Notes From A Professional Bridesmaid

by Nicole · 4 comments

in Notes On Culture

For most of my adult life, I’ve been a bridesmaid approximately once a year. In other words, I’ve thrown parties, helped make wedding choices, dealt with other people’s crazy realatives, bought a dress exactly like four other people, and otherwise did my bridesmaid duty of being there and involved.

I myself have never been married so watching the craziness surrounding a wedding is something, I admit, I’ve only witnessed from a safe distance.

If you are planning a wedding, though, here are a few things your bridesmaids might want to say to you but may not feel they can:

For me, your wedding is a wedding.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be invited but it is not the most important day of my life, so I must act accordingly. If I can’t come to your wedding, it’s not a snub to you, it’s probably just that I can’t afford it or can’t get the time off. If I do come to your wedding and only spend $50 on your gift, it’s not a snub. I probably that’s what I can afford.

In terms of gifts, I might not give something

If I spent a certain amount on your wedding gift, I don’t expect the reciprocal when I’d theoretically get married. Two reasons: 1) I might not ever get married. and 2) We have different financial situations. I promise not to keep track if you don’t.

If you are asking people to buy a dress, give them a ballpark of what you think of as a budget.

A ‘reasonable price’ is a pretty subjective term, especially when it comes to fashion. Please let me know what the ballpark is for the bridesmaid dress if there is one before I sign up. I don’t want to seem like a cheap jerkface for asking but I need to fit the money in somehow. Also please let me know about shoes, having to rent venues for parties, and anything else like that as best you can.

Be a bit flexible.

So you have your heart set on a certain kind of dress, can I pick the style? My shoes? Do my own hair? If you allow a bit of flexibility and I can wear the $3 shoes I got on clearance, I might be more psyched about spending a few hundred dollars on a dress.


1 Bobbi October 25, 2012

Good post. I am sure many brides would love to know this info. Also, the day is not about fashion, it is about marrying the love of your life.

2 Cyndi October 25, 2012

Very nice post, you said alot of things that people think!

3 Matthew Stibbe October 29, 2012

Forgive me for the slightly off-topic comment but I saw your title in my RSS reader and it reminded me of a joke from Gore Vidal. At a wedding a woman said to him “I’m always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” He replied, “I have the same problem. I’m always a godfather but never a god.” I just thought it was very funny and I wanted to share!

4 Maggie@SquarePennies October 30, 2012

My daughter is getting married soon & she told her bridesmaids & maid of honor to get whatever dresses they wanted at regular stores. Her only request: they be in some shade of pink or peach & not be a knit fabric. I think it’s great. She told them she doesn’t want a shower or a bachelorette party. She says her wedding will not be unique; it will be a wedding. She is having almost no decorations, just bowls of flowers on the tables. She can afford more, but is not wanting to put her money into it. She’d rather put money toward a house and living expenses. She is very much her mother’s daughter & I’m proud of her!

Previous post: