There's a great deal of responsibilities associated with being a bridesmaid, which is why it's easy to feel overworked and overspent (financially, too!) during the process. While certain things are expected of you—like purchasing your dress and attending events like the bridal shower and rehearsal dinner—more high-maintenance requests are not. Here, wedding planners share when it's absolutely acceptable for a bridesmaid to put her foot down.
You're uncomfortable with the dress.
While it's technically the bride's call, you shouldn't be forced to wear something that makes you feel uncomfortable. "Even though you're not the center of attention, you still want to look and feel your best!" says Calais Sgantas, wedding planner at Stowe Mountain Lodge. That's why she likes when a bride selects a fabric, color, and length, then lets her wedding party choose their own silhouette. If you've been given the freedom to choose a dress and there's nothing you love, it may be time to bite your tongue. It's one thing to object because it's too revealing or makes you feel uncomfortable, but another thing entirely to just prefer other looks.
The bride is pressuring you to pay for things you can't afford.
When you agree to be a bridesmaid, you're committing to a big role—and it's a role that often involves shelling out a significant amount of money. If you're feeling pressured to spend more than you can afford, start by talking to the maid of honor, then the bride. You might have to opt out of certain events in order to afford the one that matters most: the wedding.
You're being treated like a personal assistant.
Remember who you are in the bride's life—be it her sister, friend, cousin or co-worker—and don't let her boss you around to the point where you feel like her personal assistant. "Of course, it's nice to help the bride out, but this should be voluntary and she should not get upset if you can't help out every weekend," says Lisa Costin, wedding planner and founder of A Charming Fete. You should also not be expected to handle and manage family drama. "At the end of the day, the bridesmaids are close family and friends, honored VIP guests, they should be treated with kindness and gratitude and they will return the love," adds Costin.
The bride is asking you to change your appearance.
We're not talking about the request of a certain shoe type or hairstyle—we're talking about the bride asking you to change the color of your hair, lose or gain weight, or to remove a tattoo. "Singling someone out about their appearance will hurt feelings and can ruin the friendship," says Costin. "Bridesmaids are not signing up for a major makeover and insensitive comments will make them feel self-conscious about their looks and possibly exit the bridal party."
You're being asked to DIY everything.
Just because the bride loves DIY doesn't mean you're responsible for bringing all of her ideas to life. "If you don't have a crafty bone in your body, stand up for yourself when asked to make paper flowers for the centerpieces or to create wedding favors," says Sgantas. "Instead, offer to help with set-up the day before the wedding or offer to do something that speaks to your strengths."
Your plus-one is not included in the seating assignments
Because bridal parties are often a mix of childhood, college, and work friends, Sgantas points out that bringing a plus-one to a wedding can be a really weird situation. "This is especially true when your date doesn't know anyone but you at the wedding, and you have been assigned to sit at the head table without them," she says. Her recommendation: Advocate for having your date be included in the seating assignments of the bridal party. "Not only will you feel more relaxed and not worried about whether or not your date is having fun, but you will also get to spend time with your partner and the bride at the same time," she adds.