Get through your wedding with friendships intact

bridesmaid feeling like a slave

Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It’s one of those few milestones that you’ll look back on and reflect often. And it’s such an amazing milestone – most others have a period of significant change and anxiety around them (having a baby would freak the most relaxed person out!). So of course you are going to relish every wedding planning opportunity that comes your way – it’s all part of the process right?!

The only thing is (and here’s where I might upset y’all) – it’s your milestone. You share this with your partner, and it’s a milestone for your close family too – but for your bridesmaids and wider friend group, it boils down to a big party and maybe a pretty dress out of the deal.

I’m sharing this perspective to help you understand that if your friends don’t seem to care about wedding admin, can’t understand why it’s such a big deal that noone has RSVPed yet, or aren’t interested in debating how you’ll fit 100 people in a venue for 80… it’s not you, it’s the gravity of the event for them.  That doesn’t mean they don’t care.

Yes, your wedding is a big deal. But it’s not such a big deal for everyone else. 

Bridesmaids tend to bear the brunt of wedding planning stresses, and that’s what they are there for – to a point. As a considerate friend, you need to be conscious of the amount of baggage you’re unloading on them. Is all you ever talk about wedding planning stuff?
If you’re worried that you’re alienating your bridesmaids (or other friends) with a bit of over-zealous wedding planning enthusiasim, here are some tips for navigating the wedding planning journey without burning bridges:

Be upfront

Firstly, be upfront and clear about what you require from your bridesmaids, in terms of time, days off and financial obligations. This can also be non-tangible things, like a listening ear and support. In return, ask them to be upfront with you – have them tell you if the wedding stuff is getting a bit overwhelming.

Don’t be a control freak

Secondly, if your bridesmaid agrees to help with a task, don’t micromanage. Set a task and a timeframe. If it isn’t done, then give a gentle reminder. If it still doesn’t get done – well you have every right to be a bit pissed off, but get the task done by someone else. Don’t sit and stew about it. As much as it sucks, paying someone to do something generally means it gets done – you don’t want your friends feeling like unpaid volunteer wedding planners without the cute J-lo earpiece (see The Wedding Planner). And resentment isn’t good for wrinkles.

Other friends

Thirdly – if your bridesmaids aren’t providing the support that you need, don’t put other friendships in jeopardy by bogging them down with your wedding admin… if your friend isn’t a bridesmaid, are your sure they want to be doing your wedding work? All the guts and none of the glory. If you have a friend who steps above and beyond, make sure you acknowledge it – a bottle of wine or a mention in the speeches for example.

Give an incentive

Finally, make jobs fun by making them social and including a carrot – get all the girls together to stuff and address your invites – followed by lunch and a wine (not a literal carrot, bleugh). If you are having a stress-fest and unload over coffee, shout her one. Acknowledging the support will go a long way to keeping friends sweet, and it makes the wedding work less about saving you some money and more of a social, fun bonding experience.
getting married and having fights with friends

Have you had this happen before?

Have you been a bridesmaid who’s planned the whole bloody day? Or have you caught yourself only ever talking about your wedding (I am guilty!). I’d love if you shared your story in the comments.

12 thoughts on “Get through your wedding with friendships intact

    1. It’s all common sense but sometimes you can forget your bridesmaids have lives too (I certainly verged on that a few times!)

  1. I’ve been the bridesmaid workhorse before! Seemed expected, and not a free coffee in sight! It’s an honour to be asked to be a bridesmaid, but not if it’s just to do the dirty work! Then I have been part of a lovely wedding party team too, I know which I prefer 😉

    1. No fun at all – I know it’s all about taking the pressure off the bride, but it’s a bit unfair to save a ton of money off your budget by putting your bridesmaids to work.

  2. Some good points there. Especially about not being a control freak. There’s nothing like having a micro manager standing over you.

  3. I agree that remembering to say thanks for all of the help you get, helps to keep the peace!

  4. My wedding was on a shoestring, a handful of people, nothing fancy and I had no stress whatsoever which made the whole event so magical.

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