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Brides & Bridesmaids: Can't We All Just Get Along? |

What Does It Mean To Be In A Bridal Party

By Jeffrey House Photography


"After the wedding, I want you to take my wedding dress to be dry cleaned and then bring it to my house!"

This is an actual demand a bride made to one of her bridesmaids.  The bride wanted her wedding dress to be cleaned and neatly placed in her home by the time she returned from her honeymoon.  She didn't care the bridesmaid lived almost an hour away from her and this was very inconvenient.  

What does it mean to be in a bridal party?  Are requests like this reasonable?  

In this article, we are going to take a look at what angers brides and bridesmaids.  Hopefully, when all is said and done, we are going to provide you with ideas for overcoming these situations.  

The Bride

This is your big day!  Everything should be exactly as you want it, so why can't your bridesmaids just suck it up and deal with it?

Brides often make the same mistake when it comes to their wedding party.  They don't clearly define their expectations!  You're engaged, you're excited, and you start asking people to be part of your wedding party.  Before you know it, you're miserable with some of the people you've chosen.  Most likely, one or two of them don't want to be in your wedding anymore.  

Before asking a single person to be part of your wedding party, define your own expectations.  To help you with this, it's important to understand the "hot issues" for bridesmaids.  Where to the problems arise?  What's unclear?  

  • Please don't ask or expect me to lose weight or change my appearance
  • Please don't expect me to travel for your bachelorette party.  Vegas sounds great, but I can't afford it.
  • Please don't expect me to say "yes" to everything
  • Please don't make me feel bad for being broke
  • Please don't expect me to make the perfect speech
  • Please don't expect me to sacrifice every weekend from now until your wedding
  • Please don't expect me to read your mind
  • Please don't expect me to foot the bill for everything
  • Please don't make me wear a dress I hate

This is your wedding and this day is about you.  It's still important to understand your bridesmaids concerns because ultimately, this will impact the overall success of your wedding day.  Addressing their concerns will limit drama and stress.  You will have enough stress already, so limiting the potential for additional issues is definitely in your best interest.  

How Many Bridesmaids Should You Have?

Having a bridal party that's too large is one of the biggest regrets of brides every year.  Large bridal parties increase your wedding costs and invite more opportunity for drama.  Generally speaking, if you're going to have less than 200 guests, 3-4 total bridesmaids works well.  If you're wedding is going to have in excess of 200 guests, 5-6 bridesmaids would be appropriate.  

When you have more bridesmaids, it becomes increasingly difficult to cater to everyone's needs.  It's a lot easier to find bridesmaids dresses for 3 people, than it is 6.  


Whom Should You Ask To Be In Your Bridal Party?

This is probably the question brides struggle with most.  That statement might seem a little confusing, but let me explain.  

Many brides are faced with feelings of "obligation" and "guilt" when it comes to choosing their wedding party.  They often ask people to be in their wedding as a result of these feelings, and it backfires.  This eventually wish they had just listened to their gut and followed their instincts.

Let's take a look at some common situations where these feelings reside.  

Last year, you were a bridesmaid in your friend's wedding.  Now you're getting married and don't want her to be in your wedding.  

You and your friend Sally have been best friends since 8 years old.  But she always seems to be jealous of you.  She's jealous that you're getting married first or having a more expensive wedding.  You worry her jealously is going cause problems.  

There are a lot of different circumstances, but the feelings are the same.  Ultimately, you'll want to include people in your wedding that agree to your expectations, understand the commitment they are making, and support your marriage 100%.  

Lastly, as you begin asking people to part of your wedding party, give them a few days to consider the offer.  Let them fully absorb your expectations and what this will require.  And more importantly, let them know it's okay to decline.  Being a bridesmaid requires a time commitment, financial commitment, and plenty of emotional support.  If they don't feel up to the task, it's better to know now.  You certainly don't want them coming to you in 3-6 months, telling you they no longer want to be a bridesmaid in your wedding.

The Bridesmaids 

I understand this is your "big day," but it doesn't give you the right to be a bridezilla and act like a psycho!

Your friend just got engaged and you couldn't be happier for her.  You might even start to think about how fun her wedding will be and if she'll ask you to be a bridesmaid.  However, don't let yourself get caught up in the wedding excitement.  It's critical to understand what it means to be a bridesmaid.  To better understand this, let's look at the "hot issues" for the bride!

  • Don't say "yes" if you don't like or agree with my expectations
  • Please be prepared to spend some money
  • Please don't commit to being part of my wedding and then go MIA
  • Please be helpful
  • Please give me your emotional support
  • Please don't cause problems
  • Please don't post pictures of me on social media without my permission
  • Please don't complain about me behind my back to the other bridesmaids
  • Please respect my wedding

A wedding is, in part, a party to celebrate the marriage of two people.  The bride wants you to have a great time, but they don't want you to be that person that gets drunk and acts obnoxious.  Making a scene at a wedding is never appropriate.  

Hopefully, if you've been asked to be a brdiesmaid, the bride clearly outlined her expectations.  But if she didn't, be sure to find this out before agreeing to be part of her wedding.  If you commit and back out several months later, it's going to create a lot of bad blood.  

As a bridesmaid, you're likely to feel a little frustrated and irritated along the way.  If you have agreed to the bride's "terms and conditions," you will, unfortunately, have to grin and bear it.    This doesn't mean you have to put up with all her crazy behavior.  If she gets too out of control, be sensitive, but sit her down and reel her back in.  It won't always be easy, but she's dealing with a lot of different emotions and ultimately, it's about her.  

Honesty, Respsect, & No Hard Feelings

Whom you ask to be part of your wedding is not an easy decision.  

Being asked to be part of a wedding is an honor, but it too is not an easy decision.

The entire experience is about setting and understanding the appropriate expectations.  Approach it with honesty and respect.  The bride may not ask you to be part of the wedding.  Your friend may not want to be part of your wedding.  Adopt a "no hard feelings" policy and allow people to say "no."

Not every decision is personal.  Their decision could be based on pressure from other sources (i.e. parents), financial pressures, etc.  In the end, it's about making an effort to understand each other's point of view

Brides should do their best to be sensitive to the need of their bridesmaids.  They may not be able  to dedicate every waking moment to your wedding.  They still have their own life with their own obligations.  They may be struggling financially and don't have a lot of disposable income.  

Bridesmaids need to do their best to be sensitive to the bride.  It's important to understand how significant this day is and how stressful it can be planning a wedding.  She will likely invest $20,000, $30,000 or more, and she wants her day to beautiful and perfect.  


Are you a bride or a bridesmaid that would like to share your experience?  We'd love to hear what you have to say!