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Dear Pay Dirt,
My half-brother is marrying the bridezilla from hell, “Denise.” She wants a princess wedding but they don’t have two pennies to rub together so she constantly leans on our local community for freebies.
Denise actually went to several restaurants and offered them exposure if they sponsored her wedding. She thinks she is an “influencer.” Most of my friends are creative types trying to make a living one way or the other. Denise is constantly bugging me to ask for a “friends and family” discount from them or to do a collaboration. I am trying to keep my chill with her, but Denise is a dog with a bone about it. My roommate does pet photography on the side and Denise cornered him at dinner about doing her engagement photos for free. He told her free doesn’t pay the bills and she actually called him money-grubbing. We left rather than make a scene. The date hasn’t even been set yet. I am dreading dealing with this these coming months. My brother is no help. How do I survive this?
Dear Broke Bridezilla,
Just because your brother doesn’t see an issue doesn’t mean you or anyone else in your creative circle must work for free. Exposure doesn’t pay the bills, and being honest about this doesn’t make you a money grubber. It means you see value in your professional service.
There are two conversations that need to be had. First, pull your brother aside and let him know you appreciate Denise’s determination for a good deal but that she’s putting you in an uncomfortable spot with your friends by consistently asking everyone for a “collaboration,” which means, in this case, free labor. He most likely doesn’t know how collaborations work regarding influencers or the numbers and actual reach required for most collaborations.
If he doesn’t offer a solution, or if she keeps insisting, don’t be afraid to politely but firmly say to her, “I know you’re excited about your big day, and so am I. But asking me to call all my friends to sponsor your wedding makes me uncomfortable. They, as well as I, value our work and, therefore, would need to be adequately compensated. I will no longer be having this conversation and appreciate your understanding.” Don’t engage and continue to leave the room or end the conversation if she continues. She’ll eventually get it; if not, then a different type of conversation with her and your brother needs to be had.
Two years ago I adopted a dog from a local rescue. I’d never had one growing up, only cats. From the outside, it seemed to be a thing many people enjoyed immensely, and I thought it might be nice for my kids, as people say. But, for me, it never took. I’m just not a dog person, and, it turns out, neither are my kids.