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Dos and Don'ts: How to Treat Your Bridesmaids

Avoid bridezilla behavior with these helpful tips!

You chose your bridesmaids because they're some of your closest friends, so make sure to treat them right throughout the process. Here are the dos and don'ts of how to treat your bridesmaids!

real wedding photo barn of chapel hill north carolina wedding bridesmaids in off shoulder jarlo london dresses with fall color bouquets purple hair
Photo: Ginny Corbett Photography

One of the best parts of the wedding-planning process is having the opportunity to gather some of your closest friends and relatives together to be in your bridal party. While being asked to be a bridesmaid is certainly an honor, it also can be very expensive and time-consuming. Talk to any group of bridesmaids and you’ll hear complaints about the process, no matter how much they love the bride. Unfortunately, there are even many cases of friendships ending because of the stress and tension during wedding planning. Now, sometimes this can be due to jealousy and selfish behavior on the part of the bridesmaid, but the Internet is also filled with horror stories of demanding brides with unrealistic expectations in need of a reality check.

In order to help you avoid being seen as a bridezilla, we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts for how to treat your bridesmaids.

Bridesmaid Dress Dos & Don'ts

Do offer some direction for the bridesmaid dresses.

Whether you're having all of your girls wear the same or similar bridesmaid dresses or you're having them choose their own style for the mismatched bridesmaid look, do what you want within reason. It's okay to offer some direction (i.e. color, length), but let them have a say if you foresee any issues, and be mindful of their individual finances and body types.

Don't pick an expensive dress.

If you have your eye on an expensive bridesmaid dress that would fit your vision perfectly, don't choose it without giving anyone in the bridal party a chance to give their thoughts. Also, avoid saying, “Pick whatever you want!” as too many options can be overwhelming. Give a general guideline in terms of color palette, material, style, or length to help!

Dos & Don'ts of Wedding Talk

Do share your excitement about the wedding.

Being a bridesmaid means getting a sneak peek of the bride-to-be's gown and all of the décor ideas, Ask your bridesmaids for their opinion on certain things, as it will make them feel special and more included in the big day!

Don't monopolize the conversation with wedding talk.

Your friends have lives outside of your special day; don’t forget to ask them about themselves! Especially if you have a bridesmaid dealing with a breakup, struggling with a personal issue, or even a bridesmaid who is also engaged, it's incredibly important to not make all of your conversations all about your wedding.

Dos & Don'ts of Asking for Help

Do accept help if any of your attendants offer.

If your bridesmaids want to do more than their typical bridesmaid duties, that's great! You’ll be glad to finish stuffing envelopes quickly and it gives you a chance to catch up with your closest friends.

Don't demand help with the wedding.

Yes, bridesmaids are expected to plan your bridal shower and plan your bachelorette party, but everything else is a “nice to have” and certainly not required.

Wedding Details Dos & Don'ts

Do make important deadlines and dates clear.

Your girls can’t be good bridesmaids if they don’t know when they need to order their dress or what time the rehearsal will be, so make sure to stay organized and communicate with all of your bridesmaids. They'll need to know what to expect and what's expected of them!

Don't expect bridesmaids to go to everything.

People have jobs, children, and possibly even their own weddings to plan, so they may not have time to attend your fitting, makeup trial, pre-wedding party, etc. If you want your bridesmaids there, extend the invitation but be understanding if they're not able to attend.

Dos & Don'ts of Appreciating Bridesmaids

Do highlight their special part in your celebration.

Typically, bridesmaids walk down the aisle as part of the bridal party processional and often stand next to the bride as she says "I do." You can also honor them in a section on your wedding website or ceremony program.

Don't make your bridesmaids feel more like servants than honored guests.

While bridesmaids do have some duties on the wedding day, they should get to enjoy your big day – not spend the whole time performing menial tasks. Be understanding!

Bridesmaid Gifts Dos & Don'ts

Do give meaningful gifts.

It's customary to offer your bridesmaids gifts at the rehearsal dinner or while getting ready the morning of your wedding. Make sure the chosen bridesmaid gift will show your appreciation for their hard work and support.

Don't give insignificant gifts.

While any gift will certainly be appreciated by your bridesmaids, avoid giving gifts that will have no purpose or value beyond the wedding day. If you're thinking of gifting them an item with your names and wedding date, for example, try to instead think of something more personal!

For more advice on keeping your bridesmaids happy, read tips from etiquette expert Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post. Also, if you're a bridesmaid in an upcoming wedding, read our advice on how to be a good bridesmaid.

Opening photo by Ginny Corbett Photography; From Real Wedding: Fall Wedding with Outdoor Ceremony + Barn Reception in North Carolina