It may have been a wedding fit for a princess. The problem was that the bridesmaid didn't have a royal treasury to help her pay the bills.
Two years ago, a bridesmaid wrote to A Practical Wedding, asking for advice with a very common source of bridal party tension — the bridesmaid dress.
As she explained, she and the bride had been friends for more than 15 years and were almost like sisters. But she didn't take into account the fact that her friend had champagne tastes and was about to indulge them.
Though they had both grown up as “working class poor,” the bride was marrying a very wealthy man. During a bridal party trip to check out dresses, the bridesmaid learned that the bride was looking at dresses that started at $7,000. And the bride's favorite dress was $15,000.
This was so far out of the bridesmaid's price range that she had to tell the bride. But it didn't go well. The bridesmaid wrote that she had started trying to save up as soon as the engagement was announced, but she wasn't prepared for this kind of expense:
I pulled her aside and told her that I would have to back out of being a bridesmaid, and I told her WHY (that I cannot afford the dress she chose, nor the shoes, the accessories, alterations, and more). I told her that I would be happy to participate in another way (perhaps do a reading), and if that wasn’t possible, then I would be content to be a guest. She was very, very upset with me, told me that I couldn’t back out, etc.
After the scene at the bridal shop, the bridesmaid tried to reach out to the bride, calling and sending texts, but got no response. Eventually, she sent a letter explaining that she couldn't afford the dress:
I finally wrote her a long letter, explaining that I valued her as a person and our friendship, and that I very much wanted to be a part of her wedding, but that unfortunately a $15,000 dress and even a $7,000 dress is completely out of my budget. I have a job but after rent, insurance, loans, and other expenses, I sometimes have to skip meals in order to save even a little for emergencies.
The reply she received indicated that she wasn't forgiven. In fact, she wasn't welcome at the wedding anymore:
[She] sent me a letter in return telling me how hurt she was that I backed out, that obviously I don’t value her or our long friendship because if I did, I would be there for her wedding. She said that none of the other bridesmaids nor the maid of honor backed out (maid of honor is her sister; other bridesmaids are her fiancé’s sisters, and her fiancé’s family is paying for their dresses, etc.) so that tells her that I don’t care about her. She said that I don’t deserve her and she is never talking to me again.