There are approximately two million weddings in the United
States each year. According to a survey
conducted by theknot.com and weddingchannel.com, a typical wedding party boasts
four bridesmaids. That’s eight million
lovely ladies per year who suit up in matching dresses, throw pricey bridal showers,
and plan bachelorette extravaganzas. It
takes a lot of work (and costs a decent chunk of money) to stand by your girl
as she says her “I do.” Sometimes brides
forget this fact, especially when they become overwhelmed with the immense task
of planning a wedding. Sometimes
bridesmaids forget that the reason they are a maid in the first place is
because they want to love and support their dear friend on the most important
day of her life. In other words, when it
comes to brides and bridesmaids, the situation can be tricky to say the
least. How can you make the experience a
fun one instead of a relationship-ruining one?
Here are some tips for both sides from someone who has been both a bride
and a maid.
As a bride:
The number one concern of most bridesmaids is
the budget. If you want to have a smooth
ride with your maids, you have to keep in mind how much they are being asked to
spend to be a part of your wedding.
Choose an affordable dress. Don’t
ask them to pay for things like hotel rooms or make-up appointments. Let them wear their own jewelry and pick out
their own shoes. If you have maids who
live out of town, don’t expect them to attend both the bridal shower and the
bachelorette party. Be understanding and
supportive when it comes to budget constraints.
We know this is your day and we want to be there to support you. But please realize that outside of your
wedding we have our own busy lives to contend with. We may not be able to return your phone
calls/texts/emails/Facebook messages right away. It doesn’t mean we don’t care, it just means
we haven’t had time to get to it yet.
It is one hundred percent okay to expect your
bridesmaids (especially your MOH) to help out with projects for the big
day. Your maids should be there to help
you put together favors and hot glue ribbon onto your centerpiece vases. That is part of the responsibility of being a
bridesmaid. What it is not okay is to
demand we be there to help you. It is
also not okay to expect us to spend more time DIYing than we do at our full
time jobs. Be polite, be realistic, and
be able to provide your maids with wine during arts and crafts time.
If one of your bridesmaids says or does something to hurt your feelings,
calmly let her know that. Don’t let your
anger and/or resentment fester or it is only going to get worse. Try to talk things out like adults so you
don’t risk permanent friendship damage.
Time for some tough love! Please, pretty pretty
please, try to be rational. As a bride,
things upset us that wouldn’t bother us at all in the “real” world. If one of your bridesmaids gets pregnant, be
happy for her—don’t worry about whether or not she will fit into her dress or
how your pictures are going to look. If
one of your maids calls to say she lost her job, the first words out of your
mouth should not be “You can still come to Vegas for the bachelorette
right?” Remember that while your wedding
might be the center of your world, it is not the center of everyone else’s.
As a bridesmaid:
Let your bride know if you are on a tight budget
(if she isn’t already aware). You don’t
want to get into a sticky situation down the road when she asks you to buy a
$300 dress and it is totally not doable for you. Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to say
no when asked to be a bridesmaid. If you
can’t handle the expenses, let the bride know that before you say yes so you
can both be on the same page going in. If
it doesn’t work out and you aren’t able to be in the wedding party, take the
bride out for a coffee date or mani/pedi day so you can catch up on wedding
details and help your buddy relax before the big day.
Understand that for your bride, this is the most
important day of her life and she is going to talk about it. A lot.
Try to listen attentively, even if she is telling you about her flower
arrangements for the fiftieth time.
Be willing to step up and help out. Part of your role as a bridesmaid is to
assist the bride in her planning. If she
asks you to help assemble invitations, you kinda have to suck it up and do
it. But don’t go into it with a bad
attitude. Bring some wine and some Sex and the City DVD’s—you might find you
actually have fun.
Put on a happy face. Chances are, at some point in the bridesmaid
line of duty, you are going to have to do something you don’t particularly want
to do. Whether that is buy an unflattering
dress, dance with an annoying groomsman, or chat with old Aunt Ethel for an
hour at the bridal shower—things are going to come up that are not exactly your
cup of tea. Keep in mind that you are
doing this for the bride. And if that
doesn’t work, keep in mind that someday she will (or already has) done the same
Be calm and patient, but don’t be afraid to be
honest. Sometimes a bride just needs to
hear “You’re getting a little bridezilla.
Stop.” Usually a gentle reality
check will do the trick.
The keys to a successful bride/maid relationship: honesty
and patience. Kind of like the keys to a
successful friendship. And that’s why we
have bridesmaids in the first place, because who would want to have such a special
day without the support of our very best friends?