To @2beemrs: I feel for you… Bridal Party Drama is some of the worst for sure.
I am a bit of an “Etiquette Snob here … lol” on WBee (in so much as I am very familiar with both Modern & Traditional Etiquette) so I’ll answer your Question from that POV
First I want to say that YOU have done NOTHING WRONG. A quick look at what you are offering is very reasonable… especially in this day & age when “Modern” Etiquette puts the financial burden more on the Maids than it does on the Bride from a “Traditional” Etiquette POV.
Traditional Etiquette is considered the “kinder” of the two… and you are way more on track in that regard than you for Modern Etiquette in this particular scenario with your Maid/Matron of Honor
First I will cut & paste the list of Traditonal Roles, Responsibilities, and Expenses here for you to take a look thru:
== cut & paste ==
THE BRIDE – RESPONSIBILITIES & EXPENSES (to the BP)
* 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 Boyfriend or Best Friend, 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 Bridal Party 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
THE BRIDAL PARTY – RESPONSIBILITIES & EXPENSES
* Purchase of Wedding Day Apparel and necessary accessories ***
* Transportation to the Wedding Destination
* Contribution to a Gift for the Bride (often a pooled gift with other Bridesmaids)
* Individual Wedding Gift to the Bride & Groom
* Attendance (and possible gift) for any Showers, or Pre-Wedding Parties for the Bride / Couple
* Reponsible for their Dress Fittings
* Assist the Maid/Matron of Honor 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
* Contribute to Bridemaids’ Present to the Bride
* 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
* Give a Gift to the Bride & Groom
MAID OF HONOUR – RESPONSIBILITIES & EXPENSES
* 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 Bridal Party 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.
== end ==
So as you can see… considering that you are a North American / Canadian Bride… it is a correct expectation that that the Bridemaid’s purchase their own Dresses (altho there is nothing ever wrong with a Bride / Couple wishing to DO MORE Financially for the Bridal Party)
Shoes… well that is typically also upon them to provide their own… which is why a Bride normally choose a shade that is already in a woman’s closet. If they are to be something esle… all matchy-matchy… then YES the Bride should pay. Same goes for Hair, Make-Up and Jewellery.
You have done the right thing… by offering accommodations to the Girls as well. Very few couples do this any more. And modern etiquette says that is ok.
I would say that if she decides to doing something different… then she should pay for that herself.
Do you know WHY she is asking for such things from you ? Is she of a different background, culture or upbringing (ie as I said above in the UK for example, it is the norm that Couples pay for their Bridal Party Attire)
As to how to talk to her…
I don’t really have much to offer on this subject other than to perhaps show her a list of what is considered “Modern” North American Bridal Etiquette… and explain that you are far and away going above the norm here…
Which is WHY… I tell Brides who are starting to plan their Weddings that even BEFORE one picks a Bridal Party it is very important to read over the above Traditional List… and see what having someone properly accommodated as a member of the Bridal Party actually is going to cost them.
And that they discuss these Roles, Reponsibilities & Expenses with anyone they are hoping to be in the Bridal Party… BEFORE they actually say YES to the title.
Cause with the title comes responsibilities… and Expectations.
Going over the details of the 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 Bridal Party… the more it costs.
Putting this ALL out in the open early on… means less in the way of disappointment, hurt feelings, Wedding DRAMA, and ruined friendships.
I hope this helps,