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

posted 1 year ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 76
2115 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

I’ve also cleaned up after most weddings I have been in. I am from a small town, so whenever I am in a wedding back home, I always stay and help clean up. However, I will say that now that I live in a bigger city, most of the time the venues here clean up. In fact, clean up was in my venue contract, and we made sure it was before we signed. It is just not as big of a deal in the bigger city. But yes, small town venues apparently expect you to clean up after yourself! 

Post # 78
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2020

rockclimberbride :  I have to echo what many other bees have said, I would never expect my bridesmaids to clean up after the reception. I think it’s typical for a few family members/friends to volunteer to help carry gifts out to a car, although I have also seen the event staff take care of that task.

The times I have been a Bridesmaid or Best Man or Maid/Matron of Honor, I have always helped out with tasks beforehand, such as the bridal shower (including set up and clean up), making bouquets (which was fun!), or searching online for Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses.

However, I would be really hurt and insulted if the bride expected me to stay behind the reception and clean up. This would really take away from the feeling of being a valued friend, and make me feel more like a convenient, free worker (or servant!)

Post # 79
852 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

c7h8 :  the first line in your post made me wonder why have a wedding party at all if you feel they’re just suppose to show up but you answered that in your last line LOL 

The origin of a bridesmaid it to attend to the bride on the day of a wedding or marriage ceremony. Depending on the brides definition of “attend to” it may include set up and clean up. Hopefully any expectations are commuicated and agreed upon. 

Post # 80
852 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

daisymaewaiting :  Just out of curiosity, would you feel under valued as a friend if the bride (your friend) asked for your help with set up and clean up? I feel that we ask our closes friends for help in times like this because we trust them and have that relationship. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer/perspective. 

This topic also makes me wonder is asking a wedding party to help set up and clean up the same as asking good friends or family (who would likely be in your wedding party if you got married) to help you move? I am asking in general. The POV’s are very interesting!   

Post # 81
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2019

rockclimberbride :  I live in Texas too. I’ve only ever attended one wedding where the bridal party was expected to do clean up. It was offputting like I said before. 

I don’t feel like the robes/proposals are gifts, it’s a bunch of photos ops that are optional. I’m doing PJs/proposals all that jazz and getting my BMs gifts because the other stuff is for me lol… it’s to make them look extra fun for the photos! Even after getting them a bunch of stuff I would never expect them to clean up after my wedding. They are honored guests, not my unpaid help. 

Post # 82
63 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I think there is a difference between a bridesmaid is just expected to show up for the wedding and a bridesmaid should help set up/ take down. In my region and circle it’s in between. As a bridesmaid, I have always helped plan bachelorette party, wedding shower, took off a day of work to help set up and do whatever else the bride needed that day. Didn’t really help take down too much after wedding besides help carry stuff to cars, etc. Did I mind? Not at all, I wasn’t forced to do these things, I did because I loved my friends and wanted their days to be wonderful. I think you have to evaluate your region and what’s expected in your circle of friends but definitely don’t think “just showing up at a bridesmaid” is the norm. 

Post # 83
2452 posts
Buzzing bee

I also find it very odd to ask the bridal party to do double duty as clean-up.  (It’s one thing to ask a trusted bridesmaid to please make sure a specific treasured item like a framed photo of your grandparents on their wedding day is safely removed from the venue at the end of the night. It’s another to expect them to set up, decorate tables, and take-down at the end of the night.)

I’ve been a bridesmaid several times and the only time I was expected to do menial labor was at my cousin’s wedding.  She lived in a very rural area and it was the cultural norm there for weddings to be very DIY/community sourced events.  Members of the wedding party were expected to do stuff like make and serve coffee/tea/punch, fill vases with flowers, refill chafing dishes with swedish meatballs, put tablecloths on tables, replenish cookies on platters during the reception, bus tables, and completely clean the venue at the end of the night.  This expectation was not made clear to some of us in advance (including me) and we were quite surprised the day of the wedding when we were expected to show up at the reception venue at 7 am to decorate and given assignments such as “make and serve punch during reception”.  She honestly expected me to spend the entire reception standing behind a giant powl of punch (lime sherbet and ginger ale), scooping up servings in a ladle and keeping the whole reception hydrated…making more punch as needed.  A few of the other bridesmaids were equally surprised and shocked by their ‘assignments’.   (Not one of my finer moments, but my younger self refused rudely the “honor” of being the punch-lady and she had to find someone else last minute who was willing to step in.)

I suspect in additional to regional differences, this may also vary depending on what type of wedding we’re talking about.  I think it’s a little different to ask friends/family to pitch in for a budget conscious backyard BBQ wedding vs. a huge blowout with an open bar, 5 course plated dinner, 2 bands, and 400 guests.  

I wouldn’t ask my friends/family to do anything like this at my wedding/reception.  Part of being a hostess for to me means that your guests are guests.  Asking friend

Post # 84
1966 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Yes, it is rude to ask bridesmaids to clean up after your wedding. Your wedding party is there to support you, to stand with you on your special day, and they are also your guests. I would never invite guests to a party I was hosting and expect them to clean up after, and the same applies to a wedding. Bridesmaids are not meant to take the place of hired staff.

Post # 85
51 posts
Worker bee

After reading more responses, I’m wondering if this is less of a regional issue and more of a class issue. I can’t imagine someone having a formal higher end wedding that is heavily decorated having the bridal party do set up. That would obviously be the job of the event designer or coordinator. Whereas a more casual barn/DIY wedding would probably have friends and the BMs helping. 

Post # 86
2054 posts
Buzzing bee

My bridesmaids were wonderful people, best friends and family but the ones still there at the end were drinking and partying, not really in condition to clean up and the more sober ones left early with their husbands and kids.  I knew that would be the case so definitely wasn’t counting on them to help clean up.  And my wedding ended at 10:30, not super late 😉  On the other hand.  I will admit that after the ceremony we asked the guests to grab chairs if they were able and move them up to the tables for the reception.  I’ve been to other weddings that did this so I know it is a bit of a hassle but takes all of 2 or 3 minutes. 

Post # 87
104 posts
Blushing bee

I haven’t attended TOO many weddings but for the ones I did attend, the bridesmaids and family help clean up. But, by clean up I mean gather all of the centerpeices, candles, and decorations and throw them in somebody’s car. The venues did not offer tear down services and everything that you brought in that night HAD to be taken out before you left. 

I guess my question would be, in cases like that-where the venue will not help you tear down-who would you hire? A seperate cleaning company?? I would truly have no clue.

 I have not even been in any of these weddings but they have been close family and friends so whoever was left at the end of the night just threw everything together so that we could all get out of there. Bride and groom also helped. 

I would personally pay extra if possible to have somebody do that for me but if it wasn’t an option at my dream venue then I really can’t imagine any of my closest friends and family (aka your bridal party) not staying to help and/or thinking I am being unreasonable by asking if they could help.

Now, I will say that I think I would go about it like “hey, we will probably need some help throwing the centerpeices and stuff in some boxes at the end of the night so if you could help us out that would be great. But, if not then no big deal! I want you guys to have an amazing time because I am so thankful that you are apart of my wedding so if you have a few too many drinks or you decide to leave early then please don’t feel like you NEED to be there or anything”. And they are my closest people…they know that I mean every word of that genuinely. I would do it all myself if necessary but I can promise you that my best friend and my sisters would be happy to help me put some stuff away on my wedding night. And they wouldn’t even think twice about if it was rude..because it woudn’t be in my group. 

I really do see both sides…and I agree with the PPs who said that it a possibly a cultural/regional thing. 

I personally think that every venue should offer the service but that isn’t the case unfortunately. 


Post # 88
880 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

I agree that this sounds like it probably varies a lot based on the expectations of the local culture/community.  I can’t say I’ve ever been asked to clean or help, but as others have previously said, I live in an area where weddings are less of DIY affairs.  I think as long as it doesn’t get in the way of a guest’s enjoyment and no one is feeling put out/taken advantage of, it’s not a huge deal.  But it does seem like in instances in which your guests may not have come from the same background it’s best not to assume what kind of help you might get.  

Post # 89
975 posts
Busy bee

I don’t thinking asking someone to grab centerpieces (assuming it wasn’t a huge wedding with like 25+ centerpieces) or to grab the cash box is a huge deal. But the thread this topic was inspired by mentioned sweeping!!! Ummm no. Asking a bridesmaid to literally clean and sweep the hall is incredibly rude. 

Post # 90
9580 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

lo8948 :  my venue did not do any clean up for us, except for put away the stuff they owned once we’d cleared it (they owned the tables and chairs).

We had our DOC and her assistant oversee/handle clean-up with two people we hired as “staff”.  That’s who did the set-up, too.  We hired them through an event staffing company.

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