So here’s a fact: Google “bridesmaids infographic” you will get at least 20 images about the high cost of being a bridesmaid.
Which is true, and if you’ve ever been a bridesmaid you’ve definitely felt the sting of the lightness of your Coach clutch on Sunday morning post-your BFFs wedding. And it’s not only about money; being a bridesmaid can be a bit of an ordeal. From bachelorette parties, to rehearsal dinners, to brunches post-wedding, to PAGES long detailed itinerary wedding emails, it’s no wonder that Kathryn Heigl in “27 Dresses” was so obnoxiously Type-A and paranoid.
So, if you’re hoping that everyone gets along on wedding day and your bridesmaids don’t bring out the dress they wore to your wedding and say “Let me tell you about THIS broad’s wedding…” here’s a few bits and bobs of advice.
Let them help you.
Give your bridesmaids ownership of tasks during your wedding. Have them create a day-of timeline (best for those bridesmaids who have already planned their own wedding) or stamp all 150 of your favor bags. If you allow them to actively participate in the process, then they’ll want your day to go really well instead of just showing up when and where you tell them to.
The bridesmaid that just launched her new company / had a baby / is taking care of her elderly mother? Doesn’t need a detailed checklist of all the things you need her to do. You love her and want her to stand up with you while you say yes to the man of your dreams? Fine. You want her to hand-sew beading onto your bodice? Be ready for a jab to the kidney.
Invite them to be a bridesmaid individually, but give them a clue about what it entails.
At first, getting asked to be a bridesmaid is, like, SO EFFING EXCITING! They want to say yes right away! They want to be there for all the big moments! They want to stand next to you while you do your getting married thing! But then, five months later, when they realize that the bachelorette party is in Vegas and the wedding is on a farm in Omaha and they live in Maine, and, oh by the way, the dress is $300 (not including matching shoes), well, there’s gunna be a problem.
This is what we call managing expectations. And if, after all that, they decide that they just can’t be in the wedding? Try not to be mad at them. You’re actually probably better off with someone who says no because they just can’t handle the responsibility than someone who flakes out all the time.
Pick out their dress for them.
Hell hath no fury like a bridesmaid whose bride sends them a swatch of fabric and says “DIY! Make your own dresses! Whatever you want as long as it’s floor-length, strapless, no slits, bustled in the back…” Your bridesmaids will be there for you, but the minute you expect them to go get their own dresses made without at least a hint of what you want, is the minute that they go to the fabric store, buy three yards, and drape it over their bodies toga-party-in-college style.
Expect no gift.
Your gift is them showing up at the rehearsal, helping you out during your wedding day, and holding space in their closet for whatever dress they purchased that they’ll never, ever wear again. Want more gifts? Have fewer bridesmaids. And if you really think one of your friends is going to be upset at not being invited, ask her to do a reading, do a toast, or help with day-of coordination.
Buy them a gift, but not a gift that you want for yourself.
A gift certificate for a massage at the hotel they’re staying at, personalized stationary, or the offer to babysit their kids one night are all great gifts. Earrings and a necklace that you picked out that matches everyone else’s in the wedding party and that they’re supposed to wear the day of the wedding is a bit…um…well, it’s like when your husband buys you a drill for your anniversary.
Nix the bouquet toss.
In no world does every single woman at your wedding want to be pointed out as a single woman. Do all your bridesmaids a favor (and the rest of the single chicks) by granting them the courtesy of reveling in their singledom in private.
What’s your advice about being in the wedding of a fantastic bride? Leave me a comment and let me know!