Bridesmaid Contracts – a step too far?


I have advocated multiple times about the importance of setting expectations with your bridesmaids. Skirting the issue to avoid an uncomfortable conversation now, leads to tension and awkwardness later on in the piece.  So how about setting out your expectations early in the piece with a bridesmaid contract? Or is that a step too far?

Is it possible to give your bridesmaids a contract without looking like a bridezilla?!

I have been doing a little research to see if I could find a reasonable sounding contract online. Here’s a few (I’m living in hope they are badly executed jokes):

  • Ann Jane Living Bridesmaid Contract – the author suggested it was “…a cute and fun little contract with some underlying notes of “I’m actually pretty darn serious about this”…
  • Bridesmaid Contract – this one has no fun fluff. It’s straight to the point, 15 rules and regulations including “I will not make advances towards any inappropriate male guests attending the reception”. What scares me is it was pulled together following a survey of 1,000 brides.
  • This story (point 2 – the ULTIMATE bridezilla email) which outlines the type of bikini (to avoid tan lines), bedtimes (to avoid baggy eyes) and a nutritionist to discuss diet plans…
  • Offbeat Bride’s Bridesmaid Contact – a nice, sane, lovely bridesmaid contract *insert sigh of relief here*.  It doesn’t have any mention of dresses, weight or fertility status.

My take? If you’re going to present your bridesmaids with a contract to sign… do it as a lighthearted joke. 

The not-so-lighthearted contracts dictated restrictions on:

  • Weight gain (keeping it within a certain range, or gaining so the bride is skinnier)
  • Hair changes needing to be submitted for approval
  • Bridesmaid dresses to be purchased without a fuss
  • Pregnancy – avoiding it before the wedding
  • Amount of alcohol at the wedding reception
  • Behaviour at the reception
  • Attitude (“…be happy and positive at all times during the wedding and reception”)

bridesmaid contract

If you need a bridesmaid contract, maybe you need to reconsider your bridesmaids

You’ll struggle to pass this off as a bit of lighthearted banter if you’re a neurotic type-A bride (like me) so your best chance of keeping bridesmaids sweet may be to steer clear of doing a bridesmaid agreement completely.

They are not necessarily unreasonable requests (it would be bloody stressful to deal with a bridesmaid who gains a ton of weight and bitches about her dress) BUT these are all reasonably common sense issues and a supportive friend shouldn’t be going out of her way to put a bride through this stuff on purpose. You can’t demand that your friends delay getting pregnant because you don’t want to deal with the “hassle” of a pregnant bridesmaid.

If you take a step back and consider why you picked your friend to be a bridesmaid, surely it has to do with her relationship to you. You should be picking bridesmaids because you love them, you want them with you, and you know they’ll support you. Part of supporting you is behaving appropriately. If you are seriously considering pulling out a contract because you are worried a friend is going to misbehave – then you seriously need to consider if that friend is going to be a good bridesmaid.

Have you been asked to sign a bridesmaid contract? Are you considering one? Am I totally off-base by thinking this is an intrusion on your bridesmaid’s autonomy? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, I’m curious to hear your perspective.

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  1. Wow! I picked my bridesmaids because they were dear friends and I was honoured to have them stand up with me on our wedding day. If I felt the need to have them subscribe to contractually mandated behaviours, I’d probably reconsider them as bridesmaids. And would have to reconsider my view of myself as a normal, non-scary human being.

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