We’ve all heard the horror stories and seen countless clips of brides going berserk on TV. Bridezillas (as they have become known) are a ruthless, tireless breed and will not take (hell) no for an answer. What you don’t see or hear as often are stories of bridesmaids and attendants who don’t live up to their end of the bargain. They hold up orders, complain about dresses, shoes, and generally complicate things. Whats the key to being a perfect attendant? I’m glad you asked!
Play or go home. If you have agreed to be a part of a wedding, understand it is going to cost you money. Unless the bride has graciously offered to pay for everything on your behalf you will be paying for at least a gown, alterations, shoes, jewelry, makeup, hair, bachelorette festivities, shower and shower gift, and wedding gift. Don’t forget you will need something to wear for the shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner as well. More shoes, more accessories, and the list goes on. If you know you cannot afford the festivities, be honest with the bride, “I am honored that you asked me to be your bridesmaid and although I would love to be included in the wedding, I simply cannot afford it. I would be honored to be a guest” Otherwise you might be broke and resentful by the time the cake is cut. Once you have agreed to be an attendant, you are no longer entitled to say anything about your expenses. Keep your lips sealed and smile.
Be available. When you agreed to be a bridesmaid you had to know there would be shopping and fittings and all kinds of other pre-wedding activities. Your job is to make this easier for the bride, not harder. If you cannot attend something, being honest is better than being a no-show. With texting, instant messaging and facebook it is easier to stay in touch than ever. Missing an appointment is a cardinal sin and there is no reason other than bodily harm that you should not be at a scheduled appointment.
Be honest. If asked your opinion, be honest. When it comes to bridal gowns, headpieces, bridesmaid gowns, cakes, whatever. You can have different opinions and still be friends. Remember that there are ways to deliver unkind words. “You butt looks huge in that gown” is not a good example. You might want to try something softer ” Cindy, you have a great figure but, I dont think this dress is very flattering.” However, if you realize this is the gown (or whatever) that she loves and adores, try to find something positive to say. You have signed on to be a support team, its time to be supportive. If asked for your honest opinion, give it as graciously as possible.
Run intereference. Bridesmaids have a lot less to do than the bride during the months and weeks leading up to the big day. You will be a great friend and a perfect bridesmaid by offering to run some errands, or help the bride simplify tasks somehow. This will be the greatest gift she receives, helping her to handle any and all wedding tasks so the she remains stress free.
I saved the best advice for last: How to handle bridesmaid gown shopping. If the bride offers to take you and all of the attendants to try on dresses, this can be a lot of fun. It can also be the mother of all disasters. Approach it with kindness and fairness. Whether you are a size 2 or 22, remember its not about you: the bride has vision of what she wants the entire day to look like. Remember the scene in 27 dresses when Katherine Heigl goes through the closet and tries on each gown? Hilarious!!! But each of her friends had a vision and she was the perfect attendant by smiling, wearing the dress and not saying one word. Help your engaged friend to realize her own unique vision by being as cooperative as possible. The only complaints that should be voiced are of the dress is ill-fitting, painful (poorly constructed gowns sometimes have cheaper components which can actually hurt and leave marks) or if there is something about that dress that makes you seriously uncomfortable. For instance, if you are quite busty and the gown has little coverage which leaves you a victim of side-boob exposure. Most brides are not stuck in the ‘same gown for everyone’ mold, anyway. Today’s wedding trend is to find a different gown that looks good on each attendant in the same color or one gown in several colors. There are so many choices… talk to the bride in private and explain your concerns, don’t turn it into a free-for-all or let any resentment build up. She does not want frowns, red marks or nipples in her wedding photos so if approached properly, any problem can be rectified. The same goes with shoes. If they are ugly – wear them and donate them after. If they seriously hurt your feet, explain to the bride why you cannot wear them. Offer to find a similar pair that are more comfortable for you and work it out. Unless she is truly that one in a million BRIDEZILLA, she will be happy you spoke to her instead of complaining behind her back.
-ps – a great way to show your engaged pal that you are definitely in her corner is to offer to attend a bridal expo with her. Bridal Expo Chicago has 32 shows in 2011 and one of them is near you. With dozens and dozens of vendors and our luxurious runway fashion show you will have the time of your life. Call 847-428-3320 to get four complimentary tickets to a show in your area.
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago