Rules and Etiquette of Being a Bridesmaid
We had an article in Bride and Groom Canada magazine about the rules and etiquette of being a bridesmaid. Here it is, read to the end for a checklist!
It’s an honour to be asked to be a bridesmaid, but what does being a bridesmaid really mean? To be at the bride’s beck and call is only part of the bridesmaid’s prenuptial protocol. Most brides also have certain expectations when it comes to how their bridesmaids will look, including their dress, shoes, hair, makeup, and even accessories. There’s the matter of throwing the bride her customary pre-wedding celebrations, like a bridal shower and stagette, as well as the monetary obligations that come with these events.
Caryn Lim is a wedding designer and the owner of A Timeless Celebration. She says the job of a bridesmaid is four-fold. “The basic role of fa bridesmaid is to assist the bride as she goes through the process of planning,” she explains. “A bridesmaid is a good listener, a shoulder for the bride to lean on, and [someone who] carries lots of tissues. [They should also be prepared to assume the financial responsibilities that come with being a bridesmaid.”
Here are some of the etiquette rules that come with the territory of being a bridesmaid….
[Exerts from Bride & Groom Canada Magazine]
DRESS TO IMPRESS
Most bridesmaids have one big fear – being dolled up in a pink taffeta number that makes them look like a walking cupcake. While some brides may have such froufrou dresses in mind for their wedding party, a lot of today’s brides are breaking out of this traditional mold and are opting for more daring colours and styles of attire.
Randi is a sales coordinator who has been a bridesmaid in four different weddings. She says that no matter what your own dress preference may be, it’s really the bride who chooses what her bridesmaids will wear. “At the end of the day, it’s not about you, it’s about the bride. If you are a bridesmaid, then it is all about accommodating her need and wants on her special day.”
So who should pay for the dress, and then the shoes, hair, makeup, and more? Both Randi and Lim agree that, when you accept the role of bridesmaid, you’re also agreeing to accept the financial obligations that come with the job.
“[Because] it has never been otherwise for me, I would say that a bridesmaid should incur the expenses,” says Randi. “In a perfect world it would obviously be great to not have to pay for any of it, but it comes with the territory of being a bridesmaid.”
Lim concurs, “If the bride wants $350 matching bridesmaid’s dresses or $200 matching shoes, she’s the boss!”
SHOWER AND BACHELORETTE
In addition to adhering to the bride’s dress code and agreeing to assume the costs involved in achieving a certain look, bridesmaids are also responsible for helping to plan the pre-wedding ‘dos, including the bridal shower and bachelorette party.
“Whether it’s a shower or a bachelorette, the bridesmaids are the ones who plan the entire event, from sending out invitations to dinner arrangements to games and entertainment,” Lim says. “The bridesmaids pay for the bridal shower, but it is completely acceptable for the guests to pay for their own share at a bachelorette party – just make sure the guests know that they have to chip in a what to expect before the bachelorette.”
When Randi got married last year, she had a incredible 12 bridesmaids, but she explained how they all worked together in planning her pre-wedding bashes. “My bridesmaids played a very large role in all [the events] since my sister is younger (she was 17, and it was her first time experiencing these types of responsibilities since she is not in the wedding stage yet). Therefore, I had amazing bridesmaids who all helped her out.”
While it’s both fun and flattering to be a bridesmaid, it also comes with a few expectations. Not only should you be there to support and help the bride, but you need to accept her decision on how to dress for the wedding as well as plan the customary pre-wedding events. In the end, you’ll be one of the main contributing factors in ensuring your bride is blushing and happy. “It’s always an honour to be a bridesmaid,” Randi says. “I love it.”
According to Caryn Lim, wedding designer and owner of A Timeless Celebration, these are a few basic responsibilities every bridesmaid should expect:
– Address and stuff invitations
– Help with tasks and errands
– Spread the word in regard to where the bride and groom are registered for their gift registry
– Help the bride get dressed and stay calm on the wedding day
– Give a speech at the wedding