Finding out that one of your nearest and dearest friends is getting hitched is one of the best celebratory moments in any relationship. You'll find yourself heading to the store to pick up a bottle of bubbly and something extra sweet to celebrate the news that he or she will be walking down the aisle in the coming months. And chances are you will, too, as their bridesmaid.
The interesting thing about being a bridesmaid is that every time you take on the role it's a little different. Sometimes being in a bridal party feels effortless. You're asked to attend a few pre-wedding events (like the bachelorette party and bridal shower), buy the dress, and be there early on the wedding day. But sometimes, being in a bridal party can suck all of the time, money, and energy you have out of you leading up to your friend's big day.
While being a bridesmaid might seem like the greatest honor you can take on for a friend getting married, it's worth exploring why and how your friendship with the bride could change just by having you say "I do" to being part of her wedding squad.
1. There are Secret Expectations
You could read every “how-to” bridesmaid manual in the world and you still might miss a few of the expectations that a bride might have for you as her bridesmaid. She might provide you with a spreadsheet or email chain that has a to-do list of tasks she’d like you to take on (like buying the dress, planning the bachelorette party, or even helping her make DIY centerpieces for the wedding day). Then, there are the things she might need that she directly asks for, but will be upset when you don’t do them.
Oftentimes being a bridesmaid can feel like a mix of being the on-call therapist and personal assistant for the bride. Fights between the bride and her bridesmaids can break out if she feels like a bridesmaid isn’t there for her or checking in regularly, suggesting solutions to wedding problems, or having too many conflicts that fall on pre-wedding events.
When you select your bridesmaids, we recommend sitting down with each of them to explain your vision and expectations for planning your wedding. Make sure each bridesmaid understands the time commitments and planning that will be needed. Vice versa, if you're a bridesmaid, be sure to communicate any questions and concerns before officially stepping into the role.
2. There's a Lot of Money to Be Spent
Friendships get messy when money comes into play. Think about how stressful splitting the bill at brunch can be and then think about all of the things you’ll be asked to buy as a bridesmaid... You might find yourself feeling extra anxious.
While you may be focused on your wedding budget, keep in mind the expenses that your bridesmaids will incur for your various trips, like bachelorette party destinations and other meet-ups before your wedding. Consider hosting multiple wedding events on the same weekend to cut down on travel costs and lodging.
When a bride is asking her bridesmaid to shell out $200 on a bridesmaid dress and a couple of hundred dollars more on bachelorette party travel, accommodations, food, and open bars, a bridesmaid can start to feel resentful. In friendships, you can opt out of attending a fancy dinner with friends if you can’t afford it, but as a bridesmaid, it can be a whole lot harder to put your foot down when it comes to not spending money on things the bride wants you to buy or do.
3. There’s A Lot of Stress... On Stress... On Stress...
Weddings can be stressful, and usually, that stress turns into moments of fighting and bickering with those close to you—which tend to be your bridesmaids. A bride might feel so overwhelmed with all she has to do before the wedding that she starts to take it out on her bridal party, making irrational demands and getting upset when they don't help out with things they didn’t even realize she wanted them to do.
4. There’s No Guarantee It Will Fix a Friendship
A bride might pick someone to be her bridesmaid in hopes of having the experience fix their friendship, since they'll be talking more, spending more time together, and celebrating a positive moment in life. But if the foundation of the friendship is already rocky, added things like stress, money, and too many expectations may make the friendship worse off than it was before the wedding.