The downsides of being a bridesmaid

By on Feb. 6th

I recently received some questions from a journalist for an article she's writing about bridesmaids. I thought I'd share my answers here.

Q: What do you think are some of the (perceived or actual) down sides of being a bridesmaid, and how can a forward-thinking bride avoid putting her maids through those experiences?

In the process of researching my book, I spoke to one former bridesmaid who'd been chastised by the bride for getting her shoulder-length hair cut into a bob before the wedding. The bride fuh-REAKED out, because now this one bridesmaid wouldn't be able to have the pre-set bridemaid updo.

While this story is pretty fucked up, the thing it makes the most clear to me is that brides and bridesmaids need to be well matched! If, as a bride, things like pre-ordained matching up-dos are super insanely important to you, then pick bridesmaids who are into meticulous aesthetics.

I think it's really important to have a discussion up-front about what the expectations are. Just ask the bride straight out what she wants and expects from you. If it doesn't sound like your cup of tea, tell her you love her and would love to help with the wedding in some other way, but that you're just not in the right headspace to be the bridesmaid she needs. No one's to blame — it's no one's fault. You're better off having this discussion be a little awkward than dealing with months (or years!) of stress around a wedding you don't want to be in.

Q: What are some of the things that make a bridesmaid's experience a positive one?

I didn't have a traditional wedding party, but I did have loads of friends helping me with my wedding and part of how I made it fun for them was by praising and focusing on their skills. I have one friend who's a high powered corporate type, and she was the most awesome bridal bod guard EVER! I told her how much I always admired her ability to wrastle people when we worked together, and asked her if she would want to help protect me from the little day-of wedding organization questions on the day of the actual wedding.

… and since she LOVES doing that sort of thing, she was happy to help. It was a win/win for both of us … she felt appreciated and recognized for her skills, and I enjoyed her using them for me on my wedding day!

I think bridesmaids will get the most fun out of the wedding process by thinking of it as their wedding gift. This is the most amazing gift you can possibly give — your time and magical skills! If it feels like a burden, then you're not helping with the right parts of the wedding.

Q: What are some of the more creative themes, roles and/or outfits for bridesmaids that have been featured on your site?

I loved these bridesmaids in their black dresses and converse lowtops.

But my all-time favorite were these rollerderby bridesmaids.