If you've been asked to be in a wedding party, you probably have a few questions that you don't feel totally comfortable asking the bride or groom, so we're here to help. We've outlined a few things you may be wondering about, there's no need to feel ashamed!
"Can I say no to being a bridesmaid or groomsman?"
When you're asked to be a bridesmaid or groomsman, it's essentially the bride or groom saying, "You mean a lot to me and I would love to have you by my side while I get married." It's a big gesture, so unless you have a legitimate reason (you know you can't make the wedding, you're pregnant, etc.) you're advised to say yes. If you say no without reason, there's a good chance your friendship may suffer because of it, to put it bluntly. If you're hesitant because of financial issues, let your friend know. You two are obviously close, so sit them down and express your concerns. Chances are you'll be able to come up with some kind of solution.
"These bridesmaid dresses are very unflattering, and everyone agrees. Can we tell the bride?"
If the bride is really liking specific gowns and they clearly don't fit or look like they're making the other girls clearly uncomfortable, nominate the MOH to softly let her know that there might be other gowns out there that would make her 'maids feel more comfortable. That being said, don't push it; the bride gets the final say. It's her wedding and as a supportive friend, you need to put the dress on, along your best smile, and get through the day without complaining. You can always sell the dress, alter it or get rid of it after the wedding. It's just a few hours and it will make your friend happy.
"I don't think I can afford the bachelor/bachelorette party, what should I do?"
The bottom line is, weddings are expensive. Whether you're in one, having one, or attending one, there are a lot of costs to consider. It's understandable if flying across the country for a weekend-long bachelor or bachelorette party is out of your budget, especially if you factor in the Airbnb, fancy dinners, and any other activities that are planned. That's a lot of cash to cough up.
So what's the best way to handle this? Be honest and open with the bride or groom you're celebrating. Talk to them about your financial concerns. Explain that your main priority is attending the wedding and that it's just not a possibility for you to be at both. Offer to do something special with them (if you live close by) or send a bottle of wine to the restaurant they're dining at one night. If you're good friends, they should be understanding of your financial situation.
"Do I have to get the bride/groom a gift for the wedding?"
Yes. Being in the wedding party does not excuse you from buying the newlyweds a gift. In fact, following proper wedding etiquette means the closer relationship you have to the couple, the nicer the gift you should buy. Yes, we know you just went to their bachelor/bachelorette party and traveled for the wedding, but this gift is all about the next chapter of their lives together, so don't skimp on the wedding gift.
"I was asked to give a speech at the rehearsal dinner and I get terrible stage fright. Can I say no?"
Typically the maid of honor or best man gives a speech at the reception, but sometimes couples want their other close friends or family members to speak at the rehearsal dinner. Before you make a rash decision, you should feel flattered! They have a number of people they could ask to speak, but there is clearly a reason they chose you, so let that sink in.
If you're still hesitant, consider what makes you nervous. Are you worried you won't know what to say? If so, consult other bridesmaids or groomsmen and ask for their input. That way the burden doesn't have to fall solely on you. If you're more worried about giving the actual speech, ask the couple if you can do it with someone. Perhaps another bridesmaid or groomsmen can accompany you during your speech. If both of those suggestions are out of the question, sit down with the couple (or whoever you're closer to) and explain that your nerves are getting the best of you and it would be best for the flow of the dinner to ask someone who is better suited for situations like that. Your friend is bound to understand.
Style Me Pretty Contributor – Sarah Title is a travel & wedding writer and editor living in Washington D.C. She also works part-time at a bridal salon in Georgetown helping women find the perfect dress. When she isn't working, you can find her at the closest oyster bar enjoying a glass of rose or catching up on the latest celebrity gossip.