I am so glad that the rules have changed about wedding attendants over the years. You can have five bridesmaids. You can have one. You can have no bridesmaids. You can have male friends stand up for you. Your dog. Your cat. Your guinea pig. And it’s all okay – no matter what the size of your wedding.
Because I didn’t have wedding attendants, I cannot relate to the drama that oftentimes surrounds bridesmaids. (To get a better understanding of this topic, read Siri Agrell’s Bad Bridesmaid: Bachelorette Brawls and Taffeta Tantrums–Tales from the Front Lines, which gives an inside glimpse into the mind of a bridesmaid.) How does she feel about all of those obligatory bridesmaid outings? What does she really think when she hears you obsess over napkins, pew bows and cake toppers? How does she feel when she walks down the aisle in a dress that’s too tight, too sweaty and really not her colour?
We’ve learned a few things over the years about how you should treat your ladies, and we’ve compiled a list of things that we think you should NEVER require of your bridesmaids:
1. Force her to wear a dress that doesn’t suit her body type.
Although you may have magazine-worthy dresses in mind for your girls, in reality, every girl is different. How would you feel if someone forced you to squeeze into a dress that didn’t suit you? No, no and no to asking your bridesmaids to “think about losing some weight” before your big day. Keep everyone’s considerations in mind when shopping for dresses.
2. Ask her to change her appearance.
The same goes for asking your bridesmaids to change or alter their appearance. Your wedding is not a beauty pageant. Tread lightly if you’re thinking of asking a bridesmaid to hide her tattoo, cut her hair or get tanned, or don’t ask at all.
3. Tell her that she has to pay for everything you choose.
You may have a set budget for wedding expenses and that probably means your bridesmaids do too. Asking them to spend a lot of money on dresses, shoes and travel is asking a lot, especially if someone is strapped for cash. If a bridesmaid says she can’t pay for everything, don’t single her out either. Help her with the costs if you can without making it a big deal.
4. Tell her that she can’t invite a significant other.
As a bride, you’re probably looking for every way possible to cut the guest list. One way is to tell people they can’t bring a significant other or can only bring someone if they are married to them. This rule does not apply to your bridesmaids. Let them bring whomever they want, so they have someone at the wedding too.
5. Take up every single weekend.
Just because you want to spend every second of the day wedding planning doesn’t mean your bridesmaids do. Don’t tell them to clear their calendars for every single weekend until the wedding. Sit down with everyone and plan out which times work for wedding planning. Nothing should be mandatory; your bridesmaids have lives too.
6. Expect her to plan every wedding party.
Traditionally, the Maid of Honor and bridesmaids help with planning wedding showers and bachelorette parties. Instead of demanding they throw huge parties in your honor, be grateful for the help and enjoy what they have done for you. Try not to stress them out completely with confusing guest lists and extravagant demands.
7. Not be appreciative of her time and energy.
Your bridesmaids are your life line when it comes to wedding planning. They will help you out and be there for you when you are stressed out, so remember to be grateful for all of the work they have put in. No one should lose a friendship over a wedding.
8. Talk about your wedding all of the time.
Your girls are there for you during wedding planning, but there is a point when all of that wedding talk gets too much. Take a weekend off from wedding planning to have some fun or call one of your bridesmaids on the phone and talk about something other than weddings.
9. Talk behind her back.
This isn’t a reality TV show and no one is “going home” if they don’t make the cut, so don’t treat it as a competition. If someone isn’t pulling their weight, talk to them personally about the issue instead of complaining to other people.
10. Be overly demanding on your wedding day.
When the wedding day finally arrives, let them have fun too. There may be some bridesmaid duties on the actual day, but after that, they should be able to let loose and enjoy everything they have helped to plan.
Photo one: Charles and Kathleen’s South Carolina wedding; Photo two: Ben and Mallory’s Texas wedding; Photo three: Kristin and Mark’s Nashville wedding