THINGS a person in a wedding/attending a wedding ends up paying for (including gas/travel, lodging, food, clothing, gifts, etc.) in addition to “just” staying at the house you hope to rent for the weekend. And while I TOTALLY feel your pain about having spent a ton of money on somebody else’s wedding, I think that going in expecting other people to be OK with spending a lot of money on yours “in return” is a little bit selfish, and not the perspective you should have — if you really get down to it, you didn’t HAVE to do those things you mentioned (throwing a shower, free makeup, etc.) but you presumably did them out of the goodness of your heart, not because you expected to be “repaid” for them later.
    Additionally, I think part of the issue is your expecting your guests to help you recoup the costs of your venue. While it’s a good idea to try and keep the event in the same place by sharing the costs with others, I think you inherently took the risk of having people not want to pay $400 when they could just as easily stay somewhere else for cheaper when you rented the place and expected them to pay to stay.
    In the end, I hope your wedding works out wonderfully and that everything goes well! It sounds like your friend is doing her best to be able to share your special day, so take that as a win and don’t let something as petty as money ruin your friendship. However, you may need to take a step back and consider whether or not the expectations you have for your guests are really fair before you get hurt by more people over finances.

    • Amy

      To clarify, the $400 is really the only expense. We’re providing food and drinks for the weekend. She doesn’t have childcare, although children are welcome, and pet car is also a non-issue. If she were in my bridal party, or MOH as she would be, she would have a lot more expenses than lodging. I’m not really voluntarily in this situation where I have to hope others step in, but I did hope that close friends would do so because it does help, regardless of money or whatever else. Despite that, I’m not asking every guest to do so, only very close friends, and I am asking $400 for three nights, which is less than what they would pay elsewhere. What I was trying to portray that it isn’t really the money itself, it’s the value of the thing. You’re right, I didn’t HAVE to do any of those things, but I did them, and never gave a thought to not being able to do something because of the money. It wasn’t about the money; it was about my friend and what she wanted, but when the tables are turned, money would come in the way, and THAT is what upset me.

  • Sarah

    I very well could have the wrong idea about this, but with what you’ve written, it does sound like you are asking too much. You are asking people to cover the costs of the party you are throwing for them. If they can find cheaper accommodations elsewhere, who are you to tell them where to sleep at night?I understand how frustrating it is to have your plans re-worked and re-worked again, and you might be feeling a little desperate, but that is nobody else’s problem. I don’t know how the cost now differs from original plan, but $400 is a lot of money (are we not all Broke-Asses around here!?), no matter how special someone is to you. Cost is a completely valid reason to make alternate arrangements. There is also the possibility that something else is at play here–social anxiety, maybe–that is causing your friend to not want to stay for the whole wedding experience. I mean, I love to celebrate, but the idea of staying and socializing for a whole wedding weekend with minimal downtime is kind of terrifying for an introvert like me, especially if I didn’t know anyone but the bride very well.

    I’m glad that you were able to work it out with your friend, but I think you should just be happy she is coming to hang out with you for a whole weekend while you celebrate one of the biggest events in your life(!), not stay hung up on the fact that she can’t pay.