Creating Realistic Bridesmaid Expectations

What exactly is the role of a bridesmaid? Bridesmaids are there to provide support to you as the bride, but it is also your way to honor them and make them feel appreciated for always being there for you in life. Getting married is just a new chapter and asking someone to be your bridesmaid is a great way to thank them for all the chapters that came before. Bridesmaids are NOT just your slave to do whatever you want even if it is your wedding day. If you want to avoid being a bridezilla, keep reading for some pointers to create realistic bridesmaid expectations.

Picking Bridesmaids

When picking your bridesmaids, stick to people that really mean something to you. Choose someone that has been with you through thick and thin and stood the test of time. Don’t worry about having ten bridesmaids to match your husbands number of groomsmen; pick people that are truly important.

Your bridesmaids will be excited to have the opportunity to stand by your side, but don’t make it an obligation for them. Make sure you ask if they would like to be your bridesmaid and lay out what that means to you so their expectations are clear as well.

Select people who are important to you and manage your bridesmaid expectations

Respect their Budget

This might be your big day, but remember that your friends and family are just there to support you. They should not be expected to blow their life savings to be a part of your day. First, figure out what is important to you (matching dresses, full hair/make-up, bachelorette party, etc.) and see how that might fit into their budget.

Try to find ways that might help them cut costs. If you expect them to all get their hair and make up done for your day, then offer to pay for it yourself. If you want to have a bachelorette party, then keep it local on the weekend so they don’t have to pay for a full blown trip.

Perhaps your bridesmaids are willing to go above and beyond, which is extremely generous of them! But, that shouldn’t be the expectation from the get go. Have discussions with them early on to see what they are comfortable participating in, their budget, and how they can best help.

Rely on Them to Give Honest Opinions

Bridesmaids can be a great sound board when it comes to discussing ideas for your weddings or making decisions. As your friends, you likely value their opinion and expect them to give honest feedback. Ask them to collaborate on a Pinterest board where they can share ideas when they see something they think might be great for you. They are the ones that can tell you which hairstyle will look best on you or give opinions on which reading to do at the ceremony.

Tip to Bridesmaids: It might be hard but only give your opinions when asked. Whether it is trying on wedding dresses, picking a first dance song, or picking out a signature cocktail, ask what the bride thinks first. Then you can gauge how she is feeling so your opinions won’t upset her. If she absolutely loves how she looks and feels in a dress then don’t diminish that feeling for her by saying it looks horrible.

Assist with Dress Shopping

When going shopping for your wedding dress, it can be fun to invite your bridesmaids along. As mentioned above, they will give you honest opinions and they will tell you what you look great in. In my post on Planning for Wedding Dress Shopping, I mention to limit the number of friends and family you bring along. If you have a lot of bridesmaids, maybe have them each go to a different appointment. Too many opinions can cloud your own judgment.

When it comes to shopping for bridesmaids dresses, as I keep saying, it is important to be aware of their budget. For my wedding, I told my bridesmaids what color I was thinking but then left it up to them on what to find. It gave them flexibility to find a dress that was flattering to them and within their budget. A few even reused dresses they had worn previously for other weddings, which cost them absolutely nothing. If you want all your bridesmaids to have a uniform look, then pick dresses that aren’t too expensive or consider helping cover some of the cost.

Help with Day Of Coordination

Your bridesmaids should be there to help you relax on your big day. It is important for them to attend the rehearsal, not only to know where to stand but also to just know the general plan for the day. Help them become familiar with your wedding day vision and learn where certain things are going to be. If you have any concerns, communicate those with your bridesmaids so they can help step in when needed to make sure everything runs smoothly.

For me, my friends created a playlist to listen to in the morning while getting ready and helped me steam my dress. They were there to keep me calm and for us to just laugh and enjoy each other’s company. Bridesmaids can also be great to field any sort of panic calls from guests. Let them be the people to call if someone is lost or running behind so you don’t have to worry about it.

Plan a Special Celebration

Bridezillas tend to have this expectation that their friends should throw them an elaborate bachelorette party, which have nowadays expanded into massive multi-day trips. While that sounds absolutely amazing, not all of us can realistically afford that.

You should not expect your bridesmaids to take vacation off from work and spend a lot of money. Instead, try to plan a fun way to celebrate with them at a time that works best for them. Keep in mind their budget. Make suggestions on what you might like to do to celebrate your friendship and they can help plan that. Bachelorette parties do not need to be big and over the top as you see in movies. They can simply be going out for a fun meal, a movie, or taking a painting class.

For my “bachelorette,” I worked with my friends to plan a fun evening the night before the wedding filled with board games and our favorite snacks from when we were kids. They still found little inexpensive ways to surprise me with decorations and some of my favorite songs that we used to listen to as teenagers. We had such a great time, which showed why I love all of them and why I choose them as my bridesmaids in the first place.

Ask them to give a Toast

While it is generally predicted that a maid of honor might want to give a speech, it certainly shouldn’t be expected. Remember to ask them if they would like to give a speech before assuming they will. Perhaps they are more comfortable giving a speech at the rehearsal dinner with a smaller crowd. Or, maybe they just absolutely hate making public speeches – and that’s okay! You shouldn’t force them to do something they are not comfortable with. Instead, maybe you would prefer to give a thank you speech welcoming everyone to the wedding and recognizing your bridal party and what they mean to you.

Tip to Bridesmaids: If you don’t feel comfortable giving a speech, communicate that to the bride. You can still write a handwritten letter to them to open while getting ready for their big day. Your words will still have a lot of meaning to them, even if you don’t say them in front of a big crowd.

The biggest thing is to relax and have fun on your big day. Do not ruin your day by being bossy and making everyone around you miserable. Seriously, don’t be that bridezilla you read about online. Your bridesmaids are there to support you as a friend or loved one, but be realistic with your expectations.

Wedding Photography Credit: Asheville Wedding Photography

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