Anyone who creates any type of art or design knows that fair compensation is a sore point in the industry.
While some people are dear customers who understand the value and labor involved in completing a project, others simply do not understand or aren’t interested in finding out.
One woman experienced this recently while designed a wedding dress for a friend on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Careless_Chicken_156 finally had to call it quits after the woman changed her design plans and materials multiple times, and scoffed at the price tag.
But when she saw the woman scrambling with last-minute wedding planning, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was being heartless.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for backing out of a promise I made and consequently leaving a bride without a wedding dress?”
The OP’s friend, Karina, hired her to make her a wedding dress.
“I (25 [female]) am a seamstress. It’s not my job, but I’ve done quite a few pieces throughout the years.”
“So far, I’ve made three wedding gowns and a couple of graduation dresses, apart from everyday clothes.”
“My friend Karina (26 [female]) is getting married and she asked me to make her dress.”
“As a wedding gift, I told her that I would pay for the materials, as long as they are not expensive or very unique, so she just had to pay me an hourly rate for my work.”
“She wasn’t very excited about that, she expected me to gift her the dress, but she accepted.”
“This was three months ago, and I could already feel something was not right. Looking back at it, I was dumb for not listening to my gut.”
Katrina turned out to be hard to design for.
“Karina has been an absolute nightmare to work with. I truly have never encountered someone more exasperating (and I’ve worked in retail).”
“So far, she’s changed multiple times the fabric, the shape, the details, and the overall design of the dress.”
“She has also been extremely specific about certain, very expensive, materials.”
“Karina says she has good taste and needs everything to be perfect, but I just think she is being extremely obnoxious.”
Then Katrina made another unexpected demand.
“My breaking point was when she decided that she ‘needed’ Swarovski crystals in her dress.”
“I asked her if she thought of adding them as details, but then she tells me that she wants the whole dress covered in them.”
“In Swarovski crystals. That I have to pay. I literally started laughing from how ridiculous it sounded. This was all by text btw (by the way).”
The OP had to put her foot down over this.
“I texted her that there is no way I am paying for those crystals.”
“I then sent her this message: ‘Karina, I truly appreciate your friendship, but I’ve realized that you have not been a nice person to work with. Your demands are unreasonable and you have been taking advantage of me.'”
“I added, ‘I have decided to end our deal here. I will send you the bill for my work so I can finish the gown as we previously agreed to. When you pay me, you may come for your dress.'”
“She then texted me that she doesn’t have to pay a single penny for my work since I am the one who is not fulfilling my part of the deal.”
“I then texted her, ‘No pay, no dress.'”
Katrina panicked after that.
“Karina’s wedding is in a month, and she is absolutely freaking out on social media, looking for second-hand dresses, or places to rent wedding gowns, which leads me to believe that she was counting on me gifting her the dress.”
“I feel awful.”
“Everyone who I have told this to says that what I did was an AH move, but Karina deserved it.”
“I truly don’t know. I was thinking of finishing the dress in a more simple manner and gifting it to Karina.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the bride had been taking advantage of the OP.
“Yeah, and let me get this straight: Bridezilla got all materials and wanted crystals, and wanted OP to pay for them LMAO (laughing my a** off).”
“Imagine a person coming to you wanting from you to build their house, and they only got the furniture and now they want you to pay for the whole house lmao, but of course besides the furniture, because that’s really expensive and you gotta gift them the house.” – abdwsy
“I’m an embroidery artist and I’m stuck on the fact that there’s one month left, probably still a fitting to do, and Karina thinks it’s physically possible to cover the entire dress in crystals. That’s hand sewing each individual crystal on… even if she WAS paying OP would probably not be able to physically accomplish it.”
“NTA. I don’t think what you did was a justified AH, I think it was just justified. Also, a downpayment for custom work is a good habit to fold into your side hustle now.” – LimitlessMegan
“She was definitely taking advantage of you. You didn’t leave her without a dress either, she just has to pay for it and is choosing not to.”
“I am curious why you offered to pay for the materials instead of offering your services for free and she pays for the materials. Then she can have whatever she wants but gets the free labor. Hindsight maybe.” – Fastr77
Others hoped this taught the OP something about future business.
“Also – make a contract. OP is a businesswoman and, as such, needs to protect herself (and her clients). I know, it’s not a full business, but if you are going to doing work for money you need to treat it as a business.”
“A contract would have signaled from the beginning that OP wasn’t doing this as a gift, plus, depending on how the contract was written, protected her from all the unnecessary changes.”
“PLUS – when her ‘friends’ call her an AH for not giving the dress away, she can show them the signed contract.”
“In the meantime, yes – no money, no dress. OP should say this, and only this, every time the discussion comes up.” – pcnauta
“Yeah, the ‘not too expensive’ is not clear, but if it were a rare lace or silk? Ok, it can pass. But Swarovski? And not a detail, a full dress. The cost of just the Swarovski crystals exceed the average wedding gift cost.” – Freyjann
“OP should have also outlined the process. Such as where the decision points are that can’t be reversed.” – Able_Secretary_6835
“The labor is more expensive by far, but at least in this case it would’ve saved OP the cost of all this bride’s indecision on materials, and she could just hand her a half-made mess and a bunch of fabric scraps and be done with it.”
“Now she’s out the cost of her labor and cost of materials, and will never see a dime for either.” – DiTrastevere
A few said NTA but suggested how the OP could make the situation better for the bride.
“I like this idea the most. Finish it. Offer it to her for a fair price (i.e., one that covers all your costs at the bare minimum), and if she declines, sell it.” – theresbeans
“NTA. Bridezilla never intended to pay you a dime. Lesson for you; you didn’t set a limit on material costs… ‘not too expensive’ is extremely subjective. Do not back down on no-money, no-dress.”
“I would go ahead and finish it and put a fair price tag on it. If she wants it, she can pay for it. If not, sell it cheap online so another bride can take it and have it fitted and altered as needed for herself.” – Annalirra
The OP felt awful for not giving the dress to Katrina, but the subReddit believed she was in the right. Asking for those crystals without offering to pay or split the cost was a selfish move on the part of the bride, and she still could get the dress if she held up her end of the deal.