Choosing your bridesmaids – mistakes to avoid

23 Jun

Bridesmaids the movie is out. I’m really excited to see it, the trailers and reviews all look really promising. It got me thinking about picking your bridesmaids, and what an important choice it is – and how crucial it is not to make the decision too rashly. As tempting as it is to jump in quickly and ask everyone you really like, you need to stop and think about things for a while.

First of all, don’t ask anyone because they’re the “obvious” choice or because they asked you, or you feel you’re expected to ask them. This is your day and you don’t want to end up regretting your decision.

I’m going to do something I’ve not done before and that’s, to be honest, a bit out of character. I’m going to share something personal – only because my experience may help others to think more carefully about their choices for bridesmaids. So here goes – here are my tips for choosing your bridesmaids and how I found them out the hard way!

Don’t ask anyone

Tell people you’re engaged first. Don’t ask any bridesmaids or maids of honour until you’ve got past point 2 – no matter how obvious the choice seems. I found this out the hard way – I rang my best friend straight away and blurted out “I’mengagedwillyoubemybridesmaid?” This turned out to be a mistake and one I could have avoided if I’d done the following first:

Gauge their reaction

They might have been your best friend for years, through thick and thin, but all that can change when you get engaged. If she’s nothing but happy for you, then fantastic, that’s how a true friend ought to react. However, if her reaction is anger, derision, jealousy etc. that’s a big warning sign. Of course it’s OK for a friend to express doubts, but there are ways to do that. I mentioned I asked the above girl to be a bridesmaid – here’s her reaction vs. another friend that I asked:

Her reaction: “Oh my God, you’re such an idiot, you’re making a huge mistake. I’m going to have to be the one that picks up the pieces when this all turns to crap.”

My friend’s reaction: “This is a huge decision – are you sure about this? OK then I’m so excited for you!”

You only want positive, happy people who are going to just be there for you and thrilled for you on the day – if someone is being negative about the wedding, they shouldn’t be a part of it.

Ask yourself if they make you happy

Again, you may have been best buds since back when the Spice Girls were cool (OK, they’ll always be cool… right?) – but how much do you really still have in common? The friend that I’ve mentioned above used to be my only port of call back when we were both angsty Sylvia Plath fangirls at university – but that quickly changed when she went on to further study and I went to work. My priorities in life changed very quickly, as did my sense of humour – and probably my patience levels.

I noticed that every time we spoke I came away frustrated or angry – I thought she was picking a fight about everything, she thought I’d become more sensitive. It was probably a combination of both, to be honest, but I convinced myself it was a phase. Every friendship can have its trials, but friendships aren’t supposed to be really hard work! If you’re not getting on with a friend as well as you used to, perhaps you need to leave some time to re-evaluate the friendship before you make any big decisions about bridesmaids.

Find out if they’re willing to help

I casually mentioned to my friend that I’d need someone to hold my train. The idea made her cringe and resulted in a big fuss that was totally disproportionate to the original request! Find friends that are happy and willing to help with whatever needs to be done on the day – and who show they’re enthusiastic beforehand too!

Find out if they like your fiance

It’s his day too. How would you feel if one of his groomsmen didn’t like you? Probably not so great about them being such an integral part of the most important day of your life. This particular friend seemed to take issue with my fiance – and that was the final straw. I realised we were worlds apart when, and I won’t go into detail here, she snubbed him in quite a spectacular way. I quietly ended the friendship and thought long and hard about who I really wanted to be by my side when I got married.

And a happy ending…

So, after months of careful contemplation, I chose in the following way:

Maids of honour: I couldn’t choose between my two Godsisters (that’s a thing!) who I’ve known since we were babies – so I asked them both. They know me pretty much as well as I do. I couldn’t imagine my life without them and I can’t think of any better two people to be my right-hand ladies on the day.

Bridesmaids: My two gorgeous cousins, who are close to me in age and in reality and a truly beautiful friend from university who has changed my perspective on so many things and been there for me through fun times and through much less fun times!

Good luck choosing your bridesmaids – remember, think before you ask and make sure you follow your heart! 

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2 Responses to “Choosing your bridesmaids – mistakes to avoid”

  1. Kate June 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    I think it’s really important to make sure your bridesmaids fully understand what you want from them on the day. I’m bridesmaid-ing for my cousin this summer and a major part of my duties involve caring for my learning disabled sister (and fellow bridesmaid); making sure she’s ready and coping with the unfamiliar situation away from our mum.
    Obviously, I don’t mind this at all, but I’m glad it was made clear that that would be my responsibility. It’s made preparations for the wedding run a lot more smoothly.

    • sdoron June 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Kate! I completely agree – it’s so important to manage expectations – and great that your cousin has done that so well!

      I’ll write another post soon on how to treat your bridesmaids well as that’s a whole different topic.

      But it’s important to note that people have to WANT to be your bridesmaid too 🙂 Good luck bridesmaid-ing for your cousin – you’ll have a fab day I’m sure xxx

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