Bridesmaids, Etiquette & Keeping The Bride Happy


For every new bridesmaid, as well as everyone who has at least five bridesmaids’ dresses hanging in the dry cleaning bags in the depths of your closet, knowing the bridesmaids’ etiquette rules is an essential part of helping the bride through her big day.  If your bridesmaids are blissfully unaware of the etiquette of their positions, it might be time to clue them in.

1. The MIA Bridesmaid

As a bride, one of the most annoying things your bridesmaids can do is to leave you high and dry while they are missing in action. Maybe they aren’t getting back to you when you text or email, or they fail to show up at important events like dress fittings and helping with making favors. Whatever is going on, it is a huge breach of bridesmaids etiquette to leave you hanging.

For bridesmaids that are slacking off on your duties, beware of being replaced! Your friend (aka “The Bride”) has enough on her mind without dealing with your shenanigans. You don’t have to drop everything in your life every time the bride snaps her fingers, but she has every right to expect appropriate replies to messages and attention to the details which have been entrusted to you. If you can’t be there for whatever reason, it’s only polite to let her know so that she can make a different choice.

2. The Uninvited Plus-One Bridesmaid

As part of the bridal party, you might not want your bridesmaids to invite a date to the ceremony, although it’s common courtesy to allow a guest for the reception.  Your bridesmaids should not assume they can invite a date to the ceremony, especially if they haven’t discussed it with you.

As for the bridesmaids who insist upon bringing their date to the ceremony, even when explicitly asked not to do so, you’re showing the bride that you don’t respect her very much. Think very carefully about whether or not having a date at the ceremony (where you’ll be in the ceremony and unable to spend time with them anyway) is worth risking your friendship with the bride.

3. The Broken Record Bridesmaid

When you’re trying to plan your wedding, you probably have a large to-do list to tackle before the big day.  It’s important to be able to move quickly from one task to another, and repeat yourself as little as possible. Bridesmaids’ etiquette dictates that you should provide all necessary details for your bridesmaids and that they should take note of those things. It then becomes their responsibility to have access to that information without asking you the same question repeatedly. If you have a bridesmaid who asks over and over what her hairstyle should be or where the ceremony is taking place, you’re probably getting pretty close to the end of your patience after the third or fourth iteration.

Bridesmaids who are chronically unable to keep track of important dates, times and details are a real source of stress for the bride. Don’t ask the bride for the information for the thousandth time. Instead, ask another bridesmaid and make notes on your phone or (if you want to go old-school) a notebook.

4. The Procrastinating Bridesmaid

Lots of brides have one bridesmaid that waits until the last possible moment to get anything done. If she’s waiting until two days before the wedding to buy her bridesmaid dress, you’re probably ready to tear out your hair. Worrying about whether or not the dress will fit properly or that it might sell out before your procrastinating bridesmaid finally deigns to take action can have a hugely wearing effect on your patience.

For you procrastinating bridesmaids, etiquette dictates that you not create more stress for the bride. Instead of waiting until the last minute and driving the bride to the brink of insanity, get your dress as soon as possible. You knew you had to buy it when you said yes to being a bridesmaid, so just get up and do it.