Q: Can I ask my bridesmaids to alter their appearance?

A: When you think about who you'd like to include in your bridal party, remember that you're choosing your friends as they are. You can't force people to adopt different grooming habits, such as shaving, tanning, cutting their hair or changing their hair color, just for your wedding day. It's equally unacceptable to ask bridesmaids and groomsmen to promise not to change personal aspects of themselves until after the wedding. Especially off-limits are private decisions they have made or will make about things such as tattoos, family planning or changes in their weight. These decisions can only be made by them, and only on their schedule, not yours.

Day-of decisions such as hair and make-up should be agreed on in advance. Even if you (or perhaps your mom) have offered to pay for these services, you can't insist that someone wear a hair or make-up style that's uncomfortable for them. And give your friends some credit, too. They know that this is an important day for you, and will undoubtedly want to look their best for you. Focus on what matters most-that your loved ones are there to stand beside you.

See all questions about wedding party etiquette

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