When you say yes to being a bridesmaid, you're automatically agreeing to take on several appointed duties, like planning the bachelorette party, participating in the wedding processional, and providing the bride with moral and emotional support along the way. What you're not agreeing to, though, is becoming your bride's personal assistant. Whether you're her sister, her life-long best friend, or college buddy, there's a limit on just how much the bride should ask of you. Brides-to-be, if you want to keep the peace and ensure your bridal party feels comfortable and happy, never ask a bridesmaid to do any of these five things.
Take on an Unrealistic Task
Although bridesmaids will be asked to handle various responsibilities throughout the planning process, they shouldn't be expected to take on extremely time-consuming jobs. According to Valarie Kirkbride Falvey, wedding planner and founder of Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design, this includes anything that's typically delegated to a professional, like "creating a full itinerary of the wedding day and handling coordination duties, heavy decorating of the wedding venue, or baking and decorating the wedding cake." A bride should always maintain realistic expectations for her bridesmaids, and never make someone complete a task they don't feel comfortable doing.
Change Her Appearance
As per wedding tradition, the bride typically decides what her bridesmaids will wear to the wedding. In some cases, the bride may also have a little say in each woman's hairstyles and makeup looks. But that's where it stops. "I think that temporary cover-ups and changes to go along with the overall flow of the wedding atmosphere and look are okay," says Falvey. It's acceptable to have your bridesmaids wear a certain nail polish shade, or to ask that each woman refrains from applying bold eye makeup. But a bride should never ask a bridesmaid to change anything about her body, or make any major adjustments to her appearance. Expecting someone to dye their hair, lose or gain weight, or don something uncomfortable is overstepping reasonable expectations. "If you feel you have a strong enough relationship with someone to ask them to be in your wedding, then you should love who they already are without a lot of changes to that," Falvey adds.
Pay More Than Expected
Despite meticulous budgeting, the cost of pre-ceremony celebrations is sometimes higher than expected. But forcing your 'maids to spend a pretty penny is both inconsiderate and unrealistic. According to Falvey, "the bride should keep in mind that all of the bridesmaids still have their regular lives, jobs, families, and responsibilities"—meaning that not everyone will be able to afford a destination bachelorette party. The bride shouldn't harbor any hard feelings against those who can't make it; instead, she should try her best to accommodate and understand everyone's particular financial situation before making plans.
Step Outside of Her Comfort Zone
A bride should never expect her bridesmaids to unwillingly step outside of their comfort zones. If one of your girls hates public speaking, you shouldn't pressure her into giving a speech at the rehearsal dinner. Being mindful of your friends' boundaries will ensure everyone has a great time at all of the wedding festivities.
Deal with Personal and Family Issues
Nearly every bride will have to deal with personal and family drama as she plans her wedding, but that doesn't mean your bridesmaids should have to help resolve the issue. "The only time bridesmaids should be tasked with conflict management is when a situation only encompasses the bridesmaids group, and it would be better for a bridesmaid to handle than the bride," says Falvey. "A bridesmaid should never be responsible for clearing up an issue between a bride and her future mother- or father-in-law, for example." Nobody wants to be the caught in the middle of someone else's drama.