Turning a Mouse into a Lion Quickly

Reply Fri 22 Nov, 2002 10:12 pm
Help! I need to turn my sweet ("I want to please everyone") daughter into a tyrant in one week. Next Friday she's going to take her bridal attendants shopping for the bridesmaid dresses. She's not looking forward to it because she's dealing with 3 future sisters-in-law and she wants to please them all. On the one hand she has one who would rather starve for a month to be able to spend hundreds on a pair of shoes and on the other hand she's got one who is 'frugal'. One wants a designer dress; the other wants a discount. One wants short; one wants long...

I keep telling her it's her wedding and it's what she wants that counts. She agrees and then says something about not wanting her future sisters-in-law to hate her. It doesn't help that two of them (the grooms sisters) were recently in their cousin's wedding party and did nothing but complain about the dress they had to wear.

I've reminded her the photos will be something she'll be looking at for a long, long time so she'd better pick something she likes, but... Any suggestions?
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 01:35 am
Couldn't you just pick something out in advance and present it as a done deal? I mean, if the dresses have somehow been picked out to coordinate with the somethingorother, and there is just no way the somethingorother could possibly be changed at the last minute, who could possibly argue. You'll have to dream up your own somethingorother, of course.
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 01:46 am
bandylu2- My deepest sympathies-

Roger- If I have learned nothing else in life, I have learned one thing. Weddings and funerals bring out the worst in people.

bandylu- I kind of agree with Roger. What your daughter needs to do though, is to consider the people who will wear the dress, and then pick out something that will look at least acceptable on everybody. She should go with you, and pick out the dress, (or maybe two or three, and let the women "duke it out")

bandylu- One of my favorite quotes is from Ricky Nelson's song, "Garden Party". It goes, "You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself". I think that it might be a good idea that you talk to your daughter about why she has the need to please everyone. All she could rationally be expected to do is to give the dresses some thought.

I don't know if this is the first wedding of a child, but I have some advice to offer. Expect the unexpected, and you won't get hassled by it.
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 06:21 am
bandtlu - Is your daughter still right around you? Could she collect a buunch of magazines/pics and go through them, pick out what she likes and then have them all review them and discuss while you are around?

That puts you into the picture and takes things off of her a little but it might give her a measure of confidence too. ???? Jeez, guys are sooooo easy. Tux? You want a tux? Yeah, I can do that... Where's the beer?
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 07:10 am
bandylu my deepest sympathys for what you are about to embark inito...like Phoenix says..brings out the worst in people, unfortunately.

I would definatley sit her down and review with her that in order to make this as painfree as possible she has to be the one who
#1 considers the body types of her bridesmaids for the style
#2 picks the colors she wants
#3 decide on one or two she would like
This way, in bringing it to the table she can say she has made the decision that will make her the happiest while taking into consideration their comfort...positive, positive
You might also want to bring up the fact that more than one person in this world has worn with a great smile a dress they never thought they'd be caught dead in to please a bride
Its her day, its her way or the highway
As far as the types of girls invovled...well, its not their wedding and when they want to either spend a fortune or be frugal...it will have to be on their own. If they have a problem with it, they should not be in the wedding. This is more than what they want.
Tough love..ya know?
If it comes down to it..I suppose the mothers can have a chat with the girls but, Im hoping they're adults...for all your sakes.
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 07:52 am
Wow - here (in Toronto, in an urban community setting) there are 2 alternatives - 1. the bride decides what will be worn, and she pays, or 2. she says 'these are the boundaries of what you can select' and they pay. I've seen better results with the 2nd option. The attendants picked what suited them within the boundaries and didn't seem to mind paying as a result.

It's a tough one. Really easy to get into a family mess that can last for years.

Is it too late to elope, or go to only one attendant?
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 08:39 am

The Bridegroom (remember him?) picked your daughter because she is not like one of his Loudly Opinionated Sisters. Remind your daughter to invoke his name and in "________ and I thought...."

eBeth has a good point--Who pays? If the money is coming from the Bride & Groom or the Family of the Bride, the price limit should be established from the get-go.

If Option "B" is in effect, your daughter, the blushing bride, should take a picture of her dress along and resign herself that her wedding attendents are going to be dressed as Three Opinionated Women who just happen to be in the wedding party.

If she wants a Picture Book Wedding, she's going to have to make and enforce decisions. If she wants to please everyone, the wedding will be a Memorable Pictorial Spectacle.

Can she take you along to be the Archtypal Opinionated Mother of the Bride and Keeper of the Privy Purse? Otherwise, stock up with some peaceful music, some good books and a great dallop of Generational Perspective. Remember, she's old enough to get married--and you do want those potential grandbabies to have a resident daddy.

Otherwise, what will be, will be. Are you to be spared Flower Girl and Ring Bearer?

Good luck.
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 08:50 am
One option I've seen that worked out rather nicely was when the bride and the attendants picked a fabric - and the attendants then picked the pattern of what they wanted to wear. I've seen that at a few weddings. At one, it was all the same fabric/same colour - with 3 different, beautiful, appropriate dresses. At another it was same fabric/same colour, 2 dresses and 1 extraordinary pantsuit - again all 3 really appropriate. The 3rd was same fabric/different colours - 3 different dresses. That one wasn't quite as successful as 2 of the dresses were so similar that the 3rd person looked 'off'. There are certainly a number of different ways to make it work, if everyone can be a bit open-minded (difficult around such a high stress event, but it is possible).
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 08:56 am
Oh, and everybody should be clear on what they're picking. I once helped a bride picked out fabric and patterns for her attendants. I thought it was for her sister (who i didn't much care for) and unknown others. Turned out the bride ASSUMED i knew i was the maid of honour. I ended up in a grotesquely flowered dress, with a series of four bows going across my back (largest at the shoulder, smallest just above the butt), hugely puffed sleeves ... OH the HORROR! I learned my lesson.

Suggest to your daughter that if she's picking, she pick as if she is one of the people who will have to wear the selected dress/outfit. It changes your perspective enormously.
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 10:26 am
Your comments about frugal and saving for shoes make me think maybe they're expected to pay -- I think they do get more say in that situation. I consulted all of the bridesmaids, and came up with a very simple bias-cut design that genuinely looked great on all of them. (They all had very different body types.)

Great article:

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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 10:34 am
That article is great. I think I've got a dress to enter in next year's contest! :wink:
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 08:12 pm
Thanks to all for the great suggestions. The bridesmaids will pay for their own dresses (the custom around here) so that's why the difference in pocketbooks counts. She's selected a color (periwinkle blue) which probably won't change much (maybe a slightly different shade of blue depending on mfg.). Picking a color and a mfg. and letting them take it from there is not a bad idea (Haven't spoken to her about that though -- she's off at a conference in Kansas City this weekend). The reason for the mfg. choice is that periwinkle can actually vary tremendously depending on who's making the fabric.

Unfortunately, she's off at grad school (well, actually that's not unfortunate at all except I don't get to talk to her face to face much). I'm trying to be as 'hands off' as possible so as not to interfere but maybe I can go along to act as buffer.

This should be a fun time for her and she is dreading the hunt for the right dress. I've already made some appointments for her -- starting with the place she got her dress (it just came in so all the girls can see it and maybe start from there). I'm hoping it will be as easy as it was with her own dress -- went to one place where she tried on one dress and then to the second place where she bought the second dress she tried on). She can make decisions for herself (with a little support from Mom -- yes it IS absolutely beautiful and who cares what it costs).

And as for why she wants to please everyone -- uhm, I think she kind of takes after her mother.
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