We’ve all heard the stories of the unruly bridal party. Everything from the bridesmaid that causes grief about her dress, to the maid of honour that doesn’t pull her weight, and right to the drunken antics of the groomsman that got a tad too excited about the open bar. The truth of the matter is anytime you put so many different types of personalities into a room as you bridal party, something is bound to happen.
Begin by setting some basic rules. Chat as a couple to determine whether or not you’ll be footing the bill for many of the bridal party’s expenses. Nip this potential issue in the bud by clearly stating what you expect your bridal party members to pay for themselves. Be clear and concise about your expectations from the bridal party and be firm about the areas that are of the most importance to you. For example, if you are ok with your bridesmaids having different styles, as long as the dresses are the same colour, then you need to state these parameters in advance. Don’t wait for the bridal party to start providing their suggestions if you are not willing to take them.
Speak with your bridal party about what you expect they will adhere to, and what you are willing to give free reign on. Involving them in aspects of the wedding is key. Find a few areas in which you’re willing to relinquish some level of control, and let them be part of the experience.’’
Money is a topic that causes stress and can damage any relationship if not approached with caution. Outline what you are offering to pay for, vs. what you need your bridal party to contribute towards. You’ll need to set some clear guidelines in order to manage expectations.
Inform, but do not overwhelm. There’s a lot to be said for providing guidance as to what you require from your bridal party on your big day. Assistance with the receiving table and place cards, distribution of ceremony programs – whatever it may involve, its great to have some help and most bridal party members are happy to be called upon. However, most will agree that endless spreadsheets and to-do lists become overwhelming and daunting, not to mention that they take the fun out of the experience. Give them things to do to help you, but don’t over-strategize so much that you turn this experience into a chore for them.
Remember that your bridal party will be with you all day long and will appear in a significant number of your wedding photos. If you’re facing any sort of hesitation about looking back at your album in ten years and seeing all the members of your bridal party in there, you may want to reassess your selections.