I have been a bridesmaid 5 times. These experiences, combined with my experience as a bride and as a wedding planner, have inspired me to write this post about how to be the best bride to your bridesmaids. These are all things that I did, my friends did when they were brides, or things I've seen our brides do that really made a happy bridal party, which in turn creates an even more joyful wedding day.
1. Keep in mind everyone's financial situation when choosing a dress. Remember, they are most likely going to wear this dress one time so be kind to their pocketbooks and choose something affordable for all.
2. Do not assign your bridesmaids wedding tasks. You chose these people because they are special to you and you want them to stand up with you on this very important day, and that really is the only actual duty of a bridesmaid. They are not your personal assistants. If they offer to help, then of course you can accept; however do not expect or assume they will offer. That doesn't mean they are less of a friend, it just means that they may be busy with work, kids, life, or just not into weddings. Don't take it personally, just continue doing friend stuff with them as you always have and let them offer to help if they want to.
3. Do not require them to pay for professional hair and makeup. Offering it as a treat for them is great and a fun activity for everyone to do together, but if you can't foot the bill, don't make them do it either. If you are not going to provide their hair and makeup services, then the best thing to do is offer them the option of having it done and paying or choosing to do their own.
4. Make sure your bridesmaid are eating on the day of your wedding! This obviously goes for you, the bride, as well. If you are going to ask your bridal party to spend the day in your suite and get ready, make sure you are providing them with food and beverages - they are going to be standing up a lot during your wedding so you want to make sure they feel energized just like you. If you are not able to provide food, then allow them to have some free time during your wedding day to veg out on their own.
5. Don't separate your bridesmaids from their significant others. I've been on both sides of this. When my husband was a groomsman in a wedding, he was seated at the head table while I was seated with some guests that I barely knew. Most of us like to sit with our significant others at a wedding, whether we know other people or not. If you are set on having a head table, then have one that is large enough to seat wedding party members' spouses and dates as well. If you don't have the space for a table that large, then consider doing a sweetheart table and then just seating your bridal party with their dates at regular guest tables.
It's important to keep in mind that you should be asking your closest friends or family to be in your bridal party, so following these tips shouldn't be that difficult because it just shows you care about them. Planning a wedding is extremely exciting and overwhelming, but don't throw your friendships by the wayside in the meantime. A happy bridal party equals a happy bride! Cheers!
(Photo above of me as a bridesmaid at my friend Morgan's Key West destination wedding. Photo by Trevor Goldsmith Photography)