Expectations & Realities of Being a Bridesmaid.

In my opinion, being a bridesmaid is one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of a friendship. A bride can choose anyone to be by her side, and she chose you! But with the excitement that comes with her asking you to be a part of her squad, comes a sense of responsibility and expectation. It all really depends on the bride and what she is expecting your role to be. So, before you say “YES!”, consider the things below to prepare for an engagement of planning. As a disclaimer, I’ve been in five weddings including being a maid of honor and bridesmaid. I’ve also been a bride, so this advice is coming from both sides.

You want me to pay how much?
Yep, get ready to spend a lot of money. Even if the bride is low key. All of the festivities, dress, accessories, gifts, possible travel, etc will add up. I think the safe number to consider is $500. This number is just an estimated number to start saving. It could increase easily (especially if you are traveling) or it could be less. As a bride, I wanted to try and keep in consideration my bridal party and try to help with certain costs. For example, I wanted their hair and makeup professionally done. I paid for their makeup and a part of their hair for the wedding day. They paid for the rest of their hair and bridesmaid dress. Since they had long dresses, I let them wear whichever nude colored shoes they wanted. They spent enough on gifts, bachelorette party festivities and other things that I wanted to help with some costs.

Picking out a dress, I’ll only wear one time.
Sometimes the bride will have a bridesmaid dress picked out already. Some brides give you full control. At the end of the day, it’s not about you and your style. It’s really about the bride. So, if she has a specific look in mind, go with it. Don’t fight it or question why she likes a specific look. If you have the freedom to choose a dress, then you are able to have some fun with different styles and even the cost. Most bridesmaids dresses are going to be expensive for wearing it one day. If you are worried about the cost, do not talk to the bride about it. I know that this is blunt – but she shouldn’t have to make accommodations for you, when you agreed to be by her side. When you said yes, that included all the costs that come with it. Instead, talk to the store or other bridesmaids about figuring out a payment plan. Brides, if you are thinking the dress you want your bridesmaids in will be more costly, try to give them a heads up, if possible. This will allow them to have more time to save up the money.

What’s my role for the bachelorette and shower festivities?
This can be expensive and the biggest part of planning for a bridesmaid. Most assume you are getting both a bachelorette party gift and a shower gift. Work with the group or another bridesmaid to get a combined gift if money is an issue. In regards to planning the bachelorette party, that is all done by the bridesmaids. The maid of honor usually talks to the bride, to get some guidance, then will touch base with the rest of the group. Try and be as detailed as possible. That way, there are no misunderstandings within the group. For the shower, in many cases, this is hosted by the family of the bride and groom. If that is the case, reach out to the host to see how you can help! If there is no one hosting, talk with the bride about what her vision is for it. Although the wedding day is the most important day, these two other events are very important too and play a vital part leading up to the big day.

As a bridesmaid, you may feel overwhelmed or frustrated. But try to think of it from the brides point of view. The amount you are spending, as a bridesmaid, should not dictate your relationship with the bride. Your comments to the bride will stick with her and can really hurt. Which is why some weddings break up friendships and even family! Brides, remember to appreciate your bridesmaids and acknowledge their hard work. Whether you are a bridesmaid or bride, remember one thing…it’s only ONE day!

What are some things you learned from being in a wedding? Any brides with horror stories?
Share below!

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  1. I have witnessed the bride/bridesmaid relationship turn negative and ruin some friendships. If only they had read your post and had this reminder that it is only one day.

    • Awe thank you! I know. I love to talk to my friends and family about this because it really can change the relationship. It’s sad to see friendships change in a bad way. Esp for one day!

  2. always a good time and yes, always expensive! I surprisingly have no horror stories. just dont be that bridesmaid that is crying the whole time or drinks too much lol

  3. Oh i love this. I still have never been a bridesmaid but these are all things i considered for my bridesmaids, especially the dress. A lot of my in laws are very conservative and the style i liked they wouldn’t have been comfortable with, so i went with a conservative dress. I think about it now and then, if i made the right choice!

    • That is always hard. I ended up having two different styles for my girls. The first dress I loved but wanted another option for the ladies that had a larger chest. I loved both styles but wanted more than anything to stay classy and people to remember my dress.

  4. As a wedding planner myself, I couldn’t agree more with all of what you said! I see it time and time again with weddings breaking up friendships. It’s so important to appreciate one another – and communication is key!

    • Yes! Thank you for your professional thoughts on that! It’s terrible to see friendships and even worse, family broken apart!

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