Being My Friend’s Bridesmaid Has Basically Bankrupted Me

My friend’s upcoming wedding will undoubtedly be the happiest day of her life, but as one of her bridesmaids, the lead-up to it has been one giant nightmare. Here’s how agreeing to be a part of her special day has left me both financially and emotionally broken.

Frankly, I was surprised when she asked me. When my friend first asked me to be her bridesmaid, I was excited but equally surprised. We were friends in high school, but after going to college and getting jobs, partners, and new friends of our own, we hardly ever saw each other anymore. We would get together maybe twice a year for coffee, but I never imagined she’d ask me to join her bridal party.

I should have known it was going to be expensive. Not only did I swiftly learn that I was going to be one of 10 bridesmaids, but I also quickly found out that there wasn’t just going to be one wedding, but that she was planning on having two wedding celebrations. It sounded like it was going to be quite a costly affair, but it never crossed my mind that I would be the one having to fork over a large chunk of my hard-earned cash to make it happen.

Costs were kept secret and now I see why. Although I suspected the double-wedding event was going to be pretty lavish, it had never dawned on me that I’d have to pay for my involvement in it. In my past experiences as a bridesmaid, I had only ever had to pay for bachelorette party activities. The dress, the shoes, the wedding accommodation, and all the other bridesmaid “necessities” had always been covered by the couple. To my horror, however, that’s definitely not the case this time around. To make it worse, my friend never mentioned this at the start. Had she told me I was going to have to pay for the honor of being a bridesmaid, I would have politely declined.

There was an international bachelorette party. Here’s a tip for brides: if all your bridesmaids live in the same big metropolitan city, there’s no need to go abroad to have a good time. This is especially true if your bridal party has already had to spend an exorbitant amount on all other aspects of the wedding. When my friend told us she wanted to go abroad, I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap. I never dreamed that the whole trip would cost me a month’s rent though. Flights, accommodation, activities, and drinks were all left up to us to have to pay. Had it been fun, it may have been worth it—but when I saw the awful, tacky result of what my money had paid for, I wasn’t impressed.

She didn’t consider anyone’s finances. One of the most frustrating things about this whole experience is the complete selfishness and lack of awareness my friend has demonstrated during the lead up to her wedding. She’s very aware that a number of her bridesmaids (including myself) aren’t in a financial position to throw money away on her every whim, yet this didn’t stop her from continuously adding expenses to an ever-growing list of things she wanted us to pay for.

The whole thing has left me completely broke. Because she didn’t say at the start how much the whole thing was going to cost me and instead chose to reveal what she wanted us to pay for next in a random, spontaneous way, I wasn’t able to put aside a chunk of cash to use on her wedding. Instead, I’ve been forced to have to dip into my rent money in order to finance being her bridesmaid. I’ve now found myself in an awkward position of not being able to pay my rent, and equally unable to afford additional bridesmaids expenditures.

People kept telling me to get out but I couldn’t. Because my friend didn’t tell me from the start how much being a bridesmaid was going to cost, I wasn’t able to just decline her offer. The expenses came in steadily, but after each one, I thought, “OK, this must be it now.” When I would tell my other friends how much it had already cost me, they told me I should tell my friend that I quit. However, after having already paid for so many things and thinking to myself that surely there couldn’t be any more, I’ve found myself in too deep and in a situation where it’s now too late to back out.

When I told her I couldn’t afford it, she reacted badly. Finally, after realizing I wasn’t going to be able to afford my rent because of all of her demands, I decided to tell my friend that I couldn’t pay for any more bridesmaid expenses. Instead of being understanding or even a little apologetic, she became defensive and cold. She told me there wouldn’t be any further expenses, but I definitely sensed that a very real rift had formed between us.

It’s broken our friendshipThe next few times I saw my friend, she acted extremely distant and passive-aggressive. As it turns out, being honest with her hadn’t helped the situation at all. If anything, it had only made her believe I didn’t care about her wedding. Of course, this is completely untrue. I’m so happy for her and her husband-to-be. However, I wish she could understand that her happy day isn’t everyone else’s top priority in life.

The experience has scarred me. This whole nightmare wedding experience has really put me off of ever wanting to be a bridesmaid again. It’s caused me so much added stress and worry and it has not only crippled me financially, it’s also put a real strain on my mental health. Constantly worrying about how I’m going to make rent and how I’ll have enough cash to pay for her ever-increasing demands has left me feeling broken and constantly on edge. I’ll definitely think twice before ever agreeing to be a bridesmaid again, especially now that I know that it can not only cost a heap of money, but it can also cost me a friendship too.

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