I don’t know…I go back & forth in my opinions of bridesmaids. On one hand, I feel guilty wanting anything from my bridesmaids other than to show up and look good (especially since many of them are spending money and taking time off work to be there). On the other hand, these are my nearest and dearest, and I know I would do ANYTHING for them, and it’s hurtful when you feel like that’s a one sided opinion.
I was exactly where you were after I got engaged. You only get married once, and I wanted the experience of having a shower in my honor and a bachelorette party. I didn’t even care if it was a “no gifts” shower, I just really felt like I would regret not having one. My mom is happy I am getting married, but not thrilled that I am doing the traditional festivities (I already have a son and am living with my fiance, she is very conservative), so she will not organize anything (in my circle, it’s customary for mom to throw the shower, even though it is often considered “rude” in other circles). I was really bummed. Then, I kept reading on WB how all these women had BMs throwing them showers and planning elaborate bachelorette parties, and my feelings were hurt (I know you can’t compare yourself to others, but it’s human nature. It is what it is).
I shared this with my fiance, and he pointed out that my BMs aren’t mind readers. Yes, it’s rude to ask for a party thrown in your honor, but these are your CLOSEST friends, surely you can share your feelings with them (in a nice, non bridezilla way). To my surprise, conversations about the shower came up organically, with one of my BMs asking when mine would be. I told her the truth, it was a bummer, but no one was throwing one. To my surprise, she was shocked and offered immediately to throw me one. It just hadn’t occured to her, and she thought I didn’t want one or someone else in my family was throwing it. Right now, she and my other 4 BMs are organizing my shower in April.
Something similar went down for my bachelorette, everyone had just assumed everyone else was throwing it. I was honest when the time came to talk about it, not demanding, but just speaking from the heart. I wanted these parties, I understand that they cost money, etc, and would understand if it can’t happen, but I would like to have one. Again, they’re my closest friends and want to share in my special days, so they were happy to plan that as well.
Anyway, my point is, your BMs aren’t mind readers. Yes, it’s rude to ASK for parties, but, if you can’t tell them how you feel about the situation, then who can you tell? These are the people that are supposed to be there for you no matter what. And, if they can’t oblige, or don’t want to, then you have to be understanding of that.
And your responsibility, as bride, is to be just as good of a friend to these girls as they are to you. It sounds like you’re already trying to respect them by letting them pick their own clothes (I’m doing this too). Just make sure you keep other things in mind and are sensitive to their limitations. For instance, I offered to be in town for my shower the Saturday before Easter so that all my Out of Town BMs/friends will already be in town visiting family for the holiday- no extra travel. I also suggested we have my bachelorette the Friday before my Sunday wedding. Again, no travel for the OOTers. Finally, I’m trying to make them comfortable during my wedding weekend by paying for as much food/accomodations/activities as possible so that they are not more financially stressed.
Good luck 🙂