How to say no when asked to be bridesmaid
A friend asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford it. How do I say no and keep our friendship intact?
You don’t need to go into debt to celebrate a friend. This might sound blasphemous when your social media feeds are drenched in destination bachelor parties and designer bridesmaid dresses. But the truth is that many 20- and 30-somethings are just getting by, and bridesmaids in particular are asked to drop a lot of cash.
The average bridesmaid spends $1,200 per wedding, including attire, travel to the event, accessories and gifts, according to a May 2017 study from wedding-planning website WeddingWire. But that average climbs to over $1,800 when accounting for bachelorette parties and bridal showers.
A true friend will understand if your finances keep you from participating, and that declining her request isn’t reflective of the friendship. Here’s how to make sure nothing gets lost in translation.
Be realistic about budget
First, know what you truly can and can’t afford.
“These types of unscheduled expenses are really what blow up people’s budgets, and also what get people into credit card debt,” says Krista Smith, an Atlanta-based certified financial planner and founder of Planning in Motion. Consider: ■ Do you have more weddings coming up?
■ Might you be asked to be in other wedding parties?
■ Will any of them require significant travel?
■ Are there financial goals you’re prioritizing, like paying off credit card debt?
Try to build up at some emergency savings, even $500, before agreeing to any wedding-related spending, and be realistic about when you could pay off items charged to a credit card. But if you see no way to get out of the debt you’d take on to be a bridesmaid, doing everything your friend wants might not be feasible right now.
It’s OK to ask what you’ll be expected to pay for, says Anne Chertoff, wedding trends expert at WeddingWire.
Consider saying, “Thank you so much for including me in your wedding. I’m on a really tight budget, and I want to make sure I can participate in the way that you deserve. How are you hoping your bridesmaids will be involved in the wedding?” Get a sense of whether you’ll have to buy a specific dress, say, or co-host a bridal shower.
Tell the truth
You might know from the get-go that there’s no way you can make it work. Or maybe you come to that conclusion after learning how elaborate the wedding will be.
Either way, don’t put off the conversation or come up with half-baked excuses for why you can’t participate. That could “leave an ocean of room” for the bride to misinterpret and worry you don’t value her, says Mariana Bockarova, a researcher in psychology at the University of Toronto.
Clearly explain that you care deeply about your friend but that you can’t be in the wedding party, and end the news on a high note. Bockarova suggests saying something like this: “Thank you so much for thinking of me. I’m in a really difficult financial place right now. But you mean so much to me — I’m so happy we have this friendship — and I would love to attend as a guest. I can’t wait to share in your special day.”
Hate leaving behind your furry friend while you trudge through the hours at work? Increasingly, businesses are allowing their employees to bring their pets to the office.
From large companies to locally owned stores and veterinary practices, working alongside animals — especially dogs — is becoming more common. Experts say the practice could improve workers’ moods and productivity.
“I think for a lot of people pets exert a major calming influence on them,” said Ashley Brown, practice manager at Animal Hospital at Brier Creek in Raleigh, N.C. “For our pet parents, they’re not just animals, they are their babies.”
One of the most well-known dog-friendly companies is Amazon.com, which has more than 6,000 dogs joining their owners each day at its Seattle headquarters. Lara Hirschfield, Amazon’s “Woof Pack” manager, said in a PJ Media article that the company has been dog-friendly from the beginning. Some of the canines are even profiled on Amazon’s website, with their names, ages, favorite toys and favorite activities.
A 2016 report from Fortune named the most pet-friendly companies in the U.S. On the list was Google, Salesforce, Genentech, Mars, Build-a-Bear Workshop and the Kimpton hotel chain. In addition to allowing the dogs at work, many of these companies provide pet insurance and bereavement leave for the loss of a pet.
While this may be the latest trend in tech companies, small businesses have been allowing pets in the workplace for years. Often it’s because the animal is a pet lover and because they have fewer employees to manage.
“It also depends on what their core values are and what kind of image they want to portray,” Brown said. “Some companies are known for taking care of employees, I think it kind of depends on that.”
Doug Diesing, owner of Seaboard Wine & Tasting Bar in Raleigh, brings his 10-year-old Lab mix named Gruner to work several days a week.
“We’ve always been dogfriendly,” Diesing said. “It’s a nice calming effect to have a dog laying around when people are shopping. We let customers bring
A Barbie by the broccoli? Hot Wheels by the hot sauce?
Some toy experts say that stocking toys at supermarkets is a recipe to boost the industry as Toys R Us begins to close all 800 of its U.S. stores.
Toymakers could see a bump in sales by targeting grocery stores — and their customers prone to impulse purchases with fidgety kids in tow. That’s the argument of industry experts who say that as the iconic toy behemoth fades away, the country’s more than 38,000 supermarkets may present a bright path forward.
“In a summer display, they might put swim toys by the sunscreen or next to beer coolers,” said Tim Hall, CEO of the analytics startup Simporter and a former Hasbro executive. “There’s opportunity for both the toy companies and for the supermarkets to figure out new ways to do that. It’ll take a little bit of creativity.”
Hall said toys companies often struggle to engage customers in the “off season” - for example, beyond the weeks leading up to Christmas. But parents needs to buy groceries — and their kids want the latest new toy — all year round.
Toy sales in the United States — the world’s largest toy market their dogs in.”
He said that Gruner has his own “fan club” — some customers will shop in the store only when they know Gruner will be there. People who enter the store usually like that a dog is there to greet them, Diesing said.
Similarly, customers at Autobahn Automotive know to look for Duke when they walk in. The 11-year-old black Lab, who belongs to office manager Matthew Drake, has been coming to the office — grew by 1 percent in 2017, according to The NPD Group, totaling $20.7 billion in 2017. Hall said sales are likely to dip this year because of the end of Toys R Us, but there’s reason to expect a rebound in 2019.
Online outlets like Amazon, as well as big-box stores like Walmart and Target, aren’t going anywhere as major toy retailers. In fact, online toy sales accounted for about 22 percent of the market share in 2016, according to The NPD Group. almost every day since Drake got him in 2008.
“He likes people more than he likes other dogs,” Drake said. “I know for us, he’s just a part of the team pretty much. He’s almost like an employee.”
According to a 2016 report by Banfield Pet Hospital, a petfriendly office contributes to a sense of well-being, reduced stress, greater work-life balance and reduced guilt about leaving a pet at home. It can also lead Those figures are expected to be higher for 2017.
“The industry will rebound,” Hall said, “it’s just a question of where the volume will shift.”
Toy sales in unconventional places are nothing new. Last holiday season, high-end department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman sold toys by FAO Schwarz. Bass Pro Shops, a more common go-to for fishing tackle, opened mini Build-A-Bear shops.
Nor do people only look to to improved work relationships, increased productivity and the ability to work longer hours.
In addition, 83 percent of employees surveyed said they had a greater sense of loyalty to their employers when there were pet-friendly policies in place and that 88 percent said having pets at work improves morale.
But what about the potential problems with having dogs around? Some people are afraid of dogs and others might get distracted by the animals.
Having a dog scare or bite a customer is certainly a concern, but this is typically easy to resolve, said Diesing of Seaboard Wine.
“If a customer is a little skittish about a dog, we can bring it to the back room,” he said. “It’s a very rare occurrence. We have more of a problem with unruly children than dogs.”
Most employers also make sure that their employees’ pets are housebroken, well-behaved and vaccinated before allowing them in the office.
As for the best breeds to bring to the office? Brown said there is no ideal type.
“I’ve seen pit bulls that are the best dog in the entire world and Chihuahuas that you wouldn’t want anybody touching,” she said. “I think it depends on the dog.” supermarkets for strawberries, steak and shampoo. Food industry analyst Phil Lempert said supermarkets have increasingly made room for dry cleaners, clothing sections and small clinics and restaurants.
But Lempert doesn’t see supermarkets designating major shelf space to toys. He thinks they would be more likely to set up in-store lockers from which shoppers can pick up toys they ordered online. That might especially appeal to shoppers who don’t like to wait for home grocery services or don’t want packages ordered online sitting on their doorsteps.
David Livingston, a supermarket research analyst, said he doubted grocery stores would “go overboard” with toy displays. Moreover, he thinks parents would quickly grow irritated by toys and the distractions they bring. Some parents don’t bring young kids grocery shopping to avoid the begging and the hassle, Livingston said.
And for the parents who do bring their kids along, they’re more likely to be swayed by a free cookie from the bakery or a free piece of fruit at checkout, Livingston said.
“Being annoyed by toys is going to turn parents off,” Livingston said. “Experts from any industry will say a grocery store is the place to put their product.”
SpareFoot CEO Chuck Gordon’s dog Napoleon roams the floor in January at the moving and storage company’s new space in the WeWork University Park building.
Although experts are pushing the idea of toymakers selling products in grocery stores, other experts say parents would find the practice distracting during food shopping.
Rafael Lopez (left) and Ross Creekmore (right), with his dog Bea Barkthur, talk last year in one of the many sitting areas of uShip company headquarters.