Even bridesmaid's budget is stressed

Q. A close friend is getting married in October and has invited me to be one of her three bridesmaids. I was thrilled and honored – but that was before this sweet woman turned into Bridezilla.

The dresses she selected for us are lovely, and I am happy to pay for mine. But now she has been e-mailing us every few days with new demands. First it was expensive designer shoes, then expensive earrings of a design I would never choose for myself. Then she directed us to get our teeth whitened. Then she made appointments for us to get our hair cut, colored and styled by her stylist, and for manicures, pedicures and eyebrow shaping – all at our own expense. I really don't want my hair cut or colored, and certainly not by a stylist I have never met.

Now she wants us to visit a tanning salon before the wedding. I have very fair skin that does not take a tan. When I explained that I simply turn red and peel, my friend pitched a fit. She says her wedding will be ruined if one of her bridesmaids has “disgusting white skin.”

I'm tempted to back out of the whole affair. What should I do?

Don't back out yet. “Bridezilla” is obviously stressed. Losing a bridesmaid at this stage would aggravate the situation.

What's needed is a prenuptial powwow – just the two of you, in a place conducive to quiet conversation. Explain that you are thrilled and honored to be her bridesmaid, but you are finding it difficult to comply with all her requests. Suggest some compromises, such as having your own hairdresser condition and trim your hair before her hairdresser styles it, and using a self-tanner to give your skin a little more color. Ask her for her ideas about resolving your differences.

Also try to ascertain whether she has any more special requests up her sleeve.

Hopefully, you can work something out calmly and reasonably. If not, and you don't think you can comply with all her wishes, and she is not prepared to make compromises, withdrawing from the wedding party may be your only option.

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