Once again, I read a great newsletter from Carats and Cake founder Jessica Levin Conroy that really inspired me this week. In addition, I’ve been meaning to write about all things to do with bridesmaids but it’s a sensitive subject and I wanted to approach it properly.
You can read Jess’ full post entitled Relationships That Matter but the one line that really stuck out to me was, “And like anything in life, it’s less about how many people you know and more about the handful that really matter.”
How many times have we heard this? People mention it when you’re job searching or looking for a career mentor. It comes up when you might be looking for donations or a hookup of some sort. But does anyone ever think of this truism when picking out their bridesmaids?
I’ve seen a lot of weddings where there is a long lineup of the wedding party with 12 groomsmen on one side and another 12 bridesmaids on the other. I can actually understand why. There’s so many people in our lives that we want to honor when our wedding day comes and asking them to be in the wedding party is one significant way to do that. But there’s a few things to think about below that may make you whittle down that list a little more.
Bridesmaids Are Expensive
Not just bridesmaids though! Weddings, in general, are typically a financial investment. From all the big things (venue, catering) to the little things (wedding shoes, gifts for mom and dad), money kind of just flies out the window with everything that couples can feel obligated to do.
One of those obligations may be the whole rigamarole of asking someone to be your bridesmaid (let’s just talk about this relationship right now even though I know this can apply to groomsmen too) and what that means from the answer yes to after your wedding. Sometimes we may get a card, gift, or even plan a complex surprise to ask our bridesmaids if they want the role. Then there’s the bachelorette trips, getting ready matching outfits, (think floral silk robes), bridesmaid dresses, shoes, hair, makeup, accommodations, travel expenses, plus Thank You gifts – some or all of which you may cover the cost of.
Although there’s no obligation to do any of these things, we often get swept up in the guilt of tradition and do them anyway. As much as brides may spend on the bridesmaids, it goes the other way too. This leads me to my next point.
Who is Going to Help You Out?
I think we all know the point of bridesmaids. It’s kind of a given in the title. A bridesmaid is meant to help out the bride on their wedding day. But it’s not just the literal help of things like: setting up wedding decor, transporting items or people, making breakfast, etc. It’s also the mental support. A wedding day can be very taxing on one’s emotions and who else is there from the early morning until the last dance but your girls (or bridesguys)? They can calm you down when you feel overwhelmed, reassure you when you’re freaking out, and just be a strong sense of support.
Who in your life would do that for you? Who are those people that are your rock through thick and thin? Those are the people that you want behind you on a super stressful and busy day. If you might not be able to afford all of the above things, but still want to do them, for all of the important people in your life then maybe you should limit your bridesmaids to a small group or even one person.
Can You Honor Someone Important in Other Ways?
Just because someone isn’t your bridesmaid, doesn’t mean you can’t involve them in other ways so that way they feel included. Some of the ways you can do this include: asking your future sister in law to be the flower girl (I did this), asking someone else to help plan and even cater your bridal shower, asking your future mother in law to be your florist (I also did this), asking someone to give a reading during the ceremony.
I know it doesn’t seem as glamorous as being one of those people standing next to you at the alter but there’s got to be plenty of people who have agreed to be a bridesmaid and then later regretted it after the hundreds of dollars they spent on the wedding and then had to stand up in high heels for an hour during the ceremony, do a silly little dance as they walked in to the reception, and then carried your purse all night.
I think that when the day comes, everyone who was invited in any capacity (wedding party or wedding guest) should know that they are loved and appreciated for being in the couple’s lives to begin with. Being a bridesmaid is a great honor but it’s also a great responsibility. – Uncle Ben from Spider-Man
What things have you guys done to honor someone you love but wasn’t in the bridal party? I’d love to hear your thoughts but I’d also be happy to share all the ways that I’ve seen this done. Let me know if you’d like to see a full list of those.