How to not ruin your friendships with your bridesmaids. Is something I think all brides wonder about or secretly fear.
I am the first one of my friends getting married, so I haven’t totally experienced the full on bridesmaid thing yet. However, I have had a lot of friends who have been bridesmaids before and I’ve watched just about every wedding movie ever so I feel like I have a pretty good grasp about all that can go wrong between the brides-bridesmaid relationships.
Before I got engaged, I talked a lot with my BFF who has been in a million weddings about what’s been a good experience and not so good experience for her. I really tried to listen as we had these conversations knowing that she would probably be my bridesmaid someday and I wanted it to be as easy of a process as possible for her.
Then right after I got engaged, tons of old friends and acquaintances came out of the woodwork! In fact, my fiancé and I wrote our guest list a few months after getting engaged based on people who were in our lives at that moment, the list was around 150 people… slowly after months of “nothing to report” on the wedding planning front, these people crawled back into the woodwork… fast forward almost two years later and our guest list has basically been cut in half!
I remember about a year ago watching the Today Show and Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, and somebody else were talking about whether or not they were still friends with their wedding party, in short, they weren’t. I remember thinking that if I was totally honest with myself at that time, I didn’t really see any of my friends, especially all the ones who just magically appeared back in my life, as forever friends. I know that’s kind of a weird thing to admit, but I had a lot of issues with being bullied growing up and it’s made me very guarded in the friendship department. I don’t have a ton of faith in people and am a realist when it comes to that stuff. So I decided I wasn’t going to have bridesmaids.
However, something shifted after the first year of my engagement and I realized that my BFF from high school would absolutely by in my life forever. She was a great friend and family at this point.
Based on conversations with her, research, and my own experience, here are my 5 tips for staying besties after the wedding with your bridesmaids:
1. Your wedding DAY is about you, not the year leading up to it. The year leading up to your wedding is an exciting time! You get engaged, have an engagement party, register, photos, dress shopping, planning, and so much more! You may be eyeballs deep in taffeta and cake tasting, but your friends aren’t. Don’t forget to ask what is going on in their lives and being just as present and supportive of them as they are being of you.
2. Don’t be a bridezilla. Respect their time and money. There can be a lot of events leading up to the wedding for bridesmaids…. The engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, dress shopping, etc. Try to be considerate of their time and money when planning all these events and remember they have lives too and certainly don’t need to take out a loan to pay for all of your events. Don’t get resentful if they can’t come to all of them, or better yet skip having some of them! It’ll make your life easier too! I never understood the point of having both a bridal shower and bachelorette party. Can someone explain that to me? Try to consider things you would enjoy for your bachelorette party, but also things they would enjoy and not break the bank.
3. Let them have a say in what they wear. Seriously, don’t ask your friends to buy a $300 dress that isn’t flattering on them. Give them some criteria, let them choose and just ask for final approval. I actually let my BFF pick out the dresses for everyone. They were cheap and a flattering. I actually loved the dress so much I got it for myself as just a maxi dress! If you are set on a certain dress, help them find deals! One of my friends got her bridesmaids dresses from JCrew and planned accordingly so all the girls could grab them on Black Friday, with coupons and sales they came out to $50! If you insist on a fancy dress, let them change into something more comfortable if they desire after the pictures and wedding party has been announced during the reception.
4. Be sensitive and communicate well. Check in with your bridesmaids along the way and see how things are going. If you’re having a destination wedding at a pricey hotel, try to give them cheaper nearby options or introduce them to someone they can bunk with to split hotel costs. If you are starting to get resentful towards one of them, talk it out. No need to vent about it to everyone else and feed the elephant in the room. It will only result in you feeling uncomfortable and passive aggressive around them on your wedding day.
5. Express gratitude. More and more people are choosing to not have weddings, so don’t assume that “it’ll all balance out when they are getting married”. I think one of the most horrifying pieces of advice I heard before getting engaged is “they [your bridesmaids] will just do it” in reference to expectations placed on bridesmaids. NEVER expect your bridesmaid “will just do it” when it comes to traveling, cost, and their time! Never expect they know you are grateful for them! As pointed out repeatedly throughout this article, there are a lot of events leading up to the wedding, and you cannot expect your bridesmaids to do everything. Make sure to always speak kindly to them, especially the day of, express gratitude along the way, and show your gratitude either with a gift or covering hair or make-up the day of.
Have you had a great experience as a bridesmaid? What made it so great?
What about a no so great experience? What do you wish would've happened?
Share your tips about the bride/bridesmaid relationship below!
Planning a wedding? Grab TCM's Goal Setting Guide: