Being A Bridesmaid Is Costing Me My Job

Another woman who works full time and is in school for nursing told The Grindstone that she is very worried about all the money the three weddings she is in is going to cost her. She said:

“Being in these weddings is literally going to put me in debt. Basically I can either buy these three dresses (that I don’t even like and will not wear again) and get hotels or you know, eat regularly. I think this switch goes off when someone gets engaged. Even if they don’t have a ton of money themselves they forget and just expect people to dole out the cash. They don’t even think about what they are asking their closest friends to do.”

“Be honest up front,” says Jodi R.R. Smith, author of The Etiquette Book, which includes advice on everything from the proper music selection to the wording on wedding invitations. “If you try to be able to do it, then you end up maxing out your credit cards and going into debt,” Smith said to CNN. “You should never be going into debt for a friend’s wedding.”

In the hit film Bridesmaids, Kristin Wiig’s character Annie became emotionally distraught when she was asked to be maid of honor and she inevitably loses her job. No one we talked to lost their job as a direct result of being in a wedding but one woman said she got in trouble for planning the bachelorette at work. She knew it wasn’t right but she believes brides get away with a bit more planning at work.

About  90% of women do wedding planning on their company’s time, according to a recent survey by, and . Some bosses, however, appear to be fine with a little wedding planning between work calls. According to the survey 43% of  respondents say managers were supportive and understanding of their wedding planning and were willing to overlook a bride-to-be’s temporary distraction during the months leading up to her wedding . Management may turn a blind eye because they are happy these women are getting married. Planning their wedding is their one last great hurrah before they settle down and get more serious about their careers. As Sheila Robinson Kisspsychotherapist, author, humorist, and trainer, said “marriage represents a secret rite of passage in the eyes of many people that represents a sense of stability, reliability, and grounding.”

Weddings are just getting bigger and more lavish every year (as of 2010 the total wedding market was expected to be worth $42.73 billion)  and though we want to be there for our friends and are so honored and excited when we are asked to be part of the celebration, we forget what a commitment it is to be in a wedding. Nobody wants to be a maid of dishonor but do any of us want to have a breakdown on a plane either?





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    • Molly

      Too true! We have 7 weddings to attend this year–all for close friends and 5 of them require time of off work and significant travel. We have incurred $5000 in just travel costs for my husband and myself, not to mention what we’ll spend on gifts, attire for both of us (damn black-tie weddings!), and stuff like showers and bachelor and bachelorette parties. Of course, it’s not like I’d want to miss any of these weddings but our bank account is definitely paying the price!

      When we were getting married two years ago, we knew that a lot of our friends and family would need to travel to attend and be in our wedding, so we did the bachelor/bachelorette on the Thursday before the wedding (and told everyone that we would not be offended if they couldn’t make it), I chose bridesmaid dresses on sale at Anthropologie, and we didn’t allow anyone to throw us showers. But even if you try to think ahead to save folks money, it still adds up!

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    • Lastango

      “we didn’t allow anyone to throw us showers”

      Very thoughtful of you.

      My mother came from a poorer family which had already paid for the weddings of her two sisters. It was unacceptable to my mother and father that the cost of yet another wedding should be added to the burden, so they married at a justice of the peace, just the two of them present, and told everyone afterwards. There were some complaints, but people understood. Times were hard.

      Just sayin’

    • Eileen

      Putting aside the fact that I hate the word “bachelorette” (it’s NOT a word), I don’t see why planning a huge party right before the huger party has to be mandatory. Why does it have to be a fancy, lavish thing? I always pictured a couple of friends meeting at a bar as kind of ideal. (Also, why do you need a fancy shower? Again, you’re already having a ginormous party!)

    • K

      Sounds like many of us are in the same boat for attending weddings. Last year I had eight, this year seven. At this point, it’s a running joke with my co-workers that I have too many friends and need to downsize. During the Fall and Winter of ’11 I knew there were many coming up and tried purchasing dresses that were on clearance for the season to save a little on this wedding season’s dresses. Does anyone have any suggestions for cost savings on shower gifts and wedding gifts? I’ve tried to be smart and creative in my gift giving but don’t want to be too frugal and misinterpreted for cheap!