They’re the ones who, without any compensation, are willing to run you all over creation to pick up your dress, your tiara, have your nails done, and try on your shoes. They’re also the ones that will help you into whatever medieval torture device you have to wear under your wedding dress to look just perfect. But somehow, bridesmaids are sometimes overlooked by the bride, who is normally focused on how she looks and feels on her big day. Don’t be like that. Take some time to appreciate what your bridesmaids do for you…and follow these tips so that they don’t end up hating you.
Nix the Orange Chiffon
It’s a standard television trope: If there is a wedding, the bridesmaids will be wearing absolutely hideous dresses…usually with copious amounts of bright chiffon. If you want your maids to not hate you, then you should try your best to choose a style of dress that they would want to wear. A good way to do this is to ask whether you would wear the dress yourself. If the answer is no, move on. And, to state the obvious: Ask your ‘maids whether the like it or not!
You should also give them some leeway with the cut of the dress. You may have your heart set on a cute little strapless tea gown, but your busty bridesmaids will probably spend the entire ceremony worrying that they might accidently give the guests an eyeful! Be mindful of that.
You should also take the weather into account. Yes, those halter top dresses are adorable. But you’re going to be taking your pictures outside, and its January. A good solution for winter weddings is to find dresses with long sleeves, or to provide matching shrugs for when your party ventures outdoors. For summer weddings, choose dresses made out of breathable fabrics, and don’t overload them with fabric. Heat exhaustion is no fun at a wedding!
Give the Bridal Party a Basket of “Wedding Essentials”
This is something that people tend to forget. You give your guests baskets, but not your ‘maids? Not quite fair! You should provide your maids with little “kits” to help your maids help you. Mix and match from the following as needed. You can also make one big kit for your bridesmaids to share.
Beauty Kit. This is a small kit for last-minute touchups to their look. Try to include mini hairspray, bobby pins, and oil blot strips. This is a great to freshen up before pictures… especially after dancing next page.
Health Kit. Band-aids for blisters (try to get the clear variety), Tylenol, antacids, chapstick, and a way to clean their teeth. This comes in handy for certain guests, as well.
Clothing Emergency Kit. This will probably get the most use. Have some safety pins, needles and thread (in appropriate colors), Tide to Go pens, and some double-sided fashion tape. You’d be amazed how often this gets used. And it will certainly prevent any last-minute clothing emergencies.
Ballet Flats or Sandals. Let them change out of those uncomfortable heels for the dancing! Not a requirement, but a very nice touch.
Manage Your Expectations
Remember: They’re your “bridesmaids”, not your “maids”! This is a mistake that a lot brides will make at least once. It’s forgivable, but something that you should try to avoid. Your friends and family want to help you, but they aren’t your servants.
Most bridesmaids will gladly help you prepare for your wedding. The trick here is to not run them ragged. If you’re going to assign them a big job (such as distributing programs or manning the guest book), don’t ask them to run for coffee, as well.
You should also take the time to consider what your ‘maids are good at. Do you have a friend who is a DIY master? Then let her help you with your centerpieces. Is one meticulous about planning and always stuck to her PDA? Then ask her to help with the timing of the ceremony.
Dont’ forget, though: It’s your big day, but they need to get ready, too! Give them time to crawl into their dress (not orange chiffon!), put on their makeup, and do their hair. You don’t want your bridesmaids walking down the aisle with bedhead and only one cat eye!
Lastly, and most importantly: Be nice! Your friends are here for you. Be grateful for that.