Bridesmaids — and their dresses — pose a lot of etiquette questions. Whether they're related to what the maid-of-honor needs to do or how to get them all to look and feel their best, it can be hard to figure out! We sourced three of the most common concerns and got expert-approved answers!
Who is supposed to pay for the bridesmaid dresses? If the bride can afford to, it is a very thoughtful gesture for her to pay for the dress or a portion of the cost for each of her 'maids. But many brides can't afford to do so, and bridesmaids are usually expected to pay for their own dresses and accessories, as well as hair and makeup. Since your bridesmaids will be spending a significant amount on your wedding, it is very important that you carefully consider the cost of their dresses, as well as their heights and body types when choosing their outfits. Choose styles that are flattering, comfortable, and reasonably priced (resist the urge to pick out a $500 bridesmaid dress, even if you adore it!). This is usually at the heart of any conflicts that may arise between brides and their bridesmaids: The last thing you want is for your attendants to be upset or frustrated about having to shell out a ton of cash on a dress they will never wear again.
Can I ask my bridesmaid not to change out of her dress after the ceremony? Sort of. You can explain why you want her to be visually ID'd as part of your girl tribe, and ask that she wear the dress until the reception's over. But unless she's just being picky, chances are she feels truly unattractive in the dress. Ask her if there's something specific about it that bothers her. Is it the shape? Does she think it reveals too much skin? If the dress hasn't been ordered yet, see if there's a more complimentary silhouette in the same color that suits her better (it's okay if your maids aren't exact matches). If she's already put down a deposit, a visit to a good tailor might make a big difference.
One of my bridesmaids is on the heavy side and is unhappy with the dress I've picked out. She wants to back out of the wedding party. What's the best way to handle this? The important thing to remember is that, like you, your gals will be on display for several hours — and they'll certainly want to wear something that makes them feel comfortable. If the other girls have already bought their dresses, you can still offer up the style-change option to your bigger bridesmaid. However, there's a chance she'll reject that plan if she feels self-conscious about wearing a dress that's different from the rest of your crew. If this happens, suggest just making some minor alterations to the current style. Another thought is to add a beautiful wrap to all of your bridesmaids' ensembles. Have them wear the wraps during the ceremony and then they can decide if they want to keep them or ditch them at the reception. If your friend is still unhappy after running through these options, then certainly give her the choice to bow out of the "official" wedding party. Give her a corsage to wear while handing out wedding programs, doing a ceremony reading or giving a toast; everyone will know that she's one of your VIPs.