7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say

Hi, loves! Emma here. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a bride-to-be who is a) planning her wedding and b) curious about bridesmaid etiquette for the bride. I read this cringe-worthy article about a bridezilla with a capital B that really struck a chord. It’s hard to believe a bride could be such a crazed lunatic (to put it loosely), but I’m sure it happens more often than I think. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but it needn’t break character. The bridesmaids you’ve asked to be a part of your day are presumably your best friends. Sisters. Cousins. Loved ones. Don’t let this wonderful time in your life bring out the worst in you. We’ve prepared this post to keep things in perspective and stay on the good side of your wedding party. After all, it’s one day — one amazing, totally memorable and awesome day — and you’d like them to remember it just as fondly, right? Exactly. Read on to see seven things your bridesmaids need to hear you say…

7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: ashley caroline) via http://su.pr/1kP7O3

photo: ashley caroline photography via real wedding

Bridesmaid Etiquette

7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: johnstone studios)

johnstone studios via real wedding

1. “Thank you.”

Be specific. Say it often (and mean it).

bridesmaids in purple dresses | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: stephanie craig)

stephanie craig photography via real wedding

2. “Wear any ______ you’d like!”

Fill in the blank with something — anything — of which you are willing to offer flexibility. Some major examples include shoes (honestly, will it really ruin your wedding if Jessica can’t wear stiletto heels?), jewelry, or, if you’re willing, dress. Some brides are adopting a more laid-back bridesmaid dress approach where they pick a particular color and ask their bridesmaids to pick any dress they love in that shade.

bridesmaids in different types of dresses | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: leah marie landers)

photo: leah marie landers photography via real wedding

A little black dress, for instance, is another awesome idea: chances are each bridesmaid already has a favorite in her closet and, if not, it gives her an excuse to get a dress she’ll actually wear again. Bottom line: give a little and you’ll get a lot of respect.

bridesmaids in little black dresses | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: jeannie guzis)
jeannie guzis via real wedding

If you want to pick a specific dress, you can always choose something like this and she can wear it however she likes best.

3. “If you can’t _______, that’s okay.”

A good way to live your life is without expectation for perfection. If you don’t have expectations, you won’t be disappointed if something doesn’t go your way. The same applies to planning your wedding. Don’t expect bridesmaids to be perfect or to fold to your every whim because, you know what? While you’re busy planning this huge day, your girls keep on keepin’ on, just like the rest of us. They’re just out there living their lives. Be gracious. Be kind. Be understanding. Yes, it’s your big day — but every day from your engagement until the wedding day can’t be all about you. Otherwise, it would take away the fun of the big day! Oh, and when you say that’s okay, mean it… don’t just say it and then email your other bridesmaids about her being unreliable (not cool). For example, if she can’t…

○ afford the dress
○ wear high heels since she never, ever does
○ go on a lavish bachelorette party weekend
○ travel out-of-state for her bachelorette party, bridal shower, or other wedding events
o go to twelve dress fittings

Of course, if a bridesmaid can’t be present and supportive, and can’t afford to (or doesn’t plan to) participate in any part of the wedding festivities, she might not want to accept the role of bridesmaid. Being present (literally and figuratively) comes with the territory.

4. “Please help me with _______ “

The number one thing bridesmaids want to be? Helpful! However, they don’t always know what to do or where they can offer assistance. Being specific is a great way to communicate with her and help you tackle your to-do list — within reason, of course. Here are some examples:

○ ask to write down gifts and recipient names at your bridal shower
○ go dress shopping with you and let you know if your __(noun)__ really does look too __(adjective)__ in that dress
○ go to your makeup trial and give her opinion on your hair and makeup before the big day
○ help her pick out centerpieces / decor / drink menus by browsing Pinterest
○ help with the seating chart or guest list
○ pick out fun ideas for entertaining guests (see also: entertaining kids at a wedding)
○ help you with easy DIY wedding projects or shopping for DIY supplies
○ decide on songs for your perfect wedding playlist

5. “What’s new with you?”

Skip the wedding chatter at least once in awhile and find out what’s new in her life. What’s happening. What’s good. What’s bad. What’s the funniest video she saw on YouTube this week. What picture made her laugh out loud. Be present in her life and don’t treat every conversation as an opportunity to babble about bridal stuff.

6. “Here’s the itinerary for the week of the wedding.”

As early as possible, provide a schedule for the week of the wedding, including any events (a rehearsal dinner, rehearsal, getting ready, girls day at the salon, etc.) that you’d like her to participate in. Include times, locations, and specifics (“I’d like everyone to meet at the salon by 9am on the wedding day. Please call ahead and have your hair appointment made with Monika.”) This way, she can be sure that you’re all on the same page. It also helps her to know what is expected and gives her ample notice to make any necessary plans. (EB TIP: This is a great time for you to make your must-have getting ready photos list, too!)

bride smiling surrounded by bridesmaids | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: daniel fugaciu

photo: daniel fugaciu via real wedding

7. “Thank you for being awesome.”

Seriously. It is so important it’s mentioned here twice. Say it, mean it. Don’t take anyone for granted! And, be sure to give her an amazing gift that shows your appreciation.

bridesmaids kissing the bride | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: matthew steed wilson photography)

photo: matthew steed wilson photography via real wedding

Have Bridesmaid Etiquette to Add?

So, what bridesmaid etiquette would you add to this list? Include your tips + advice + thoughts in the comments area below.

xo
-E.

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Emma Arendoski

CEO/Editor at Emmaline Bride
Blogger, author, wife + mother. I love coffee, DIY, handmade + all things wedding. Check out my books: "The Handcrafted Wedding" (2012) and "The Inspired Wedding" (2014). You can also find me blogging at Emmaline Baby.
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  • Ingrid

    The black dress is a great idea considering the fact that they can reuse their bridesmaid dress for other occasions. Thank you!