Being a bridesmaid or groomsman can require a lot of work – and cost a pretty penny. If you’re going to put someone on the spot, it’s helpful to know the finer points of whom and how to ask.
Before you start filling out your bridal party with every friendly girl and guy you’ve ever met, keep in mind that you’d likely feel awkward (and might resent the time/expense) if asked to be an attendant by someone who’s only an acquaintance. You should only look to your best friends and closest family, such as siblings and maybe your cousins, says Anne Chertoff, a New York-based wedding editor.
It’s also common for brides to invite the groom’s sister/s to be bridesmaids, or grooms to invite the bride’s brother/s to be groomsmen, she adds. But before you officially ask them, have your fiancé unofficially ask, in case scenarios like distant, busy lives or a large age gap would make them feel uncomfortable about the role.
Another helpful note: No need to invite someone just because they asked you, “especially if you’re bridal party is much smaller, or the two of you have drifted apart,” says Chertoff.
If you want to ask a bestie to be your bridesmaid, but you know that she’s particularly low on funds or has a crazy work/family schedule, the smart move is to go ahead and ask.
“How would you feel if a close friend said, ‘I was going to ask you, but I didn’t think you could afford it.’ Ouch!” says Sharon Naylor, author of “Bridesmaid on a Budget: How to Be a Brilliant Bridesmaid without Breaking the Bank” (Seal Press, 2010). “Ask based on how much you love the person, and you’ll work out together how to make the role easier for her to handle.”
Once you’ve settled on whom you want, definitely nix any notions of asking via email, text or instant messaging, which are far too impersonal. Instead, opt for face-to-face whenever possible – Naylor suggests using Skype if the askee lives far away (a phone call is your fallback). Another fun trend she points to is sending frosted cookies that say, “Will you be my bridesmaid?”
Pretty sure you’ll get back a bunch of happy yes’s? You should still put some forethought into your expectations. According to Chertoff, one bridal shower, one bachelor/bachelorette party and wedding attire are all part of the typical package. Hair and makeup can be an acceptable add-on, but some brides offer to pay these expenses as a gift. Another option is for the bride to allow bridesmaids to either pay for their own professional up-do and makeup artist, or wear an elegant ponytail and simple makeup look they do themselves, Naylor says.
You’ll also want to note that although the pre-wedding parties are part of the deal, having them in far away, expensive locations like Las Vegas or Mexico, isn’t. Both Chertoff and Naylor agree that you’ll need to discuss destinations with your group and let them decide together if an elaborate scenario works.