Bridesmaids are not expected to set up, clean up??

posted 1 year ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 61
1901 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I’m with OP. I expected to and gladly helped set up and clean up in the weddings I’ve been in. So did the family.  I didn’t love it,  but anything to make my friend’s day smoother.  I’d expect the same from them in return. 

But, we are super close… help myself to their pantry and clean up after myself when visiting close… so I consider this an extension of that.  A mark of pride with how close I am that I’m not a “guest.”

That said,  I picked a venue based on in part that they provide clean up services… so I’m hoping to minimize the clean up efforts of my friends and family. 

Post # 62
306 posts
Helper bee

As many have stated… I always helped out with getting guests to the right place… helping out if a kid has a meltdown and after the wedding, grabbed the flowers so they didn’t disappear and helped get the personal items to the right folks but as far as cleaning… i think it depends on the venue.  If it’s a home, more casual type reception, then that might be the case but if there was catering and music, DJ and waiters or buffet workers, etc… they should clean up.  Besides… your BM’s are going to be cutting a rug and having a ball until well after you’re gone with hubby!  

Post # 63
110 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

For more formal affairs I think if your friends seem willing and you’re close, having them do small, easy tasks is ok. A group of my besties packed candles into a box and into their car to drop off at my place later and my husbands brother and SO took our floral arrangements to a nursing and rehab home the next morning, but the staff at our venue were the ones expected to blow out and break down the candles, load the flowers into the car, and do all the rest of the clean up and unpacking. It’s why we paid an event fee.

Post # 64
3882 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

I would definitely be bummed if I had to sweep and clean and dispose of food and that kind of thing. But a simple collecting of cards isn’t a big deal imo. At my wedding, my sister/moh took the leftover cake home with her, the groomsmen helped put the presents in my parents’ car, and the other bridesmaids helped my amazing friend who made the centrepieces put those in her car. If you break it up it’s not hard. They were all happy to do it and had fun with each other. It was just a way for our friends to have our backs and I’d do the same for them. If you spread it out among the bridesmaids and groomsmen no one should have much to do. 

Post # 65
2014 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Who got up at 9am the day after the wedding and cleaned up? We did. We had to take all our belongings home with us.

As well as my parents. My in laws were at theirs preparing for the after wedding brunch.

Bridesmaids aren’t slaves 

Post # 66
589 posts
Busy bee

Yes of course you could hire someone to clean, the same as you could pay for a taxi to take you to the airport and not have your best friend drop you off or you could pay for a babysitter and not have your mum watch your kids for a couple of hours. 

Sometimes in life we do little ‘jobs’ for one another because we love that person. If I went to a close family or friend’s wedding and they told me they had hired someone to help clean up, I would honestly tell them they’re nuts, cancel the reservation and we will help them to tidy up. I know they would also do the same for me. We help each other in ways like this to save that person money. 

I went to a DIY wedding in my friend’s fiancé’s grandparents’ farm/woods last year. I was a bridesmaid. I couldn’t help set up because I’m a teacher in Spain and had to fly to the wedding late after work on Friday so wasn’t there to help set up. I felt bad for not helping and wanted to help them out. They had a lot of people around to help them out who wanted to help them. The day after the wedding I text the bride saying ‘I’m awake. What do you need help with?’. She’s a good friend and I love her. I don’t except people to do that for me, but I bloody appreciate it when people do. 

Post # 67
9 posts
  • Wedding: July 2018

I have a feeling that this is one of those cultural divides. I’m european based, and I didn’t do anything as a Bridesmaid for my friends except plan the Hen party and wear the dress. I didn’t ask anything else form my Bridesmaids.

However, this seems a little different in the USA. My American friends regularly post photos of their friends and family assembling the venue, putting up lights and getting together to take it all down. It seems part of their bonding experience actually.

I don’t think there is one normal, but rather what is normal for your circle of friends 🙂

Post # 68
4661 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

rockclimberbride :  please don’t get me wrong. I love my brother to bits. I’d do it again. They should have had enough people to help, but the reality is that the other bridesmaids were too busy catching up with their friends to care that people had run out of drinks. And then too tired to help clean up. I think that’s common, it’s easy finding people to set up. Its fun! But who wants to help with the work on the day? No one. Who wants to clean up (possibly with a hangover if the day after)? No one.

I think what PP said about selfish people is key. I was desparate that my brother and SIL had the perfect day. And I forgoed eating to achieve that. It’s not a martyr thing it just happened. Other people in the bridal party were too busy taking pictures. It was a bit of a kick in the teeth to see all these photos of the other BMS on social media having a good time. I guess what I’m trying to say is you shouldn’t expect people to do stuff. Because inevitably someone won’t pull their weight. The Maid/Matron of Honor was useless and forgot the brides bag and bouquet. I went back and got those.

Post # 69
13666 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

lauschl :  I think it’s even regional within the US.  I grew up in the Northeast and now live in the DC area, and I’ve never once been asked to help clean after a wedding or set up for a wedding.  I’ve never seen others do this, either.  Darling Husband and I were pretty much the last ones to leave our reception venue, and you can be damn sure we didn’t ask any of our guests to do anything other than asking my mom to take the cards home with her so I didn’t have to carry them around the bar later. 

Post # 70
595 posts
Busy bee

If someone asked me to be a bridesmaid, I’d be a bridesmaid. If someone wants me to help set up and clean up their wedding, I expect them to ask me that. If they called it being a bridesmaid I’d be very disappointed.

Post # 71
1509 posts
Bumble bee

I think a lot of it has to do with how much money you have to spend. 

I’ve been in several weddings and in every single one of them, the bridesmaids have helped set up and break down.  We’ve had wine and laughed and talked the entire time.  We did it to help support the newlyweds and didn’t feel the least bit demeaned.

I’ve also cut cake, put out food and served punch in a bridesmaid dress that I paid for.  

Post # 72
733 posts
Busy bee

I’ve never been asked to set up or clean up but would be okay with doing it, as long as they weren’t asking for anything crazy. I do get why some people see this as bad etiquette but I think this is a know-your-crowd situation. In terms of just collecting the cards and making sure everything is in the right place after the wedding, my DOC oversaw this and my mom and brother followed up to make sure everything was correct.

One of my cousins did have a completely DIY wedding where everything from the tables and chairs to decorations and drinks needed to be set up (and dragged up two flights of stairs) and they were asking guests (including myself) to do it that day while the bride and bridesmaids were getting hair and makeup done. That I found off-putting. 

Post # 73
2800 posts
Sugar bee

No you pay people to do work. No one wants to clean up the venue after celebrating your wedding, drinking and dancing. It’s not a job. Pay people to do it.

Post # 74
852 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

This thread is so interesting! It seems to be a situational, a case by case issue. 

Depending what what you pay for or what you can afford I think it’s okay to ask the wedding party for help. I always had the mindset that as a member of the wedding party I am suppose to help with such task (with in reason). It seems that expectations need to be clearly stated and agreed to, but communication is hard! 

I have helped out at plenty of friends weddings, whether or not I was part of the wedding party but I was always asked. And I do believe the trend is shifting where couples want their guest to have a nice time and not do/worry about any set up/clean up. My first wedding we had alot of help from friends & family but my mindset is different now, I imagine because I am older and have some life experience under my belt. 

Post # 75
51 posts
Worker bee

I’m firmly on the mindset of “bridesmaids just need to show up in their dress.” If they offer to help, fine. However, nothing should be expected. Hire a DOC or a decorator. Factor the cost of set up and break down into your wedding budget. If a bride has expectations of what she wants, she needs to make that clear from jump so people have the option to decline. 

I personally don’t like the idea of bridal parties altogether because they don’t really serve a purpose. 

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