Calling All Bridesmaids: Did You Say ‘Yes’ Too Soon?

Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a fantastic honor as it not only solidifies just how much your friendship means to the bride, but also that she wants you up there with her on the most romantic day of her life. However, while you’re brushing tears away from your eyes, jumping up and down and squealing over her handcrafted ‘will you be my bridesmaid’ gift box it’s all too easy to say yes! You may be thinking, well, why wouldn’t I? But it’s often only once the excitement has died down and you’ve had a chance to look through everything that you actually see just how much work goes into planning a wedding – even if you’re not the one who’s getting married!

Should you say yes to being a bridesmaid?

Who Pays For What?

It’s an uncomfortable conversation for anyone but before you get busy clearing your social calendar you need to consider your finances. As we’ve said weddings aren’t cheap, so you may be required to contribute a significant amount towards an outfit plus hotel costs, flights if it’s a destination wedding or you live out of town, and a gift for the happy couple. Dresses can range from $100 to $500, and the price could be even more if they’re being designed from scratch. Many brides try to keep expenses down, and often try to cover as much as they can to show their appreciation for the bridal party.

However others aren’t as caring, or indeed as fortunate, to be able to cover three or more people and so may only offer to pay for a percentage of hair and make-up. It’s a tricky situation because ultimately you may be asked to shell out on something you might never wear again so be aware of what you’re letting yourself in for. If you believe there’s going to be huge bills involved, and you just can’t stretch the budget any further say thank you but decline now otherwise it could get very awkward in future.

Bridesmaid holding a watch.

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Time Is Of The Essence

Lots of bridesmaids like to know just how much time they’ll need to give up to accomplish their duties correctly, but the answer is we can’t tell you! Obviously, if it’s an extravagant big white wedding, there’s going to be more planning involved than if it was small, local or held on a beach somewhere. Normally, things don’t get super busy until the last few months; it’s often dress fittings, your’s and the bride’s, that take up the most time.

Don’t forget you’ll also need to meet up with the other maids to arrange the bachelorette, bridal shower, and any other wedding weekend activities. You could also be asked to help the bride plan her honeymoon wardrobe, attend cake tastings, and even give your opinion on what font should be used for the wedding invitations.

Some brides are very laid back and will often take care of tasks by themselves. Others prefer a more ‘hands on’ approach that could mean you needing to keep a few weekends free and book some flex days at work. If you know things are hectic as it is, i.e. you’ve just started a new job, are planning your own wedding or expecting a baby, it might be best to give the bridesmaid thing a miss and instead attend as an honored guest.

Bride getting a tie in her hair.

Does The Bride Have The Final Say?

Pretty much unless there’s a real, concrete reason why you can’t do something; i.e. you’ve got a medical condition or your dress is physically cutting off your oxygen supply. Most brides tend to be fairly good to their friends, letting them choose their own dress, or at least the shade and style. If you really hate something, such as wearing a strapless cocktail dress when you’ve been more than blessed in the chest department, have a word with her to see if you can swap to a more flattering cut!

Some brides have a very clear vision of what they’d like their wedding to be, and if peach, floor length, chiffon bridesmaids dresses are included you may just have to suck it up and smile! It is possible that you may be required to give a speech, host an event, or say a few words off the cuff. If you’re not a fan of speaking in public, ask the bride if she expects you to speak or host upfront. Then write out what you’re going to say and practice, practice, practice!

Hairstyle for bridesmaid at a wedding.

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Be aware that wedding photographs last a long, long time so there may be a couple of things you’re asked to do to look conventional. Women with shorter, funkier do’s may be asked to grow their hair out so it can be curled, or styled into a classic bridal updo. Body and face piercings may need removing on short notice, and you could even be asked by the bride, or her mother, to use makeup to cover up any tattoos. Brides can swing from one extreme to the other; some won’t care how you look as long as you’re in her bridal party and others will dictate hair, makeup, tanning, and even present their friends with ways to lose weight! Make sure to talk with the bride about her expectations.

Everyone Worth Knowing

Lots of women like to know who else is in the wedding party, partly so they can hang out with their friends and also to know who’s going to be escorting you down the aisle. Being a member of the bridal party often involves eating, dancing, and talking to the groomsmen, the couple themselves, close family members, and the other girls. The last thing you want is to be paired up with that guy you think is creepy, or worse your ex-partner whom you haven’t seen in ages. The one who left you broken hearted, and crying on your living room floor listening to Dido. On repeat. Work with the bride to avoid any potential drama between you and other members of the bridal party or her family.

Woman holding her heels in a wedding dress.

Say no, or say YES!

You might feel like you don’t have the time, aren’t that close, or can’t really afford the expenses, but it’s hard to let down someone who’s beaming at you with such sisterly love right? Whatever reason you’re considering saying no, just make sure you won’t regret it later! It may seem like a lot of hard work, but being a bridesmaid is also a fantastic and unique experience that you’ll remember forever.


Have you ever turned down being a bridesmaid? What were your reasons? Did you say yes and regret it later? Share with us in the comments.

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32 thoughts on “Calling All Bridesmaids: Did You Say ‘Yes’ Too Soon?

  1. Pingback: Is There Such Thing As The Perfect Bachelorette Party? - The Bride Society | The Wedding Resource for Fashionable Luxury Weddings

  2. As a bridal consultant I am so glad someone has finally stepped up and wrote this! I encounter too many bridesmaids who waste a bride’s time becauae they don’t have the funds and instead of speaking up they prolong the shopping for everyone!! #youreawesome

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  3. I’ve never wanted to be a bridesmaid, but I have been a bridesmaid twice because I was asked, and I can’t say no when people I love ask favors of me. Luckily, the brides were pretty easy going and not much was asked of me, but I did spend a LOT of money.

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  4. Great advice! Yes, you can say No. I recently attended a wedding as an honored guest, and it was a relief for my calendar and wallet to get out of Bridesmaid duties!

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  5. Lots of great things to consider! When I got married I only had a maid of honor for my destination wedding to minimize all the extra. I’ll be in my first wedding, other than my own, at the end of the year. So this has definitely helped me to manage my expectations and have a heads up on all that may potentially occur.

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  6. The worst thing a member of the bridal party can do is back out at the last minute. We had a groomsman back out 3 weeks before one of our weddings. The groom asked my advice; should he just have 2 instead of 3 groomsmen? Or should he ask a 3rd, even though that guy would know he was 2nd choice? It was a tough situation! Better to be honest about your limitations in the beginning than back out in the end.

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    • What did you end up doing? We had a groomsmen unable to attend for totally different reasons. His father was very sick. We decided to just go ahead with 2 groomsmen and 3 bridesmaids. One of our groomsmen walked 2 people back up the aisle. It all worked out 🙂

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  7. I definitely think it’s important to really consider whether or not to say “Yes!” I’ve loved being a bridesmaid each time I’ve done it, but it’s a big commitment that requires a lot of time and money, and can sometimes lead to frustration– but also a lot of joy, too! 😉

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    • Absolutely. I loved being a bridesmaid for my sister. Now I’m doing it all again for my best friend’s wedding. It’s a lot to take on, but if you put yourself in the bride’s shoes you realize that any stress you are feeling she’s probably stressing out 10x more!

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  8. yes, I think a lot of it depends on the bride. think hard about your relationship with her and what being her bridesmaid will involve. it might be better to say no. I lived in Las Vegas for a little while, and my friend from back in the UK happened to be there getting married. she asked me to be bridesmaid and I had the easiest bridesmaiding duties ever!

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