(Closed) what are the pre-existing conditions of being in a wedding party?

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

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.

Post # 4
220 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@pokey730:  you are a breath of fresh air! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 6
5708 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

I just wanted them to get the dress, wear it, and show up. I didn’t expect any of them to help me, throw me a party, or anything. I asked my two best friends and my DH requested I ask his sister. Despite some problems with my SIL, I had an easy time with my bridal party because I didn’t expect them to do anything. If they offered to help I was glad to let them, but otherwise I just wanted them there, sharing the day with my husband and I.

Post # 7
5191 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

I’m of the “show up looking presentable for the rehearsal and wedding, be emotionally supportive on the wedding day, and smile for photos” mentality. All of the rest is a bonus. Matching or coordinating dresses are a bonus. A shower is a bonus. A bachelorette is a bonus. Pro hair and/or make-up are bonuses. DIY assistance is a bonus. Dress shopping and alteration trips are a bonus. 

I think brides want to live out the hollywood fantasy of being surrounded by their girls who will do anything and everything to make the bride happy. But that just isn’t always going to match with the reality of real people with their own needs, interests, emotions, and budgets to contend with. But if a bride insists on trying to re-create this fantasy in the real world, she is probably setting herself up for at least some disappointment. People are people; they are not perfect and they don’t always arrive equipped with the exact script that the bride has in her own mind.

Post # 8
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@HeLovesDogs:  ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you. It’s nice to hear, as I meet a lot of resistance when I try to persuade brides to take a step back, and realize that this is one day, and these people have been your friends for much longer, and hopefully for the duration of there lives. It’s not worth treating them like crap so that you can have one perfect day. If any of my friends treated me the way some brides around here treat their friends, I’d be seriously reevaluating my friendship with them.


All this “well it’s the bride and grooms day, so they should shut up and color and do what I want”, is a recipe for disaster. Your wedding is about committing your life to your SO, not about presents or matching dresses.

Post # 9
1781 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

My bridesmaids are paying for their shoes (their choice) and hair and makeup if they so choose.  I’m paying for the dress and bouquets.  I’ve told them they need to wear silver/gray shoes, heel height and style is up to them.  Same with jewelry – I know them, and I know they have excellent fashion sense.  If they want to wear a pair they already own, that’s fine with me.  I expect them to show up early, be prepared to handle any last minute mishaps and bring tissues and safety pins. 

On the other side of this, I’m the Maid/Matron of Honor in my one of my best friend’s wedding.  She told me upfront that this was going to be very low budget, so I’d have to purchase my own dress.  However, she said I can wear any dress I want as long as it’s tasteful and in her colors (black is one of them).  I’m thrilled to be in her wedding, and I already have a pretty black dress that I’m going to accessorize with her other colors! 

I think the key to having happy wedding party members (and BEING one) is communication.  If the bride tells the party what she expects and the party tells the bride what they can and can’t afford, there’s less chance of hurt feelings later.

Post # 11
67 posts
Worker bee

@lovekiss:  “I’m of the “show up looking presentable for the rehearsal and wedding, be emotionally supportive on the wedding day, and smile for photos” mentality. All of the rest is a bonus. Matching or coordinating dresses are a bonus. A shower is a bonus. A bachelorette is a bonus. Pro hair and/or make-up are bonuses. DIY assistance is a bonus. Dress shopping and alteration trips are a bonus. “

All of this!  The only Bridesmaid or Best Man “duties” are show up, sober and dressed on the day of the wedding.  ANy other duties are fabrications of the wedding industry or bad habits and misconceptions being perpetrated by other brides.

Post # 12
7384 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

What I asked of them:
– Purchase a dress in x fabric and y color at a price that you are comfortable with spending.
– Wear x shoes (gave them several inexpensive options if they didn’t already have them, and then my Maid/Matron of Honor fell in love with a different color and the girls followed suit).
– Show up, on time, the day of, ready to go (or ready to get ready).
– Pro hair and makeup is optional. (Three of them opted to have their hair done with me, so my salon blocked the whole place off for us for three hours to get ready and be able to eat.)
– Smile for pictures.
– Have a great time! 


They have offered to do a number of other things (including a bachelorette party and shower, as well as offering any help), which has been great. One of them went with me dress shopping (I hadn’t actually planned on purchasing a dress, but it happened and that’s that), and I went with her to try on styles for her bridesmaid dress.


As for groomsmen, I don’t know what my Fiance told them (probably nothing lol), but what I expect:
– Call in your measurements to the shop on time.
– Pick up your tux before the day of, and make sure your Chucks are decent looking.
– Show up, on time, on the day of, either ready to go or ready to get ready (showered, etc.).
– Throw some sort of bachelor party for my Fiance (unfortunately, I think Fiance is going to have to plan his own, despite doing awesome stuff for his brother’s–sadly, his brother is his Best Man).

ETA: I went through some lists of duties for MOHs (she asked me to) and was basically like, “Oh my god, you do not need to do 99% of this crap. Who the hell makes their Maid/Matron of Honor go to tastings?!”

Post # 13
174 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

My expectations are pretty simple:




1. buy the dress they helped choose, and have it altered in a timely fashion.




2. make arrangements to stay in or near the hotel where we will get ready in, and the reception will be at. (Which my parents will probably end up paying for this since they are super sweet and giving, and just want to make things easier on everyone!)




3. show up to get ready on my wedding day on time, be in a good mood and don’t stress me out or complain about the little things.




4. smile for pictures.




5. stay somewhat sober at the reception, and just have fun. (i just don’t want my people getting totally wasteyface at my wedding, then I may feel obligated to take care of them! lol)








I don’t expect a shower, or bachelorette party. I don’t need a shower, and I honestly don’t want a bachelorette party… I don’t go out to drink, or party so it would be pretty pointless in my eyes. I don’t expect my girls to pay for anything other than their dress ultimately. And they will be well compensated as I am paying for their hair and makeup to get done along with getting them tons of gifts, just bc there are so many things I keep finding that I know they will love!! I know they don’t expect me to do all of those things for them, that’s why it will be that much better ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t feel like this is only my day to look beautiful or have fun, I want everyone to enjoy themselves and look great!


**Same goes for the guys basically.




Post # 14
1036 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

My expectations: Buy your dress on time, show up to the wedding on time, pretend to be super excited about everything even if you aren’t, lol. (Which was mostly easy for me since I was the first wedding of the group so everybody legitimately was excited, except my cousin but she was in law school working really hard so we gave her a semi-pass). I didn’t make any bridesmaids help with DIY projects (we hardly had any), or throw me a shower (they did “throw” me a bachelorette party, but I told them what I wanted so they didn’t have to plan, they just made the reservations and had fun with me, everybody paid their own way), or come to any appointments or anything (although they came to buy my dress with me…because they wanted to, they begged, lol)

Post # 15
7414 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

@rawrrrrr:  I’m a little more with you.  I have slightly more traditional expectations (and have ripped for them on these boards more than once). 

I have not ever been a bridesmaid (I’m the fringe friend, just outside the Bridesmaid or Best Man cutoff who gets asked to do a reading, MC, do the slideshow etc etc) and I’m fine with that.  But I do know the expectations that have been on most of those BM’s (becuase they all tell me about it).  They all bought their dresses, shoes, had their hair done all at their own cost (on top of travel expenses in many cases) threw showers and stagettes etc etc. 

I’m going to dictate a colour and fabric and leave the actual dress selection to the girls (within reason) I’m insisting on Purple Shoes (anyone who knows me will understand) I will probably pay for their hair and treat them to a spa day – makeup is being done by my aethetician sister for free.  I would like them to throw me a shower and a low key stagette (i’m 30, i don’t need a penis theme party but a night out with my girls would be great). 

I expect my girls to be there, smile, help with my dress, help me with whatever I need day of, they’re there to assist the bride, they’re the Brides Maids (no i’m not saying they’re servants). 

That’s my 2 cents


Post # 16
663 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

I’m also of the “hands off” variety when it comes to my requirements for bridesmaids. I want them to:

* show up on time ready to get ready

* put on the dress we agreed on (everyone is buying the same dress) and accessorize it appropriately. I don’t care what shoes/jewelry, hair, nail color, etc. as long as it’s tasteful.

* two of them has been designated to keep an eye on schedule/people to make sure things run smoothly. one of those two used to coordinate weddings as part of her job. she wants this post.

* enjoy the day!

None of my ladies live nearby, so I’ve been keeping them all up to date on the wedding via email. It will cost them enough money what with travel and hotel so I’m keeping the costs as low as possible. I found dresses that, including shipping, will cost $120. I just want my friends to be there!

I’ll most likely not have a shower and if I do a bachelorette party it’ll be a low-key thing here in DC with whoever can make the trip. 

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