While choosing your bridesmaids is an extremely exciting part of wedding planning, it’s also a very delicate and important decision and shouldn’t be rushed. Here’s what you need to consider before jumping the gun and ‘proposing’ to your bridesmaids.
Before the words ‘will you be my bridesmaid’ even leaves your mouth, you should consider what you expect from the girls you choose to be by your side on what is likely the most important day of your life.
If all you want is someone to walk down the aisle with you and hold your bouquet while you exchange vows with your betrothed – great! These expectations are not worth worrying about, as most bridesmaids at least expect to walk down the aisle and hold your flowers.
However, if to you the title ‘bridesmaid’ means accompanying you to each dress fitting, floristry appointment, and alterations appointment, you may have to discuss this with a potential bridesmaid before formally ‘proposing’ to her.
Some bridesmaids simply do not have the time to accompany you to every vendor appointment, and therefore your high (and miscommunicated) expectations might leave you disappointed.
Who will pay?
Before counting how many bridesmaids will accompany you down the aisle, consider who will be paying for their dresses, shoes, bouquet, makeup, and hair styling. While traditionally the marrying couple pays for their bridesmaid’s outfits and expenses, the modern couple often asks their bridesmaids and groomsmen to chip in or even pay entirely for their wedding attire.
Whether or not you will be paying for their attire must be a decision you make before you propose to your bridesmaids. Some potential bridesmaids simply cannot fork out that kind of money to be part of your wedding, and this may cause avoidable issues later on.
If you do ask your bridesmaids to pay their own way, ensure you communicate this when you ask them to be part of your wedding. If they cannot afford it, this gives them the chance to opt out before things get messy and gives you the chance to replace them with enough time before the wedding.
Timing is everything when asking your best friends to be part of your big day. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, friendships can fade over time, and who you’re best friends with today may not be your best friend in a year or two’s time. That’s why it’s extremely important to ask your bridesmaids close enough to the wedding that you’re confident they’ll still happily be in your life, yet far enough away to allow for dress fittings, alterations, the hens night, and any other wedding traditions and formalities that involve the bridesmaids.
For instance, if you were to announce you chosen bridesmaids at your engagement party, even though your wedding date is over two years away, you might be playing with fire. You never know who might stumble in and out of your life within two years, and you don’t want to find yourself regretting your choices closer to the wedding.
Before you ask your ‘best friend’ to be part of your wedding, take a moment to analyse how your friendship has stood the test of time. For instance, ask yourself: Can you depend on them? Are they likely to be unreliable, or jealous even? Have you ever asked them to do something, and they failed to deliver?
Sometimes you can be blinded by the honour of bestowing someone the bridesmaid title that you forget what it really means. You’re telling this person you want them involved in the most important day of your life – it should be someone you trust will respect that and not make it about themselves. It’s a difficult decision, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
How you’re going to do it
Now you’ve thought long and hard about when to propose and who to propose to, you have to decide how you’re going to do it! As mentioned above, it’s a bad idea to announce your chosen bridesmaids at your engagement party in front of all your family and friends.
For one, announcing it before actually consulting your would-be bridesmaids denies them the choice of accepting your offer. Your bridesmaids must be able to weigh up your expectations and the possible expenses, and allowed to opt out if necessary. Additionally, announcing your choice at your engagement party is likely to hurt those who haven’t been chosen, who perhaps hoped they’d be part of your wedding.
A better idea of proposing to your bridesmaids is to do it in person in a one-on-one setting. Make sure they know your expectations and any possible expenses and allow them the option to say no. Your true friends will say yes, so there’s nothing to worry about!