During my nightly Facebook scroll, I came across a link to an article called “Demanding Bride’s Bridesmaid Email Goes Viral” and I couldn’t NOT click on it. I mean, trashy reality TV is my favorite pastime, and the title suggested that this would be like “Bridezillas” in article form.
I got my popcorn and fuzzy blanket and got ready to be entertained by a full on Bridezilla demanding a bachelorette party in Ibiza and for all her maids to wear matching Louboutins. Instead, all I got was a snooze-worthy email from a girl who had been dreaming of her wedding since before she could talk who just wanted her maids to be at every wedding-related event and not bitch about the cost of plane tickets or the bridesmaid dress.
I wondered what was so wrong with her email – sure, things could have been more delicately worded and the profanity wasn’t called for, but at least she was being honest! At least her maids knew exactly what they were in for and were not blindly agreeing to be in the wedding party.
Now, I have never been engaged or even in a wedding party outside of my own family, but at the ripe old age of 25 I have been to enough weddings, heard enough horror stories about being a bridesmaid, and watched enough “Say Yes to the Dress” to recognize bad bride/wedding party communication.
There are certain things your closest lady friends need to know before jumping on the bridal party bandwagon.
1. BUDGET. Oh, and BUDGET!
This is the single most important thing when it comes down to asking people to be in your wedding. News Flash: you probably aren’t the only person your maids know who is getting married this year, especially if you are in your mid-twenties. Even just being a wedding guest can take a toll on your monthly income, so take that into consideration. You need to tell your gals the best guestimate possible what they should expect to spend to stand with you on your big day. Really, everything on this list comes back to budget, so before you go ahead and send your bridesmaid swag bags out, really think about the dough these ladies will have to dish out.
2. You should be at EVERY event…or not.
Some brides want their girls at the engagement party, bridal shower, dress shopping, fittings, all the way down to choosing invitation calligraphy. Others couldn’t care less as long as you show up on the wedding day. Brides need to tell their maids what they expect of them – it isn’t fun for anyone when a bride has a mental breakdown due to one maid missing a dress fitting. Remember, if you have a lot of out of state maids and you want them all at every event, some of them may have to decline. Weigh whether having 8/8 maids at your engagement party is worth your college roommate demoting herself to a guest because she’s between jobs.
3. Bachelorette bash plans.
Whether it be a quiet weekend at a family lake house or an all out Vegas shindig, every bride needs a party with her best girls to celebrate being a single lady one last time. It is important to tell your MOH and all your maids what you want – last time I checked, Miss Cleo is the only one with psychic abilities and I doubt she’d look good in the little chiffon number you picked out, so be upfront about what you’re looking for with regards to this integral part of any wedding celebration.
4. What not to wear.
Do you want every bridesmaid identical down to every last detail, or will you tell the girls to find a dress in navy blue and wear whatever accessories they want? Buying a dress versus buying a dress, shoes, necklace, wrap, and handbag makes a big difference in a maid’s budget. Also, even though it is your day and the attention will be on you and your big white dress, remember that your bridesmaids are on display too. If you suspect your favorite co-worker who is still trying to lose those ten pounds wont feel comfortable in the tight, short, hot pink strapless dress you want all your maids wearing, give her a heads up before she commits to being in the wedding party. You don’t have to change your vision for anyone, but give the girls a chance to determine whether they are comfortable with what you want.
5. The job description.
Are you looking for some of your close friends to put on a pretty dress and walk down the aisle ahead of you on your wedding day, or slave laborers to put together invitations, make centerpieces and favors, and piece together seating charts? Be extremely clear about what you expect their role to be as your bridesmaid. Your BFF in med school may not have the time to come over and look at napkin samples when she has three exams the next day, and it’ll make her feel like a horrible friend if she didn’t know this was what you expected of your maids. Don’t feel bad if one of your closest friends declines the invitation to be in the wedding party if she’s too busy to fulfill all the duties you set forth – in that case, she will be much happier being a guest and you wont have to stress over getting everything done.
Ultimately, it’s the bride’s wedding day and the bride should never feel like they have to change what they want in order to please someone else. It will make planning their dream day less stressful if everyone is on the same page from the get-go, so just make sure there is open communication with everyone. Remember, someone wouldn’t even be considering being in your wedding party if they didn’t love you to pieces, so be open and honest with them and they will help you have the time of your life!