So…you’ve got your ring. Great! Up next? Decision time. Among the first big decisions you’ll be making as you prepare for your big day is choosing your wedding party — you know, the special ladies who will stand proudly alongside you and your husband to be. As important as it is to choose your bridesmaids thoughtfully, that’s not what this post is about. Choosing your bridesmaids is an obvious big deal. Still, an even bigger (but less talked about) issue is making sure your bridesmaids remain your nearest and dearest (and not your worst enemies) when it’s all said and done. Here are 5 ways to keep your bridesmaids on your side all the way through your big day and beyond.
1. Drop the Demands (You’re not a Drill Sergeant)
If you want to alienate your bridesmaids quickly, be sure to pile on the intense pressures and unruly demands. (We’re kidding). A bridesmaid-bride relationship should be just like a healthy friendship–centered on two-way communication. If it’s not, then it’s time to make some changes. You don’t want your bridesmaids sharing horror stories in forums years later about their stage 5 bridezilla (i.e. you). Do you?
Rather than using the drill sergeant approach, try inviting and encouraging your bridesmaids to partake in various pieces and parts of your wedding planning and pre-wedding festivities. While you have the final say, be open to their suggestions along the way (you never know when one of your ladies might have a connection with an amazing designer for your invites, or have a vacant family mountain cabin screaming bachelorette party). Chances are this isn’t their first rodeo (being in a wedding), and some might have even gone through your shoes as well (being a bride). Consider this “give and take” communication practice as valuable training for your marriage.
2. Don’t Be a Dress Nazi
Look, we know it’s your big day and all, but your bridesmaids need to be comfortable in their own skin, and even more comfortable with the amount of money they are spending on the dress they’ll be rocking for hours on end.
When it comes to dress selection, we recommend bending a bit! Bending isn’t just about choosing a dress that allows them to wear and style in a number of ways, although that’s certainly a good start. Consider choosing a specific color palette or pattern and general length and letting each bridesmaid use a bit of selectivity to find a dress that fits her body and budget (with your approval of course). Ultimately you want your bridesmaids to be smiling instead of sporting some serious resting bitch face because they spent $500 a pop on dresses they will never wear again. Am I right?
P.S. Same goes for shoes, and accessories for that matter.
3. Avoid Budget Busters + Keep Your Bachelorette Party In Check
At the beginning of the planning process, it’s wise to give your bridesmaids an idea of how much they can expect to spend to be part of your big day. This is a sure fire way to avoid tensions or behind-the-back chatter that could arise later when unexpected expenses start to add up.
Regardless of whether or not your actual wedding is of a destination nature and involves travel expenses, if you had your heart set on jet-setting for your bachelorette, think again. Unless you and your bridesmaids have endless cash flow, we recommend a plan B–something marvelous that’s a bit more realistic. Why not save your wanderlust-filled Pinterest board of destination escape ideas for your new shared budget rather than demanding your bridesmaids blow their savings on your pre-party.
4. Shower Them with Thankfulness
Nothing has the potential to sour a mix quickly, quite like an ungrateful bride.We say, show some thanks to your ladies, since you’ve selected them to share this experience with you and all. A thank you doesn’t have to be presented in the form of an expensive gift–a little treating here and there goes a long way! Consider treating your bridesmaids to getting their nails or hair done for the big day (if that’s important to you). Above all, simply try and remain present in their latest happenings. In between wedding-centered activities, join them for cocktails or meet up for coffee to hear about what’s going on in their lives. Turn the tables every now and then. Believe us–positive affirmations and genuine interest goes a long way.
5. Understand That Life Happens (and The Show Must Go On)
Speaking of life. You know what they say (that’s oh so true)…”Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” Let’s apply this to your bridesmaids for a moment. Say you have a yearlong (or even lengthier) engagement. There’s a good chance that during that time period at least one of your bridesmaids will experience a major life change — like becoming pregnant, securing the job of her dreams that takes her clear across the country, a loss of employment, or perhaps even saying “Yes!” and planning her own wedding. Yes, your big day is undoubtedly life changing for you, but while you’re busy making plans, life beyond your impending nuptial is happening for you bridesmaids. Under no circumstances should you lose a friendship over a bridesmaid no longer being able to fulfill her duties as originally intended.
Just Be Your Rock star Self
Above all, be patient, be kind, and be your rock star self. Your bridesmaids were excited to be part of your wedding from the moment you asked them because, well, you’re pretty amazing. Keep that amazing self glowing by treating your bridesmaids, family, friends, and vendors with respect and dignity they deserve throughout the entire process, and beyond.