Photograph: Jessica K Feiden
When you ask loved ones to join your wedding party, they likely expect to accompany you on the fun and sometimes-busy journey to the aisle. Sure, there will be some work along the way — but when it’s done out of love and appreciation, it can be an enjoyable experience for all. Yet, as many can relate, it isn’t always butterflies and rainbows for wedding party members. Sometimes, a couple’s unrealistic expectations can create friction within the group, setting everyone up for an uncomfortable wedding day. So, where do you draw the line? What can you ask your wedding party to do without fear of overloading them with annoying responsibilities? Keep reading for a few things the pros say are entirely reasonable to request and a few things that are unreasonable to request.
PHotograph: Mandee Johnson Photography
To arrive punctually Tardiness at a pre-wedding brunch is one thing, but on the big day, it can mean throwing off the entire timeline. So you have every right to ask them to show up on time! Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Events assures you can expect your wedding party to “arrive on time (or early!) on the wedding day. Why? Because punctuality is important, you want your wedding party to be present for key moments such as portraits and the ceremony.”
To give a well-timed toast While your VIPs may have lots to say, it’s not unfair to limit their time with the microphone. Otherwise, you may eat into the time allotted for dinner and dancing! “If they're making a toast, ask them to keep it to 3-4 minutes and rehearse/time it,” suggests Brian Franklin of Vows and Speeches . “Many people don't know what 3 minutes looks like on a page, which turns out to be 10-15 minutes of a copy.” To offer a pep talk when needed Planning and hosting a wedding is an emotional experience, and feelings will undoubtedly surface along the way. Don’t be afraid to lean on your wedding party for a boost!
“Couples can also ask for moral support as they plan their wedding and get ready to marry their person,” promises Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss . “That's what friends are for, right?” To lend an extra hand with favors Regardless of your crew’s DIY skills, you should feel comfortable asking them for help when it comes to assembling favors and other projects. Bonus: It makes for a fun bonding experience for the whole group!
Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates notes that wedding party members can “help put together favors or hospitality bags for the hotel guests. I've often seen wedding parties come together over wine and nosh (provided by the bride) to help put together some of the last details of the event.”
Photograph: Pharris Photos
Now, the real question is: What is unreasonable to request of your wedding party? Here’s what the experts have to say:;
To perform a vendor’s job Your besties aren’t there to work a shift on their wedding day. Let the professionals do their job, so your wedding party can hit the dance floor with you! “Your wedding party is there to celebrate with you, but they are not the hired help to make your wedding dreams come true,” Maddox states. “Instead, pay the labor to have your florist and caterer do this important job so that your closest people can remain by your side.” To spend a small fortune Most people expect to spend money when agreeing to join a wedding party, but it’s kind to remain mindful of others’ budgets when it’s ultimately your day – not theirs.
“Asking bridesmaids to spend an ungodly amount on a dress they will never wear again and for hair and makeup that you are specifying is a fast road to resentment and a very unhappy bunch,” Sheils assures. “Instead, let your squad be a part of choosing attire and make beauty something they can opt in or out of. Let them be (and look like!) who they are instead of requiring they all look identical! I can promise you that happier bridesmaids make for better photos...regardless of what they wear.”
To limit their plus-one options. Asking loved ones to stand by your side is an honor. But telling them who they can or cannot bring to your wedding can create tension, so it’s best to approach their choice with an open mind. As Vizcaino notes, it’s not fair to stipulate “that their plus one meets specific criteria (e.g., must be single, must be of the same religion, must be employed). Why? Because this is presumptuous and puts unnecessary pressure on your wedding party members. If you have specific concerns about who they bring as a guest, speak to them privately about your concerns.” Your wedding party is there to lift you up, carry (some of) the weight, and shed happy tears when you and your partner finally say, “I do.” So if you want to remain friends well after the wedding day, manage your expectations and always show appreciation! Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.