Ellie’s Guide To Bridesmaids Made Easy
A while ago, I liked a page on Facebook which was a space for brides-to-be to ask for opinions or help with any issues they were having with their wedding and the planning. In my mind, I was going to pass wisdom on left right and centre, single-handedly solving their problems and improving their life situations in a simple Facebook comment, peppered with emojis. In reality, after the many other brilliant, brilliant commenter's had offered their invaluable insight and genius solutions, all that was really left for me to add into the mix was a burgeoning feeling of wanting to make them a cup of tea and give them a hug to let them know everything was going to be ok.
I’m telling you this because I now feel like I’ve amassed enough scientific evidence to confidently say that LOADS of brides have problems or worries regarding their bridesmaids. From dress dilemmas to bitchy behaviour, bridesmaids played a major factor in a lot of the brides’ questions. However, there wasn’t such a common theme in the answers – it quickly became apparent that everyone had very different ideas as to the role that they should play. Prone as I am to taking time off from this heinous university degree, to instead muse about weddings, I began to wonder what the core expectations of a bridesmaid should be. So – drum roll please – I hereby introduce Ellie’s Guide To Bridesmaids Made Easy: How to ensure that you pop the question safely (No, not that question – the next question after that).
Your bridesmaids should be ready to support and champion you throughout the planning period as much as they can and need to. Obviously—this somewhat goes without saying—this means you need to give a good think about who you want your bridesmaids to be, and whether they’re fit for the role. Would they be able to make you feel a little lighter about whatever’s going/gone wrong? Will they know how to make you laugh after a day of headaches? Whether this means a list-fuelled Organisation Queen with a little headset a la J-Lo and Monica from Friends, or whether that means someone who’s approach is completely the yin to your yang, you need a team of people who you can count on to be your wedding warriors. On the flipside, make sure you’re not focusing purely on your bridesmaids in terms of how much time they have spare to dedicate entirely to your wedding – there’s no point in discounting fabulous and supportive friends just because their own lives will sometimes (unfortunately) get in the way. If they’re as fabulous and supportive as you feel they are, they’ll offer you as much as they can possibly offer – that’s the main thing. If bridesmaids were flowers, I’d pick you – this should nip any worries of them not being interested, or you feeling flat out and on your own in the bud.
Your bridesmaids should also be super clear on what you’re asking them to do – but note, the ball lies in YOUR court for this one. As I mentioned before, everyone has different expectations of bridesmaids, and you need to make sure you convey that to yours. If you want them to go to dress fittings and walk down the aisle looking beautiful, and that’s it, that’s fine – but you need to make clear what you’d like them to do before you do it. Instead, if you’d love them to be hands-on helpers, pulling their weight with arts and crafts DIYs for the big day, mediating divorced parents differences and providing some muscle behind your personalised wedding hashtag, let them know what you’d love them to get involved in. A heads-up will make all the difference to their commitment throughout the planning process, and will hopefully quell any possibilities of disappointment further down the line.
Your bridesmaids should be open throughout the process, striking the balance right between being brutally, bitchily honest, and between being entirely silent and uncooperative with any questions. It goes without saying that you want your bridesmaids to feel like their opinions matter, because you care about them – how do they feel about wearing heels on the day? Which bits of the dress do they like? Do they like this theme idea?—but it should also be that your bridesmaids offer their opinion knowing it will be taken into account but not necessarily happen. Nobody involved in the wedding day wants anyone feeling uncomfortable or harbouring any grudge, so say how you feel, being truthful and considerate. Think of the sentiment of the rainbows, cakes and smiles girl at the end of Mean Girls, but with less crying, and without turning up to a wedding party uninvited (but with cake. Always with cake.) This should altogether avoid any discordant feelings on the day.
Your bridesmaids shouldn’t be a specific number, age, height, or hair colour to suit your photos, your parents/in-law’s advice, or to make you look better in comparison. What you want to take away from the day is a glorious day where everyone was excited and a little bit tummy-anxious but ultimately ecstatic because you were getting married – this isn’t achieved with maths.
Your bridesmaids shouldn’t be floundering on the day. Collectively they should know what’s going on, and roughly what to do if anything needs rectifying. They’re there to make your day effortless…even if it requires effort for them. Crib sheets are really handy for this, with a collection of on-the-day contacts. Ask your chief bridesmaid, the best organised one, or your MOH to be the contact for any suppliers with last-minute questions, and circulate their details so that problems can circumvent you.
Your bridesmaids should, finally, enjoy their bridesmaid-ing. This is down to a blend of just about every factor there could be in a wedding, but if they don’t enjoy it, you definitely won’t feel good about choosing them. It is, after all, an honour to be picked to be a bridesmaid, precisely because it’s such a special invitation to a wonderfully happy day that won’t be forgotten. On the day, their happiness will ease your quease. It’s as simple as that.
Share your bridesmaid dilemmas and stories in the ASTW Bridal Community.
Written by Ellie Kime
Image from film Bridesmaids