Article posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 9:47am

Dear Mary Pat,

I’m pinching pennies after recently saying ‘I do,’ going on a tropical honeymoon, and buying a home. But my new sister-in-law is getting married and I’m scared I’ll have no pennies left to pinch.

She lives in California, I’ve met her a handful of times and she was in my wedding. She’s asked me to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding, but I’m a little overwhelmed. She’s picked out a gaudy, dare I say down right ugly dress that costs $350. (My bridesmaid dresses cost $80). Add getting our hair and makeup done, shoes, travel expenses to even attend the wedding, and a gift – it’s just too much! I’d honestly like to opt out of participating at a bridesmaid. What do I do?


Budget Conscious Bridesmaid

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Dear Budget Conscious Bridesmaid,

I am afraid to say that I think you need to honor your commitment and stay bridesmaid for your sister in law. I’m hoping that you will have enough time to save for the big event. The dress is a bit high, however, you will have the travel expenses either way. I seriously doubt you would be able to graciously decline going to the wedding since this is your husband’s sister. No one is going to force you to get your hair and make up done, so you don’t need to spend money on that. Or, maybe your sister in law is planning on treating for this.

Unless this is causing a severe financial hardship, I suggest that you start saving for the wedding expenses and discuss this with your husband. Your sister in law was part of your wedding and the awkwardness that backing out would cause would not be worth the relatively few dollars saved. Think of it as investing in future family harmony.

Plus, lest you forget, California is a pretty amazing place to visit. Consider it part family wedding/part adventure/part your one and only yearly vacation.

Good luck,

Mary Pat