Beauty & Health
Let's get a handle right now on who should be footing the bill for hair and makeup for your maids.Read More
We all have stories—good and bad—about being bridesmaids, and sometimes when you are finally the bride and calling the shots, you don’t realize how your actions may make your best friends resent you. I’m not saying you need to give puppies away at your bridal shower, but you definitely don’t want your besties pulling a Kristen Wiig in the movie Bridesmaids on you, and ruining your day because you are totally oblivious to their feelings.
Beyond being a bridesmaid myself numerous times, while I was working weddings at Shadowbrook, countless bridesmaids vented to me, whether it was before they walked down the aisle or after they had had a few drinks—and most of the complaints are the same. Here are my tips to ensure you don’t lose a friend when you gain a husband on your big day:
1. Be upfront about your expectations. Some brides actually want the support and help of bridesmaids, while others just want you to stand there and look pretty on your wedding day. Whatever the scenario is, when you ask your friends to become your maid, let them know that you’d like them to come with you to pick out dresses, plan a shower and/or bachelorette party for you, and anything else along the way you may need them for so they understand where they stand between now and your wedding.
2. Be even MORE upfront about the financial commitment. This goes hand-in-hand with your time obligations, but it is definitely more important. While it is an extremely generous gesture to purchase the bridesmaids gowns for your friends, it is in no way required. That said, consider the overall picture, with the dresses, shower, bachelorette, and wedding day accessories you may want them to purchase, and try to be as honest as possible. While some unexpected things may pop up, as long as you are upfront from the start, they shouldn’t mind. In the end, if the financials are too much for one of your friends, then do not get offended if they decline or opt out of some of the pre-wedding festivities.
3. Be inclusive about wedding day details. While you don’t have to show your bridesmaids your dress or bring them to a fitting, it is nice to tell them some of the details not everyone else knows to get them excited about the day. Leaving your best friends in the dark can only stir controversy, as they will turn resentful every time you are elusive or dodge a question they ask you about the wedding. Furthermore, make sure that they have full day-of details – from what shoes you’d like them in, to approved hairstyles/nail colors, to the basic timeline -well in advance, so there aren’t any surprises at the last minute.
4. Let your bridesmaids embrace their individual styles, one way or another. The most successful way to do this would be to choose a designer, color, and material for your bridesmaid dresses, and let them choose a style they feel best in. If you want them all in the same dress, let them choose shoes within a color palate, a basic accessory ( clearly not a spiked choker) or a hairstyle within reason that will make them feel pretty and like themselves on your special day. Forcing your bridesmaids to look a certain way may play out your vision, but their frowns in your pictures will last forever! As the bride, you should do exactly what you want, but try to be considerate to your bridesmaids so they are the radiating, best versions of themselves… and don’t worry—they will never outshine the bride!
5. Be appreciative before AND after you become a Mrs. We have been taught this since we are little, but a little “thank you” goes a looong way, and this is no exception. While you don’t need to shower your bridesmaids with gifts to show your appreciation, a handwritten note, a small memento, paying for their hair and/or makeup the day of, or even sending a framed photo of you together on your wedding day will show them how much you really care about them, and how thankful you are that they were part of your most special day.
—Daryl Zweben was a former owner and vice president at Shadowbrook, a Georgian estate in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, where she planned thousands of weddings, including her own.