At 7 a.m. you woke up to your cell frantically screeching texts to "Call, Call, Call," your best friend. After trying to shake the haze of last night's "just one more" tequila shots from your head, you return her 18 messages. She's getting married! And you are her maid of honor!

Over brunch, you breathe a sigh of relief because she is planning a long engagement. They want to get married a year from now, plenty of time to plan, nothing has to be frantic, right? Wrong. Your friend wants to go dress shopping...tomorrow. She already has some bridesmaid dresses in mind at a great little boutique downtown. And she just really wants to get "some of these details out of the way." You try not to choke on your toast.

The next day, surrounded by organza and armed with champagne, you brave the boutique. You must admit the little shift dress she had in mind for you is adorable. Albeit a little expensive. And it fits like a glove. You smile at yourself in the reflection, thanking the recent bout of food poisoning you had which helped you drop a few pounds. And then the realization hits. She's expecting you to still fit into this dress a year from now. That's an average of four breakups, which according to single girl math, means 16 pints of Ben and Jerry's and 20 bottles of wine.

Before freaking out on your friend, remember she is a bride, and therefore not the same girl you knew last week. Take a deep breath. Okay, maybe two. Do not run out of the dressing room accusing her of "losing her damn mind" for ordering dresses this early (really, trust me on this one). First, try and weigh how committed she is to this particular dress. If you get the impression that this dress is about as non-negotiable to her as her fourth-grade loyalty to Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block...

  1. Befriend the salesperson. Quietly explaining the situation to them (they've heard it ALL), ask about their return policy. Working within that, what are your options?
  2. Be realistic about your body. If this dress isn't offering a lot of grace and you know that you will most likely need it, get the bigger size.
  3. Remember that a good tailor can be your savior. If the store has an in-house tailor, consult with them about the dress.
  4. Most importantly, it's just a dress to you, but this experience is something your friend has been planning in her mind since you first let her borrow your Wedding Barbie. Make whatever concessions you can and when in doubt, repeat the following mantra, "She will do the same thing for me, she will do the same thing for me."