Kit Steinkellner
May 16, 2014 11:12 am

I got married almost a year ago. Of course I wanted to have the best time at my wedding, but I also wanted my bridesmaids, my truest and dearest friends, to have the best time as well. I wanted to be whatever the opposite of a bridezilla was. While we’re on the subject, it really sucks that we have a word for being a nightmare bride, but we don’t have a word for being a sweetheart superhero bride. That’s the English language failing us right there.

So here are some “bridesmaid guidelines” I set for myself while wedding planning. These rules of thumb helped me throughout that year and if your wedding day is in the near or distant future, fingers crossed some of this might be helpful for you as well.

1.) You Are Allowed To Ask Your Girls To Be Your Maids In An Awesome Way

I love marriage proposals. I love it when they’re big and choreographed and lip-sync-y and I love it when they’re just the most quiet and romantic and personal thing. But after a person is proposed to, she has some proposing to do, yes of course I am talking about your bridesmaids (or bridesmen, you can of course have bridesmen)!

Here’s how I popped the bridesmaid questions. I ordered these lockets off of Etsy that had the word “bridesmaid” engraved on them (they were fifteen dollars each, which is NOTHING in wedding dollars) and they came in ring boxes so I could “propose” to my friends and ask them to be my maids. YES it was silly and ridiculous and over the top. But if you can’t be over the top about wedding tomfoolery when CAN you be over the top?

2.)You Have to Be Upfront About Time and Money

If you want your bridesmaids to buy their own $300 dresses you have to tell them before they agree to be your bridesmaids. If you live in SoCal and you want to do your bachelorette party in Maui you have to tell your team before they agree to be your team. Your wedding is obviously expensive for you, but it can start getting up there for your maids too, between dresses and showers and bachelorette stuff and presents and travel and lodgings. That all adds up. You have to be upfront about costs and you have to be cool if someone you ask declines because they can’t foot the bill.

That said, dresses don’t HAVE to be expensive (we did ours on ModCloth for $60 each and I liked them way better than the $$$ department store dresses) and bachelorette celebrations don’t have to be a Gatsby party (we did a weekend trip from LA to Palm Springs). There’s is a way to look beautiful and have a beautiful time without making anyone’s credit card cry. It just requires patience, thoughtfulness, and ingenuity. Those, by the way, are all qualities we should be cultivating in ourselves whether or not we’re getting hitched.

3.)If They Offer To Help, Find a Way to Let Them Help

I’m not a control freak but I am a control… something. I have the big picture all planned out inside my brain and it’s hard for me to not want to just do everything myself. But the gorgeous thing about a bridal party is you have a team around you, and so if someone offers to help,  find something for them to do. It’s such a thrill to be involved in someone’s big day. Sometimes accepting help is the same as being generous.

4.) Pay For Their Hair and Makeup on the Big Day

No, you don’t have to pay for your girls’ hair and makeup. You also don’t have to have super expensive flowers or top shelf liquor. It’s not cheap getting girls fancied up. A good makeup artist is going to charge you about $75 a head. Hair might be the same or it might be more. That’s at least $150 a girl. That said, the average American wedding costs about $27,000, this infographic told me so. If you’re spending anything like that, you have room to get your maids into hair and makeup. It’s a great gift to give on your wedding day (you got to get your girls a gift anyway). You’ll make your ladies feel like rock legend-movie star-super models AND AND AND everyone will look put-together and uniform for pictures. Your girls AND your wedding pictures win.

5.) Remember to Say “Thank You” and “I Love You” to Your Bridesmaids All The Time

Because you are grateful for your girls. And you do love them a whole bunch.

Who else has been a bride or a maid? How would you advise brides go about handling their favorite ladies as their big day draws near?

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