Should You Have Bridesmaids?

by Owen Relfe

Today we’re talking ‘bridesmaids’, and while you may already be squealing in excitement at the thought of sharing your wedding day with your bestie, other brides-to-be will be feeling anxious about navigating who to choose and potentially having to manage different personalities. Indeed, you may simply feel nonplussed by the whole thought of bridesmaids or, be considering you best male pal. Here we look at all the options and without meaning to cut a long story short, show you that whatever you choose, is ok!

What do bridesmaids do anyway? Well, quite a lot as it goes…

In our opinion, the most important role of a bridesmaid is to provide a support network. Planning a wedding can be a stressful and emotional time and having your BFF, sister or female relative on hand to help can be really valuable. It’s also a lovely way to create life-long memories together of a really special time in your life! With weddings becoming less and less traditional, there are no longer really any set ‘duties’ for bridesmaids but here are some of the things that they typically tend to help out with:

Helping you choose your dress – chances are, if you have chosen someone to be your bridesmaid then you know each other pretty well. Having someone you can trust to give you their honest opinion when it comes to ‘the dress’ is crucial. Plus, heading out for a day of wedding dress hunting with your gal pals can be great fun! If you have more than a couple of bridesmaids, don’t feel pressured to invite everyone. You may just want to ask your mum and maid of honour so that you don’t get overwhelmed with opinions.

Help with wedding planning – wedding admin, or ‘wedmin’ as it’s become known, can be a lot for a couple to manage on their own. If your bridesmaids are ace organisers or crafting queens, ask them to help you out. Whether it’s keeping track of your RSVPs, helping with the headache of table planning or making pretty, handmade wedding favours generally they will be honoured to help. Help to plan the hen do – if you’re having a hen do, this usually gets arranged by your bridesmaids (usually as a top secret mission). If you have a few bridesmaids they will often split the plans between them, from arranging a night out or weekend away, to contacting your other half to arrange a Mr & Mrs/Mrs & Mrs quiz! If your bridesmaids don’t know each other, you may want to give them a few hints and don’t be shy to let them know what you really don’t want – they will want to make sure you love every moment after all.

Prepare for the big day - this is particularly important if you are having a DIY wedding that will require all hands on deck the day before. From collecting cutlery to stringing up bunting to making you some lunch there will be loads of jobs to do! Try and help your bridal party out by giving them each a few tasks so you’re not constantly bombarded with questions (and so you get to do the bits you want to do yourself). If you do need your bridesmaids around the day before, be sure to give them plenty of warning so they can plan time off work, travel and accommodation.

Get ready with the bride – traditionally the bridesmaids and father-of-the-bride travel to the wedding ceremony with the bride, having spent the morning getting ready together. Think about whether there are any last-minute jobs that need doing and ask your gals for help. It may be simply to calm your nerves with a glass of bubbly, but you may need them to pop to the venue for last minute checks.

Walk down the aisle with you – waking down the aisle is one of the most magical moments of any wedding and having your best girlfriends there by your side is really special. Whether you chose to send them ahead or behind you is totally your choice.

Assist the bride – As newly-weds you won’t want a trail of people following you round for a every second of your wedding day, but asking one of your bridesmaids to check-in on you every now and then to see if you have a drink and some food is something you’ll be pleased you asked for. Having your best girl pal on hand to help you navigate the bathroom in a wedding gown can also be handy plus you may want your bridesmaids to look after a small bag with a lippy and perfume!

Get the party going – Your bridesmaids are key to getting the party started! If the dance floor isn’t instantly flooded it may well be up to them to kick things off and get the other guests boogying!

Help the next day – yep, even if you know your best mate will have the hangover of all hangovers, they have to take the good bits with the bad! The next day there may be hired clothing or catering equipment that needs returning, decorations to take down or wedding gifts to deliver to your house. Think of what you might need in advance so your bridesmaids know what time they need to set their alarms for!

What are the cons to have bridesmaids?

For some brides there will be no drawbacks to having bridesmaids but for some there may be a few things to consider:

Hurt Feelings – it’s not uncommon for people to feel hurt or left out if they’re not chosen to be your bridesmaid. For some brides this is the exact reason they decide not to have any bridesmaids at all. If you go down this route, there is nothing to stop you from asking a close friend to help you choose your wedding dress, or another to keep you company when you get ready in the morning.

Conflicting personalities – if you’re mixing groups of friends, bear in mind that they may not necessarily all get along. While most people will be polite to ensure the bride is happy, if you have any particularly strong personalities among your bridesmaids, you may find that differing opinions can create stressful situations.

Budget – traditionally the couple will pay for what they would like the bridesmaids to wear (although there is nothing to say you have to) and many brides also offer to pay for hair and make-up. If you would like a large group of bridesmaids, it’s worth considering the cost implication first as this can seriously add up. You can think about ways to keep these costs down though – you don’t have to get traditional bridesmaids dresses and you can ask the girls to contribute for some things. Just discuss it from the outset with everyone so you are all on the same page.

Do It Your Way

Enough with the negative - if you have bridesmaids you will have loads of emotional support right when you need it (trust us, there will be tears), extra helping hands and you’ll be creating some really special moments that will strengthen the bond you have with your best girlfriends. Oh but talking of girlfriends… they don’t have to be girls! We’ve seen a fair few ‘bridesmen’ at the weddings we’ve been part of and why not? If your bestie happens to be a guy not a girl then ask him. Or, you may prefer to avoid the use of the word ‘bridesmaid/man’ altogether and go for a more gender-neutral term for your bridal party, pick whoever you want as your wedding attendants, friends of honour or bridesminions!

Our advice, don’t over-think it – having your closest crew around you for the buildup and on your big day is a great idea. They don’t need to be labelled with a term if you don’t want them to be and when it comes to ‘duties’ just ask the people you trust to give you a helping hand in creating your perfect day.

Good luck!

Love The Coastal Tents Team xxxx