Bridal Party Q&As

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

Q: One of my bridesmaids keeps complaining about the dress I had in mind for the wedding party. How should I handle her? 

A: As the bride, you have total say in what your attendants wear. As a decent human being, it's nice to try to keep their feelings in mind. However, you can only do so much and the larger the group, the more difficult of a task it will be. Once you have made all the respectful concessions (asked your bridesmaids what they would like, considered their budgets and figure types, allowed them to make a final dress selection from two or three possibilities), it's time for them to shut up and be supportive.

If you've got a bridesmaid who continues to be blatantly obnoxious, simply state the following: "I'm sorry you're not happy with the dress. Although I'll miss having you in my wedding party, I'll understand if you want to back out. Is that what you have in mind?" Nine out of 10 women will insist that they still want to be your bridesmaid - and will put a lid on it. If yours happens to be the one that backs out, it's her loss. You do not need friends like that anyway.

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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??