When it comes down to it, a bride essentially becomes an employer as she prepares for her wedding day. She has to manage a caterer, a DJ, a decorator, a baker, a tailor, and the list goes on. But the “employees” that sometimes go overlooked are the bridesmaids.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that bridesmaids should be at the beck and call of the bride because their livelihood depends on it (although the brides of the show Bridezillas would have you believe otherwise). Rather, what it means is that the bride is responsible for making sure her bridesmaids have all the information and direction they need so that they can do their job right.
The key to managing these very important “employees” is to make sure you keep your bridesmaids in the loop through detailed communication. Whether via phone, email, or in person, you have to make at least these five essential communications to ensure your bridesmaids will be well prepared for your wedding.
1. The invitation. The first communication is, of course, the official invitation to be a bridesmaid. Make sure you ask each bridesmaid to do the honor of standing up for you at your wedding, and give her a chance to accept or decline. The responsibility of being a bridesmaid comes along with large financial and time obligations, and anyone might have to turn you down for a variety of reasons. When your bridesmaids do accept (or shortly after), give them the date, time, and location of the wedding and a general overview of any other expected bridesmaid responsibilities (bridal dress shopping, anticipated bridal showers, arriving a few days before the wedding, rehearsal dinner, etc.). This is especially important if they don’t live in the same geographic location and will have to arrange for travel.
2. The dresses. Try to decide on the details of your bridesmaid dresses right away. You might send your bridesmaids pictures of potential dresses and ask them to vote, take them all shopping and decide on a dress together, or opt to allow each bridesmaid to choose her own dress within given parameters (color, length, material, etc.). Whatever the case may be, communicate the dress details to your bridesmaids with plenty of time for them to purchase, pay for, and alter their gowns.
3. The shower and bachelorette party. It will not be your responsibility to communicate the details of the shower and the bachelorette party to the bridesmaids, since you won’t be throwing these soirées for yourself. However, you will need to put the hosts of these get-togethers in touch with your bridesmaids. Be sure to give the hosts the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of your bridal party, and make sure the hosts let the bridesmaids know specifically how they can help (food, favors, transportation, games, etc.).
4. Wedding day itinerary. As far in advance as possible, provide your bridesmaids with a detailed itinerary of the wedding weekend. Give them the time, date, and location of the rehearsal dinner and let them know whether they should bring a date. Give them information about hair and makeup, where they can get dressed, transportation, accommodations, the schedule for photos, and any time you’ve built in to eat (and whether they will need to bring their own snacks along). Be sure to go through the day in your head and answer any questions you might have as bridesmaids (for example, “If I’m riding in the limo, how will my car get from the church to the reception hall?” or “Do I have any responsibilities after the wedding ends?”).
5. Thank-you note. This may not keep the bridesmaids in the know, but it will show them your appreciation for all they’ve done. Take the time to write each bridesmaid a heartfelt, personal thank-you note to go along with her bridesmaid gift. Thank her for the sacrifices she made to be a part of your wedding day, and remind her of why she was special enough to you that you wanted her to be a bridesmaid.
Remember, your bridesmaids agreed to be in your wedding party because they want to be there for you. Aside from these formal communications, feel free to ask them for additional help along the way, and encourage them to speak up if they don’t have the information they need. Keeping your bridesmaids in the loop will help everyone be better prepared to make your engagement period and wedding day carefree and unforgettable!
More wedding advice from this author:
Find the Right People for the Roles In Your Catholic Wedding Ceremony
How to Make Out of Town Wedding Guests Feel Welcome
Eight Unexpected Expenses to Include In Your Wedding Budget