Any engaged couple wants their big day to be special, and the wedding party usually plays an important role in its success. Have you ever wondered what you can ask of them and what goes too far?
Weddings can be stressful events to plan, and the special couple often relies on their bridesmaids and groomsmen to get the job done. From picking out dresses and tuxes to finalizing centerpieces for the big day, there’s a lot to do and the men and women of the wedding party are usually always happy to help—to a certain point.
Whether it’s because a bridezilla’s on the loose or because the couple honestly doesn’t know what’s okay to ask for and what’s not, it’s not uncommon for them to ask a little too much of their bridesmaids and groomsmen. Here are some of the biggest do’s and don’ts when it comes to your wedding party’s involvement in your special day.
Do give them specific requirements about their outfits up front. Whether it’s a specific dress or tux, or just a certain colored dress or tie that they need to get, there’s nothing wrong with asking your wedding party to stick to the general aesthetic you have planned for your day.
Many couples even choose to gift their bridesmaids and groomsmen with some of the things they want them to wear for the occasion, like a specific bracelet or fancy tie clip.
Don’t tell them they have to change some part of their personal appearance for the wedding. “I’ve heard beauty requests like: the bridesmaids have to lose X number of pounds or grow their hair X number of inches,” says Jen Glantz, founder of the site Bridesmaid for Hire.
Not only are these types of requests sometimes impossible, but they’re also just plain rude. Whether it’s hair color or visible tattoos, you know what the people you’re inviting to be in your wedding party look like beforehand—it’s not okay to ask them to change that.
Do invite members of the wedding party to all wedding-related events. Of course, there are a few exceptions here—most people wouldn’t invite their male friends to a bridal shower and the guys probably aren’t going to invite women to their bachelor party, no matter how innocent their plans may be.
However, for things like engagement parties and rehearsal dinners, make sure you extend an invitation to everyone who’ll be in your wedding.
Don’t make it mandatory for your wedding party to attend each event you have planned. In an ideal world, you’d be surrounded by everyone you love for each wedding-related bash you have in mind, but you have to be realistic. Don’t make your bridesmaids come to your makeup and hair appointments.
Your bridesmaids and groomsmen all have their own lives, and whether because of time or money, there will be some things they won’t be able to make it to—and things they just won’t be able to do.
“My best friend, who is normally very sweet and quiet, was quite rude when she got married. First she told me when I would be having her bridal shower (set a date without consulting me in any way) at my house, and what I would be serving. I was in the middle of my honors year of my bachelor degree in another city (15 hour drive away), and she set the date for right in the middle of exams,” said Reddit user Ihadacow.
Do ask for help when you need it. Hey, there’s a lot to do when it comes to not only wedding planning, but prepping, too.
Whether it’s sending out invitations, crafting your DIY table centerpieces, or just having someone there to help you find the perfect dress or tux, you should be able to call on your wedding party for help.
Don’t treat any of your friends like your lackey. “Being a bridesmaid isn’t code word for being the bride’s personal assistant,” Ganz says.
This means that if none of your bridesmaids are available to help you write addresses on envelopes, you’ll have to find someone else or just work on it by yourself. While they definitely expect things like this to come with being in the wedding party, they’re not butlers at your beck and call.
Do specify ahead of time if there’s anything you’re not okay with. If you’re okay with a dancer dressed as a cop showing up at your hotel room door, that’s fine. If you’re not, though, you need to let whoever’s planning your bachelor or bachelorette party know.
No matter what any members of your wedding party want for these fun nights, they’re ultimately about you. There are some who say it’s taboo to tell your friends what you want for these events, but who wants to be uncomfortable at their own party? Let them know any firm boundaries you have.
Don’t force your bridesmaids or groomsmen to go along with anything they’re not okay with. Just like you might not want to do something specific, the people at your bachelor or bachelorette party might not want to, either.
If they’d prefer to be the designated driver for the night, let them and don’t give them trouble about not drinking. If they don’t want special attention from dancers at a club, don’t force it to happen.
You also shouldn’t have unreal or lavish expectations for whatever party your friends throw you. We understand that you’ve always dreamed of a bachelor party in Vegas, but you should also be prepared to help your friends get there if you’re the one insisting on some over-the-top celebration.
Do set limits for any plus-ones if you need to. It’s typically expected that each member of the wedding party will get a plus one for the big day, but you can always specify no guests when it comes to other wedding-related events.
This applies to your wedding guests, too—if you don’t want kids running around your dance floor, you can save yourself money and stress by specifying on the invite that it’ll be a child-free event.
Don’t pick and choose who can bring a plus-one and who can’t. This is especially important when it comes to your wedding party, as they deserve the option after helping you plan and celebrate your special day.
You should also be consistent when it comes to your wedding guests and who they bring. It’s not okay to tell just one specific friend they can’t bring someone just because they’re not married—if you don’t want strangers at your wedding, don’t extend a plus-one invitation to any of your single guests.
“I was in a wedding party and attended with my, then, fiancee. The bride refused to allow her to be in any of the informal friend and family photos, because, ‘Well, these things don’t always work out, and I don’t want to have guess who this person is ten years from now.’ I am married to that, then, fiancee, and the other couple has had repeated separations and are likely only staying together because of their kids,” said Reddit user randumname.
Likewise, if you allow one friend’s children to come but not another’s, they’ll definitely take notice.
The Big Day
Do turn to your wedding party for a de-stressing session or ask them for last-minute help. After all, these people are standing up for you on your wedding day, so we’re assuming they’re people you love who know you well.
Whether the caterer hasn’t arrived yet or you’re just getting nervous hoping the ceremony goes smoothly, you should be able to turn to your besties to get you through the rough moments.
Don’t repeatedly tell everyone “This is MY day” when things aren’t going your way. For one thing, bad or inconvenient things happen sometimes and it’s not because people are trying to sabotage you. If things aren’t going to plan, yelling or acting dramatic won’t fix anything faster, and it’ll just make you look childish.
Not to mention that, despite the fact that it’s your wedding day, you’ve invited a number of other people there to share it with you, making it a special day for them, too—especially for the people in your wedding party who have helped make everything happen and made it fun along the way. When things go wrong, get over yourself, try to help find a solution, and just roll with the punches.
“This damn caterer, who from day one went on and on about no hidden charges and his price was all inclusive, called me the day before my wedding to ask if I had found a rental company to supply the glassware and chairs for the reception… I nearly lost my s***. It ended up being a red solo cup reception,” said Reddit user laurelivid.