Sunday, January 24, 2010

Am I expecting too much of my bridesmaids?

I asked 5 girls to be my bridesmaids and my sister to be my Matron of Honor.  (I was the maid of honor for my sister and my best friend who is also one of my bridesmaids.)   I surprised each girl by providing them a gift that included a puzzle of a photo of both of us with the phrase 'Be my Bridesmaid?' across it, along with a little silk bouquet of flowers in my color scheme so they'd know what color dress they'd be wearing and a handmade card with a poem in it telling them why I am asking them to stand with me at the altar. 

I loved it, they loved it, two of them was personal and different.  I blogged about it here.

Since I asked them, I have had all 6 of them come with me one day back in March to go dress shopping for both me and them.  We did it on a day that my best friend would be in town so she could participate - she lives in Idaho, I'm in So Cal.  We went to dinner was fun.

I eventually picked dresses out for them to wear with their input and allowed them to select red dresses even though I desparately wanted them in turquoise/blue and I let them know that was my wish but I wanted them to be comfortable.  They opted for red.

I let 2 of them pick different dresses than the one the other 4 will be cousin who is a very large chested woman and my daughter who wanted a different color and needed a different style since she doesn't fully have a woman's body yet.  I had no problem with letting them pick different dresses...they're by the same designer, color and fabric.

I tried to keep the dress and shoe cost to a minimum...The dresses were $152 including tax and the shoes were another $15 total.  So far, they all will only need to have the straps adjusted on their dress.  Two of them may need their dresses let out a little bit and one will need her dress hemmed a bit.  So alterations will not be super expensive at all...for my sister, it's only $15 to have her straps adjusted.

I booked a stylist to do my hair and makeup and negotiated a great price for her to do the Bridesmaid's hair and makeup for only $70 each total.  I let them know that it was their decision as to whether or not they wanted to use my stylist and pay or do their own hair and makeup.  Two of them opted to do their own, four opted for using my stylist. 

One bridesmaid offered to let us use her house for both my bridal shower and bachelorette party since she lives around the corner from me and has the biggest house.  My sister is throwing the shower and has asked for the other girls' input but has done most stuff on her own.  My mother and her are paying for the bulk of my shower I believe and trying to keep it pretty inexpensive.

Other than that, there's not much more they have to do for me other than show up to my shower, bachelorette party and the rehearsal and wedding.  My one friend from Idaho obviously has to pay for airfare out here but she was more than willing to do so to be in my wedding and is coming alone without her husband or three kids to save money.  It's not that expensive to fly here.

So do you think I'm asking too much of them?  I hear horror stories of brides who want to 'fire' their friends or family for not helping out with much or for causing problems with their wedding plans and adding extra stress.  I am so lucky to not have that problem.  I LOVE my girls and though I don't get to see them much, they're excited about the big day and I know they'll make me feel special and loved and keep me laughing and try to ease my stress or anxiety.

Though due to my Type-A perfectionist personality, I am not asking them to help assemble invitations or anything like that.  But closer to wedding day I will ask them if any can come over to help me stuff favor boxes and tie ribbons on them and such. 

Even the guys (groomsmen) and our immediate family were in my initial wedding related thoughts as I had visions of them having to carry votive candles, wedding gifts, dresses, etc all over our venue and loading up cars and such.  I imagined them trying to run around during the reception telling the Photographer that the DJ was about to announce the cake cutting and I instantly knew it was time to hire a Day of Wedding Coordinator!  There is no way I wanted any family or friends doing errands or running tasks during the wedding. 

So I think my girls have it pretty easy.  But I know some brides can be demanding.  I found it funny, however, when Rachel (Pink Love Bird) over at Get Married's Blogger Brides site posted about how she asked her girls to be her bridesmaids.  She made them all binders and included a contract inside for them to read and sign.  I wish she had gotten engaged before me because I totally would have included this in my little gift package for my girls had I seen it.

I, ____(Bridesmaid)_____, do solemnly swear:

______ My hair will remain at whatever length I want, but if it’s past my shoulders, it will be put in a beautiful up-do.
______ If I change my hair color, I will consider consulting Bride because she loves sassy hair.
______ My nails will be painted a delicate, light color of my choosing and will be at my preferred length (…with the exception of them being so long they curl over at the tips).
______ Bride will love me and appreciate me being in her bridal party regardless of my weight, but I will do my best to be in great shape and health. I want to look my best!
______ Assuming there is a shower or a bachelorette party, I will be as involved as I can be and party it up with Bride for as long as I can stand.
______ I will hold Bride to her promise that the bridesmaid dresses will be fabulous and won’t cost an arm and a leg. I will provide opinions on the style because I know Bride likes input and gets overwhelmed by options.
______ If I get pregnant, YAY! Bride loves babies and pregnant people. If I am not pregnant, the reception will provide a fully stocked bar in which to imbibe in front of said pregnant people.
______I will dance the night away at the reception and all other spontaneous dance parties. If Bride is not around for the sporadic dance parties, I will take a picture or a video to show her.
______ I will tell Bride when she is being crazy/unrealistic and why, specifically. I will not let Bride go off the deep-end.
______ I will freely give hugs and lend my support to Bride to help relieve stress since she is such a perfectionist. Bride loves friends’ hugs.
I do hereby swear that I will adhere to the entire above & other stated bridesmaid “duties” for the wedding on (date).
X________________________________ ___________________ (Signature) (Date)

What do you think ladies?   Are you asking too much of your Bridesmaids or wedding party?  Have you had some unfortunate issues or fights or frustrations with anyone regarding your wedding?  Do share!  Let it all out...


Ghenet said...

I don't think you're expecting too much. It seems like you are being really respectful of what your bridesmaids want to wear (while still keeping with your vision) so they are comfortable. I think all girls who agree to be bridesmaids expect to be involved in some way in terms of planning and helping you get things together. So don't feel bad or guilty! You're doing a great job :o)

New Mexican Bride said...

I think you are being very respectful towards their situations and that's the way it should be. I think brides get too caught up in the ME ME ME and really it's for everyone to enjoy. I did see that contract that Pink Love Bird had, it's cute but my BF is a bit sensitive so she would get offended by it.

I've been having a bit of a hard time with her up until yesterday. She is very self conscious and didn't want to try on dresses. So I finally got her to go yesterday and she did ok but wouldn't come out of the dressing room and was just making the consultant feel uncomfortable too. So I just let it go and at the end of the appointment I told her to be sure to get measured so she didn't have to come back. I knew she hadn't because the consultant told me she wouldn't let her measure her. So when I told my BF that, she said she was going to have to come back later. I was a bit short but blunt and just said you know you need to do it, just get it over with so you don't have to think or worry about it anymore, ok? And she eventually got measured at the end of it all, thank goodness! I think we all have to keep in mind other peoples personalities and be there to support each other. After all she is my BF!

PartyPlannerGal said...

Haven't had any problems yet, but I haven't asked my bridesmaids to do anything, so maybe that's why! I did ask them to buy a chocolate brown dress of their choosing, but as far as I know none of them have done it yet. I gave them March as a deadline, so there's still time.

My MOH has been awesome and offered to help assemble the STDs. She is also throwing my shower, though it's going to be a tight squeeze since her little brother (my "little" cousin) is getting married two weeks before me . . . ummm, yeah, that was a surprise. Not too happy about it, but what can you do? I am refusing to bridezilla out on this one, though it's upsetting that they didn't think of me before setting their wedding date. Oh well. So, I haven't had any BM problems, just with the rest of my family, LOL.

Nicole-Lynn said...

I don't think you're asking too much at all :) I'm sure they feel honored to be asked to be apart of your special day and want to help wherever they can.

Patience said...

I don't think you are asking too much. I had to fire my MOH because she sucked. She actually made my wedding more stressful then it needed to be. I wrote a blog post all about it and firing her was the best decision I ever made. I am so glad you haven't had any issues. I wish I didn't either, but people are right, weddings bring out the worse in people.

honey my heart said...

i do not think you are asking too much, i do think you are being very reasonable and relaxed, which is great for a bride. since my bmaids were all younger and not very wedding experienced, i only asked them for their support during the rehearsal and help during the actual day.

redwhitebride said...

honestly, i haven't asked too much of my BMs but for wearing the attire i chose (and they like). one of our friends will do their makeup and hair. i heard that they are going to host my shower and bach party (it's secret stuff!). i haven't asked them to help with anything so far. i'll just ask their help with the flowers before rehearsal.

redwhitebride said...

and... i don't think you're asking too much either!

Mrs T said...

You sounds like a super chilled bride. $15 shoes - awesome.

My main drama was all to do with one bridesmaid. She didn't show up for my shower. Brought her sick baby to the hens night (which made two of the bridesmaids and me really sick three days before the wedding)(so not a kid friendly event either, don't know what she was thinking). Then on the day she got angry with me because I didn't have a list of all the photo locations written out for her husband to bring her baby along too (it was 43degrees C that day and all the locations we were going to use ended up not happening due to extreme heat, we just went where the photographer took us)(and why you would want to take a baby out in extreme heat is beyond me).

Haven't spoken to her since the wedding. Feeling really horrible about it. We haven't been close for a while, I guess I just thought it might bring us back together. But instead it has pushed us further apart.

All the other girls were great though. Really came through for me and were all round awesome. It has made our friendships stronger.

Guess I should have just picked better to begin with. I really thought Mr B & I needed matching numbers. We really jumped into the decision way too early. Looking back I would have just not asked her.

What can you do??

very married said...

hi! i forgot to respond to your question on my last comment.

It was a combination between a booth and just fabric. Hard to explain. From the website: "Our spacious photobooth measures 5ft. X 5ft. and stands over 6ft. tall. It is draped in regal black velvet. The screen outside allows for people in line to join in the fun! It is wheel chair accessible and has room for all your friends!"

There's a picture here:

hope that helps!

Salt said...

I think you sound like you are definitely being chill enough. And your dress prices were very reasonable I think.

I haven't had any bridesmaid issues because I haven't asked them to do anything. I think the reasons you aren't having problems is because you are keeping the pressure off of them. From what I've seen, problems happen when the bride is much needier and then a maid of honor or bridesmaid can't devote that time to her "duties" and it causes a rift. I went into it without assigning them any duties because really all I want is for them to be there to stand up with me on my day, not to help plan my wedding. That's mine and my fiancé's job.

I think firing one of your friends from the bridal party is a ridiculous thing to do. A wedding is not worth ruining a friendship over. I'm also heavily against contracts like that, but that's just my opinion. Being a bridesmaid shouldn't be a job. It's an honor.

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

The contract is too funny.

You are fine and not at all demanding. I remember I had some drama because I was bummed my only NYC bridesmaid went cat food shopping instead of dress shopping with me 1 day (she thought I would be jetlagged and wouldn't make the appointment). She also (I thought) inferred I should throw my own shower if we did a couple's shower. I was bummed and blogged about it and she got upset and random people got crazy. Communication and expanding on details were the key after than.

Anyway, I never really asked my girls to do anything until we assembled the programs. One MOH was going to do calligraphy and didn't have time. It was my time so I didn't want them to spend money on anything except getting here (which I couldn't really assist with).

The laughter, fun, and sisterhood of your closest ladies is of course priceless.

Anonymous said...

"there's not much more they have to do for me other than show up to my shower, bachelorette party and the rehearsal and wedding."

Shower. Bachelorette party. Rehersal dinner. Wedding. I know this is standard stuff for a lot of brides but that adds up for your bridesmaids and I personally think it's too much money to spend on someone. Especially the girl flying in. But it is not an issue if they all want to do it and since none of them have voiced any issue with it then everyone is happy and you can't be blamed with asking for too much. They are big girls and if they had an issue with it financially - they should speak up.

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