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 single time you take on the role for a friend, it's 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 for that given period of time.
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 want you to take care of 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) but there are things she might need that she won’t tell you directly to do, but will be upset when you don’t do them.
Often times, 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 being there for her by checking in regularly, suggesting solutions to wedding problems, or having too many conflicts that fall on pre-wedding events.
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 and you might find yourself feeling extra anxious.
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, and plenty of 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 usually are your bridesmaids. A bride might feel so overwhelmed with all she as to do before the wedding that she starts to take it out on her bridal party, demanding things of them and just getting mad at them for not helping out with things they didn’t realize they should be helping out with.
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 will be talking more, spending more time together, and in the end, 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.