(Closed) How to communicate BM expectations?

posted 4 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 3
1193 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

What expectations?  They’re supposed to stand up for you at your wedding? Do you mean expectations about arriving on time and getting fitted for a dress? If so, I think you just mention when the fittings are and what not.


Post # 4
5014 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I don’t think you need to explain it to them, I just think that you need to have realistic expectations. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect much more than buying the dress and showing up. If they can come dress shopping or to the shower/bachelorette party then that’s great. I went to a bunch of places and tried on bridesmaids dresses myself and basically just chose it and told them to order it because they all live out-of-state and when I asked for their opinions they just said anything is fine. If you are expecting a lot out of them, then I think it’s only fair to tell them before they agree to be a bridesmaid. In that case, I would write an email politely stating what you want, though I don’t think it will go over all that well.

Post # 5
1131 posts
Bumble bee

I read this and almost fell off my chair: http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/bridezillas-crazy-email-bridesmaids-goes-viral-respond-her-201500809.html

I know you dont want to be this lady (you can read the full email at the bottom of the post) but apparently folks are forgetting that BMs are doing the bride a  (big, usually expensive) favor and not the other way around. 

If you approach it from that viewpoint then you should be good 🙂

best of luck!


Post # 6
3508 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

@allyouneedislove:  I totally hear you on this!! I have a HUGE group of girls in my bridal party. All family and I expect them to be at fittings and help we with the planning not as much as my MOH but I deff want them there, their my girls you know. Congrats as well.

Post # 7
825 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@allyouneedislove:  other than purchasing their dresses and showing up the day of the wedding, you really can’t ask more of them. If they offer, that’s one thing. But as far as helping with wedding prep, planning a shower or other parties etc…the ball’s in their court. If they don’t step up and offer to do something, you can’t ask. 

Post # 8
1193 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@TattedNYBride:  This.

Don’t take the “maid” part of bridesmaid to heart.  They aren’t there to to stuff invitations and do DIY projects unless they offer.

Post # 9
2213 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@allyouneedislove:  What are your expectations?  Providing more information will probably get you better responses.

Post # 10
11273 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

No, unfortunately, there really isn’t. Although many bridesmaids choose or are able to do all sorts of wonderful things for their friends who are brides (host showers, throw bachelorette parties, help with DIY projects, go with the bride to her own dress fittings, etc.), the only real requirements  should be that they will agree to wear and purchase the bridesmaids’ dress that you choose (and, possibly, shoes in a color and general style — i.e. sandals vs. closed-toed, for example — of your choosing, although not everyone cares about this) and to stand with you on the day of your wedding. Everything else really is going to need to be dependent on their schedules, budgets, interests, and availability.

Note: Having said all of that, I did also ask my bridesmaids to wear a certain range of nail color (clear, a classic French mani, or a light pink shade) if they chose to wear nail polish.

Post # 11
6 posts
  • Wedding: October 2013

The only expectation you should have is for them to buy the dress and show up the day of.  If anyone offers to help you with somethings thats different (but don’t take advantage).  


Post # 12
3736 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@allyouneedislove:  I sent them an email and I was very direct. Here’s what I told them…

First of all, THANK YOU for standing up for us! We are super excited to have you be a part of our special day. 

Expectations – My main expectation is for your moral support but I will also let you know when I could use some help. I may have folks over to do wedding invites or ask for a hand when attempting to tie hideously small ribbons on favors. Either way, my game plan is to keep it lighthearted and fun. I do not foresee many mandatory activities aside from showing up to the wedding!! 

Wedding Dress Shopping – When I go dress shopping in late October or early November, I will let everyone know and all are welcome. This will be an adult-only activity. I know my mom and sisters will definitely come up so it should be a lot of fun. This is not a mandatory activity.

Bridesmaid Dresses – This will probably happen in early 2014. I’m hoping to learn more about ordering timeframes as we go through finding a wedding dress so early 2014 could change. I’d really love for a couple of models to come help me decide. I’m thinking I’ll pick a length, fabric and color and everyone can pick their own neckline (straps, sleeves, halter, strapless, sweetheart, belly button plunge (Jen), etc). This way everyone will be comfortable.

Potential vendors – J. Crew, JCP, Alfred Angelo, David’s Bridal – If you have any suggestions of places to look, please let me know. I definitely want everyone to have options so they will look beautiful and feel comfortable. I am thinking the dresses will be $200 or less (hoping for something closer to $100 so let’s keep an eye out for coupons and promo codes!). If this is a stretch, let me know and we’ll work it out.

Shower – I spoke with my mom last night and she will throw me a shower in July 2014 in upstate NY. I know she would LOVE your input and ideas! However, you do not need to worry about contributing dollars to this event unless you want to. I really hope everyone can make this. My mom will give us plenty of time to plan our travel but she probably won’t know until next May or early June so hang tight until then.

Miscellaneous – If there is a part of the wedding planning process that you definitely want to be a part of or find particularly interesting – LET ME KNOW! I may not always read minds correctly so if you have your heart set on going to every fitting, gazing at favors, picking out Save the Dates, planning the shower, locating super flexible strippers (are you still reading?), etc., let me know and I will include you as much as you’d like. I don’t always know what turns other folks on so give me some feedback and I’ll do my best to accommodate you and keep you in the know!

Bottom-line: Show me some love, be present when you can and don’t screen me out of your phone calls.  I promise I will show you some lo-o-o-o-o-o-ove too!

Thanks & Love,

PS – Once we get REALLY close, I’ll make sure everyone knows what needs to happen on 9/19/14 along with a schedule. Keep an eye out for the flow chart and slides detailing this in another 15.5 months. Ha ha ha. Just kidding (or am I?).

Post # 13
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

The one maybe slightly unusual thing for me with my bridesmaids was that one is my little cousin, a very sheltered 17 who lives a few hours away, and I really wanted her to feel like she was “one of the girls” without having unrealistic expectations to be able to do what the rest of the bridesmaids were.

I just talked with them about it after I asked them as a heads up, something along the lines of, “Cousin is really excited and I hope you guys will understand that she is in school and won’t be able to plan or be down here for everything. It’d be really nice if you could include her in emails, though, and we’re going to do at least one dress shopping trip around her school schedule so she can be there.”

They all seemed very understanding and fine with it. She’s a super sweet girl, though, so I think it’s easy for them to want her to feel included.

Post # 14
9956 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

TO @allyouneedislove:  IMO… this is a GOOD QUESTION… and I am glad to see someone ask it and be concerned about the issue

I think that every Bride (and Groom) should Review the Traditional List of Repsonsibilities & Expenses for themselves in regards to the Bridal Party BEFORE choosing their Bridal Party, so they are PRIMARILY AWARE of what is and isn’t the norm (lol, the old joke when an Upset Bridesmaid posts here on WBee, and says… “The Bride is being unreasonable, a real Bridezilla… she’s a frickin’ Slave Driver !!”)

AND I also think it is important that once the Couple can SEE what the costs will be for each Member of their Bridal Party that they budget out what is reasonable, and pick the number of Attendants based on what they CAN AFFORD… and not so much on a “dream vision” or some other concept

Budget wise, having Bridal Attendants are not a small expense !!

So once a couple knows what they can afford, ONLY THEN (and with much forethought) should one make a list of possible candidates.

Then rather than ASKING someone to be in their Bridal Party, they should have a heart-to-heart with the person outlining from the Traditional List of Responsibilities & Expenses what YOU actually anticipate them to do / pay for.

In this way there is NO MISUNDERSTANDINGS right from the get go.

As that does tend to be where the majority of the Drama / Trauma comes from in the various posts we see on the WBee BOARDS…

People haven’t communicated well upfront, and so expectations are out of line, misunderstandings happen, and feelings are hurt… sometimes irrepairably…

IMO something that could easily be avoided, if folks were more upfront with it all.

Here then the Traditional List of the Responsibilities & Expenses for both sides of the “partnership” (copied here from a previous WBee topic)

They can be followed-to-a-tee… or the Bride & her Maids can set out which ones they want to adopt, and whatever ones they want to drop (same with expenses… there is wiggle room too)

BUT the main concern is that things should be agreed upon by BOTH PARTIES UP FRONT

== snip ==


* Bridesmaids’ Luncheon

* Thank-You Gifts for the Attendants **

* Accommodations for the Bridal Party (often 2 Nights if there is a Rehearsal Dinner / Party)

* Transportation of the Bridal Party from Accommodations to Ceremony Site – Ceremony to Reception – and Reception to Accommodations

* Bridesmaids’ Flowers

* Extending to any member of the Bridal Party over the age of 18 the courtesy of bringing a Guest to the Wedding (and that Guest can be anyone of their choosing… Hubby, Fiance, Long Term BF, random Date… or even their Mother IF that is who they wish to spend the Weekend with… it is THEIR CHOICE… and not yours to judge.  This is one of the perks of being in the BP and giving of their time to your Wedding)

* Making sure that the Bridesmaids and their “dates” (see above) are included at the Rehearsal Dinner … or whatever form of Meet & Greet is planned before the Wedding


 * Purchase of Wedding Day Apparel and necessary accessories ***

* Transportation to the Wedding Destination

* Contribution to a Bridesmaids’ Gift for the Bride (often a pooled gift with other Bridesmaids)

* Individual Gift to the Couple

* Attendance (and possible gift) for any Showers, or Pre-Wedding Parties for the Bride / Couple

* Reponsible for their Dress Fittings

* Assist the MOH whenever one can

* Attend as many Pre-Wedding Events as possible

* Possibly Co-Host a Party or Shower (not mandatory… hopefully at least attend)

* Assist Bride with errands when feasible

* Arrive to Appointments Promptly

* Arrive to Dressing Site on Wedding Day Promptly

* Participate in Professional Photo Shots

* Dance with Ushers & Single Guests (optional / courteous)

* Help gather people together where necessary (ie First Dance, Cake Cutting, Bouquet Toss etc)

* Help out with Elderly Guests if needed

* Pay for their Bridesmaid Dress and Transportation to the Wedding City


* Helps the Bride with selection of Maids’ Attire (if required)

* Helps with Addressing Wedding Stationery Items (Invites, Placecards etc)…  if asked

* Attends as many Pre-Wedding events as possible

* Organizes Bridesmaids’ Gift to the Bride

* Makes sure that others in the Bridal Party are on-time for Appointments

* Holds the Groom’s Wedding Ring on the Wedding Day

* Helps the Bride get ready on the Wedding Day

* Arranges the Bride’s Veil & Train before Processional & Recessional

* Makes sure the Bride looks “Picture Perfect” throughout the day

* Holds the Bride’s Bouquet during Ceremony

* Is a Witness to the Marriage (signs documentation)…if required

* Is in the Receiving Line (if there is one)

* Keeps the Bride on schedule

* Helps the Bride into her Going Away Clothes (if necessary)

* Takes care of the Bride’s Gown and Accessories after the Wedding Reception

* Pays for her own Dress and “some” accessories ***

* Arranges for and pays for her own transportation to the Wedding Destination

 — — —

Two of the greatest areas of misunderstandings is what is paid for by  whom.

*** In North America, a Bridesmaid is only obligated to pay for the Dress that the Bride has chosen.  She is to provide her own foundation garments, shoes and accessories.

BUT if a Bride wishes for everyone to be matchy-matchy beyond the Dress, then the Bride is supposed to pay for those elements… so matching shoes, accessories, jewellery, hair & make up etc.

** The Bride’s Thank You Gifts to the Bridesmaids should not be something that she has chosen for them as part of the Wedding itself… so Hair, Makeup, Jewellery, or other matchy-matchy items… ARE NOT THANK YOUS. 

A Thank You Gift should be chosen for each individual member of the Bridal Party… as part of the friendship bond you share.  It should never be matchy-matchy… it should be chosen with much more care.  That isn’t to say that it cannot be earrings tho if that is something that EVERY Gal in your BP would like… just that they shouldn’t all be the same.  They should be chosen to ONLY “match” the personality of the girl, and nothing else.

Hope this helps,

PS… Worthwhile Reviewing this List BEFORE someone chooses a Bridal Party (and also going over it with potential Maids BEFORE they accept the role)…  because there are some serious obligations / responsibilities on here that can add up to BIG BUCKS for BOTH Parties… BUT particularly the Bride (ie.  Transportation, Hotel Rooms, Maid & Guest, and Thank You Gifts) … and the bigger the BP… the more it costs.

== end ==


Post # 15
8044 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@allyouneedislove:  I see where you’re coming from. Not like “YOU MUST DO THIS, THIS AND THIS” but more so you avoid things like a BM saying “Oh… I didn’t realize I was even supposed to do that!”.

I think it would be helpful for people like me who have not been BMs before.

I would start by having fairly low expectations… but come up with a plan. What do you REALLY need them for?

If I were selecting BMs I would probably ask them in person or on the phone, and then send a follow-up email.. something like “Thanks so much for being my BM! I can’t wait to get into the planning process. I know you’re busy so I don’t want to overwhelm you. Just so we’re on the same page, I have come up with a little schedule to help make things go more smoothly. Are you ok with coming shopping for BM dresses in August… yadda yadda….” you get the idea. That way they can go back into the email if they forget dates, they have an idea what to expect, and it’s not coming across as overbearing.

I would tread lightly on the things that they’re supposed to plan for you… like bachelorette etc… I would not mention any of that stuff in there since I believe it is supposed to be totally up to them to plan, and you can let them have some initiative.

Other than that, I really don’t see any reason for drama if you keep your expectations low and they show up on your wedding day. When you count on other people it doesn’t always work. Such is life. Another way to help ensure less drama is to make sure stuff is done in plenty of time. If you need to make 5,000 paper flowers the night before the wedding and all your BMs are busy when you call in tears… that’s a recipe for resentment and disaster. If you plan early and have most of the stuff out of the way, then there won’t be any desperation. Maybe a month before the wedding see if your BMs are free to help make your 5,000 paper flowers… make it a fun wine and snacks affair… but if a couple cancel out it’s no biggie.

The topic ‘How to communicate BM expectations?’ is closed to new replies.

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