You’re getting married, yay! You are going to have the most amazing day, we just know it. You’ve got so much to plan; the dress, the hair, the venue, the flowers. Then there’s all the events along the journey – the wedding dress shopping, the bridal shower, the engagement party. There’s going to be so much celebration to enjoy with all your loved ones who are with you the whole way, your parents, your husband to be, your siblings and of course, your best friends, your bridesmaids.
Your bridesmaids are in incredibly important part of your journey towards, on and after the big day. They will be there smiling with you through all the big moments, crying with you when things get tough or emotional, and helping you every step of the way. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure you keep them happy, because not only do you need their support, but you love them and would hate to know they weren’t enjoying this process as much as you. The problem is, we all know the wedding planning process can be a real hotbed of complex emotions, and it is all too easy to upset someone, even if you don’t mean to. This can lead to feelings being hurt, tempers flaring or feelings of resentment building. Don’t worry though, it isn’t inevitable that things will get a bit heated, especially if you follow these top tips to keeping your bridesmaids happy:
ACCEPT IT WILL NOT ALL BE PLAIN SAILING
It is important to remember that you won’t all be smiling at every stage of the process of planning. At some point, perhaps someone will get hot and bothered during a long day searching for shoes, or someone will be busy and stressed and be in a grump when they really shouldn’t be. And do you know what? That’s OK. There will be mardy moments. There will be tears. There might even be tantrums. And that’s OK. From the beginning you need to accept that people are people, and your bridesmaids have their own lives, emotions and minds and this wedding planning process will test everyone. Once you accept that there may be moments that are challenging, you can be open enough to take these challenges as they come because you won’t have put expectations on everyone to be 100% happy 100% all of the time.
RESPECT NEW FRIENDS
Obviously you won’t have somebody you don’t really know as your bridesmaid, but some of your bridesmaids might not know each other, and it is important to respect that. The storyline film ‘Bridesmaids’ as a perfect example of this, and it isn’t that far from the truth. Friends from work, school and family members may come together to form your bridesmaids and maid of honour, and some of them may not get on, they might even hate each other’s guts. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but the best way to avoid any nastiness, awkwardness or scraps is by respecting the fact there could 21 or more different ways your bridal party know you (source) so some of these lovely people are strangers to each other and that isn’t a normal circumstance for anyone to be in.
SET EXPECTATIONS FROM THE BEGINNING
How often do you hear a friend talking about her bridesmaid experience and how she didn’t expect XXX to expect so much from her as a bride, or she can’t believe she has to pay for X, or she wish she’d have known X had expected her to put so much time into the wedding planning. To avoid this happening, have a clear chat with your bridesmaids about what you expect from the beginning. Don’t make this a shouting orders type scenario, but rather a ‘I would really like your help with X, X and X, would that be OK with you?’ type scenario. Discuss what you will be paying for and what you won’t be paying for as well – this makes it a lot more comfortable for everyone involved. Getting it all out in the open means what is going to happen is translucent and also gives everyone the chance to talk about any issues they might have. A friend with a baby might be restricted with time, one with no job might be restricted with money, another might want to help you more. Being translucent is always a good idea.
BE SENSITIVE TO THE FACT EVERYBODY IS A DIFFERENT SHAPE & SIZE
Yes it is your wedding day, your colour scheme and your taste but, just have a heart for a second and think how you would feel if you had to wear the one style of dress you know makes you look like a carnival tent. Be sensitive to the fact that your entire bridal party will have insecurities, and they will want to look great on your wedding day. It is OK for you to have a clear idea of style and colour, and statistics show nearly 50% of brides do choose the bridesmaids dress (source), but do try and have some sensitivity when it comes to your friends insecurities and try to be flexible where you can, they will thank you for it.
REMEMBER THEY ARE FRIENDS NOT EMPLOYEES
When people go into full bridezilla mode, they can be barking orders at anyone and everyone. You can forget that they are people, you just see numbers, tasks and lists. When things are really stressful, even a short delay in a text back or someone being 3 seconds late for a meeting can send a bridezilla over the edge. When you’re bubbling over like an angry volcano and ordering your bridesmaids around, take a deep breath, look at their tired faces and remember who they are – your friends. They understand you are stressed, but it’s no fun for anyone being constantly told what to do so do, where possible, try to wind your bride to be neck in.
If someone is being difficult, complaining all the time, not really being helpful or being downright bitchy – troubleshoot. Gently ask if they are OK and how the situation can be resolved. Treat it like any other fall out you might have with them and seek to resolve it, quickly. They might not realise they are being grumpy a lot, they might be having boyfriend troubles but didn’t think you had time to chat about it, they might have just been venting to another friend because they are frustrated about their shoes. Get it all out in the open so it doesn’t keep bubbling away and poisoning the happy times.
P’s & Q’s Make All The Difference
I know a bridesmaid who had to pay for her bridesmaid dress, had to make several full, extensive shopping trips out looking for accessories and her dress, had to pay for accommodation, plan the elaborate hen do and pay for her share in it, and barely got any thanks from the bride until the wedding day. So by the time she got a thanks on the wedding day, she felt so bitter she didn’t really enjoy herself, and it has affected her friendship with the bride forever.
Don’t be the bride who forgets her p’s and q’s. My friend didn’t mind paying for things, or spending lots of time looking for the perfect shoes, or travelling to help with the wedding. But she did mind doing it all without even a hint of thanks from a person that was meant to be her best friend. Saying thanks often will help a lot in keeping your bridesmaids happy. If they have come out for a full day shopping for wedding items with you, buy them a thank you coffee. Send them a text every now and again to apologise for being a nightmare (if you have been) and to thank them for all their help. Check in with them to check they are happy. You cannot say thanks enough. Remaining polite and humble throughout will mean on your wedding day your bridesmaids will feel appreciated and their smiles will be genuine.
“A HAPPY BRIDESMAID MAKES A HAPPY BRIDE” – ALFRED LORD TENNYSON
Remember, being considerate and kind goes a long way in all areas of life, including your wedding planning. Your bridesmaids will be there for you no matter what, but that doesn’t mean you should treat them anything less than the wonderful friends they are.
Our stunning, high quality bridesmaid dresses might be worth considering if you do have a bridal party who would appreciate beautiful multi-way dresses, made 100% in the UK, with over 7 metres of high quality fabric per dress. We have over 21 stockists throughout the UK, and would love to help you keep your bridesmaids happy.