Being invited to be part of the wedding party is an honour, but along with that honour comes a host of obligations.
First is the expense. This becomes extremely high if it is a destination wedding involving flights, hotels, meals and more. A destination wedding also eats up attendants’ vacation time because it may not be a location they would have chosen for their own holiday.
Even an at-home wedding can make a deep hole in an attendant’s budget.
Add it up: the gown, the shoes, the makeup and hair, the wedding gift, the shower gifts or taking part in the hosting and the expense of a bachelor or bachelorette party.
If all of this is going to break the bank, the bridesmaid should be upfront and withdraw. But this should be done immediately. It isn’t fair to the bride to have a bridesmaid bow out late in the game. If a woman is close to the bride, the bride may find another way to include her special friend. She could, perhaps, do a reading at the service. Or she could greet guests on their arrival and give each one a service program.
Cut The Costs
The bride (and also the groom) should stay tuned in to the financial cost to their attendants who will be invited to a variety of gift-giving occasions. It is thoughtful for the bride and groom to insist that their attendants not bring gifts to these parties. It’s also a good idea for the attendants to give a group wedding gift. They could all contribute equally to one gift, for example. This will not only save dollars, but one major gift will be more memorable.
The Time Factor
Brides, perhaps more often than grooms, sometimes ask their attendants to participate in a variety of ways that require a major investment in time.
They may be asked to address invitation envelopes or become involved in making centrepieces, help decorate the wedding site, attend showers and other pre-wedding parties, be part of the rehearsal and dinner and then handle a variety of minor details on the wedding day.
No wonder bridesmaids have been heard to say, “Enough, already. I also have a life!”
The Bottom Line
Finally, it must be said that most bridesmaids find the experience fun. Most appreciate the honour and love the excitement of this special time in their friend’s life.
It is, however, important for the bride and groom to be aware and appreciate their attendants’ gift of time.
Originally published in Today’s Bride magazine, Fall/Winter 2015.