My expectations of my bridal party are simple(and I think they always should be). Show up, presentable and sober. Give me a good luck hug before I walk down the aisle, stand by me at the alter and hold my bouquet. Smile for pictures. That’s it.
I’m a pretty hands off bride. I let my bridesmaids decide what color dress they wanted( that coordinated with me wedding colors of course). I let them decide if they wanted long or short dresses, as it will be November. They can pick whatever dress they want from any store they want, for any price they want, within the parameters of the length, color, and fabric(my only rule being no satin), which THEY decided on. I did this because I wanted them all to be comfortable, and not feel like they had to save up and buy an overpriced dress that they hate. Hell, I would buy a dress is for them if they couldn’t afford it, because they are important to me, and it is important to me that they stand beside me on my wedding day.
I realize my bridesmaids probably won’t be able to throw me a bachelorette or shower etc..partly because of cost, and partly because the three of them literally live in opposite corners of the country. I’m ok with this, if anything, I will probably take them out for a spa day or something to thank them. I’m HONORED that they are going to travel to stand by me, and I want them to feel as such. I think that there is way too much entitlement floating around in terms of pre wedding parties(bachelorette, showers, etc..). No one is entitled to these things.
Personally, I’m blown away by the demands many brides on here make of their bridal party. These are their best friend’s FFS! If I need help assembling my invitations, my Fiance is the one who should help me. If after spending time getting ready with me, standing by me for the ceremony, and taking pictures afterwards, they want to go spend time with their SOs, go right ahead. I want them to have fun. I don’t want them to feel like they are working. If I need that much help, I’ll hire someone.
I just think people have WAY too high expectations of their bridal party. I’ve seen the posts where a bride can’t decide who to pick for her Maid/Matron of Honor, because person 1 lives closer but is super busy so she won’t be able to help me, and person 2 live 3 hours away, but wants to be super involved etc.. It makes me sick(figuratively). Even worse, wanting to kick out a bridesmaid for getting pregnant. As though everyone should put their lives on hold because they’re getting married.
To answer your inquiry about cost involved with choosing a bridal party, I fail to see how it costs anything to chose a bridal party. Beyond getting them a bouquet, and paying for their dinner and drinks(which you would do with any guests), what does it cost you? If anything, it costs them. Further, I don’t think a bride should approach a FRIEND, and say, “well you need to have at least 600 dollars set aside if you’re going to be in MY wedding, because the dress I want you to wear is 300, the shoes I want are 75, and your hair and makeup is going to cost 100, and the rest is your share to pay for my bachelorette party and shower. Oh, and by the way, that’s just the base amount because you should by me a really nice gift because you’re my BFF.” As 2 out of 3 of my bridesmaids are traveling from out of town, and they are far from rich, I intend to pay for their hotel rooms(or let them stay at my home is they’d like), if I can. They have sacrificed time and money to be with me for my wedding, and thoughout my life. Small gestures to make it easier on them should be something you want to do for them, they’re your nearest and dearest.
If anything, I think it is up to the bride to make it as financially feasible for their maids as they can. If they all tell you they can spend up to 200 dollars on a dress, you should still try to keep it as low as possible. If it is truly important that these men or women stand beside you, you can and should sacrifice that 300 dollar Jim Hjelm bridesmaids dress you’d like them to wear. It’s not like you’re pictures are going to be ruined if they wear a 100 dollar dress from David’s bridal.
I’ll hop off my soap box now, but I am truly interested to hear what people think the “duties” of a bridal party are. I know planning a wedding CAN be stressful, but over the years I’ve realized that obsessing over making things PERFECT, makes things less enjoyable in the end, because your expectations were so high, you forgot to appreciate the little things. Just my $ .02.