Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bridesmaid Responsibilities: The Wedding Party as Wedding Guests and Not Slave Labor

Having had a bad experience as a bridesmaid, I started thinking about traditional (and additional) bridesmaid responsibilities and thought, “How do I expect people to serve me on my day:”

1.    Show up in semi-formal attire.
2.    Don’t air dirty laundry.

That’s about it.

I don’t get it.  Unless you’re paid vendor (in which case you’d very well better serve me and serve me like royalty if I’m paying you 3 or 4 figures) why do so many brides go off on their bridal party?  Carry my flowers, carry my train, bring me this and that.  I know they’re called bride’s “maids” but I think that’s a little appalling, actually.  On my wedding day I get to dress pretty, be showered with gifts, eat yummy food, be amongst gorgeous surroundings, hear pretty music, be amongst people who love me, and most importantly of all, I get to have the love of my life promise to spend the rest of his life with me.  Why does that also mean I would turn around and treat my family like servants?

I understand that friends and family would want to help out the bride.  They’re happy, you look like a princess, it’s natural that they just want to add to the moment, and that’s very sweet : )

But I’ve also read about brides who get mad about members of their bridal party who, “Didn’t take their bridesmaid responsibilities seriously,” like those who aren’t there to carry their train every minute, or are busy tending to their children, or are having problems scheduling time for dress shopping (not their own dresses, I mean a dress for the bride ) or who aren’t as helpful as they should be with DIY favors, flowers, invitations, and so on.  I’ve even heard of brides who were not satisfied with their bridesmaids’ weight and let that be known.  Wow.

It’s sad.  I guess people feel so much pressure to have a perfect day that their demands on everyone around them get crazy.  I’m sure it’s insecurity that they’re scared they aren’t perfect, or couldn’t orchestrate this flawless day.  I think some brides just bite off more than they can chew, and over-complicate the DIY just like some brides go over their budget.  When it comes to a wedding, enough is just not enough.  And in my mind, that’s not a good enough excuse to give a bridesmaid responsibilities that are in excess of what she can handle.

So I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to ask of my for the wedding party and attendees.  I’ll be planning and paying for the wedding myself.  Doing the paper products myself.  I plan to let my sister pick her maid of honor dress from a wide range of styles, and since she's paying if she finds one on her own instead I just need to okay it first.  I even picked a color I know she likes, like the dresses below.

 I don't care about bachelorette parties or bridal showers and I certainly won't be making her do a religious reading.  I’m not going to force her or anyone else get their hair, makeup, or nails done professionally.  I hope to hire people to do the setup because I don’t want my family to be sweaty or exhausted before the wedding.  Hopefully the only thing I’ll need help with is bustling the dress.  I hope I can have a simple one.

As for my out of town guests, since they are actually overseas I figure their travel costs are so high that I am going to try to provide accommodations so long as they pay for their own flights.  Just seems like a compromise for the unique situation I'm in, though now I know it's not the norm.

Readers, am I being too cavalier?  With a small wedding, and hired help, is it possible to keep it simple and let all attendees, including bridesslaves…er, bridesmaids, just relax and enjoy the day?  Or am I going to be eating my words here and finding out I have to rely on my maid of honor for a lot more than I think?


  1. i don't think you're being too cavalier. i think it's your day, hence, you can run it however you'd like. BUT. it's your day. you will never have a day like this again in your life. so take "advantage" (and i use that word lightly) of your friends and loved ones wanting to help you out - and i mean, they WANT to be involved and they are honored to help. i'm all about doing everything myself but today for example, my mom was thrilled when she got to hand write all the invites - small pleasures in life, right?
    what i'm trying to say is, keep your sanity and enjoy every moment. but don't miss out on the opportunity to SHARE in this time with your bridal party and loved ones because they might be looking forward to helping you out. obviously you will never be one of those b*tchy girls, we can already tell that from your posts, so you don't even have to worry about that!

  2. purple is good. Or "eggplant" as it appears to be called these days :P

  3. Bridesmaids are people too! And it's strange how so many brides forget that. Like you mentioned, the idea that a bride would get angry when a member of their bridal party fails to live up to their responsibility because they have stuff going on in their own lives is ridiculous. Chances are, no one cares as much about your wedding as you do. That's something the brides of the world have to accept.

  4. I think your attitude is great, but do keep in mind how busy and crazy things will be on the wedding day. When it comes to things like helping carry the train, sometimes there’s just no way around asking for your bridesmaids' help. My dress was not a huge ball gown, but I still needed a lot of help getting around, going to the restroom, etc. My friends were a huge help at making sure I had my bouquet and was comfortable. But they still had plenty of time to have fun!

  5. I think you have the right attitude. But don't be afraid to ask for the extra help you may find that you need on your wedding day. And always thank your friends and family for the help they give. Even though they know your are grateful, it is always nice to hear it.


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Readers, what is your relationship status?