DEAR AMY: I have a longtime friend who has asked our circle of five women to be “bridesmaids” for her wedding photos. She has been married to her (second) husband for years. They own a beautiful home and have two children. She had a lavish first wedding and opted for a small second wedding, to which none of us were invited. She comes from a wealthy family and her parents are buying her a new wedding dress and paying for the photographer. She wants to do this as a 40th birthday present to herself. She asked her bridesmaids to drive to her parents’ ranch (a three-hour drive each way) for a vow renewal. Our children and spouses were invited. She has chosen a bridesmaids dress that costs $100. She says she wants to get “perfect photos.” We were just informed that it is no longer a vow renewal because it was too much effort, so the weekend will include no spouses or children, except for her own. This is now a hardship. A couple of us are single moms who would have to arrange for weekend child care and are stressed out about the cost and time commitment. We all work long hours. We can’t afford her “asks” for her fake wedding photos, but don’t want to let her down. Would it be unreasonable to ask her to be flexible on the dress or to choose a closer setting for the photos?
DEAR PUT UPON: First, a clarification: You and your friends are not “bridesmaids.” There is no ceremony, no celebration and no bride and groom.
You are props.
She dangled an event in front of you, which never materialized, and that event is what you all agreed to.
I suggest you all tell her, politely, that you simply can’t do this. If she wants to have her fake dream wedding photos taken at her parents’ ranch, then that’s her business. Perhaps as a birthday gift, you and your friends could host a party and pitch in and hire a photographer to take some fun candid shots of your group.
DEAR AMY: I am a woman in my late 20s, and I have a serious girlfriend. My partner and I have been together for nearly four years. We’ve lived in three states together, own a dog, have successful careers and ultimately love each other the best we can. It has taken a while for my girlfriend to be ready to commit to marriage, but when she was finally ready, she asked my mother for her blessing to propose to me. I told her ahead of time that it would mean something to my mom. It ended up backfiring and my mom told her that she was “uncomfortable with the idea until she could have a conversation” with me. My mother asked her to wait to propose. I am very upset. I feel like it was selfish to put this on hold until it works for her. I will be home for the holidays and fully intend to speak with her about this, but isn’t she being selfish? Do parents ever really say no when someone asks for their child’s hand in marriage?
DEAR NOT ENGAGED: It is possible that you are reading your mother’s reaction incorrectly.
When my (now) husband went to my mother to ask for my hand, she replied, “Amy doesn’t have to ask my permission for anything.” She then asked me (privately) if I wanted to get married (I did), and she told my guy, “Well, there you have your answer.”
Not quite the charming scene we had in mind.
Your mother might want to confer some serious objections to you. If your partner had been reluctant until recently, she could caution you that reluctance before marriage can translate into something else later. Or she might just want to ask you if this is what you want.
Have this conversation with your mother. It’s true — she fouled up this moment, but if you two want to get married, her reaction shouldn’t change the outcome.
DEAR AMY: “Disturbed Daughter” wanted to confront her father over snapping at her mother, but you told her to handle it privately. I disagree. I think she should call him out when he is doing it.
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Because of the dynamic she described, I thought it wisest to start with a private chat, but if that doesn’t inspire him to alter his behavior, then she should definitely call him out.