Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Bridesmaids
Congratulations to all you newly engaged ladies! Saying “yes” is only the beginning of your lifetime of happiness. Planning your wedding is the most emotionally charged process you will ever go through. From finding your perfect wedding dress, the one that fits you to a tee and looks as stunning on the outside as you feel on the inside, to choosing your wedding favors, the responsibility of making sure the wedding of your dreams becomes a reality shouldn’t rest on your shoulders only. This is when the quote “surround yourself with people who feel like sunshine” holds true. It all starts with choosing who gets to be a member of your Bride Squad. Which of your long-time friends and acquaintances get a coveted spot beside you at the altar? Granting the honor of becoming one of your bridesmaids is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s almost as important as choosing your perfect wedding dress, they are related somehow. It’s also not a matter of how long you’ve been friends for neither does it come down to quid pro quo. Having been someone’s bridesmaid doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to extend the courtesy. There are several factors that come into play when choosing your bridesmaids.
Let’s start with the number. How many bridesmaids are too many bridesmaids? There are no rules as to how many of your closest friends get to be a part of your bridal party. If you want all 10 of your besties to look pretty posing next to you in your wedding photos, you need to consider their role in the whole process. A bridesmaid is crucial to making your wedding as perfect as you’ve ever imagined it. She will be there every step of the way giving ideas, supporting you emotionally, helping with tasks big and small, planning and participating in pre-wedding events, and, most importantly, giving her input when it comes to saying yes to your perfect wedding dress. You need the right kind of person by your side, who won’t get distracted by her own needs but put yours and your ease of mind first. Being a bridesmaid is a huge responsibility, and only a select number of your closest friends will fit the bill. According to the experts, the magic number of bridesmaids in your party is… completely up to you! To make things easy, we suggest starting with the sisters, both yours and his. If you’re worried that the groom needs to have the same number of groomsmen on his team, that is no longer a rule.
Having the best bridesmaids is one thing, but only one of them will be your right hand at all times during the wedding planning process. There’s a woman in your life who has always been there for you, through highs and lows, first dates and breakups, and who you probably have had in mind to fill the role of Maid of Honor since you were both girls. Granting this honored position is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your MOH is someone who knows you better than she knows herself. She will help you make some major decisions such as picking out the wedding dress of your dreams, choosing the theme of your wedding, the color palette, the entertainment, the seating arrangements. Make sure whoever you pick will be the right person for the job. She also needs to be open to working alongside your bridesmaids and coordinate events and be available for you throughout the whole process. If there’s one person you will be leaning on for emotional support in the midst of all that planning and stress, it’s your Maid of Honor.
Many people believe that the first thing you need to do after becoming a fiancé it’s to announce it officially for all the world to know. It’s honestly what you want to do more than anything at that moment, and who can blame you? But experts suggest you should pop the question to your bridesmaids first before announcing your engagement. Throwing a big party can wait, but If these women are going to be part of your celebration, they need to know first and be aware of what they’re getting themselves into by saying yes. The first order of business for them will be to help you plan the most fabulous engagement party!
The way you ask your bridesmaids to be part of your wedding party should be more than just sending out a cute text. You can get really fun, creative, and personal with this one! Some of the best ideas for popping the question to your bridesmaids range from the out of the ordinary and expensive, such as sending them a gift box with goodies or throwing a high tea party, to the simple and sweet like getting mani-pedis. Whichever way you plan on doing it, it’s up to you and your particular relationship with each of your bridesmaids. Whether you plan a big party to pamper them all or simply ask them in person one on one, it will always be more meaningful and representative of your bond than doing it via text.
Being asked by your loved one to be a bridesmaid at her wedding is an honor, but there are a lot of things one must consider before saying yes. For your friends to participate at your wedding as bridesmaids mean they will have to incur some expenses, for which they have to set up a budget. Not only will they have to buy a dress, accessories, and their own hair and makeup for your wedding day, but they also have to put a lot of their time and resources to plan and assist pre-wedding events, be available for you almost 24/7. If your wedding is taking place at your dream destination, they also have to consider accommodations and travel costs. It is important for you, the blushing bride-to-be, to know that just because you asked them nicely and you are the closest of friends, they are not obligated to say yes. Being a bridesmaid is a big commitment, and the last thing you want is for your friendship to be tarnished by the strain of your wedding. If your friend says no to your being your bridesmaid, don’t take it personally.
Taking on the task of being a bridesmaid and helping your dream wedding become a reality is not an easy decision to be made. It’s not only the time and money your bridesmaids have to invest in your wedding day and all of the small parties leading up to the big day, but you must also consider your different personalities. Perhaps one of your BFFs has a really strong assertive personality and she can be brutally honest. Would you really like someone bringing down all your hopes and dreams of your perfect wedding? Would you be okay with her judging your every decision, starting with that beautiful Calla Blanche wedding dress you are dying to try on and know will look perfect on you? Perhaps having a couple of bridesmaids turn down your proposal is not such a bad thing after all. It also helps if you carefully curate your list of potential bridesmaids and take it from your 12 closest friends and relatives to, say, only 6.
The Chosen Ones
Once your bridesmaids have all agreed to become an official member of Team Bride there are a few things they need to do first.
- Meet & greet
There are some fun bonding activities you can throw together for your bridesmaids to all get to know each other and exchange contact information. They might all come from different areas of your life, and if they are meant to work together and their relationship to you is the glue that holds them all together. It’s always nice to let them know you appreciate them and give them a warm welcome. You might coordinate with your Maid of Honor as one of her first official tasks.
- Check their calendar and ask for days off work if necessary
You also want to go over your possible wedding dates with them before you make a final decision. As much as you want them to make a commitment to whichever date works best for you and your fiancé, they might be able to miss one or two pre-wedding events, but they have to be there on your wedding day.
- Create a budget
A bridesmaid doesn’t have to pay for only her own wedding dress, shoes, and accessories. As we previously mentioned, they have to pay for their own hair and makeup on your wedding day. Even if you are getting all together in a hotel room prior to your wedding, you are not obligated for each of their own bridesmaid looks.
- Brainstorm ideas for themes, dates, and locations for pre-wedding events.
Get ready to be showered with suggestions from the moment your bridesmaids say yes. If they have been following your relationship closely, they probably knew he was going to pop the question anytime, and they might have some great fun ideas ready to wow you.
As the blushing bride-to-be, there are some rules of etiquette your bridesmaids should follow, and it is better to set the rules from the beginning to avoid any drama in the future. They’re mostly behavioral in nature:
- Pay for their own dress
- Help plan pre-wedding events
- Attend most of the pre-wedding events
- Get a gift for the bride
- Never complain to the bride
- Keep the drama to a minimum
- Be hospitable and kind
- Let either you or the MOH, know if she has any financial concerns
- If a bridesmaid doesn’t have anything nice to say, she should keep it to herself
Your bridesmaids are there to help you, but there are some boundaries as to how far they can get involved in the wedding planning and how much you can expect from them.
the official job description of a bridesmaid comes down to supporting and assisting the bride in all things wedding related. From the moment your bridesmaids agree to become a part of your Bride Squad, there is a list of duties and responsibilities they should adhere to leading all the way to after the reception.
A bridesmaid is not technically a “maid” in the literal sense of the word, but more a source of emotional and moral support for the bride. Yes, your bridesmaids are there to help but they are not your personal assistants, and you should not expect them to be your actual maids. As bridesmaids are technically signing up for an unpaid part-time job during all the months, be it 6 or 10, leading up to your wedding. They are giving up their time and a bit of money to be available for you at a moment’s notice. No matter if you’re just making a decision on your centerpieces or which flowers will look better on the dessert table or working on some DIY projects to help you save costs, the only reward they are expecting is your kindness, appreciation for their hard work, and support and for you to have your happy ever after.
As with many jobs, there are some dos and don’ts you should keep an eye out for. In the Bridesmaids’ Manual of Etiquette, there are certain things you shouldn’t have to put up with, no matter how much you love your girls.
- Unwanted opinions. It is one thing to say a dress is not exactly your style, it’s a completely different thing to say it’s ugly when you are obviously excited to even be trying it on in the first place.
- Being too whiny. If you’re asking for help with a specific task, it’s not okay for your bridesmaids to complain about having to do it.
- Missing all pre-wedding events. One of the first things every bridesmaid should know and be aware of, is that her attendance to at least the rehearsal dinner is a must. Perhaps they have other social or work-related commitments, so they can’t attend all the events, but they should at least try to be at the rehearsal dinner, so they have a better understanding of what their role on the actual ceremony and reception entails.
- Be a drama queen. All bridesmaids should know that they must work as a team led by the Maid of Honor. The whole point is for them to help you make your wedding dreams a reality and fighting each other for your attention and to get the final word is not in your best interests.
The whole point for your wedding party is to be just that: a party! You’re bringing your nearest and dearest together, the ones with the best organizing, most loving, fun, and creative qualities, to assist you in making your dreams come true! You are the star of the show and the one who is getting married, and everything from the wedding planning to the hours after “I do” should be.
More than a hashtag
In recent years, the traditional role of the bridesmaids and MOH has become more than simply party planners. Getting t-shirts with the words “Team Bride” or Bride Squad” on them has become a pop culture phenomenon. Bridal showers have become the traditional way to celebrate the bride with her friends and family in a formal setting, but when it comes to the bachelorette party, all bets are off.
The Maid of Honor’s house is no longer the only venue to hold your bachelorette party, neither is going to your regular nightclub for drinks and to enjoy your final days as a non-married woman. The world is your oyster! There are some wonderful companies that specialize in bachelorette parties, with traveling accommodations for all of your squad for every budget. If you’re thinking of going to an exotic Caribbean destination with just your girls and make a long weekend out of your celebration, you can drop a hint to your MOH and your girls will surely look into it. Just remember, everyone has different budgets and responsibilities in their daily lives, so it’s good to consider having options available that can work for all the team.
The adventure of being a bridesmaid starts from the moment they say “yes” to being a part of your big day. Just like you have an itinerary of wedding planning duties and a timeline of when things need to get done based on your wedding day, your perfect bridesmaids are required to stay on track with all activities and main events leading up to the moment you walk down the aisle. This way, you can all be on the same page, and they can create a bridesmaid timeline that is in sync with yours.
In order for your bridesmaids to be on point with the order in which everything in your wedding is falling into place, it’s important to get together with them every few weeks and stay in contact as much as possible. You want to be able to hear their input and their suggestions for every step of the wedding planning process and for them to be aware of when they can jump in and help you out with any DIY projects.
The Maid of Honor
We know you have your Best Friends Forever, but there is one in particular who is for sure, 100%, no questions asked, your ride-or-die BFF. The two of you probably grew up together, you finish each other’s’ sentences, she is probably the one who had to approve of your now fiancé before you guys became official. Choosing your Maid of Honor is probably the easiest decision you’ll make in the whole process. But what does it actually entail for her?
Among some of the duties of the MOH, there are some worth mentioning:
- Help you find your perfect wedding dress.
- Plan the engagement party.
- Schedule parties and bonding activities with the rest of the Bride Squad.
- Help you choose a theme and color palette for your wedding.
- Give emotional support.
- Discrete and efficient problem-solving.
- Deliver a speech at the rehearsal dinner and wedding reception.
- Assist and suggest options for wedding venues.
- Help you plan the seating chart and guest list.
- Assign duties to your bridesmaids to lessen the workload and make it a team.
- Be there for you. No matter what.
Granting your best friend the honor of being your Maid of Honor is the ultimate sign of trust. It shows that you appreciate and trust her more than anyone and that your bond will only become stronger! This is the true meaning of Best Friends Forever.
When it comes to wedding dress shopping, the magic number of guests to bring along is a maximum of 4, 5 including you. Some bridal stores might have their own limits based on the size of the fitting rooms and the number of brides they can be assisting at any given time. Make sure you check with your consultant before attending your appointment to make things easier for everyone involved. Whether you ask your mom and future mother-in-law with you is completely up to you, but having more than your Maid of Honor and a couple of bridesmaids in attendance can make the experience overwhelming and a more stressful experience, when in reality, wedding dress shopping is one of the most fun steps in the wedding planning process. It’s when you finally get to play dress up and try on those stunning Calla Blanche dresses you’ve been eyeing on Instagram and Pinterest.
Before you make a decision on who gets to see you trying on dresses and will help you make the final decision, you need to take into consideration the different personalities of your bridesmaids. There’s a fine line between brutal honesty and being too judgmental. You, Maid of Honor, can help you make the best decision as to who gets to attend the appointment. The bridesmaids that make the cut have to be honest, kind, smart, know what you like and what suits your body, and be able to make suggestions to help you step outside your comfort zone if you trust them enough. Perhaps you had in mind going for that beautiful strapless Yasmine -17109- lace gown and would never even think of trying on something modern and glamorous like Cher -120209-. Having a friend that will push your boundaries and convince you to try on a different style than what you’re used to just for the sake of it might be just what you need to fall in love with your perfect wedding dress. You might be surprised by the kind of inspiration your bridesmaids can bring! Imagine the possibilities!
Before the wedding
The great thing about you getting married is that you’re not the only one who gets to get glammed up and wear a brand-new fabulous dress. You get to share the experience with your besties! Just as when choosing your perfect wedding dress the final decision is all yours, but hearing their input and suggestions can make more a more pleasant experience for all.
- Same style and color: nothing says “Team Bride” quite like the traditional rule of having your girls wear the exact same dress. It’s all about being practical and uncomplicated. Make sure whatever color you choose matches your bouquet and the color palette of your wedding. You must also remember to ask for their opinion. You can’t leave them entirely out of the process, even though you will be making the final decision.
If you want to be adventurous and think outside the box, you should consider any of the following ways to successfully pull off a mismatched bridesmaid dress trend:
- Same color, different styles: We all know we have different body shapes and some styles are more flattering than others. You want your bridesmaids to have fun and feel comfortable in their own skin, which only results in them looking fabulous and having an amazing time. What better way than to have them wear the same color, that s in tune with the rest of your theme, color palette and matches your bouquet, while giving them the freedom to wear either a strapless, off the shoulder, halter mermaid gown or shift dress in the same shade of taupe or coral.
- Same color, different textures: Want to spice things up a bit more? Try different textures! Perhaps an all sequin dress for the MOH, lace for one of your bridesmaids, a mixture of crepe and lace for another dress, a satin and chiffon dress on another one of your bridesmaids. It’s a nice way to keep things coordinated and homogeneous while giving your girls a chance to show off their personalities and have fun with the process
- Ombre bridesmaids dress trend: Taking it one step further with the modern bridesmaids dress trends, taking one color of your palette and breaking it down into different shades with different styles for each of your bridesmaids will keep things interesting and fun. We recommend keeping it within a neutral palette. Taupe, mauve, cyan, coral, from darker to lighter. Let them have a word in which shade fits them better. We all come in different skin tones and complexions, and there’s no one shade fits all when it comes to being a bridesmaid. It’s all about comfort and glam!
Try to consider their opinion and personal tastes as much as possible, but remember, it is your wedding you are planning, and you get to have the final word. If they love you and care for your happiness and stress levels, they have to smile and agree with your decision on what dress they should wear.
One more thing you and your bridesmaids should go over is what makeup and hairstyle they will all be wearing on your wedding day. Just like with your own hairstyle, there are factors you should keep in mind when helping them choose which will suit them best on your big day.
- Dress style and neckline
- The shape of their face
- The length of their hair
- Your wedding theme
- Whether you’re open to each having their own hairstyle
- Their budget
You should not assume all of your bridesmaids will be able to afford an elaborate updo from the same hairdresser that will be helping all of them, so having a conversation at the early stages is a good way for you all to be on the same page and come to an agreement as to how much they are willing to spend on their hair and makeup for your wedding day.
The same rules apply when it comes to their makeup. Perhaps some of them are uncomfortable with the idea of paying for a makeup artist to doll them all, while others will be okay with having an expert get them ready for their closeup. If one of them likes to keep their makeup natural while the rest of them want to go for a smoky eye, you need to respect their personal choices. Feeling beautiful and happy on the inside will definitely come through on your official portraits. It’s all about comfort and fun, with a touch of glam. Talking about it with the whole Bride Squad so you can settle for a makeup style that will fit their personalities and the theme of your wedding, will go a long way in ensuring everyone has a fantastic time.
If there is one thing your MOH and bridesmaids can help you plan, it’s the pre-wedding events! This is when you can get some weight lifted off your shoulders and trust that they know you well enough as a couple to make the right choice. The Maid of Honor will lead the process, but she will need support from the rest of the squad. They can go over the options and ask for you to decide which way to go. If you have a wedding planner available, she can work along with them. Their role in these events is not only as planners, but your bridesmaids will also be the hostess with the mostest.
While many consider the engagement party to be an event only planned by both your and your fiancé’s parents, the truth is you can help from as many sources as you want. Perhaps the ideas suggested by your mom about a formal soiree are not quite up to your alley. In that case, you can turn to your wonderful Maid of Honor and team or bridesmaids for some cool ways to celebrate your engagement. You might not need a string quartet for your backyard event, but your girls can surely help you come up a fun playlist and even spice up the decorations! They might also pitch in for a bartending and catering service as their engagement present. Whatever it is you need, from the moment they agreed to become part of Team Bride, they’re on your side. Lean on them!
Bridal Shower tips and ideas
The Bridal Shower is traditionally planned in a formal setting for your mom, future mother-in-law, and close relatives to celebrate your transition into married life. This is where the efforts of your bridesmaids and Maid of Honor working together as a team become a reality. While the MOH is officially in charge, your bridesmaids are free to pitch in with ideas on where it should take place, what kind of food should be served, and purchasing the décor and games for all attendees to play. Of course, if they want to save a couple of bucks, they can put their handcrafting skills to good use and find a way to make a couple of items by themselves. It’s all about bonding and team spirit! When it comes to your gifts, you might want to let the attendees know whether you’re comfortable pulling a pair of raunchy lingerie out of that pink bag in front of your grandmother, mother, and your future mother-in-law. Let’s save the sexiness for the bachelorette party, shall we?
Bachelorette party tips and ideas
After all the pomp and circumstance of the Engagement Party and the Bridal Shower, it is time for the women in the Bride Squad to let loose. Leave the planning completely in the hands of your bridesmaids and MOH. If they know you, and you trust them, they’ll be able to surprise you by giving you just the type of celebration you want. However, if there are certain areas where you draw a line, say penis-shaped straws, balloons, cake, etc., we recommend making your feelings known from the very beginning before the girls start running wild. It is a party in your honor after all. If, on the other hand, they’re being very conservative out of respect while you want a night out on the town to say farewell to your bachelorette status and you can think of nothing more suitable than visiting a strip club, you should also let them know your wishes. Honestly, this is your opportunity to let your voice be heard and celebrate your last night as an unmarried woman as best as you can.
The level of involvement from Team Bride at this stage should be lower than in previous events. The rehearsal dinner is a joint effort between you and your fiancé, as well as some input from both of your families, to officially introduce the wedding weekend. There are still a couple of things your MOH and bridesmaids can do to make the evening more pleasant and become involved in a seamless way. From hosting and greeting everyone, to help out with any last-minute details or whatever mishaps might come up, to even giving a toast if they feel like it. It is at the rehearsal dinner that the wedding jitters start to kick in, and it is their job as official members of the Bride Squad to make sure you’re as relaxed and stress-free as possible.
Speaking of stress, there are some wonderful ways for you and your bridesmaids to have a fun day and get your mind off of planning and coordinating your most special day. It’s all about keeping the stress away and taking a break from the festivities. If a full spa day is not exactly in their budget, maybe just getting mani-pedis or a facial, with mimosas, of course, could be a nice way to bond and gossip. Call it a girls’ day!
You’re getting married! After months of planning and running around, making decision after decision on everything from flowers to the cake, wedding dress, and bridesmaids dresses, it is time for you to sit back, get pampered, and let your bridesmaids and MOH make sure everything takes place according to your wishes. There are certain things your bridesmaids can do on your wedding day to ensure your peace of mind at both the ceremony and the reception.
- Show up early. Not on time, but early. Almost as important as going to a job interview, having them at your bridal suite, or wherever it is you are all getting beautified together ahead of schedule is a step in the right direction.
- Have an emergency bridal kit ready. You’ll be wearing your stunning wedding dress throughout the evening and, even though it might have pockets, you can’t be carrying around a bag with all your essential makeup, bobby and safety pins, tissues, etc. with you throughout the evening. This is where having a loving team of bridesmaids comes in handy.
- Don’t get drunk. It is one thing to party and be happy that you, their best friend, is tying the knot, it is another one to become the center of attention and fall on their butt in the middle of the dance floor, or reveal intimate details of your love life while giving their speech.
- Be available. They have made it this far without a hitch. This is the final stretch! Nobody says they can’t have fun, but if you need them for anything other than taking portraits, it is good to know they are there to assist you and the MOH at any point of the evening.
After successfully enjoying the wedding of your dreams, it would be nice to surprise everyone who played a role in making your wedding dreams come true. Your wonderful bridesmaids, MOH, groomsmen, and Best Man deserve some recognition for their stellar job in the past few months. Without their help and support, your perfect wedding wouldn’t have been possible. One way to do it is to invite them all for brunch the next day! Whether it’s at the hotel you and your husband staying at, or your own backyard, showing your appreciation for their love throughout this ordeal and wrap your nuptials with a flourish and a bow.
We hope this guide will shine a light on the many ways in which your bridesmaids and Maid of Honor can contribute to your special day. Being a member of Team Bride is an honor and them showing their unconditional love to you and your happy ever after deserves some recognition. Make sure you choose the right people for the job. Asking someone to be your bridesmaid is not a matter of being polite or returning a favor. Consider the personalities and organizational skills of all your besties before you make a decision and be open to the possibility that they might turn down your offer. Your wedding day will become their priority the moment they say “yes”. Be kind to them and remember to have fun at every stage with your fabulous bridesmaids by your side!
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