1/ Practical details about the wedding
Image by Fineline Photography
Availability will be a top concern, so if you haven’t already kept your best friends in the loop about your plans, share the wedding date and location as soon as you can. This will allow them to book holiday from work and make any necessary travel arrangements as early as possible.
2/ Estimate of costs and who will pay for what
Image by Avodah Photography
Being a bridesmaid can require some serious saving. Make sure your ‘maids know the kind of financial commitment they’re making straight away by being clear about where they should expect to shell out (as opposed to any costs you’ll be covering).
Some common costs incurred by bridesmaids include:
- Bridesmaid dress and accessories – decide in advance who will pay for the dress (and if it’s your bridesmaid, you might like to give her an idea of the price range you’re thinking of). What about shoes? Or matching clutch bags, jewellery or other accessories?
- Hair and makeup – if you’re hiring professionals for getting ready, be sure to discuss whether or not they will be available for your bridesmaids too. If so, will the girls be required to pay for themselves, or will you cover this cost? And will they need to be involved in/pay for makeup and hair trials ahead of time, too?
- Parties – if you envision your bridesmaids will be involved in planning and/or donating towards the cost of events like the Hen Party and Bridal Shower, be sure to give them fair warning.
3/ Plans for choosing dresses
Image by Koby Brown Photography
Choosing a bridesmaid dress should be a really enjoyable process of getting together with your girls, trying different things on and working towards something that everyone’s happy with (and that looks amazing!). Start things off on the right foot by clearly sharing your plans with your bridesmaids. Think about the following questions:
Have you already got a Pinterest board full of the kind of things you’re thinking of? Do you have any “must haves” in terms of colour, length, material or style? Anything you want to avoid? Do you want the bridesmaids to match entirely, in tone, or are you going for a mismatched look? Alternatively, are you planning to take a laid back approach, and let them take a couple of guidelines and run with them?
Shopping and decision making
Do you want to go shopping together and make the process a collaborative one? Or will you single out a selection of things you like and then bring everyone in to try them on? Or perhaps you’re happy for them to find dress ideas according to guidelines, whether on a group shopping trip or independently? How much feedback will you want before making the final decision (i.e., can they be honest about something they’re not keen on)?
4/ When they’ll be needed
Image by Liz Banfield
In some cases, time commitment can be as much of an issue as the financial commitment. Be forthcoming about what will be on the bridesmaid schedule, including parties, shopping trips, beauty trials and rehearsals.
5/ Specific Responsibilities
If you’re hoping to delegate specific tasks in the lead up to the wedding (e.g. party planning, invitation stuffing, moral support) or on the wedding day itself (carrying the bride’s bag, wrangling people for photos, looking out for guests) then you should share your ideas and expectations early!
6/ Why they're so important to you
Image by Patina Photography
I’m sure you can’t imagine taking this huge step into your future without your best girlfriends by your side. So, in amongst all the practicalities, expenses and jobs you’ve got lined up for your lovely bridesmaids, take the time to shift the focus back to your friendships and how important they are to you. They’ll doubtless be giving their all to make your wedding day as perfect as possible, so they deserve to receive plenty of love and appreciation for all their efforts!
7/ How you'll support them
Image by Next Exit Photography
Hand in hand with expressing how much you cherish your friendships, talk to your bridesmaids about your side of the bridesmaid-bride relationship. Let them know that you’ll be available (or as available as possible!) if they need to come to you with concerns, questions or issues, and emphasise how much you value their views and input. In short, commit yourself to doing everything you can to support them and make them feel special - whether that’s with a personal note or setting aside plenty of quality bridesmaid time!