Being asked to be a bridesmaid is an honor, but it also comes with its own challenges and expenses. Here are some tips to help you minimize those challenges and be friends in the end.
Explain their roles. When you ask your friends to stand up with you, they probably jump at the chance before they understand what is involved. The bridesmaids assist the bride and maid of honor when asked by helping with the bridal shower, planning and cost of bachelorette party, addressing invitations and other planning tasks. They assist the bride as she gets ready on her wedding day and asks as hostesses to guests at the wedding reception; often by being the first ones on the dance floor to get the party started. It’s a good idea to make sure they know what they are agreeing to and can back out before the planning gets well underway and they find they took on more than expected.
Share the Timeline. You will work with your wedding vendors to create a timeline for your wedding day. The successful execution of this schedule is dependent upon the cooperation of your bridal party. Share the timeline with them, and explain it’s importance in having the wedding you dream of, so that they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and when. You will need their cooperation and participation for formal photographs and dances so it a good idea to explain when those will take place and what will be involved.
Give them a voice in decisions. Gone are the days of the matching bridal party. Designers now create a variety in dress styles in their palette of colors. Consider telling your bridesmaids the color or style you would like them to wear and then give them some freedom to choose the dress they feel most comfortable in. As the bride, you still retain final veto rights, but they will most likely find something that meets your approval.
Not everyone can wear heels (at least not for 12 hours). Much like dresses, your bridesmaids don’t all have to wear the same heel height, especially if they are wearing long dresses! Consider your ceremony location (heels on grass for outdoor ceremonies?) and the walking and dancing a bridesmaid is required to do. If they really need to wear heels for the ceremony and pictures, providing them with sneakers or flip flops for the reception is a nice gesture – and a cute photo op!
Have a fun wedding morning. Your bridesmaids will take the cue from you. If you want a stress free wedding day, start it off with some fun. Play wedding themed songs (Here’s a playlist to get you started), provide snacks, have ONE champagne toast and build time in your schedule to relax and enjoy your last moments of being single with your best friends.
Give them a gift. It’s custom to provide your bridesmaids with a small gift of thanks for standing by you. Traditional gifts of jewelry are always appreciated. A more modern gift is to pay for hair and make up appointments, if your budget allows.
Help them get to know each other. If your bridesmaids don’t already know each other well, spend time with your bridal party doing non-wedding things, it will help when they need to pull together to complete wedding tasks. If they already know each other, BBQs, bowling, game nights and other events will help them to build friendships.
Be generous with your attention. If you’ve seen the movie Bridesmaids, you know what happens when the old friend feels threatened by the new friend. And too often the results are not as funny as the movie. While it’s natural that you will rely on certain people for the tasks they are best suited for, remember they are all taking part in your important day. Showing them all attention is sure to make them feel important.
Remember they have other things going on. There are times when it may just be too much for someone to be part of every event. Your wedding will require a commitment, and despite her intentions, she may not be up to the task. Some situations you should consider:
- Does she have a new baby?
- Will this be a financial burden?
- Did she recently start a demanding job?
- Is she relocating?
- Is she planning her own wedding?
Thank Them. It is easy to get so caught up in the planning process and the wedding day itself. Be sure to thank your bridal party for the help, friendship and participation in creating the wedding day you dreamed of.