It’s a fact – choose your girls wisely and it will help you avoid heartache in the future. So, it’s time for some frank talk about how to choose your bridesmaids.
Asking your friends or family to be bridesmaids is one of the best parts of planning a wedding – it ranks right up there with getting engaged. Why? Well, because it’s awesome. They’ll be utterly delighted to be chosen, and what girl doesn’t like getting a new dress, her hair and makeup professionally done, and then all those gorgeous photos? It’s pure delight!
As a bride, it’s totally natural to want to ask everyone to join in – after all, you’re happy and it’s wonderful when your friends share it with you. But, we do hope you’ll give it some careful consideration. If not, you may find yourself looking at your wedding photos years from now, saying ‘I wish I didn’t ask HER to be my bridesmaid!’
Image from Aoife & Mark’s real wedding by Michelle Prunty
Here are key tips on making the right decision about bridesmaids:
• wait a little while – there’s no hurry and you’ll be able to think more clearly too, once the engagement excitement settles down a bit
• if someone asks you first, don’t say yes just because you feel you have to – simply tell her you haven’t thought about it yet
• don’t ask someone just because they asked you to be in their own wedding – there’s no obligation
• think of your budget – getting a group of girls to look the part can be costly, less may just be more in this case
• think of all the girls you’d like to ask, and which ones fit your idea of a perfect bridesmaid – carefully consider the red flags below
• ask yourself honestly whether your top candidates are actually available to help – for example, someone who lives far away may not be able to get as involved as you’d like them to be
• are they fun, and are you able to relax in their company – these are the kind of people you’ll need around you when the stress hits the highest heights
• will you feel comfortable with them holding up your dress when you have to pee
• are any of your chosen girls planning their own wedding at the same time as you are – for some, it’ll turn into a competition
• prepare to hear a ‘no’ when you ask – it’s a rare event, but it happens, so accept it graciously if it does
Image from Amy & Ross’s real wedding by DK Photo
To be frank, there are things that are absolutely non-negotiable.
But the funny thing is, they don’t stop the unsuitable candidate from wanting to be your bridesmaid! It’s down to you to be smart about it, so here’s what you should be looking out for – even one of these things is a red flag:
• she hates/disapproves of your other half, and you know it
• she’s openly jealous of your relationship
• she dislikes your family
• whenever you go out, she gets severely drunk and causes scenes
• she’s completely unreliable and always late, full of excuses
• she has something negative to say about everything weddingy you’ve done so far
• she was a bridezilla at her own wedding
Needless to say, a girl who’s the opposite of this is the ideal candidate – supportive, genuinely happy for you, reliable and you know she’ll be there when you need her, all the way to the altar. If she’s been a bridesmaid before, that’s an added bonus.
Last but not least, here’s a very important thing to remember – you’re the bride, and the bridesmaids aren’t there to just look pretty in photos. They’re there to help, not to make it harder. The easiest way to achieve this is to simply say what it is you need help with. Dress shopping, second opinion on makeup and hair trial, shopping for DIY bits, helping with rehearsal dinner, browsing through bridal magazines once a month over a glass of wine… you’ve probably known these girls for a long time, so you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable in the least about asking for help.
Remember – it’s a lot harder to fire a bridesmaid, than to hire one. But if you consider it carefully, you’ll avoid much drama and disappointment – two things that really shouldn’t be a part of any wedding. And, as usual, if you have any questions, just ask – we’re here to help.
Main image via Our Labor of Love
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.