Of course your friends want to be there for you during one of your biggest life events, but being a bridesmaid can be expensive. And remember: Your girls might be in multiple wedding parties! So before you draft up your bridesmaids to-do list and bachelorette party itinerary, complete with champagne bottle service, take a moment to step into their shoes first. Consider these four ways that you can help alleviate their financial burden and you may even come out closer as friends after.
1. Be considerate.
Yes it's your big day, but don't let your desire to have a 10-person wedding-party portrait overshadow being thoughtful. If your friend is in between jobs, perhaps asking her to foot the bill for your shower, bachelorette party, gifts, travel, accommodations, dress and shoes is a bit extreme. Have honest conversations with the women you want in your bridal party and be sensitive to their needs. Don't pressure them and mean it when you say that their presence at your wedding truly is the most important gift they could give you.
2. Let your 'maids choose their own dresses and shoes.
Matching designer bridesmaid dresses can be worn for exactly one occasion: your wedding. Help your 'maids keep costs (and costs per wear) down by giving them a guideline for color, style, or length but letting them find their own dresses and shoes. This way, they're likely to find something that's within their own budget, and that they could possibly wear again.
3. Cover any extra expenses or "nice-to-haves" that you want.
But if you are adamant that you need to have a specific look which can only be achieved with $400 dresses, $200 shoes, matching jewelry and a very specific hair and makeup look, then offer to cover the cost for each person over a certain dollar amount. If this suddenly starts to feel unreasonable financially for you, then you're getting a sense of how your bridesmaids might also be feeling.
4. Have reasonable requests for pre-wedding activities.
Showers and bachelorette parties are meant to be fun so don't put your friendships on the line by making them anything but fun for your girls. Instead of asking for an extravagant trip and then let your bridesmaids stress amongst themselves how they're going to pay for things, ask them to be involved in the decision process early on. Be cognizant of costs for different activities, and offer to help when you can. Consider having your shower and bachelorette party the same weekend to cut down on travel expenses.
Most importantly, just do things the way a good friend should. Offer to let your maids stay with you if they're traveling to your city and remember that their company is more meaningful than anything material.