Brides + Bridesmaids: Keeping the Peace

Snapshots from the life of a BM + MOH

Recent polls (ok, questions I ask friends) about the first thought of being asked to be a bridesmaid tends to be, “How much is this going to cost me?” I kid you not. Sad, right?  “It’s supposed to be an honor,” claims brides.  Right, if you’re a cool bride.

Brides, bridesmaids, I am on both your teams – as I have been a bridesmaid, maid of honor, and a bride, so I have played on all side.  I have heard and witnessed friendships disappear without ever being repaired again during wedding planning.  Let me help bring peace the battle field by clearing the air on behalf of both parties, for you – in honor of saving friendships during this happy time!

Bridesmaid is thinking, “Crap, how much is this going to cost?”
First, if a bridesmaid is dreading the costs of being a bridesmaid, what that really translates to is, she really doesn’t think she’s that close of a friend to the bride. Or, the bride could just be a diva and overspend so the bride is scaring the crap out of her bridesmaid’s checkbook. Potential bridesmaid, you can decline. But if you do, you may lose a friend, but, you still have your money! (So decide which is worth more). Brides, be budget conscious for your friends. Just because you are spending a ton on your wedding doesn’t mean your friends can do the same.

Bride keeps sending “ideas” links to bridesmaids on showers, and bachelorette parties.
Bride, here’s the deal: You have a wedding to plan – that is all you get to plan. The shower, parties, all of that is supposed to be a gift. You shouldn’t have any input because it’s your gift (think it’s like hinting to people what to get you for your birthday).  If you want input, then plan that yourself too. Don’t interject with ideas because it’s seen as rude and be taken as though you’re trying to dictate how your friends should spend money and time on you. If you want a certain color, flower, or cake, then save it all for your wedding. If you are asked for your input – which you most likely will be asked, then you give it – so just wait until then if you can.  And no matter what, just remember to be so appreciative of it!

Bridesmaid fear: Spending too much on a gown she will never wear again.
Bridesmaids, let’s be honest, there is a .01% chance you will be able to wear your BM attire ever again, sorry, so let’s not have the expectation that one can actually wear it again. Maybe the earrings, maybe. Brides, if financially you can consider it, or you have a high value on your best friends, buy your dresses for your bridesmaids. You can find cute ones on sale or H&M. If you can’t, then pick fashionable ones that can be worn again (and be honest, seriously, everyone knows a BM dress when they see one…) or pick a color palette scheme and have your BM hunt for their own dress in creams, pinks, or whatever.  Bridesmaids, you can always try to sell your dress on eBay, or donate it to organizations that put on proms for young girls in need.  Check out The Arizona Princess Program.

Brides, try to disperse the help.
The details should be worked out between your fiance, or event planner (which I always recommend because it keeps everything sane and just makes sense).  Yes, wedding is on the mind, but if you’re engaged for 10 months and you have a lot of decisions to make that you can’t make on your own, you might drive your friends crazy if they are busy.  If you can, disperse the involvement.  One goes to the dress fittings, the other helps with X, another with Y, and one with Z.  If you find your calling your friends like every day about the wedding, really, consider getting a planner. I had one for my 23 guest wedding and my 100 backyard open reception.

Bridesmaid, don’t be a diva.
Well, here goes – the big day is not about you even if you feel slightly abused during the process. So while I have been ragging on the brides who might want to put you in the color you hate, in the cut that makes you look fat, too bad. You put aside yourself, and your ego, and your potential to score a date at the wedding, and you do it for your best friend and one day, it’ll be your turn and you wouldn’t want to be rude.  I know, no one likes looking like a quadruplet, but oh well!  Even if you don’t like this or that, you still go, you still support, you still love, and you still be there for your best friend.  If you’re not married yet, you could always get her back when it’s your turn. Just kidding.

Bride, don’t be a diva.
Check your attitude constantly, and I do mean constantly, up to the day of the wedding.  If you expect your friends to spend a lot of money on you, then you might lose some of your “best friends” during the process. The bottom line is, yes, it is a big deal, but at the same time, concentrate more preparing for your marriage instead of the wedding.  Have your friends around you who love you and are excited by just being happy – have the right perspective.  Celebrations are great, your shiny ring is pretty, but really, I’ve seen celebrations and nice rings not have solid commitments or icky people who people can’t wait to see get married so the day can be over.  That’s not what this wedding is about, it’s about a commitment between you, your husband, and God.  Rain, snow, sleet, or shine, dress ripped, cake missing, flowers wilting, it shouldn’t matter with the right perspective and right focus.  Thank your bridesmaids, mom and dad (whoever is paying for it) constantly. Even though you might be the recipient of a lot of gifts, perhaps you can give gifts back as a thank you for throwing the shower/party/putting up with craziness.

Diana Elizabeth says love your friends, all stages, and know that things are temporary. Forgive, forget, move on and celebrate!

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Mailinh Nguyen

    Loved that you shared this! During my undergrad days, I was asked to be a bridesmaid. I was thrilled that my friend had asked me. However, when she wanted to me to buy the bridesmaid dress in a year in advance, I asked her if I could wait to save some money first before purchasing the dress (it cost $300.)…she told me that she would have another friend take my place instead. I wasn’t trying to get out being a bridesmaid, I was hoping she would just let me wait a bit later to get the dress. If only this post existed back then….

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Oh that makes me sad – but maybe she felt bad that she might put you in a financial strain. I have spent $300 on a bridesmaid dress and trust me, I know that is a lot of money!

  • JulieLim

    Thank you Diana for sharing your wisdom with all of us!


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