Bridal Party Q&As

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

Q: One of my friends has multiple body piercings, tattoos and neon purple hair. She's furious that I didn't ask her to be in my wedding party, but I feel that her presence would be a distraction during the ceremony. I did ask if she would be willing to tone down her look a bit but she refused. Am I being unreasonable? 

A: Certainly not! It's your prerogative (as it is every bride-to-be"s) to have a wedding party composed of relatives and friends to whom you feel closest and most comfortable. I am sure that you also have a certain vision of how you want your attendants to look - and it probably does not include tattoos and neon hair. So do not feel pressured to ask someone whose appearance will only cause you aggravation and frustration on your wedding day, especially if she is unwilling to compromise. If your friend wants to have the freedom to look and dress as she pleases, then she should grant you the freedom to select a wedding party to your liking.

Unfortunately, no matter who you do and do not choose, there are bound to be a few acquaintances or family members who disagree with or feel hurt by your choices - and they will not hesitate to verbalize their unhappiness to you. You might try to explain patiently why you selected the people you did. But, ultimately, it is your decision and your wedding to plan as you and your fiancé wish, and your choices require no justification.

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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??