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What Are Reasonable Bridesmaid Expectations?

What Are Reasonable Bridesmaid Expectations?

Before we dive in, we need you to remember two things:

To the bridal party… Designing and arranging a wedding requires a LOT of work. It’s stressful. Heck, there is an entire career path built around wedding planning! The bride is managing more than her usual amount of stress, so give her a little grace!

To the bride… The bridal party and groomsmen simply CANNOT drop everything for your “perfect” wedding. They are not made of money. They have jobs and other responsibilities. They love you, but they have life situations that may make it difficult for them to be at your beck and call. Be sensitive to that!

Now that we’ve added a little perspective to the conversation, let’s talk about expectations. What is reasonable? What crosses the line? And how can you be both a courteous friend and throw the flawless wedding you’ve been dreaming of?

Let’s play… Is it reasonable?


The Attire

Yes! It is customary for bridesmaids to manage the costs to purchase their dress. Most dresses land somewhere in the $130 range, a relatively reasonable price for most bridesmaids. That being said, if you choose a dress that reaches up into the $300 to $400 range, you may need a game plan in case some of your bridesmaids can’t afford the steep cost. Perhaps you can offer some help. Or you could even give your bridesmaids free rein to pick a dress that fits both their taste AND their budget (of course, sticking to your color specifications).

Shoes & Accessories

This one’s a little more tricky. We TOTALLY understand the desire for a bridal party with perfectly matching shoes and accessories. While it’s no problem at all to request that your bridal party search their closet for a particular style or color of shoe, asking them to buy a pair of high-end pumps to match the rest of the crew–with no regard for comfortability—seems unkind. If you have a particular vision in mind, the shoes and accessories make spectacular bridal party gifts.

Hair & Makeup

After a thorough discussion, our team is going to have to give this one a resounding “NO.” Not only can the price for professionally done hair and makeup get ridiculously high, but some of your bridesmaids may even have issues with makeup… like allergies or skin sensitivities. Instead, give them a choice. Provide them with a cost estimate ahead of time and create a hair/makeup schedule for the day-of.

Bridal Shower

For sure! It’s the Maid of Honor’s responsibility to host. And a lot of times, bridesmaids will jump at the chance to help. BUT… you should still be sensitive. If one of your girlfriends lives all the way across the country, they may not afford the time off from work and/or the money required to make the trip, let alone contribute to the shower costs.

Bachelorette Party

Another bridal party staple, the bachelorette party responsibilities, often fall on the bridesmaids—primarily the Maid of Honor. This is reasonable if we’re just talking about a 1-night outing. But we’ve seen a growing trend of weekend-long bridal party escapes. Between the travel, time off work, hotel, food, and arrangements for any pets or kids, the expenses can quickly add up. So, if a few of your bridesmaids have to decline, try to be understanding.

Planning Help

You can absolutely recruit your bridesmaids for a little wedding prep help —whether you need help to create nameplates and party favors or choosing a bridesmaid dress style or even setting up decorations before your big day. But be careful not to rely on them too heavily—they’re not your (unpaid) wedding planners.

Official & Day-Of Responsibilities

According to decades of tradition, the Maid of Honor is typically asked to prepare a speech for the reception (as will the Best Man). Plus, if the bride and groom don’t have a witness to sign the marriage license , this is a small but significant task you can request of your Maid of Honor or Best Man.

Other Friend Stuff

Remember your bridesmaids are still your very best friends. So, just like in any other season of life, you can depend on them to wipe away your tears, listen to you rant about how stressed you are, and make sure you eat, drink water, and remember to breathe on your big day!


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