The bridesmaid: historically used to protect the bride from evil spirits. Early brides’ maids were dressed identically to the bride. This was to confuse the evil spirits as to who was actually getting married. A ruse used to prevent curses being planted. This of course was in conjunction to their other role as bodyguard, a kind of protector of the bride against kidnappers or robbers as she journeyed to meet her husband to be.
Thankfully, we are modern girls in a modern world. Choosing your bridal party based on their ability to Kung Fu masked men or dispel evil spirits with their fashion sense is a thing of the past. Today, our closest family members and friends are given the honour of this role, chosen as the strong support network you can turn to whenever help is needed. A bridesmaid needs to be on hand in the search for that fabulous dress, dispel any cold feet and host a slew of brilliant parties, including, the hen’s night.
For your best friend, landing the bridesmaid gig is something akin to her getting that dream job. Such is the triumph. But be warned, while it is no doubt an honour to be ‘the chosen one’, a bridesmaid needs to be flexible, trustworthy, dependable and organised. Enlisting the help of your ‘A’ team under the guise that they are there to be helpful is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Most will have differing views on what it means to be helpful or supportive.
So, you must decide exactly what it is you want and need from your bridal party and communicate this without having to end every sentence with, ‘Because I’m the bride!’ Confusion over responsibilities can come between the best relationships and even lead to the exodus of some bridal party members. Don’t despair, you can prevent this.
Choosing Your Bridal Party
Think carefully and develop a clear opinion about the role that you need your bridal party to play. Compile a list of your expectations and make sure you are being realistic. Sure, maybe initially you can think of no other person but best friend, Sally to be your Maid of Honour. But if best friend, Sally lives abroad and you expect her to attend all fittings and rehearsals, then perhaps you need to think of another special role for best friend, Sally to play.
Just as an employer has to screen for the right candidates for a job, so should you when picking your bridal party. Asking your friends and family to submit a resume or application form is probably going too far; however it is important that you take into consideration their personalities and whether they can handle their responsibilities.
If you have a clear understanding of what you are asking from your bridal party, and what the job entails, this will help you choose the right people for the job.
Be upfront about what you want. Once you know what it is that you are asking of your bridal party, you need to communicate this to your special few. Doing this early on can help you avoid any misunderstandings. Gone are the days where you could rely on wedding etiquette to provide the backdrop for acceptable bridal party behaviour. Be mindful that what you find to be acceptable, others may not.
Let your bridal party know early on if there is a cost involved in being part of your wedding. Being clear from the start with what you are able to pay for and what you expect them to contribute, will help them make the decision whether they are in a suitable financial situation to fill the role. This also stops you from putting unreasonable financial pressure on them later.
Be honest with how much commitment you expect from your bridal party. If you demand they attend fittings, trials and rehearsals, as well as host kitchen-teas or hen’s nights, or prepare 350 wedding invitations, then communicate this information from the beginning. Being clear about your wishes without sounding like you are stamping your feet and throwing a hissy fit, will help your bridal party determine whether they can commit to such a workload. It may also help any of those members be honest with you as to their ability to organise themselves and be productive.
If your fiancé is sick of hearing about the wedding and your friends are starting to avoid you, these are just some signs that you are heading towards the land of the Bridezilla. Come back before it’s too late!
Yes, being clear about what you want and communicating your expectations to your bridal party is important, but make sure that you are not being unreasonable in your demands.
It is important to step back from the planning and take some time out, to assess the situation.
Your bridal party want to make your wedding and the time leading up to it, one of the most enjoyable experiences for both you and them. Communicating with them in a positive way, helps make the most of your bridal party, and assists them to better understand how to help you.
Nobody likes being ranted or raved at, forced to attend various shopping trips without a single thank you, or being told to pay for a $500 wedding outfit two days before the wedding, so making sure you are being considerate of your bridesmaids feelings can help you sustain your most important friendships well after the wedding.
Your wedding is a special event, one of the most important moments in your life, but you don’t want this to cost you your friendships. Make preparing for your wedding an enjoyable experience for all and the reward will be, basking in the love and happiness of your closest friends and family on your big day. Doing this will ensure you will remember your wedding for all the right reasons.
• Work out what is it you need from your bridal party.
• Choose the right people for the job.
• Communicate early on your expectations of them.
• The Golden Rule check—Treat those how you wish to be treated.
• Lose the Bridezilla act.
• Be fabulous.