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Q. I am a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. I have already dropped more than $1,000 on everything from the dress to the bachelorette party. Now I’ve been asked to chip in another $50 toward a gift from the whole wedding party. How can I politely decline the request?

Name withheld by request

A. Here’s an important lesson every woman must learn: Don’t agree to be a bridesmaid until you have a sense of what’s required of you, logistically and financially. If it’s a no-frills backyard affair, your time and money outlay should be minimal. If it’s a fancy destination wedding, expect the opposite.

It’s too late for you to make these inquiries now. You’re stuck, and—I’m sorry to break the news to you—you need to pony up for a gift, just like all the other guests. Remember: You’re in this position because the bride is a close friend. Fifty dollars for a wedding present is a small price to pay for maintaining a valuable friendship.