We've all been or at least known bridesmaids. Every single one of us. And while it means a lot to be included in a friend's wedding, there are usually at least a few incidences of "help" and "why" and "how is this happening to me?" There's usually at least one comparison to Bridesmaids, and one instance of looking at your bank account weeping openly. And then afterwards, we laugh about it, we drink to it, and we move on. But what if those breakdowns could be avoided? Newsflash: they can. And here's how.
1. Respect your bridesmaids' incomes
The fact that you're getting married is super exciting, and it's understandable that you want everything to be perfect. But just because you're willing to spare no expense doesn't mean your bridal party's in the same boat. Some might be in school, some working to pay off debts, or others may be working low-paying jobs to make ends meet. And considering they're volunteering their time to help you, it's important to respect that not everyone can afford certain things. So if you do have a bar you're aiming for, think about helping to pay for their dresses, their shoes, or their hair and makeup. We all remember watching Annie (Kristen Wiig) look at her $300 pay cheque while her friends were planning Vegas, so keep that in mind when assembling your team.
2. But if you still want that creme de la creme experience, give them an out
You hear horror stories of friends turning against each other because they weren't asked to be a part of the bridal party, but here's a fact: if you give them the option (and don't get mad if they bow out), you'll avoid any drama while having bridesmaids who can swing the same things that you can. But remember: it's completely understandable for a friend to politely decline your bridesmaids offer, so make sure if they do explain that they're on a budget, or can't dedicate the time, accept their honesty, appreciate it, and give them a reading to do or a speech to make. It's not personal, it's the sad state of financial affairs (especially in our mid-to-late 20s).
3. Ask, but don't demand
We understand that this is your day, your week, your event — but as soon as you start making demands as opposed to asking, you'll be faced with a whole world of resentment. Yes, it's an honour to be a bridesmaid, but when you think about how much time your friends are dedicating to you (for free — which can be a lot to ask if they're working hourly jobs and have to sign off days, or dip into credit cards), remember that they don't have to be there, and they're doing it because they like you. Don't make them forget why. So when you're tempted to sound off in an email or text message, think about what it'd be like if you were on the receiving end; that if you had a trillion other things going on in addition to being part of a wedding party, you'd likely stress-cry often over multiple messages sent about fittings, prices, and other members of the bridal party.
4. Remember what your wedding is really about
I know, I'm about to get preachy, but indulge me for a second: the point of a wedding is to commemorate the beginning of a really awesome chapter in your life. And ultimately, that chapter is about making a lifelong commitment to someone you love. As soon as you start stressing the wedding over the marriage, you'll create a disconnect between the event and why you're having the event. So remember this: ultimately, nobody remembers if the bridesmaids' dress lengths were the same, if they were wearing the same shoes, or how the punch tasted at your bridal shower. You assembled this posse to celebrate an exciting time, so don't lose sight of the exciting time over technicalities. Focus on your best friends being there to support you — not on what they "should" be doing, or how they stack up against your friends' bridal parties. That's not what a wedding is about.