Choosing your bridesmaids is one of the first decisions you’ll make after becoming engaged. Most friends are honored to stand by your side as you say, “I do!” Yet year after year, my inbox is filled with stories and dilemmas from bridesmaids who are struggling to fulfill their responsibilities and remain friends with the bride.
The role of bridesmaid can be stressful, expensive, and sadly, cause a lot of tension. Brides, I want to help you and your besties stay besties throughout the wedding planning process and beyond!
My Instagram account, @askarealbride, is usually filled with advice from bride to bride. But for this post, I’m switching it up: the bridesmaids are the ones giving the advice! I collected quotes and polled hundreds of bridesmaids to see if they agreed on the main messages they’d want to send to the brides in their lives. From budgets to bachelorette weekend, here’s everything your bridesmaids want you to know:
The budget is usually top of mind:
“I’m honored to be part of your wedding, but I’m also cringing thinking about the costs.”
A whopping 88% of the bridesmaids I surveyed say they relate to the quote above! There is a ton of financial pressure that comes with being a bridesmaid, and brides, you can help alleviate some of that stress. Make sure you have realistic expectations for your bridesmaids’ budgets and responsibilities.
“Please think about how every expense adds up. Estimate how much each of us is spending and keep that budget in mind!”
Whether you share your estimate of what each bridesmaid will be spending, or just keep a mental running tab, consider the “all in” cost you’re asking your bridesmaids to incur. Try to find an affordable dress (around $200 seems to be the norm), and accept the fact that not everyone will be able to attend an elaborate bachelorette weekend.
When it comes to the dresses:
“We will never ‘wear it again.’ Never. Ever.”
So many brides try to select a bridesmaid dress their girls could possibly re-wear to a formal wedding or event. But the bridesmaids have spoken: they won’t rewear, so don’t stress yourself out!
“Just ask us to wear a certain color. The photos turn out so much better that way!”
76% of brides agree: bridesmaids don’t have to match! Giving your girls some leeway ensures that everyone is comfortable and finds a dress that flatters them. Whether you choose a brand that offers different styles in the same fabric, or just give your girls a color spectrum and let them shop, bridesmaids love choices!
“The color of my pedicure will not make or break your wedding day.”
Most bridesmaids agree that they don’t like to be micromanaged. Once you’ve chosen a dress (or given direction), you can stop dictating the details of your bridesmaids’ ensembles. Don’t get overly picky with nail colors and hairstyles.
You picked your bridesmaids based on your relationship–not their appearance in a lineup. If one friend cuts her bangs or goes blonde, it shouldn’t matter! When it comes to “wild” hair colors, like blue or pink, I could understand feeling upset. But chances are that you know which friend is likely to do that–and you chose her anyway!
Bottom line: there’s no need to micromanage every aspect of your bridesmaid’s appearance.
When it comes to bachelorette weekend:
“Share a bio of everyone in the bridal party, including their connection to you, before the bachelorette weekend so we can get to know each other.”
You consider your bridesmaids to be your best friends–but they aren’t best friends with each other. Your bachelorette weekend will be the first time some of them meet, and I love this idea a follower shared to help “break the ice:” write up short bios of each girl! The vast majority of bridesmaids say they would appreciate a little pre-introduction.
“Please offer to pitch in for bachelorette weekend.”
While some bridesmaids do cover every penny of the bride’s travel, food, and drinks, others aren’t able to do so. 84% of the bridesmaids I surveyed report that they expect the bride to pitch in for bachelorette weekend, so offer to cover your expenses. If your girls do treat you to some or all of the weekend, it will be a sweet surprise! As a show of your appreciation, treat everyone to a round of drinks or a meal, or bring small gifts to thank them for the weekend! Check out this post for more bachelorette weekend tips.
“Spend quality time with all of us, not just the maid of honor”
Of course your MOH is also your BFF. But as one follower shares, all your girls want to spend quality time with you during your bachelorette weekend. Be sure to divvy up your time over the weekend with all of the bridesmaids.
When it comes to the bridal shower:
“Sharing tons of ideas gets overwhelming.”
91% of bridesmaids confess to feeling pressured when brides share ideas, inspiration, and Pinterest boards for their own bridal showers. Sharing ideas can make them feel pressured to execute all of them! Unless they ask you, hold off, and allow room for their thoughtfulness and generosity.
When it comes to gifts:
“No one cares about the cheap quality favors/gifts/getting ready PJ’s. Save your money! It’s not worth it!”
There are tons of ideas out there for elaborate bridesmaid proposals and extravagant bridesmaid gifts. But before you lavish your girls with gifts, check out this poll:
You might be better off paying for their dress: 96% of bridesmaids would choose the dress over gifts!
Another idea: use the funds you would have spent on a gift and put it toward hair and makeup. Bridesmaids seem to love this idea, though I suggest adding a small gift and a handwritten note.
When it comes to wedding planning:
“Clear communication and delegation is key! We’re here for the bride!”
“I love being ‘imposed upon.’ Some feel hesitant to ask for help, but I wish more did!”
The majority of the brides I surveyed (around 90%) say it’s hard for them to ask for help. But I hope these quotes from real bridesmaids encourage you to reach out to your bridesmaids for assistance! Whether it’s helping to stuff wedding invitation envelopes, accompanying you to a dress fitting, or running errands for you on wedding week, your girls want to help you. Just be sensitive about how often you ask, and always do so with a gentle tone.
When the wedding is over:
“I still want to hang out with you after you get married!”
61% of bridesmaids feel like their friendship faded after the wedding was over. Of course, newlyweds are busy, and it makes sense that a newly-minted wife gets wrapped up in married life! But brides, do remember to maintain your friendships after the big day. Your girls have given so much to celebrate you–find ways to celebrate them and enjoy their company when the wedding is behind you!
The bottom line: Don’t let the title of “bride” overshadow the title of “friend.”
The wedding industry often emphasizes the phrase, “your big day.” And your wedding absolutely is about celebrating your new life with your spouse. But remember: part of the joy of the wedding is honoring those who are celebrating you. As you plan your wedding and anticipate your pre-wedding events, look for ways to honor your bridesmaids, respect their budgets, and express your appreciation for them. Maintaining a heart of gratitude makes for the most memorable celebrations!
Love hearing advice from real brides and bridesmaids?
If you’re interested in learning more about etiquette, gift giving, and celebrating in style, be sure to subscribe to the RegistryFinder GiveIt blog for weekly posts on wedding etiquette, bridal showers, wedding trends, and of course, wedding registry guidelines and tips! And as always, be sure to refer your guests to RegistryFinder.com, where they can conveniently locate all of your registries in one place!