Dear Brides: Here's How to Get and Keep a Bridesmaid (and a Friend)
A story recently went viral and it went like this:
Bride emails bridesmaid. Bride tells bridesmaid that since she can't be part of ALL wedding festivities that she can't be part of her wedding party. Bride then tells (now ex) bridesmaid that she's found someone else to be part of the bridal party AND THAT SHE NEEDS HER TO SEND OVER HER OUTFIT, like asap. Crazy, right?! I'm not sure what the bridesmaid responded (or if she responded) but I know my response would have simply been...
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All I could think of when I read this story was - did the bride tell her bridesmaids EXACTLY what she expected of them in the days leading up to and on her wedding day? Did she already know all the activities she wanted them to be involved in? Did she outline the time commitment? This bride clearly wanted her bridal party SUPER involved but people have lives and need to plan for that kind of commitment.
Each bride is different - some are super chill and just really want their bridesmaids to be there to support them the day of the wedding and not devote the span of the planning process to them. Others require you (and your bank account) to be at their beck and call. Most, fall in between. Regardless, brides should make sure their bridesmaids know EXACTLY what's required of them so that they know whether or not they can commit to all that you are asking. It's only fair for EVERYONE involved. How can you, future bride, do this? Here are some suggestions:
Do you plan on having an engagement party, bridal shower, bridesmaid luncheon, bachelorette party, dress shopping parties, wedding décor DIY parties, rehearsal dinner/post rehearsal dinner party? Before you ask your friends to be part of your wedding, have an idea of how you want your wedding planning journey to pan out. Even if you don’t end up doing everything you plan, it’s better for them to know what you’re considering so that they can plan accordingly. Don’t throw everything at them at the last minute.
What are you going to make them pay for? Are you going to pay for their bridal outfits and consider that a thank you gift to them? If your wedding is out of town or out of the country, will you pay for their weekend hotel stay? Do you expect them to dish out all the money for the wedding related parties you plan on having? Let them know up front their expected financial obligations. Especially considering the average amount bridesmaids spend on weddings is $1,154!
Roles and Responsibilities
Are you planning the entire wedding on your own? Then you’re probably going to be enlisting your bridal party in managing certain aspects of your wedding day. Let them know this. Not everyone is okay with running around all night putting out fires and making sure everything is running smoothly. Pick your party accordingly. Additionally, do you expect them to give speeches about you? Make that known as well because some people are terrified of public speaking.
Now that you lovely future Mrs. know how to get and keep a bridesmaid (and a friend), I’m turning to you my lovely ladies who will be asked to be a bridesmaid…
It’s OKAY TO SAY NO. It's expensive and can be time consuming to be a bridesmaid. Take the time of year of the wedding, location of the wedding, your current work or school schedule/commitments, and your finances all into consideration before jumping to say yes. I'm sure you'd rather not get a passive aggressive email from your bride "friend" a few weeks before the wedding telling you you've been replaced. Cus NOBODY has time for that.
I’d love to know what you think about being a bridesmaid! Do you think the bride should outline their expectations when they ask you? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org