As California-based event stylist Mari Spiker points out, bridesmaids are expected to take on a lot: Buying bridesmaids dresses, attending engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, the rehearsal dinner, and even paying for some of those parties can fall under the umbrella of reasonable expectations, she says. So with so much placed squarely on your shoulders, how can you tell if you're being asked to do your job or you're being asked too much?
"To be satisfying, friendships need to be reciprocal," says Irene S. Levine, psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the New York University Langone School of Medicine, and creator of The Friendship Blog. And while "someone might be more likely to be on the giving or the receiving end at one time or another," like during a friend's wedding, she says, "over time, things need to balance out. If one person feels like she is always doing the giving or being asked too much of, a friendship can quickly wear thin."
Some signs your bride is taking advantage of you, Levine says, might include: Not showing she appreciates what you do for her, being overly demanding by asking for money and time that goes above-and-beyond your reasonable bridesmaid duties, or asking you to do things she herself wouldn't do if the roles were reversed.
"If you feel used or put upon, it can really strain or even fracture your friendship," Levine warns. So if you fear you're being taken for granted or even taken advantage of, you should "talk to the bride at a relaxed moment and set some reasonable boundaries for your participation in the wedding party," she says. "You can reaffirm that you want to be there for the bride, but can't take on more than you can handle."