Being a bridesmaid comes with a lot of responsibility. Between the dress, the bachelorette and bridal parties and the actual day-of duties, it's a huge commitment... Not to mention a potentially major financial drain. As a bride, it's important to be realistic about what you're asking of your ladies in waiting, including your expectations of how they should look on your wedding day. Sure, you've picked out the dresses and bouquets of your dreams to accompany you at the alter, but are you ever allowed to "require" beauty treatments from your bridesmaids?
"With so much thought and careful planning going into every detail, it is understandable that a bride wouldn’t want to leave anything to chance – including how her wedding party will look beside her in photographs,” says Amber Harrison, Wedding Paper Divas Style & Etiquette Expert. "Part of a bridesmaid’s job is to play the role appropriately, which includes looking the part. Everyone doing their part as planned helps make a picture-perfect day.”
Still, though, it's important to be reasonable about what you're asking of your maids, or else you may be risking friendship-ending behavior. "Take the time to really figure out specifically what you want and decide if there is room in your budget to help cover the costs of any requested [beauty] services," says Harrison. "You will want to be very clear about your requests, what will be required and what impact it may have on them. Most bridesmaids are happy to accommodate a bride’s requests, but consistency and clear expectations with plenty of notice makes everything easier." The best way to handle the situation is with inclusivity, which means having a conversation with your bridesmaids to ask if there is anything in particular — like a certain hairstyle or makeup look — that would make them uncomfortable. This helps show your #bridetribe that you actually care about their preferences and comfort in addition to your picture-perfect look.
After you've figured out your vision, make sure you discuss any specific requests with your bridesmaids well in advance so everyone has time to appropriately prepare. Also, make sure to be upfront about who will be responsible for scheduling beauty appointments and who will be covering the cost (usually, it's the bride).
Now, before you start listing your bridal beauty demands, here's a complete list, care of Harrison, of the things you can and cannot ask your friends to do... Especially if you still want them to be your friends after the wedding day is over.
"Since everyone has differing abilities when it comes to styling their own hair and makeup, it is reasonable for a bride to ask that all the ‘maids have their hair and makeup professionally done,” says Harrison. "Makeup looks different on camera than it does in person, so having a pro apply it will ensure a uniform look that will look flawless in photos. Having a stylist tame the manes of your wedding party will guarantee both the absence of unwanted flyaways and a cohesive, polished look."_
Here are some requests that are totally fair-game to ask of your maids:_
- Get professional hair and makeup, as long as you're willing to pay for it.
- Wear the same style or color
- Wear the same nail color or shade
- Do makeup with a common/specific color scheme or style
- Wear appropriate undergarments
- Talk with you before making any MAJOR look-altering chances. (Think new facial piercings, huge tattoos that would be seen in photographs, or going from blonde to neon pink or rainbow hair.)
"Asking bridesmaids to dramatically alter their appearance is unacceptable,” says Harrison. "After all, you knew what they looked like before you asked them to be bridesmaids! Asking your nearest and dearest to change their appearance for you – covering existing tattoos, changing hair color or length/style – is inappropriate and can be very hurtful.”_
Here are some requests that are totally off-limits:_
- Lose weight
- Cover existing tattoos (if you opt for a dress style that might cover, that is a different story)
- Cosmetic dental work
- Mandatory facials, botox, or other costly skincare treatments
- Dye or cut their hair
- Get a tan with sun or sunless tanner
- Professional hair, makeup or nail treatments for the wedding day – UNLESS you are willing to pay for them