It's a story that's growing old and tired, but it's no less real: The economy is down, the housing market is in shambles, and your No.1 choice for maid of honor was recently laid off from her job.
Can't see proceeding with anyone else by your side? Ask your friend, but be sensitive to her financial concerns. Insist on simple hors d'oeuvres and a homemade cake for your bridal shower. You might offer to cover the cost of her gown and alterations as a thank-you for all of her hard work and generosity. Just be sure not to seem patronizing when you offer financial help. Pride is easily damaged, especially when it comes to money matters.
If you've never been pregnant before, it's virtually impossible to imagine the toll that childbearing and birth take on a woman's body and psyche. Pregnant women often feel clumsy, out of sorts and downright unattractive (even if the rest of us think they're beautiful). Women recovering from recent childbirth (six to eight weeks post-partum) are often in a fair amount of pain, plus they can't fit into any of their pre-pregnancy clothes by a long shot.
So, if you've agonized over appointing your maid of honor only to discover a few weeks later that she's pregnant, be the bigger person and ask if she wants to step down from her role. Trust us, nine times out of 10, the last thing a hugely pregnant woman wants to do is waddle down the aisle in front of a few hundred people. Most new mommies would agree that flabby midsections and leaky breasts are not the characteristics of a happy or comfortable honor attendant.
And if babies are on your eventual to-do list, you'll understand someday and pat yourself on the back for making the offer, even if she doesn't take you up on it. Who knows? Maybe she'll remember your kindness when she's picking names or reading "How to Choose Your Baby's Godmother."