Bridal Party Q&As

Guidelines about the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, from maid of honor on down.

Q: My sister is turning into a bridesmaidzilla. She’s insisting I invite five of her friends (even though I don’t know them), and that I pay for her hair and makeup. My budget is limited, but should I try to appease her to keep the peace?

A: No! Look, there is obviously something more going on here, and I have a feeling that nothing you do will be enough to make her happy. You are not obligated to invite five people you don’t know to your wedding, nor should you pay for her hair and makeup if you can’t afford it. She needs to be reminded that this is your wedding, not hers. She may resent all of the attention you’re getting or even that you’re getting married and she’s not.

My best advice would be to ask her to join you for lunch, dinner or a day of shopping. Don’t talk about your wedding plans initially. Ask her what’s going on in her life and what she’s been up to. Keep the conversation light and breezy with the focus on her. At some point, you can let her know that you’ve been puzzled and hurt by her behavior because you had hoped that she would be happy for you and be your biggest supporter. Remind her that her day will come, too, and when it does you’ll be right there for her. But for now, she should respect the fact that this is your wedding and you and your fiancé are trying to work within a budget. Let her know that you want her and all your family and friends to share in your big day and have a wonderful time. Ask her if there is something troubling her and what you can do to help. Hopefully, if you reach out to her in a kind, loving way she will respond accordingly.

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Wedding etiquette is a popular subject because they are so many horror stories. It's expensive to be in a bridal party, and it's expensive and stressful to have a large one. One budget line item that often gets overlooked by the future Mr. and Mrs. is the THANK YOU gift for each bridal party member. You should plan to spend at least half the amount of the cost of the bridesmaid dress/suit rental for each person. So if the dress they bought is $300, then be prepared to thank each one with ~$150 worth of gratitude. Bridal showers, bachelorette parties, flights/hotels, hair/shoes/makeup/hair styling -- all these things add up, and some bridesmaids spend over $1000 just to be in your wedding party. These are your most important witnesses to your wedding. And chances are they supported you before, during, and after the big day. Thank you gifts are not the area to skimp. Good luck! Lisa |

I've selected my matron of honor (and asked her) who is engaged and was supposed to get married before me but then had to postpone her wedding. Can she still be my matron of honor??