DEAR ABBY: I have a question regarding "Never the Bridesmaid" (5/14). Why "must" a female in a wedding party wear a dress? I stood proudly next to my best friend last year wearing a beautiful suit that I had made (with her blessing) in a color she picked. She made it clear from the time she asked me to stand with her that she had no intention of asking me to wear a dress because she knew it would have made me extremely uncomfortable. While this was easy in the small wedding party, I have also seen women wear pantsuits in other weddings. Not all women wear dresses, Abby. -- D.P. IN VERMONT
DEAR D.P.: You're right. Readers offered other "suit"able suggestions -- as well as encouraging advice -- to "Never." Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My best friend had the same issues as "Never the Bridesmaid." I bought her a beautiful black satin tuxedo jumpsuit with white satin lapels. It was classic and lovely. Ten years later, she still wears it for formal occasions. You can't do that with most bridesmaids' dresses. -- WENDY'S BEST FRIEND
DEAR ABBY: I, too, am uncomfortable in dresses. I didn't even wear one for my own wedding. However, I have never regretted setting my feelings aside, hiding my misery and putting on a dress, hose and shoes to be in two of my best friends' weddings, as well as my brother's. I would like to encourage "Never" to remind herself that it's just a few hours in a lifetime on an occasion that will mean a lot to so many. -- DRESS REGISTER WITH NO REGRETS
DEAR ABBY: There are two occasions when I get into a dress no matter what: weddings and funerals. It's her brother's wedding, and they should not be catering to a bridesmaid. It is an honor to be a part of someone's wedding, especially a sibling's.
She should get over it for one day and wear the dress out of respect for her brother and the occasion. I did it for my best friend. Having to wear a dress you would prefer not to is just part of being a bridesmaid. She should step out of her comfort zone for an hour or two, smile, and help them have the wedding they want. Everyone will be watching the bride anyway. -- JESSICA IN TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: My son was married last month and I could not have been prouder. His older sister is slightly disabled from a birth defect. Her left leg has no muscle and is about a third the size of the normal one. The tendon is short and she walks with a noticeable limp. Her left foot is also a size smaller than the right, and she cannot wear high heels. Because of this she has not worn a dress since she was a little girl. She is also extremely shy.
However, when her brother's fiancee invited her to be a bridesmaid she didn't hesitate to accept the honor. Seeing how she put aside her feelings to walk down that long aisle brimming with love for her brother is what made me proud.
Please tell "Never" to get over herself. The wedding isn't about her, and she shouldn't insult the couple by asking if she can do something else. She should choose NOT to be a miserable bridesmaid and bless their day. -- PROUD MOM IN S.F.
DEAR ABBY: My wedding was 20 years ago, and my husband's sister (who also didn't like dresses) was part of my wedding. She was not thrilled at the thought of wearing a bridesmaid's dress but wore one anyway because she loved her brother (and me). She passed away last September, and we treasure the memory we have of our sister -- not only in our hearts, but also in our wedding album. -- MISSING MY BRIDESMAID